How much does it cost to build an app like Uber?

The cheapest and fastest way to go to market with your own on demand taxi booking app would be to go with an Uber clone service provider, customize it a little bit to give your app the required uniqueness and get started. Ready-made apps with a little customization would cost less than $2k per app. However, most entrepreneurs wouldn’t want to go with another me-too ready-made app or scripts for obvious reasons.

Uber App Clone

In case you are planning to customize or build complete bespoke mobile apps with your own set of unique functionalities and USP features, you should go for a custom development solution approach. A custom development project to build an app like Uber with web based Admin console integrated with CMS (content management system) back-end, analytics and a custom responsive front-end user interface would cost somewhere in the range of $10,000 to $25,000 per app. This is a tricky question and needs to be understood first before we can try to answer.

Insights: Uber business model and unit economics analysis

Understanding what is Uber?

Uber is a very popular on demand ride hailing, cab / taxi booking service. Their revenue model is commission based wherein they charge fees to the partner drivers. Uber is a branded marketplace and not an open one and hence all the partner drivers in fact represent Uber itself and serve as contractors. This is how Uber found a niche market to revolutionize on demand services worldwide.

Also: How much does it cost to build an app or site like Airbnb?

What is the difference?

The differentiation is in the set of core modules, features and UI which you want to select for your product. There is no single answer as to what set of features should you get started with since it completely depends upon your business strategy. If you are planning for an MVP or a prototype and want to test the market, you can get started with a readymade Uber clone script. You might want to consider changing the design UI though as you wouldn’t want to get started with a me-too look similar to other startups competing with you. Be careful on the scalability of such MVP as if it can’t scale, it will become useless when you want to add features. Last thing you want when starting up is to use a script which is not scalable and robust. Such scripts initially look cheap but on a longer term, in a few months, you will end up spending a big chunk of your money trying to make it work or customizing it. However in you are planning to enter into the market with a serious business plan, go for a custom development approach or at least prefer customizing the base product to your needs rather than going for ‘as is’ script. Your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is very important which sets you apart from the competition. The development time and cost highly depends upon many factors, such as:

  • Proposed Set of Core Modules & Features for the Development
  • Planned Design UI/UX (User Interface and User Experience Design Factors)
  • Database Architecture
  • Admin Panel Console (What sort of control is available and what is not available?)
  • The proposed Framework
  • The proposed Technology Stack
  • Proposed Software Development Architecture (Agile, Waterfall, Iterative, Hybrid etc.)
  • Software Development Methodology (Modular, SOA – Service Oriented Architecture etc.)
  • API Integration and/or Development, if any

So, if an agency is quoting you less than $2,000 for a custom development project to build you a site similar to Uber, now you know that either they are mistaken and don’t understand the work required, or they are fooling you around.

What are the core features of Uber, Lyft and similar apps?

Uber, although is the best, is not the only player in this segment. Lyft, MyTaxi, GrabTaxi, Ola Cabs, Didi Chuxing (Didi Kuadi, Didi Dache), Easy Taxi, Gett, Sidecar etc. are some of the best alternatives to Uber and its biggest worldwide competitors.

  • Drivers Onboarding & Management
  • GPS Tracking/Geo IP Location
  • User Dashboards for Drivers (Web & App) & Passengers (App only)
  • Web based Admin Panel with CMS (Content Management), CRM, statistics & analytics reports
  • Automated Booking Module
  • Communication Module (Internal Messaging)
  • Calendar Import/Export
  • User Details
  • Social Sharing & Connect
  • And many others

Features would also vary from website to the Android, iOS (iPhone, iPad), Blackberry and Windows mobile apps.

What is the technology stack behind Uber?

  • Back-end Programming – PHP, Python (for Web based Admin)
  • Web Services API
  • Database – MySQL
  • Front-end – HTML, Javascript, Node.js, Resis, jQuery, Backbone.js
  • Mobile Apps – Objective-C, Java for the iPhone (iOS) and Android apps
  • Web Server – nginx
  • Digital Certificates – DigiCert SSL
  • Website Hosted with – AWS
  • Email Hosting Cloud Services – SendGrid, Google Mail for Business (Apps)
  • CDN – Akamai

Why are investors pouring in billions into Uber clone startups?

Ever since Uber has taken the on demand taxi booking and ride hailing transportation industry by storm, dozens of taxi booking and car rental startups have entered this unexplored market and created their own niches. Uber has secured a total of $8.71 billion of funding so far and currently is undoubtedly one of the top 5 most valued startups in the world. Didi Chuxing of China recently unveiled a massive $7.3 billion funding round from investors including Apple, Inc, China Life Insurance Co Ltd, Ant Financial and others, making it the world’s 3rd highest valued venture backed startup.

Are you planning to get started with your own Uber clone?

The on demand taxi booking trend is worldwide. Other recent players like Lyft (USA), Ola Cabs of India, GrabTaxi of Singapore among others are all well-funded startups as well. Even veteran industry players like Apple Inc. are entering into the on demand business with it’s latest $1 billion investment in Didi Kuadi of China. Startups from the US, Europe, China, India, South-East Asia, Singapore are all bullish on on demand segment and so are the investors. The “Uberification” fever has reached to the other On Demand industry niches as well such as beauty & wellness, pharmacy, drugs, home services (household), accommodations etc. Collectively they are called ‘Uber for X’. It is high time you should get started with your own on demand venture. Remember the key is in differentiating yourself from the others. The market is huge for on demand taxi booking, ride hailing and car rental industry and possibilities are endless. Let’s connect to find out how we can help.

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Kunal Pandya is the CEO of NCrypted Technologies - a software, web technology and consulting company with clients from over 40 countries. He is also on the board of other technology and internet marketing companies. Apart from contributing to the NCrypted Blogs on both blog.ncrypted.net and ncrypted.com/blog, Kunal also maintains his personal journal cum blog at KunalPandya.com.

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2 Comments
  1. I’m amazed, I must say. Rarely do I come across a blog that’s both equally educative and interesting, and without a doubt, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The problem is an issue that too few folks are speaking intelligently about. I’m very happy I found this in my search for something relating to this.
    ondemandstartup.com

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