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Building Apps Like Uber: Development Challenges and Case Studies

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Earlier this year, as BIA/Kelsey reported, the total US transaction value of the on-demand economy has seen a significant growth (from $22 billion in 2015 to $34 billion in 2016), and this trend won’t slow down any time soon. The industry is expected to hit $57 billion by the end of 2017.

Despite the popularity of apps like Uber and AirBnB, the on-demand industry isn’t limited to a single business domain. Thanks to the recent shift in consumer behavior, the breakthrough business model continues to reshape a number of traditional industries. And there are some good reasons for this unprecedented success.

Apps like Uber offer some unique benefits for its users:

  • They are designed to meet the requirements of a modern consumer: They are very convenient and user friendly.
  • These apps specifically address the pain points people face every day.
  • Moreover, they offer a straightforward and time/cost-effective solution to these problems.
  • They protect the user’s interests, acting as a middleman between the consumer and the provider.
  • They offer a convenient way to satisfy the immediate need for services and products.

In addition to the numerous user benefits, the on-demand model has proven to be attractive for businesses as well.

It allows you to outcompete your rivals by delivering a superior customer experience, while keeping the operating costs relatively low. Thus, a business that adopts the on-demand model increases the chances of dominating its niche market.

To see how apps like Uber can transform your business model, let’s consider the following success stories.

Building apps like Uber: A firsthand experience

With vast experience in building some of the top-tier Uber-like apps, we at Eastern Peak have accumulated the expertise and valuable business insights about the on-demand economy. So, if you want to create an app like Uber, here are some free lessons to learn from.

Taxi app like Uber – Gett

The app: Gett (previously GetTaxi)
Industry: Transportation

Description: Gett is a global taxi service driving half the Fortune 500. The company ranks #1 globally among on-demand corporate transportation service providers and currently operates across 100+ cities in the UK, the USA, Russia, and Israel.

Features: This Uber-like platform has a similar business model and features. Users can request a ride using an app and track the location of the car on the map. The app features a driver’s rating and allows you to pay directly via the app. Similar to Uber, the app offers delivery services (not just food, but also a courier service).

  • GPS capabilities (pickup location, car location, routing);
  • cashless payments and tipping;
  • a rating system (for both the driver and the passenger);
  • a fixed/flexible fare calculator;
  • instant taxi booking or pre-booking;
  • delivery services; and
  • the ability to split fares between passengers with Gett XL (similar to Uber Pool).

Unique benefits: Gett is one of the main competitors of Uber in Europe. The company offers a number of competitive advantages over other apps like Uber.

  • The app lets you choose between a fixed price or the meter fare.
  • There is no surge pricing depending on time or location (one of the major drawbacks of Uber).
  • Gett works with licensed taxis drivers, unlike Uber which uses independent private drivers.
  • One more feature, that used to be only in Gett previously and : option to tip a driver has always been present in the app unlike with Uber. Uber also added this feature, but just recently.
Read more about how to create a taxi-booking app like Uber.

While there are many taxi apps like Uber, the on-demand economy has recently seen a significant adoption apart from the transportation industry. Below are some more examples of how apps similar to Uber can be applied to other business domains.

Uber-like platform for repair services – Fixit Joe

The app: Fixit Joe
Industry: On-demand repair services

Description: Fixit Joe is an Israeli startup that provides on-demand repair services to households and businesses. This Uber-like app connects its users with professional providers by instantly using an advanced rating system and GPS capabilities. The mobile application, as well as the backend system, was developed by our development team from scratch.

Features:

  • a discrete rating algorithm for professionals;
  • convenient service scheduling (instant request or in-advance booking);
  • GPS capabilities (to track the repairman’s location); and
  • convenient payment options integrated into the app.

Unique benefits:

  • Transparent pricing model – the service provides instant cost estimates for the requested service.
  • A fast service guarantee (the repairman is required to arrive in less than 60 minutes after the request is accepted).
  • The company works only with hand-picked and trained professionals.
Read also: On-Demand Economy Apps

On-demand car washing services – Bonshine

The app: Bonshine
Industry: On-demand automotive services

Description: The company offers on-demand waterless car cleaning services. The app connects its users with cleaning professionals, and allows them to schedule a cleaning, anytime, anywhere.

Features: This Uber-like app features standard capabilities, including

  • a request form (GPS-enabled);
  • in-app payments; and
  • the ability to rate the service providers.

Unique benefits:

  • Service reports – Users get before and after photos sent to their apps to verify the quality of the provided service.
  • A web-based dashboard for the business, including analytics and reporting.
  • The service is provided by the company’s qualified cleaning professionals.
Read also: Mobile App Design Process: Bonshine case study.

Crowd testing platform – Ubertesters

The product: Ubertesters
Industry: Crowd testing

Description: The platform is a cloud-based, process management solution for mobile app testing.

Features:

  • access to professional, certified testers on demand in 80+ countries;
  • real-time statistics and monitoring of testers’ activity;
  • a discrete rating algorithm for professionals; and
  • convenient payment options based on the time spent by testers.

How to start a business like Uber? Challenges to consider.

Judging by our extensive experience in Uber-like app development, businesses need to consider the following aspects when adopting the on-demand business model.

1. App development

Apps like Uber typically require native app development with an increased focus on performance. Moreover, to set up an efficient on-demand business, you need to build several applications:

  • a mobile app for the service provider;
  • a mobile app for consumer; and
  • a web-based business backoffice (admin panel) for managers and administrators.

The listed applications will require the use of different technologies (2 tech stacks for mobile development, frontend development, and server-side technologies). That is why the Uber tech stack is quite versatile.

As a result, it takes time and multiple development teams to build a single Uber-like platform. This will also impact the cost of the Uber-like app development. To keep the costs reasonable while maintaining the high quality of the final product, we recommend building your cooperation with the development team based on Time and Material or the “managed projects” approach.

2. Business model

When building an app like Uber for your business, you need to pay great attention to planning and developing the app’s business logic. Uber-like apps need to be highly scalable and should efficiently allocate resources in order to be financially viable.

3. Uber-like apps specifics

On-demand apps typically require integration with GPS services (take for example Uber’s map API). That is why it is important to choose a technology provider with specific skills and expertise in this sphere.

4. MVP and step-bystep growth

Start your development with an MVP (minimum features, single target platform) and iterate toward the full-featured version of the product step by step. As your on-demand business grows, you will need to monitor the user feedback and be able to pivot in response to the changing market requirements.

Features like scheduled rides, dynamic pricing, in-app chat and tipping, gamification elements and promotions are not crucial for your business model at its early stages and can be added later. As mentioned previously, Uber has added the tipping feature and in-app chat just recently.

5. The B2B aspect of Uber-like apps is often overlooked.

Its implementation without a clear understanding of the underlying logic and business needs, or its complete absence might lead to the situation where even a well-implemented product fails shortly after its launch.

Let’s consider an example of a B2B module in an Uber-like app.

When you launch a corporate/business plan in your app, take into account that a corporate web application should integrate with both the end client and the service provider apps, collecting the required data to provide detailed usage reports. Moreover, the employee profiles might be connected to a single corporate account for simplified billing and payments.

Depending on the permissions and access rights, there are three types of user roles in B2B interface for Uber-like apps.

  1. Order management role – This role allows a user (typically a secretary or an office manager) to place orders on behalf of other company employees, see who, when and where uses a service. This role doesn’t usually require access to financial data or permission from management.
  2. Financial management role – This role provides the access to complete financial data, reports on the services taken by the company employees.
  3. Operations management role (Admin) – This role has admin access to the system, therefore allows for complete permissions management. Admin account can change the rules for order management and has complete access to financial data. It also allows you to manage the related corporate policies (who can use the services, the credits available to each employee and time restrictions).

6. User experience

UI/UX proves to be a crucial element for Uber-like apps. Regardless of the complex business logic, the apps should be intuitive and easy to use, with minimum steps required to place an order.

A smooth onboarding and straightforward user flow are required to reduce churn, as the app will be used by users of different ages and backgrounds.

Conclusion

The penetration of the on-demand economy in the US is expected to reach 7.3% in 2017. To put it in perspective, eCommerce has just reached 8.4% last year, despite the fact that the industry is significantly older than on-demand services.

As a result, more companies will be investing in Uber-like apps, transforming the traditional business models and spreading the on-demand economy across various industries.

If you are considering building an Uber competitor or introducing an on-demand business model in your business domain, contact us now.

The post Building Apps Like Uber: Development Challenges and Case Studies appeared first on Eastern Peak.

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Valeriia Timokhina is a blog editor and IT manager at Eastern Peak, a top-ranked custom software development company. Founded in 1999, PEAK-System is a leading provider of hardware, software, and services for the mobile and industrial communication sector with emphasis on the field busses CAN and LIN.