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How to Make Apps Like Uber: A 7-Step Guide

by Vitaliy Podoba
Vitaliy Podoba avatar

Uber was launched in 2010 as an ambitious mobility and transportation effort. Six months later, it already had 6,000 users and 20,000 recorded rides.

Nice numbers, right? But, probably, they don’t seem too impressive? 

Well, how about the fact that the revenue of Uber has reached $17,46 billion by 2021? 

Uber revenue growth in 2013-2021

These impressive statistics make Uber work as a global leader in the domain of mobility and transportation software. 

Do you know what makes Uber so successful? 

Firstly, it goes about innovation and quality. 

Secondly, it goes about the lack of competition. Like, don’t expect that Uber won’t have a bunch of direct competitors. 

But the domain is still far from being overloaded with competitors. 

By building an Uber-like transportation and mobility app, you aim at great profits and constant customer demand. 

There will always be people who want to take a ride, just believe us. 

If you see opportunities in these words, make sure to read this article that will help you make apps like Uber.

Here you will find the most useful insights about features, challenges, examples, and steps required for building an Uber-like app. 

Read, get inspiration, and build marketplace app software founder roadmap to your dream product!

Let’s start with more detailed insight into the success story of Uber. 

Uber: An Impressive Success Story

Just like any other successful startup, Uber has an interesting success story behind its brand.

In 2008 Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp, two friends and business enthusiasts, were attending a business conference in Paris. 

They faced issues with catching a cab. 

And that’s how the idea of building a user-friendly taxi application came to their minds.

Upon their return to the U.S., both Kalanick and Camp started working on its implementation. 

The central idea behind their project was “What if you could request a ride from your phone?”

By 2010, the two friends already released Uber as one of the most ambitious and expected startups of the year. 

Uber logo

Despite its rapidly growing popularity, the first five years were quite challenging for Uber. 

Its founders were searching for sponsors and shaping their concept. 

Constant innovation, communication, aggressive marketing, and cooperation with the most ambitious sponsors brought Kalanick and Camp to eventual success.

In July 2015, Uber was named the most valuable startup in the world, as its value reached $51 billion. 

Surely, the startup did not stop its further development. 

Uber added services, optimized its app, launched interesting marketing campaigns, and expanded to new countries. 

Everything to secure its throne in the mobility and transportation industry.

Nowadays, valued at more than $70 billion, Uber is the 225th most expensive company in the world. 

Also, the company has around 1.5 billion per quarter each year over the latest period. 

What does this story teach us?

Uber-like apps and online marketplaces are quite trendy these days and provide a lot of opportunities to potential investors. 

So, if you think of launching your own software to profit from it, an Uber-like e-marketplace might be one of the best options right now.

In this article, I’ll show you how to make Uber like app. 

So let’s dive in!

Features that any Uber-like Marketplace Needs

Here is the list of the main features you should know if you wonder how to make Uber like app. 

Guess what? We decided to expand this list with some specific practical details.

Read this chapter to know how long it will take you to create a marketplace app similar to Uber and how much such a project will cost you. 

User Profile

Even the simplest transportation and mobility app requires a user profile as its essential part. A user profile includes the basic user information and his or her contact data. 

Never forget about this vital feature when you make apps like Uber. 

Not vital, but still very important. At least, for communication with the app’s support team. 

Building a user profile will take approximately 1-2 days. 

Listing of Services/Goods

Okay, Uber is not a traditional online marketplace app with a great list of services or goods.

Just mind that building such a list is one of the most time-consuming parts of developing an online marketplace.

It may take your software development team 7-8 days. 

Also, mind that even a transportation and mobility app like Uber may require something similar to this part. 

For example, a list of taxi categories or a listing of drivers in case your app allows you to choose a driver. 

Search Bar

Your user may need to search for something while using your app. 

Whether it goes about reviewing the user history, searching for locations, or any other service provided by the app, a search bar is a must.

Not the most challenging part of building a marketplace app, but it will take around 2-3 days. 

Payment Method Integration

App users cherish convenience and diversity when it comes to payments in their transportation and mobility apps. 

That’s why it is very important to pay attention to payment method integration. 

Your app should take money from a user’s card or e-wallet. However, it should also return costs for canceled rides and provide some bonuses. 

That’s why payment method integration is not as easy as you may think. 

And that’s why any software founder should know that this task may take 5-6 days.

Admin Features

This is, by far, one of the most challenging parts of building an app. 

Much depends on the app and its functionality itself, but the key point is to provide the administrators with full control over the software product. 

Building a separate admin functionality with all the required features may be a very time-consuming process. 

That’s why it will take around 6-7 days. 

Push Notifications

Such a simple component as push notifications may, actually, require a lot of work.

They should be perfectly synchronized with all other processes in the application. 

Good design and customizable notification mechanics also matter. 

As a software founder, you should expect that building a push notification system may take 4-5 days. 

Communication features

It is the most time-consuming part if you want to develop app like Uber. 

Various dialogue windows, chatbots, messengers, and integrations with a phone may take really much time. 

There are tried and trusted methods for building such communication features efficiently. 

Mind that this stage may be quite time-consuming. 

It’s just like building the exterior of a building. 

You may think that the most challenging part of work is already left behind. 

However, you should spend time making your building more visually attractive.

Quite similar is with building communication channels for your Uber-like app.

Seemingly, it is not the most vital thing. But it also takes much attention to detail and practical effort. 

That’s why you should leave around 8 days for making communication through your Uber-like app possible. 

Geolocation

This feature is optional for most e-marketplaces.

But it is a must for those who wonder how to make Uber like app.

Quality geolocation tracking will secure you from many unpleasant situations.

For example, cases when a driver moves to the user while the user doesn’t see any movement on the screen of his mobile phone.

Or situations in which a driver arrives at the wrong location due to application glitches. 

That’s why your app needs some quality geolocation tracking. 

Mind that building this feature in style may take up to 7 days. 

User History

This part is densely connected to the user profile. 

Both drivers, administrators, and users may be interested in reviewing the user history part.

So, that’s the part of an app that should never be ignored. 

Building a user history section may take up to 3 days. 

System of Reviews

User feedback and driver (or passenger) ratings are integral parts of an Uber-like app.

We strongly recommend you create a flexible system of reviews with the most objective criteria for building user ratings. 

A traditional “five-star” approach would be nice. There’s no need to overload your users with a list of questions and specifications. 

As a software founder, expect your system of reviews to be built in around 3 days. 

Security Monitoring

Private data and the money of your clients should be top priorities for you. 

That’s why we strongly recommend you focus on the security of your app.

An application without security monitoring tools is like a warehouse that is not surrounded by any fence.  

Integrating security monitoring tools in your transportation and mobility app is a must. 

No attempts to breach through your app’s defense will remain undetected!

But…

Mind that building this feature may take up to 6 days. 

So, that’s all with the basic features for your transportation and mobility app.

And don’t forget about building an infrastructure, DB architecture, and production setup for your product.

This will, typically, take around 8 days.

Add all these days and you will get 66 days for building the initial version (MVP) for your Uber-like app.

What goes next is its further optimization according to the user feedback. 

At a rate of $640/day and an approximate duration of 2-3 months, this project will cost you around $35,000-$45,000. 

Mind that you don’t need too many developers for this task.

Instead, we strongly recommend you rely on a smaller team of developers (2 would go) with the required vision and expertise. 

Common Challenges of Building an Uber-like App

To get the best possible result, you should always be prepared for the challenges. 

The most common issues faced by entrepreneurs who ask how to make Uber like app are the following:

Choosing the Wrong Technology Stack

Imagine creating a vehicle with tools designed for constructing buildings. 

Most probably, it’s going to be a harrowing experience. 

Same for choosing the wrong tech stack for marketplace app development.  

That’s why we recommend leaving all important decisions on the tech stack to the technical team. 

This will secure you from many unpleasant surprises and painful faults. 

Developing a Platform without a Clear Preliminary Planning

Always plan first.

Surely, if you develop an MVP for your app, you will have great opportunities to adjust your plans. 

However, as a founder, you should have a clear vision and a clear idea from the very start of your project. 

If your idea is way too general, don’t hesitate to ask your technical partner for help. 

Most probably, such a collaboration will help you shape a decent plan for a software product that makes the difference. 

Focusing too much on either Buyers or Users

Surely, numbers of buyers and users are key metrics when it comes to assessing your application.

But you should also understand that the app should be easily managed by the administrators.

And don’t forget about profitability. Putting all your budget into making your app as user-friendly as it is possible may be a bad idea.

Always keep the balance and aim at making your software product as efficient as it is possible.

Underestimating the Value of Security

I’ve already mentioned the importance of security for building a perfect transportation and mobility app.

If you underestimate the value of this factor, you immediately face significant challenges. 

Your app may remain uncertified by the main application stores. 

Or, to make things worse, it may bring significant data leaks and related problems. 

So, always ask your technology partners to focus on security.

Monitoring, verification, authentification, and many other words that may seem challenging to you.

Ideally, leave all of them to your software development team.

Building Poor UI/UX Design

In two subchapters before, I have already mentioned that you should not try to satisfy users at any cost. 

But forgetting about them and your needs is not a good idea as well.

After all, most users don’t ask questions on how to use Uber app. Its design is completely intuitive. 

You should provide users with a perfect UI/UX design so that ordering goods or services from your app will be intuitive. 

No user will want to spend minutes trying to place a ride or make any other order.

That’s why your app should minimize the user’s effort and make his or her experience as convenient as possible. 

Ignoring the Platform’s Branding

I can’t say that there are too many Uber-like apps. 

But I also can’t say that Uber doesn’t have any competitors at all.

If you really want your product to be visible in the market, pay attention to its branding.

Memorable logo, stylish design, attractive colors, specific fonts – all these things count.

Make sure to consult with the best UI/UX designers to develop a perfect brand for your online marketplace application. 

7 steps to Building a Marketplace App like Uber

Do you need more practical information on building an online marketplace application like Uber? 

Well, I have something special for you.

Here’s a detailed step-by-step guide that will help you build such an application and many more. 

In brief, it includes the following steps:

1. Idea Generation

That’s when you research the market and come up with your most ambitious ideas that will later shape the entire project.

2. Product Strategy

Here you support the project with more specific details in order to come up with a decent product strategy. 

3. Project Roadmap

Here it goes about creating a detailed map that brings the project to eventual success.

4. Design

This stage is all about creating the visual part of your app. 

Your dream Uber-like application should be attractive, user-friendly, and visually memorable.

5. MVP Build

Instead of spending all your budget on building an app with full functionality, focus only on those features that are vital.

That’s the point about building an MVP (Minimum Viable Product). You should include the main “selling points” in the initial version of your app.

6. MVP Release

Once you have created your MVP – let it conquer the market. Or, at least, try to get its customer segment.

An MVP will help you collect user feedback and understand further directions for the development of your project. 

7. Post-launch Software Logistics

It is a new beginning for your application.

That’s when you go for your apps’ optimization, support, and maintenance.

Also, it is when you and your technical team help the app to grow. 

5 Great examples of Uber-like apps

We have already mentioned that Uber is not a unique app. 

It, actually, has some very solid competitors.

Here are some of them. 

Lyft

Lyft logo

Lyft is a popular alternative to Uber in many countries. 

It lags behind Uber in terms of functionalities. However, it also provides extremely strict safety standards. 

Lyft prioritizes trust between riders and drivers. It is also known for various social initiatives, such as attempts to create user playlists. 

Bolt

Bolt logo

This Estonian company is one of the global leaders in mobility, car-sharing, and food delivery services. 

Bolt competes with Uber in terms of service diversity and is well-known for its flexible pricing policies. 

Bolt keeps on growing dramatically, as it already has 75 million customers and 1.5 million drivers globally. 

Flywheel

Flywheel logo

Flywheel is an app like Uber that focuses on quality and security. The company hires only professionally-licensed and insured tax driversi to ensure the highest quality.

Besides, Flywheel is known for its fixed pricing policies. This U.S.-based mobility company never increases fares because of high demand.

One more important thing to know about these guys is that they are very much into user-friendly interfaces. Therefore, their app is really convenient. 

Wingz

Wingz logo

At this beginning, this startup provided a niche app to users who wanted to take a ride from airports.

WingZ grew over time, and now operates in 16 metro areas. 

Among the main features of this app like Uber, we can mention to book airport rides in advance and fixed prices for such rides. 

If you travel to another country and want to rent a car there, WingZ may be a great solution as well. 

GoShare

GoShare logo

It is more of a delivery company. GoShare connects you with vetted delivery pros on-demand for help with last-mile delivery, logistics, and moving.

GoShare app provides a broad selection of services, as you can order trucks, vans, cars, and even more.  

Also, a state-of-the art design of this app provides an excellent user experience. This has already brought GoShare many awards. 

The key point about these apps is that they are all profitable and popular in their regions. 

Yes, we know that these are not disruptive innovations.

Mostly, they have just followed the example of Uber.

However, they still manage to attract a broad audience of users in specific regions.

What does it mean to you?

The idea of an Uber-like transportation and mobility app really works and definitely deserves your attention. 

Wrapping Up

So, as you may see, building an Uber-like app may be a real gold mine. 

The example of Uber inspires and gives direction to many brands that become popular and successful.

Would you like to join them with your own software idea? 

As you may see from this article, there are always challenges, features, steps, and examples you should follow.

And, for sure, the best idea is to find the right technology partner who will handle all the tech business. 

The Softformance team is ready to become exactly such a partner. 

We have solid experience in online marketplace app development and are ready to implement your idea. 

Want to deliver the next big word in the domain of transportation and mobility software?

Then, you’re in the right place. Contact us to discuss your needs and see how we can help your dreams come true. 

Also, make sure to use this link or our contact form to share your ideas.

No time to wait, it’s time to take your niche in the domain of online marketplace apps. 

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