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

Published on October 12, 2016 by Ivan Dunskiy, CEO

When the Uber mobile app was launched it had a significant impact on local and global economics and altered the service providing market forever. In this article we look at just how much does it cost to develop your very own Uber-like app.

The sharing economy and peer to peer technology have changed how a lot of companies do business by providing apps to connect with users while cutting down on costs. The Uber model has been successfully adapted by a range of businesses to help them reach a new market. An app that adapts the Uber model is considered a high-end product in the mobile application development industry. Creating an effective Uber-like application requires a lot of effort and can be expensive, but can reap numerous benefits and high profits for its owners.

Coding on Mac

Development process

Uber created a revolutionary business model and made a great contribution to the current generation of web applications. Many Uber-like applications such as Hailo or BlackJet, which operate for distinct industries, have already succeeded. Today, well-adapted Uber-like applications are the most promising apps out there.

The development process for sharing economy apps usually consists of the following stages:

  • Server part development

  • Custom design development

  • iOS and Android app development

A mobile app server is a mobile middleware that makes back-end systems accessible to support mobile application development. The mobile application server has many features, including:

  • Data routing – data is packaged in smaller groups to minimize demands on bandwidth and battery.

  • Orchestration – transactions and data integration across multiple sources.

  • Authentication service – secure connectivity to backend systems is managed by the mobile middleware.

  • Offline support – allows users to access and use data even though the device is not connected to the Internet.

  • Security – data encryption and device control.

Mobile user interface design is also essential when building mobile apps. Mobile UI uses contexts, screen, input, and mobility as outlines for design. The interface entails components of both hardware and software. Mobile UI design constraints include limited attention and form factors, such as a mobile device's screen size. Overall, the mobile UI design's goal is to understand just how user-friendly the interface is.

The Android platform uses open source software which makes the barrier-to-entry for cash-strapped developers quite low. This also allows you to use crowd-created plugins and frameworks that makes creation much simpler. When you build an Android app, you need to test it on several different devices to ensure that there won’t be dependency issues between different versions. iOS is also the best choice for your first platform if your business model relies on things like in-app purchases. Stability is a crucial advantage that iOS has over Android. Unlike Android’s platform, with iOS, you do not have to worry as much about fragmentation. When you have settled on the details and made decisions on server part, design, and platform, then it’s a good idea to use the Minimum-Viable Product model.

MVP thumbnail with paper ball

Minimum-viable product path 

The development process and strategy depend on the client’s goals and funds. An MVP approach is considered to be a universal solution to attract investors. Launching an MVP means building a product with minimum preset functions that delivers the core concept of the project. 

Although it does take a lot of effort to create an MVP, it allows you to showcase the product to the customers and investors. It gives the developers an opportunity to receive feedback and understand whether the product will be in demand on the market. 

Low-cost, yet effective approach

Apart from MVP, there is another approach to creating a mobile application. This approach is  to create an application without the server data exchange and design, to show the product to the potential investor without a lot of groundwork. Although, because of the vast amounts of mobile apps, good design and user experience plays a crucial role when trying to attract investors. The development time for this type of product would take around 160-250 hours which will cost about $10,000 to $15,000 depending on the project’s design.

When server connection is important

Applications such as Lyft, a taxi ordering service, or Wendy’s team, an elderly care service show the importance of having a server connection. The working process of similar applications can be fully demonstrated and this is important when you have to test the product in real conditions and get user feedback. 

iOS vs Android

Customers usually want to develop a product that functions on both platforms. But sometimes the budget for the project may be limited and the idea is not tested. In such cases, we would recommend developing on one of the two platforms. Then, putting the product on the market to quickly see the demand. Because of Android’s platform fragmentation, development takes more time. Approximately 30-35% more than developing it on iOS. That is why people usually choose to begin development using iOS.

Advantages of the server part development

When developing the server part, you will have the opportunity to create and delete the data on the server, as well as sharing them between the client and the server. Usually, our team provides the server part with the administration panel, which allows you to see the added data, create it, edit it, and delete it.

Any Uber-like app needs a push notification to inform the user about the app’s most significant updates and news. That is why the integration of push notifications is included into the development of the server part.

Why do customers choose to develop an Uber-like application? 

One of the key functions of an Uber-like app is the opportunity to make a payment through the application. This ensures comfort and convenience for the customer. Today, many companies use this online payment implementation method, which is why our team analyzes your project and chooses a system which is suitable for you. The development of the data model, logic integration, data exchange protocol, integration of push up notifications designed for one platform, including the testing may take about 250 hours of work and the cost is approximate $60 an hour but could be slightly higher depending on the complexity.

Full-pack estimation of the cost to develop an app like Uber 

If the customer decides to develop a product on both platforms, they should understand that the design is created for each platform separately. Both platforms have their own user experience, guidelines, and interface specialties. That is why our team recommends creating a single design for a certain platform. Developing the design for both platforms, including the server part, plus the testing will take about 300 hours and cost around $30.000.

Serious project requires right approach

The development of an Uber-like app is a process which requires a lot of time and effort. Such projects can’t be completed by inexperienced developers or a friend who is keen on programming. Creating an Uber-like app should be trusted to an experienced team of web developers, who have a skilled manager that will be able to organize the process of product development. Such complex projects may often require the use of certain models. Like creating a minimum viable product, requirement document establishment and the implementation of impact mapping. If you have an exciting idea for an Uber-like application, feel free to contact us and get the hourly estimate for your brand new startup.

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