How to Make an App Like Uber and Make Money?

Okay, who doesn’t know Uber these days? Right, that was a rhetorical question. Who doesn’t want to become as successful as Uber? Well, I guess, it’s obvious too. Let’s agree, taxi service is something that we won’t stop using like ever. At least one time in a month or so, every average person orders a cab. We get drunk, partying with friends until late night, we buy some heavy stuff that we can’t carry ourselves and so on.

There – it’s your opportunity to invade the market niche with the new exclusive taxi booking app and make money as easy as snapping fingers. Wanna learn how it’s done? Come join our research!

How to build a mobile taxi app for everyone’s benefit?

What are the key points that differ Uber service from others? Convenience, reliability, and easiness of use in every direction. You want to create a similar product? It’s better to be prepared when you plan to spend a lot of time and money.

The first thing to remember is that building such taxi applications means developing two front-ends for drivers and for passengers, and the backend as well. It can seem difficult but don’t get scared, we’re here to help you.

Taxi app concept

1. Start from the bottom – Concept, Unique Twist, and Target audience

As with any other app, you should begin from project development stage. Shape the concept and the main app idea that tells how exactly it will work and what problems it can solve in the chosen field. Define for yourself what unique taxi services you can provide to be interesting and competitive among other famous applications.

If there is no reinvention of the wheel, you could provide customers with the different, more effective solution of some issue that bothers your potential clients. Just keep in mind that you have to bring to them something new in order for them to leave other apps for you.

Talking about clients, before making an application, define your target audience – who will use it and how can you please them. Study their needs and behavior based on the parameters like age, location, preferences and modern tendencies. Reasoning from this fact you can also estimate the size of your target market to see how many potential users you could get to ensure the future profit.

2. Occupation of the Market

Keep your enemies close, yeah? Do the market research first to find out what other products are there and how can you beat them. Based on the feedback from their users you can answer yourself a question like what features should be in your application to make it standout and attractive in the long-time prospect. You have to avoid pitfalls and failures providing not a complete clone but a valuable product for a demanding Marketplace.  

Which lead us to the other problem – where do you plan to distribute your taxi app? It’s very important because distribution channels are your only way to ‘out there’. You have to gain a high number of customers for the revenue boost, this means as many downloads as possible, client’s engagement, suitable rates and constant advertisement on Google and social media networks.

3.   Business Model & Revenue Metrics

It’s your startup on the line here, so it’s time to think thoroughly about which business model you want to implement. Your success depends on it! So, learn everything about app’s monetization tactics for starters.

For example, Uber is based on the sharing economy and charges a commission from the rides along with recently provided option called “split the cost”. There is no third-party in the customer – driver chain which simplifies the payment process and excludes additional expenses for both the riders and the app owner.

So, from the point of making money, you have to choose the key mobile metrics that will define your revenue growth and show you how exactly people use your mobile app for taxi service and why do they leave if so. Then you’ll have the ability to act accordingly regarding concept changes or just partial improvements. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to consider implementing in-app analytics tools.

Taxi app budget

4. Estimation of the Budget

Will there be any investors? If so, you have to be prepared with a nice presskit and cost sheet, that can help to engage more trusted vendors and show your potential business partners that it’s worth for them to invest in your project. Gather and colorfully display all the key resources and development stages that you’re gonna need in order to build a fully functional product along with beta-testing trials.

Bear in mind, the more functions you want an app to perform the more man-hours will be spent which always increases the final price of the application. So, if your budget is tight, it’s better to plan your strategy in an appropriate way, choosing all the possibilities to reduce the costs saving the quality. Then there are post-launch expenses on the technical maintenance, updates, and promotion.

5. Marketing Strategy

You must show people that your app offers easy and flawless access, great customer experience for drivers and clients simultaneously. This means building a strong brand with a nice reputation. What can you do about it? Well, to win new customers Uber hands out 50% discount for the first ride. See, where I’m going? You need a marvelous go-to-market strategy to organize a steady money income and users’ engagement so that promote the product, and sell it hard but smart.

6. Mobile Platforms & Programming Languages

Here is one of the crucial points, what app platform to choose to gain as many customers as possible. Besides not so widely used Windows and Blackberry platforms, there are two most popular options – iOS (Objective-C language) and Android (Java), or their compilation.

If I may, in my humble opinion, it’s better and safer to build an app for one platform for starters – that will allow saving time and money on the development of some detectable product. After the launch on the chosen base, you’ll get users’ feedback, which is the encouragement to proceed further with development in other platforms or to make necessary improvements.

To help you some more, I can tell that Android is more difficult than iOS and takes more time to develop. Also, regarding the target audience, if you want to launch the taxi booking application in the US or Canada, it’s wise to go on with the iOS (therefore App Store Market) as most people there have Apple gadgets. As for the European continent, there is an obvious solution –  most commonly used Android (aim for the Google Play Market).

7. UI and UX Design

UI/UX Design of your taxi app

A custom app like Uber is defined by the elements of its design, this is a fact here. No matter how much does it cost, the customer experience needs to be on top and the user interface must be easy-to-use, simple but effective and nice-looking with an appropriate icon, suitable colors and all of that. Taxi app has to run smoothly and flawlessly.

What should you do to achieve that result? Develop the wireframes of the each screen, drawing the fundamental structure of the application, and don’t neglect sketching all the buttons, toolbars, etc.

Build a complete visual mockup and test it on real users to see how they interact with the app and does the interface satisfy them (it could be your friends or colleagues). Basically, prototype your on-demand taxi booking platform using free digital tools from the Web or delegate the task to the mobile developers of your like.

8. Technologies & Must-have Features

The line of actions during cab ordering via an application consist such steps as:

  • Request for a car instantly or on schedule – it will be passed to the nearest driver immediately.
  • Location & Matching – Uber-like app asks you about your location and then pass to a driver and lets you know when a cab will arrive.
  • Ride tracking. The customer tracks the taxi approach and knows the estimated time of arrival.
  • Fare estimation & Payment – discounts, bonuses, fairly estimated price, and totally cashless digital payment by the credit card.
  • Rating & Feedback – this works both ways. You rate the driver, he rates you.  

So, as we discussed earlier, taxi booking app development implies that the would be two separate apps: for drivers and for passengers. Let’s see where shall we start, right? Any application has the basic set of absolutely valuable and necessary features. You should provide them in your product at any cost.

Taxi driver app is represented by:

  • Editable personal profile (with a photo, car license, plate number, copy of the driver license)
  • Status option (available drivers are visible on the map, others aren’t)
  • Navigation & Built-in Maps
  • Notification alerts about the incoming order sand estimated fare
  • In-app communication channels for reaching out to a passenger (with voice recognition)
  • Generating daily / monthly
  • Booking history with status displaying of each order, even the canceled ones, along with the regular reports about earned money.

Rider app is represented by:

  • Editable customer’s profile
  • Cab booking from any city’s location & Car Selection option
  • In-app communication channels for reaching out to a driver (with voice recognition)
  • Fare calculator (there are multiple options like base fare, cost per minute / per mile, booking fee if needed)
  • Display of the fare and personal discounts
  • Digital Payment (with an option to split the fare)
  • Ride Tracker (with alerts when the driver is arriving)
  • Rate and Review System
  • Ride Archive for storing the data about previous trips

See? Some features are duplicated in both types of taxi-booking applications. Which makes it easier to explore the technology needed to implement them. Let’s find out about basic digital tools a developer can use during the taxi app making.

Maps & Routing (Geolocation)

Geolocation in taxi app

Such kind of app should be able to define your location at any time, even if the user isn’t currently using it. That way an application can provide customers with the nearest driver in five seconds. Digital tool responsible for location indication, ride tracking, time and price estimation, and cars searching is a GPS technology along with routing servers.

It’s not easy to integrate and pretty costly if you plan to have a complex background architecture and flawless matching mechanisms. But if the developer wants to implement this feature it’s better to ask passengers for permission to use their personal location data.

As for the maps directions and real-time cab tracker provider, there we go with Google Maps. However, the amount of work behind this is far more complicated. Below you can see, what other development tools you need for this feature.

iOS app requires:

  • MapKit framework for the best routes selection and navigation.
  • CoreLocation framework for the region monitoring and location tracking of user’s device.
  • Bluetooth beacon technology and Wi-Fi to reinforce location tracking service.

Android app requires:

  • Google Maps Android API for routes, navigation, and directions.
  • Google Location Services API to manage user’s location.
  • Alternative third-party APIs for backend storage

Payment Processing

Here is one more essential feature, really expensive and difficult to implement, because cashless payment option needs to be integrated within the application. More so, it has to be completely secure, able to protect the customer’s credentials, that will be entrusted to you, by encrypting all sensitive data. So, a developer must follow the protocol and satisfy all demands in order to become PCI compliant.

Getting that certificate can be tricky without appropriate experience, so it would be wiser to let professionals handle it. Or use already made and well-known payment gateways that are fully PCI compliant and widely recognized by taxi booking giants like Uber or Lyft. To process an enormous amount of payments, bills, and credit card data handling every other minute those providers obligated to have powerful servers to protect the system from overloads.

Payment processing

You can choose from these payment systems that are reliable and trustworthy:

Notifications and Communication Channels

First of all, push notifications is a tool itself that ensures an easy link between customer and supplier. So, it’s supposed to be some in-app messenger (like WhatsApp, Viber, etc.) to let driver communicate with riders without the need to leave the taxi application. Totally free, no charges for SMS’ or phone calls, no necessary phone numbers sharing, therefore, happy clients and pleased drivers.

Also, via push notifications (emails or SMS from a taxi provider) you can provide users with valuable information about request accepting/canceling, a cab model, its arrival time and drivers details.

What can you use for the development?

Admin Control Panel

From any point of view, someone has to check and control all the in-app activity, analytics, incomings, etc. This is why an admin dashboard is a nice web-based app that offers an overview of all the processes going in the application: chooses the best directions for drivers, keeps track of the revenue and payrolls, and uses stored clients’ data for further improvements. For better understanding of all these information, you can read this specified guide with code pieces for Uber-like taxi booking mobile product.   

9. Post-launch Support and Updates

After the first version of the app is built and its MVP been tested a couple of times, you’ll gather the needed feedback from beta-users and would be able to make valuable improvements long before launching product to the Marketplace. But, it’s still better to save some money for additional spendings on marketing campaign (no one will discover your product without promotion!), post-launch technical support and regular updates.

10. Approximation of the expenses – how much will you spend? 

Uber is a complex and sophisticated app with high functionality and two frontends. Therefore you should understand that a similar app will cost you a lot of money.

Usually, it takes around 500-800 man-hours to build all the needed parts if you hire a taxi app development company. It also depends on its location and hourly rates of their professionals that will be on your team. Which should consist UX/UI designer, at least two iOS / Android developers, backend developer, project manager, and QA engineer.

So, based on the information that is available on the example of the Uber-like apps, the cost to develop a taxi app for both mobile platforms can vary between $80,000 (including MVP development) up to $180,000 for the premium product with further technical support and around $250,000 to get a PCI certificate for payment system.

But you must understand that it’s just an approximate numbers, while the reality is such mobile product could have much higher or lower price, which depends on your project requirements, desirable features and other details that would be defined during development stages.

Adapted Taxi app for your company   


Creating mobile app like Uber requires a lot of time, money and effort, not to mention explicit programming skills. So, it’s a wise decision for business person to hire taxi app developers. Only a team of professionals will find solutions for the best product that would be reliable, trustworthy and recognizable on the Marketplace. More importantly, competitive and advantageous among dozens of other similar apps.

We really hope this post was useful to you, but in case you have other questions about how to make an app like Uber, we are happy to oblige and provide you with any help you need. Having the required experience and knowledge of all the elements described above, TecSynt team will build for you a design mockup, an MVP and a fully functional application that will be highly appreciated by your future customers.

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