How Much Does it Cost to Develop A SaaS Application Like Uber?

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Apr 2020
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Cost to develop a SaaS app like Uber

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How much would it cost to build an app like Uber? It is the first question that’s probably going to weigh on your mind if you’re looking to build an on-demand taxi service app like Uber.

SaaS applications are the hottest business models today. And, it’s quite apt that you wish to build an enterprise SaaS application from scratch like Uber. With Uber creating pathways with a reliable roadmap of disruption, many entrepreneurs are now turning to the taxi app market.

According to Gartner, Software as a Service (SaaS) will continue to remain the largest market segment. The global research firm has forecast the market to grow around $116 billion in 2020.

The team attributes the growth to the scalability of subscription-based software. An Uber-like app can increase your chances of success in the SaaS industry. But what about the costs?

We got you! In this blog, we will take a look at different factors that determine the cost of developing an Uber-like app.

But, before that, it’s essential to look into Uber’s operation model and see what features need to be added in an Uber-like app to get a fair idea about pricing. Let’s see.

How Uber Works? Critical Features to Look into

Have you heard of the business term ‘unicorn’? The terminology ‘unicorn’ describes rarity. Uber is one of the most thriving startups.

The firm’s valuation rose to record-setting $68 billion in seven years of its founding. It’s no wonder that it is vital to study Uber-unicorn. The insights on features would help you with the development and pricing facets of your own apps like Uber.

Uber app features

The Story of How Uber Works

If you wish to create an Uber-like app, and wondering how much it would cost you, then it would make sense to encapsulate how the service works on the customer side.

Steps capturing how Uber works:

  • The customer can request a ride (car) via the app, either instantly or scheduled. Drivers nearby receive such requests.
  • The driver has the option to accept or reject the trip. If a driver refuses a ride-request, then the next available driver may approve the request.
  • The customer can now track the car and check out the estimated time of arrival.
  • The app helps to calculate the price beforehand, and the customer can enjoy the cashless way of payment.
  • The rating helps with building service reliability.

Please remember that building an enterprise SaaS app is analogous to construction. You need to add minute details to your app blueprint (Software Requirement Specifications [SRS]). The finer details can help you come up with competitive features and pricing that can help you stay ahead.

Features that Make Uber A Successful App

The features that you add to your app would be a key factor in pricing. The development cost would vary depending on the features that you implement in your app. So, it is best to be prudent and look at the viability of each feature.

Let’s look at some features that Uber incorporated. The aspects would help with understanding how a feature-rich application can help you with pricing and much more.

Table 1. Summary of Features of Uber App

App Features for CustomersApp Features for Drivers
Basic FeaturesBasic Features
Top-notch UI and UX designPersonal profile editing
Geolocation and routingAdvanced route optimization
Payment integrationDriver reports
Ride cost estimation‘Active / Inactive’ option (active drivers are visible on the map, inactive drivers are not)
Registration and personal data managementCalling to a passenger from the app
Call/text the driver straight from the appGenerating daily/monthly reports (includes past bookings and earnings)
Push notifications
Advanced FeaturesAdvanced Features
Booking a ride for othersFree cancellation within a set period
Scheduling a ride in advanceDriver destinations
Splitting a fare with companionsHeat maps

Source

Uber designed the app features keeping in mind its two main entities: a passenger and a driver. Developers have created the features for both parties, specifically catering to their needs. Now, that’s an important takeaway.

The list of features also highlights the effort taken to understand the target market. Let’s try and dissect some of the features and draw out the cost and development facets.

Customer-side Features of the App & The Cost of Development

Let’s first check out the customer-side features of the app and how much they cost to develop.

Uber app features customer side

1. Payments

You would need to come up with your strategy when you develop an app like Uber. Uber rates vary depending on the ride you order (i.e., UberBlack, UberSUV, and so on). Are there any criteria that Uber uses to estimate the fare for a trip? Yes! The model that Uber uses include:

  • Base fare
  • Cost per minute
  • Cost per mile
  • Sales ride free

If you wish to build an app that’s like Uber and also incorporate cashless payments, then here’s what you need to do. One of the first things you’d wish to include is the financial data safety of your customer.

Remember to keep PCI compliance as a top priority if you want to store and process credit card data.

Alternatively, you can opt for payment gateway providers that ensure fully supported PCI compliance solutions, such as Stripe or Braintree.

Uber uses Braintree for processing their credit card transactions. The Uber app also utilizes the card.io platform to scan card numbers, using a camera.

Table 2. An approximate cost to build payment features for an app like Uber

FeatureApproximate Time Approximate Cost
Payment method includes adding a card, scanning card by the camera, and so on2 to 5 weeks$4,000+
Selecting Payment1 to 2 weeks$2,000+
Working on Info Screen1 to 2 weeks$2,000+
Total Cost3 to 6 weeks$6,000+

2. UI/UX Design

User experience plays a crucial role in the success of your app. You’d wish to impress your clients with an easy-to-use and stunning UI/UX.

Brilliant design can have many aspects, but minimalism, clarity, and simplicity normally stand out. The cost of UI/UX design will also depend on what you want to achieve.

Table 3. An approximate cost for UI/UX for an Uber-like app

FeatureApproximate Time Approximate Cost
UI/UX design—for iOS3 to 5 weeks$6,000+
UI/UX design—for Android3 to 5 weeks$6,000+
Total Cost6 to 10 weeks$12,000+

3. Scheduling a Ride in Advance

Scheduling a ride is an exciting and well-ideated feature. It’s quite handy. Imagine booking a ride beforehand.

It helps to plan your trips accurately, and that’s brilliant. When you research your customer profile truthfully, it will help you build in features with beneficial functionality.

Table 4. An approximate cost to incorporate scheduling a ride feature for an app like Uber

FeatureApproximate Time Approximate Cost
Scheduling a ride (total cost)3 to 6 weeks$6,000+

4. Booking a Ride for Someone Else (Other People)

Imagine you wish to book a ride for your grandmother through your account. She’d definitely be happy! The Uber advanced feature is food for thought.

Quite alike, scheduling a trip, it’s a useful feature. When you book the ride, your grandmother, your friend or your relative will receive the ride details. Both the customer and the driver will receive the ride details via SMS.

Table 5. An approximate cost to incorporate booking a ride for other people feature for an app like Uber

FeatureApproximate Time Approximate Cost
Booking a ride for someone else (total cost)4 to 8 weeks$8,000+

5. Splitting Fares

Another exciting advanced feature—is split a fare. The feature allows customers to share (split) the cost of a ride with fellow-travelers. Here’s how much it will cost to develop such a feature:

Table 6. An approximate cost to incorporate split a fare feature for an app like Uber

FeatureApproximate Time Approximate Cost
Split a fare (total cost)4 to 6 weeks$6,000+

6. Geolocation and Routing

Let’s get back to one of the basic features. The primary functionality of geolocation and routing uses GPS technology. The technology helps to track the location of the car driver. The feature is appealing and conceals the complex processes and architecture in the background.

You’d find the need for a routing server that facilitates knowing the distance and running the routes. Uber’s routing engines effortlessly work from the moment customers launch the app until they get dropped.

On the technical side, developers can use Google Maps for real-time car movement. The driver can follow GPS directions, courtesy Google Maps. It’s a must that you plan to have Maps SDK in your tech stack to make an Android app like Uber.

Developers can also use the Geolocation API to get the user’s precise location data. When planning the iOS version of the app, you can use the CoreLocation framework that helps with location services. The MapKit framework will be handy for the selection of routes and directions.

Table 7. An approximate cost for incorporating geolocation and routing features for an app like Uber

FeatureApproximate Time Approximate Cost
Map Integration1 to 2 week$2,000+
Set pickup location1 to 2 week$2,000+
Detect user’s location1 to 2 week$2,000+
Total Cost3 to 6 weeks$6,000+

The Driver-side Features of the App & The Cost of Development

It’s essential to look at the features for both entities (that includes drivers) to give you a complete picture of the SaaS development cost structure.

Uber app features driver side

1. Driver Report

The feature (driver report) ensures the safety of both entities: a driver and a passenger. The report encapsulates the driver’s driving style.

The report is for a specific timeframe that is a week or a month. So, instances where a driver drives carelessly, either once or in recurrence, the report would help Uber to take a call on banning the driver violating rules.

Table 8. An approximate cost to build the driver report feature for the driver’s app

FeatureApproximate Time Approximate Cost
Driver report (Total Cost)1 to 2 weeks$2,000+

2. Driver Destinations

The driver destination feature is an exciting feature and a must-have. Drivers can pick the preferred location, which enables them to find passengers who need a ride in that specific direction.

The feature is beneficial for drivers who wish to blend work with their personal affairs.

Table 9. An approximate cost to incorporate driver destinations feature for the driver’s app

FeatureApproximate Time Approximate Cost
Driver destination (Total Cost)2 to 3 weeks$3,000+

You can see that Uber has a feature-rich app. When you start ideating on your app, you must understand that the features will play a key role in pricing.

The software development cost will depend on the features that you wish to implement in the app. Your app development would be dependent on multiple factors. Let’s look at a few of them.

Other Factors that Determine the Cost of SaaS App Development like Uber

Apart from the features, there are also some other factors that decide the cost of developing an app like Uber. Let’s take a look.

Company Type

Your company type is a significant facet. Are you a startup? Do you wish to build the app alongside your business? Typically, startups may face a tight budget scenario than a business that’s well-established.

App Platform

Here’s one most common question that you would come across before development. Do you wish to develop an Android app or iOS app, or both?

When Uber launched its app—the app was first on iOS. Back then, iPhones were tremendously successful. The iPhones market had around 80% of the market share (on the US market).

It is quite critical that you plan your app platform. When you base it on market research, it would be easier to make that final call.

Type of the App

The next critical decision to make is on the technology front. You may choose to develop a native app that’s somehow more reasonable than a hybrid one. How are they different? You would find subtleties in programming languages, architecture, and many other facets.

What if you aren’t too sure?

You can always consult an expert mobile development service provider such as Imaginovation. Experts can help you with making a final call on your Uber-like app development approach.

Tech Stack and Development Team

The development team you hire would use different programming languages based on your requirements. The tech team should have expertise in the following programming languages or tools to build an app like Uber.

  • Swift for iOS app
  • Kotlin for Android app
  • Node.js for back-end
  • Amazon S3
  • Amazon EC2
  • PayPal / Stripe
  • Elastic email
  • Twilio
  • Socket.io
  • Google Places
  • Google Maps
  • Google Directions
  • APNS
  • Firebase
  • Facebook SDK
  • Card.io

Now, coming to the team. Your development team would most probably include:

  • Project Manager
  • Business Analyst
  • Android / iOS engineer
  • UI/UX designer
  • Back-end developer
  • QA engineer

The final cost of development may vary based on the team size and overall experience of team members.

Should You Approach Freelancers or an Agency to Develop Uber-like App? 

app development company

Well, we know that freelancers are less expensive than technology companies. But there are many downsides of hiring freelancers over a technology team.

One of the major drawbacks is that you can’t be 100% sure about the success with freelancers. On the other hand, finding good freelancers and hiring them on competitive rates is a way too hard and time-consuming.

If you really want your Uber-like app to be successful in the market, you should hire a professional team of developers. Technology companies, like us, have solid roadmaps for development that guarantee success.

On the cost side, tech companies might charge you a little more than freelancers, but they typically cover expenses for managing their project management, quality control, developers, office space, and more.

The good part—tech companies offer security for your project’s success, which is highly crucial.

The Final Cost of Developing an App Like Uber

After looking at the various cost components, let’s come back to the primary question. What is the final cost to develop an app like Uber? Let’s look at the price breakdown.

Table 11. Approximate cost to build an app like Uber

FeatureApproximate Time Approximate Cost
Payment integration3 to 6 weeks$6,000+
Geolocation features3 to 6 weeks$6,000+
Ride scheduling3 to 6 weeks$6,000+
Booking a ride for others4 to 8 weeks$8,000+
Split a fare4 to 6 weeks$6,000+
Registration and profile2 to 3 weeks$3,000+
Notifications2 to 4 weeks$4,000+
Ride cost estimation1 to 2 weeks$2,000+
For Back-end (Framework and libraries integration)4 to 8 weeks$8,000+
For Android/iOS (Framework and libraries integration)4 to 6 weeks$6,000+
For Android/iOS (UI/UX development)6 to 10 weeks$12,000+
Total for two apps (Android/iOS)~4 to 8 months~67,000+

The cost to build an app like Uber may range anywhere between $67,000 and $150,000 for one or two user apps (for iOS and Android), respectively. You would also need to include the price of an admin panel development that could start at $14,000.

As Jason Cohen, Founder & CTO of WP Engine states: “Features, messaging, the path to customers, your competitive edge, your pricing model — all this gets figured out as you go.”  It’s crucial to build a detailed blueprint and check out the viability of each feature critically as it could affect pricing. The exercise will also help you with a competitive edge.

Work on Costs to Build a SaaS App like Uber With Panache 

It’s easy to plan out your costs of developing a SaaS system. Once you plot down your choices, app features, and the cost components. You can not only plan your initial costs and ongoing expenses but also work on cutting costs like an expert.

As entrepreneurs, it always feels right to base decisions on well-ground research. It always works! You may find that your instincts can help you navigate towards more informed choices, and help you to increase your profitability in the SaaS market.

In conclusion, the features and the cost components are essential. However, what is more, important is to understand how you can bring in value to your customers with a brilliant app. Pricing and financials can be overwhelming, but nothing can beat the joy of having ‘happy customers.’

Build a Successful Uber-like SaaS App with Imaginovation

Do you wish to be a unicorn and build an Uber-like SaaS app for your customers? If you don’t know where to start, then get in touch with us.

We are an award-winning mobile app and web development agency with vast experience of creating meaningful digital success stories for startups to Fortune 500 companies. Let’s talk.

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