Imagine a world without apps.
Taxi-hailing apps, to be specific. You are standing in front of your home, already late for your meeting. You are standing there for 5 minutes. 10 minutes. 13 minutes. Ohh, a taxi finally arrives. You give it a hand and the driver applies brakes. When you tell the driver about your destination, he clears that he’s not going in that direction. The driver pushes the accelerator pedal and your wait begins again.
This is exactly the problem that Uber solved. And it solved the problem so well that the company earned 11.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2020.
But despite Uber’s mega-success, the taxi booking market is not saturated yet. Companies like Rapido are finding their niches and succeeding at that. Started in 2015, Rapido is already providing fast bike cab services in more than 90 cities.
In short, if you want to provide taxi booking services, there is space for you. But you have to fill that space fast. And that starts with a taxi booking app. There are a few other parts too that like your unique value proposition and revenue model, but you can take care of all of them while building the app.
If you are planning to build an Uber-like taxi booking business, we can help you. But before that, you need to know a few basic things.
- Overview of building an taxi booking app
- Three Steps of building a taxi booking app
- Step 1. Finding the USP (with examples)
- Step 2. Deciding the revenue streams
- Step 3. Building the minimum-viable-product
- Key features of the passenger’s app
- Key features of the driver’s app
- Key features of the admin’s app
Overview: Building The App
There is a lot that goes into the process of building a taxi booking app. Thus, it’s better to get an overview of the process so that you never lose the bigger picture while working on the minutiae. After all, what you are going to start is a potential billion-dollar business.
The main steps of building a taxi booking app are:
Finding your unique value proposition and niche
The competition in the market is high and the most obvious way to win the competition is by finding a niche and offering a unique value proposition (UVP) that will make you stand out.
Deciding the revenue model of your business
Just like UVP, you will also need a strong revenue model to move the wheel forward. After getting the first few thousand users, the revenue will turn your idea into a profit-making company.
Building a minimum viable product with all the important features
No matter what niche and UVP you choose, there are going to be certain important features that your taxi booking app must have. For example, sign up and log in, geolocation, payment integration, etc. Build a minimum viable product (MVP) and you will be good to finally launch your business.
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Step-by-Step Guide: Building a Competition-Killer Taxi Booking App
By now, you know the basics of how you can build a taxi booking app. The overview will help you get the direction and know the right way to go.
So, now is the time to dive a little deeper and see the steps that you have to take while building the app.
Step 1: Finding Your UVP
Probably the most important factor that is going to make or break your business is how unique your value proposition is. If you are offering a service that a business is already providing (probably at a cheaper rate), why would someone choose you? The answer is UVP.
Many taxi booking businesses are competing with Uber, Lyft, and other big names in the market by providing a UVP.
Take the example of Gett. The company provides commute services to corporate clients. It saves time for businesses by organizing a corporate fleet, ride-hailing, taxi, and limo – all under one roof.
Another good example of this would be Blu. Companies like Ola and Uber already own a large pie of the taxi booking market in India. So, instead of competing with them directly, Blu is providing 100% electric, and sustainable mobility solutions. Its ideal customer is the one who prefers an eco-friendly ride instead of saving a few bucks.
Similarly, you have to find your UVP to beat the competition from the start. You can choose a very targeted customer base – for example, you can set your audience to specific businesses like hospitals or schools. Or you can choose a unique service like electric bike taxis.
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Step 2: Deciding the Revenue Stream
The most obvious revenue stream for a taxi booking app is this: you will take the customer from point A to point B and the customer will pay you for that. But your revenue stream shouldn’t be as simple as that. Because when it comes to real grounds, a mere 2-3% of profit margin can make a lot of difference in the business.
In fact, that is exactly why most cab aggregators keep adding to their revenue streams to increase their profits.
Here is a list of the most beneficial revenue streams for taxi booking businesses:
- Trip Fare Commission: You might already have planned this one. Out of the total trip fare, you can charge somewhere between 20 to 25%.
- Cancellation Fees: Most taxi aggregator apps start charging cancellation fees once they establish a good relationship with their customers. If the customer cancels a ride after booking confirmation, you can charge a cancellation fee as a penalty.
- Advertising: This is the most underused revenue stream by taxi booking apps. You can partner with big brands and show their advertisements in the app, in the cabs, or outside the cabs.
- Subscription: If you provide a premium service, you can even charge a subscription fee. Customers are willing to pay money if they feel that they are getting something more and unique than others.
Relevant Read: User-Interface Design Guidelines
Step 3: Building an MVP
Now comes the fun part. At this step, you have to partner with engineers to build your app. First, you will have to convey your business requirements to the engineers. You have to tell them about your UVP, your revenue stream, and the minimum features that you want on the first prototype of the app.
Once your MVP is ready, you can upload it on the App Store/Play Store or your website and launch the business. The priority here will be building the first version of the app.
A taxi booking app like Uber, Ola, or Lyft has three main elements: the passenger app, the drive app, and an admin panel that is able to manage both drivers and passengers. Let’s see the features of these elements individually.
The Passenger App
The passenger app is what the commuters will download and use. The passenger app will have the following essential features:
- The signup function includes the number and email verification through OTP and logging in the details like name, contact details, etc.
- The login function that lets the passengers enter credentials and open their profile
- Reliable payment methods like a credit card, debit card, PayPal, Gpay, or cash
- Defining passenger’s location through a map API integration
- A function of requesting a taxi
- Ride cost calculator and estimated time calculator
- Ride booking confirmation feature that includes multiple destinations or route modification
- Matching of nearby passengers and drivers
- Push notifications to passengers about drivers’ details, reviews, etc.
- Updating the customer’s location on the app as the cab is going towards the destination
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The Driver App
Just like passengers, drivers will also use your app to ensure an easy operation of rides. And the driver app will be hugely different from the passenger app. The driver app will have the following essential features:
- The signup function that includes driver’s details, car registration information, verification of bank account details, etc.
- The login function allows the driver to log in through phone number and OTP.
- Geolocation functions that will help the driver to navigate through the roads. Just like the passenger app, this will need to be integrated with a map API.
- The ride function lets the driver select his or her preferred ride area, ride distance, or any other such parameter.
- The ride request notification lets the driver know about the passenger’s request info and the function to accept or deny the ride request.
- Start and end of the ride function that will let the driver geolocate the point where the ride started and where it ended.
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The Admin Panel
To ensure that the rides are running smoothly and drivers and passengers are facing no problems, the admins will run different functions on the admin panel. The panel will have the following essential features:
- The profile and login feature that lets the admin, register and edit the profile
- Setting different types of admin roles
- The functionality to add or delete a driver or list of drivers
- The functionality to add or delete a driver or list of passengers
- The functionality to edit the details of cars
- The payment function that lets the admin see a passenger or driver’s rides, and payments
From ideation to launching the app, now you know almost everything about how to build a taxi booking app.
If you have any questions or queries about the app development, feel free to contact a taxi booking app development company like ours.
Rajamanickam Rajan is the director at Skein Technologies, a leading IT solution company in India. He has 10+ years of experience in developing application using IBM Worklight hybrid, native applications for IOS and Android systems.