How To Build An App Like Uber: A Complete Guide

You probably have multiple on-demand transportation apps on your phone, indicating their popularity. More companies are offering on-demand services to challenge industry leaders. Airbnb and Uber disrupted hotel and taxi markets, respectively.

Research and Markets expects the on-demand market segment to increase by $4.75bn during 2022–2026, at a CAGR of 60.77%. Thus, now is a fantastic time to develop an uber clone app. To meet the market’s needs in this competitive market, on-demand app development must be done correctly.

I explain how to construct an Uber-like app in this article. Let’s begin.

What’s a ride-sharing app?

It’s an on-demand service software that connects end users (like those who want to get from A to B) to service providers (like professional drivers).

Mobile-first Uber-like apps are convenient and improve user experience. Tap your device a few times, pay with your connected card (or other cashless payment alternatives like Google Pay or Apple Pay), and your service is on its way. On-demand services are great.

Step 1: Define target markets for your Uber app alternative

Background checks before app creation are smart. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn about your potential clients and plan the app development process while building an Uber-like app.

Identify your target market before beginning project preparation. First, choose a country. Different economies require different transportation.

If the selected market has many scooter hailing applications but no ridesharing apps, it’s a bad flag. However, before developing an Uber-like app, consider alternative reasons for its absence.

If your idea has been tried before, find out why it failed to continue your market analysis. It may reveal which cause to avoid. If you find nothing, keep digging.

Following my taxi hailing app example, check traffic, especially during busy hours. Ridesharing may not work in congested markets.

How about experimenting? Helicopters, planes, flying taxis, submarines?

Many of the projects we hear about are being tested in Dubai because highly developed economies make more sense. Tourist destinations may work, but verify seasonality first.

Step 2: Choose your ride-sharing app’s business model after doing research

This step requires you to define user personas, scenarios, flows, and Business Model Canvas and the Value Proposal Canvas. Founders who approach us sometimes find it a waste of time, but our experience shows that businesses that engage in complete product workshops (which involves working out the company strategy elements I listed earlier) have a much better understanding of their company model, the steps needed to complete the project, and ultimately a competitive product.

User stories, which are detailed descriptions of your app’s features, are another key aspect of the research. It’s not necessary—you can just list features—but it may help you estimate app development time and cost.

Product design includes all of these components.

Step 3: Ride-sharing app MVP development

After research, start development. You don’t want to start with an enterprise app. Build an MVP to launch a viable product without spending too much time or money. It maximizes early development ROI.

MVP development—how?

Selecting Uber-like essentials

Start MVP development by choosing your ride-sharing app’s key function and adding supporting features to give your initial users an Uber-like experience. We prioritize using these factors:

  • difficulty,
  • relevance to the key functionality,
  • whether to deploy it early to simplify development. 
  • its cost.

Remember that ridesharing services and comparable platforms require a set of applications: one for the end-user, one for drivers or service providers, and an admin panel for you and your workers.

Passenger app


I think the client app is the most important part of an app like Uber. The MVP’s background code can be clunky, but the customer app must sparkle.

Starting with the UX/UI, assuring crash-free performance, and giving well-thought-out core functionalities is the greatest way to wow.

Basic functions that every taxi app should contain
  • Phone number-based registration—you don’t want to verify users via email. You’ll likely run many discounts and promotions, especially in the beginning. You don’t want everyone to ride for free because they can use a 10-minute email to register a new account qualified for the promo and repeat. Don’t misunderstand. Email shouldn’t be abandoned. Make email mandatory for marketing and support.
  • Booking process—self-explanatory. Simple: choose, select, order.
  • journey cancellation – people make mistakes, drivers take too long to reach to your pickup spot, etc. Give your users the opportunity to cancel their journey. Don’t bury it in 10 menus. It won’t work. Remove your app immediately.
  • Card payments may be complicated. Making your Uber-like app cash-only initially appears easier, but it’s not. Unless you have a willing investor. I’ll explain later.
  • Simple assistance. Connect Intercom, FB Messenger, WhatsApp, or make a fast FAQ with support email forwarding.
  • Basic ticket validation—if your app issues tickets to users, like a bus hailing platform, you need to authenticate the individual getting onboard. Manual will suffice during MVP. The driver checks the ticket and manually labels it “validated” in their app.
  • Push notifications are crucial for CX, informing users of their ride’s status or driver arrival.
  • Driver and passenger navigation—self-explanatory.
  • Estimated arrival time and live ride location—frustrated users, especially early-adopters, will hurt your app’s success. An Uber-like application shows them when and where their conveyance will arrive.
  • Basic settings—change phone number, password, email, notifications. Enough for now.
  • Vouchers and friend-invite promos are essential. I think a lot of promotions are why you tested Uber when they entered your local market. They’ll get many users to try your software. Just integrate with a SaaS.

Also Read: Learn How to Build a Rideshare App from Scratch

Advanced features: what your Uber-type mobile app could have
  • Cash payments– Returning to cash. Cash payments are easy. First, tracking is hard. To manage it, create fraud prevention processes or other systems. Second, how do cancellation fees work? If I order a cab, select cash payments, and cancel it later, you’d charge me a cancellation fee with card payments. How to charge for nothing? This requires a user-specific internal wallet. It would be charged when you need to punish a user or execute a refund, like I mentioned. Refunding internal credits that can be utilized in the app is typical.
  • Bus hailing services also need multi-seat tickets. You can cover regular travelers, parents buying tickets for themselves and their kids, nurses caring for disabled persons, etc. Limit user ticket purchases. Otherwise, someone will rent a bus for a fraction of its cost.
  • Trip scheduling is a useful function.
  • Advanced support—check Uber’s support instead of explaining. It’s amazing.
  • Trip and driver/passenger ratings—self-explanatory.
  • Split payments – At least once in our lives, we or a friend paid the full bill and forgot to pay back. Allowing users to divide the bill simplifies lives.
  • Extended settings—profile pictures, home/work addresses, security, advanced notifications, light/dark themes, etc.
  • Advanced ticket validation (ultrasonic, QR-codes): fraud protection, faster, no mistakes. Validation type? You decide. One project used ultrasonic. Because… *silence*… you’re validated, it made ticket validation amazing.
  • Business accounts and invoicing—single ride or monthly invoices.
  • Driver tipping system – tipping is a terrific way to say “Thank you!” for exceptional service and keeps drivers happy by giving them more money.

Admin app for an Uber-like app


A back-office program connects the components specified so far. It lets staff manage users, service providers, company data, promotions, etc. The technological stack, discussed below, will determine your admin panel. AdminJS was used in the bussr example (see our case study here) because everything was created in JavaScript. It’s Node.js’ top open-source auto-generated admin panel.

Since the bussr backend was created in Node.js (many popular apps use it), choosing a highly configurable solution that could be coupled with all necessary external services (like Google Assets Tracking) was easy. bussr personnel could define bus routes using Google Maps in the admin panel instead of latitude and longitude, reducing the chance of error.

Choose a dependable admin panel if your tech stack is PHP or Python. You will need lots of customisation space and to give developers the tools to code additional modules. Out-of-the-box solutions are cheaper and easier to use, but there is a tiny chance that their feature set would fit your business. Change the panel before your ridesharing app launches.

Picking the right technology stack

Discussing technology now. Many factors could affect that decision. Take these examples:

  • Your CTO may recommend a technology for your technological stack.
  • A feature may require a specialized technology.
  • An external software development agency can help you apply their technology.

You can’t go wrong with an experienced developer. Most Uber-like apps are simple.

Delivering the MVP

After everything is ready, it takes 6-12 weeks to produce a working MVP. If you change your MVP features mid-cycle, it will delay delivery and annoy your team.

In the coming weeks, you can focus on sales and marketing instead of development. You don’t want to create an app that can’t compete and will fail your business.

Step 4: Marketing and user acquisition

Marketing. I’ll briefly describe two Uber-specific marketing methods, but marketing needs its own post.


If you have followed Uber, Bolt, other taxi apps, or Uber Eats launch campaigns, you know that most consumers use their on-demand apps on a voucher-only basis for the first few months (and sometimes longer). Inboxes often contain “50% discount” codes.

It’s expensive, and corporations pay their service providers full salaries while earning 50% per order. It works, but costs a lot of capital.

After the promotional period, those who won’t pay full price will cease ordering. Your core user base should consist of satisfied customers who stick around.

Building situational awareness

Discount codes, like vouchers, can be carefully utilized to target service users and suppliers to enhance brand and market presence.

DoorDash delivered this Valentine’s Day email to their drivers:

Uber has another good example. I live in Wrocław, Poland, and ordering a helicopter flight is difficult without UberCopter. A few years ago, Uber offered two helicopter minutes for a limited time. Few got the flight before the promo expired, but social media reach skyrocketed.

Media sources require fascinating content, therefore if you have a great idea, they will pick it up.

Step 5: Further development and growth

After developing your MVP and getting your first customers, you won’t have time to celebrate with a bottle of Crystal in the Maldives. You must continue and restart the cycle.

We hold MVP stage retrospective meetings for our clients. We record all our excellent and negative decisions during the gathering to improve our effectiveness. After the retro, we plan another product workshop and brainstorm ideas for development. Prioritize those ideas and repeat.

This method keeps us agile while focusing on a specific set of goals over short increments.

Step 6: Fraud prevention

Fraud plagues Uber and related apps. Detecting and preventing such maneuvers is hard. Only a few people can think through their amazing system-cheating ideas.

Uber drivers get bonuses for meeting their target rides. People utilize bogus location applications to fake rides and fool the system. There’s a catch. Uber collects position, speed, altitude, and other metrics because people do this.

Uber can correlate altitude data with location data to detect cheaters. The result:

Building an Uber-like application

As you can see, designing an app like Uber is no minor work, but if you structure it properly, it becomes a simple process with minimal disruption over each cycle.

I hope this method helps anyone willing to invest time, effort, and money in a market that could benefit from a ride-sharing app or other location-based on-demand service.

Contact specialists for assistance or to use our expertise in designing scalable and user-friendly applications.

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