How long does it take to develop an app like UBER, OLA OR LYFT

Mobile App Development , Posted by on 2019/02/22 0     Comments

Taxi hailing apps have been literally mushrooming all over the place, with different service providers catering to an audience which was fed on the staple diet of cabs and taxis. It all started when UBER came up with its radical model of providing services to customers. Over time, this was replicated by other organisations like OLA and LYFT with minor differences. For organisations who would like to enter this competitive market, an important question remains to be asked — how long does it take to develop an app like UBER, OLA OR LYFT. This question though very elementary, covers a vast area which includes technology, market research, target audience, business plan etc and all of them are equally important, if someone wants to develop an app like UBER, OLA OR LYFT.

As mentioned earlier, an attempt to develop an app like UBER, OLA OR LYFT shall be covering many areas. Let us briefly examine some of them.


In order to develop an app like UBER, OLA OR LYFT the first thing that has to be taken into consideration is the technology to be chosen. Since the apps are operated through smartphones, they have to be designed as mobile applications which are compatible across a majority of platforms so as to be accessible by a majority of users. Since the most popular platforms are Android and iOS, there must be apps which can run equally well on both these platforms. The most important points to be considered in this area if someone wants to  develop an app like UBER, OLA OR LYFT are:

  • Mapping functionality: This is necessary in order to identify the location of a passenger/driver. It also helps in providing directions while driving. If you want to develop an app like UBER, OLA OR LYFT this functionality is the foundation on which the entire application stands.
  • Sending SMS’s and push notifications: In order to develop an app like UBER, OLA OR LYFT it is very important to have a mode of communication. This is achieved by the means of SMS’s and push notifications. As for eg, UBER sends a number of notifications like when a driver accepts the request for a ride, the driver is scheduled to arrive etc. In case of Android apps, UBER uses Google Cloud Messaging to achieve this objective. The same is achieved by the use of the messaging system offered by Twilio in systems which use the iOS platform.
  • Integration of payment systems: In general UBER uses a cashless system though there are some geographies where cash is used as a form of transaction. In case of cards, customers have the options to choose from debit and credit cards. Also, worth mentioning here is that payment card industry compliance standards have to be adhered to. Braintree has been the preferred partner for UBER, as it specialises in web based and mobile payment systems for e-commerce transactions. In case of Android systems, users can manually enter credit card data to link card with UBER whereas UBER uses PayPal’s service in the case of iOS devices.
  • Solutions for driving direction: If the designed app is registered as a routing app this helps in making directions available to all other mapping software which an user has on his smartphone. In case of an Android system, Google Map’s Android API’s are used to display the routes and directions whereas MapKit is used for the same purpose in case of iOS devices.
  • Mapping software: In order to solve logistics issues, UBER has gone for outright purchase of some technological organisations which operate in the area of mapping technology. Designwise, both iOS and Android systems take the help of Google Maps in order to implement mapping requirements.

If someone wants to develop an app like UBER, OLA OR LYFT there shall be many more areas to cover. In order to develop an app like UBER, OLA OR LYFT you have to ensure that the app contains the following features:

  • Module which enables fee collection from drivers: The app should have a system by which a driver can select his mode of subscription through which he wants to offer his services. As there shall be multiple subscription plans there shall be different billing cycles also. The feature should allow the driver to see his status, details of his subscription, current balance, features of top up service, bonuses etc. Most importantly, the module should be able to handle this automatically and one need not indulge in routine paperwork to achieve this purpose.
  • An analytical system: There should be a system which can take care of all the analysis of data acquired as for eg – bookings received, missed orders, total number of trips etc. If someone wants to develop an app like UBER, OLA OR LYFT one has to do the number crunching and come up with information based on which hard decisions can be taken to better the business. This is only possible by the repeated analysis of data which is generated on a daily basis. One can integrate smart analytical tools with the app in order to add long term value to the business.
  • Profiles: The app should include a system by which profiles can be registered and displayed. These should include details like name of the driver, contact number, details of license etc. It actually gives a personalised touch to the whole transaction between a driver/customer and is also essential for conducting payments online.

An UBER like app basically comprises of three different applications which look after the needs of the customer, the driver and a comprehensive web based module which acts as the admin panel. It is very important to understand that in order to develop an app like UBER, OLA OR LYFT one has to develop these three different apps which function as a whole unit.

On a different note, we at Vyrazu Labs have adopted a similar software architecture while designing our latest product PAUSA. It has been our observation that there were a number of online tools which took care of offering services to customers like housekeeping etc but these were more focussed on customers. After spending enough time in researching the market we came up with a unified platform which took care of the needs of the service providers who provide the necessary services instead of prioritising the customer. We feel that if the needs of the service providers are taken care of, it automatically translates into bettering the services for the customer.

Well, getting back to our original discussion — to develop an app like UBER, OLA OR LYFT shall include the development of the three different apps as mentioned above. Let us examine them briefly:

  • Passenger app: This is the interface through which the passenger interacts with the taxi booking application. In fact it is a screen which is available at the customer’s smartphone. A customer can contact the driver, mention his pick up and drop location, book the ride, calculate the fare and make the necessary payment. This app has to be designed for both iOS and Android platforms so that all types of users can access the application.
  • Driver app: This app has been designed to take care of the requirements of the driver. Your aim to develop an app like UBER, OLA OR LYFT has to include this feature by which drivers can take care of their requirements of subscribing to the cab hailing application.
  • Admin Panel: This is a comprehensive web based application which is used for the overall management of the application. This application is usually monitored and managed by managers or supervisors. They use the features of this system to review, save and then take decisions. Also, it is used to manage payroll, choose the best possible route for navigation, manage the generated data which is in turn used by analytical tools for making intelligent business decisions.

In order to develop an app like UBER, OLA OR LYFT, each of the application mentioned above should include the following features in their individual capacities:

Features of Passenger module:

  • Registration.
  • Taxi bookings.
  • Selection of pick up and drop location.
  • Selection of type of taxi.
  • Payment scope.
  • Calculation of fare.
  • Promotional codes.
  • Ability to receive notifications.

Features of Driver module:

  • Status — whether active or inactive.
  • Navigation.
  • Generate alerts.
  • Fare estimation.
  • Generate Reports.

Well, you can indeed be a differentiator and include other features also as you move ahead with your objective —  to develop an app like UBER, OLA OR LYFT. We at Vyrazu Labs chose to walk differently as we decided to come up with our software product in the human resource domain. This approach led us to give shape to HRMS, a cloud based online tool which automates all the functions of a physical HR. The learning curve our team had to go through during the design and development of this system led us to be regular contributors at Quora which was supplemented by blog posts concerning all aspects of the HR domain.

By the way, someone who is keen to develop an app like UBER, OLA OR LYFT shall have to keep in mind the following technology stack while planning to go ahead with designing and developing the overall system.

  • Programming languages used: Node.js, Java, PHP, Python, Ruby on Rails.
  • Analytics: Hired, Mixpanel, Recruitby
  • Marketing: TweetDeck, Rafflecopter, Sprinklr
  • Finance: PayPal
  • Sales: Zendesk, Sparkcentral

There are a number of similarities we share with you as you make your plans to develop an app like UBER, OLA OR LYFT.

Cost and time length of development of the application: As you are aware by now, your desire to develop an app like UBER, OLA OR LYFT involves many complex parameters. As far as the time parameter is concerned you should be prepared to invest an amount of around 250 hours of developmental work if you want to develop an app like UBER, OLA OR LYFT. This is just a ballpark figure and can be broken down as 150 man hours for development of the front end of the application and another 100 hours for developing the back end. From a cost perspective, if you want to develop an app like UBER, OLA OR LYFT, the financial cost involved shall be anywhere between $100k-$300k. A safe and better option shall be finding a VC who is on the lookout for exciting new opportunities which promise good returns.

It shall be an exciting journey for you as embark on how to develop an app like UBER, OLA OR LYFT from scratch. Also, worth mentioning here is that we at Vyrazu Labs have an incubation lab which has been designed for startups. This has been named STARTUP LAB. You can come and join us for a round of coffee and share your idea with us. Just to keep you assured, there are robust non-disclosure agreements in place which have been designed to protect your interests. We shall indulge in a number of brainstorming sessions to discuss the viability of turning your idea into reality. As you are aware by now, we have the required technical acumen and dedicated team members who shall be giving the required technical support in the areas of development, testing, support etc. This shall help in the entire process as we go from the phase of ideation to the ultimate development of your product. We just hope that you get in touch with us and we can work our way together into giving shape to your dream.

Well, I think I have been able to generate a small part of the picture which gives a glimpse into what is needed to develop an app like UBER, OLA OR LYFT. Our best wishes remain with you when you decide to begin this journey.