Are you planning a startup business providing clients with instant, rapid access to a variety of service providers? Do you know how your users will choose the best for them? Location? Ratings? Hourly rates? Or the average of all three?

Will providers you choose be motivated to serve a large, constantly growing user base? How do you want to base your profit? On small but numerous commission fees?

To achieve your goal, choose an on-demand delivery app.

Find out how on-demand apps work and how much it costs to develop an on-demand delivery app.

Read below to get more information:

1 What is on-demand delivery? What is an example of successful on-demand delivery app development?

On-demand service apps let users order services when they need them.

Uber is the best explanation of what an on-demand apps service is.

Everyone knows Uber is not just an on-demand service app replacing old-fashioned taxi companies from the transportation market. Uber is not a transport company. Uber is a technology company providing exemplary services using effective technical solutions.

Since 2009, Uber has gained many followers in various domains of business. Analysts and entrepreneurs even call on-demand delivery services ‘Uber for X’ where X is the name of industry. From courier or pizza delivery to hairdressers and babysitters: services available as soon as you need them.

This is exactly what on-demand service does.

Another on-demand services include: Lift, Serviz, Airbnb, italki, Instacart, Deliveroo―there are plenty of successful startups.

what is on-demand delivery

2 What makes on-demand delivery apps different from other service applications?

What functionality does a typical on-demand delivery business need and how does it differ from other digital service solutions.

Every Uber-like application contains only 4 steps for both clients and service providers:

on-demand delivery business

That’s it. Four easy steps make users’ lives easier and more pleasant.

These steps determine the functional core and technological stack used for the application. These four steps are not easy when you start working on your on-demand application. They directly affect costs to develop an on-demand food delivery app.

Why? Because there is an immense amount of behind-the-scenes work completed by many parties.

3 How does the technical side affect cost to develop an on-demand delivery app?

Complexity of work to be done determines cost. Let’s look at the main blocks of functionality that an on-demand application contains. But development of a mobile app includes so much more than costs to develop an on-demand delivery business.

Costs to develop an app include four different parts:

cost to develop an on-demand delivery app

As above, a standard Uber-like, on-demand service app must provide enough functionality for the following user activities:

  • place and accept a request (depending on the nature of the services the app provides, it could be a trip, pizza delivery, or massage),
  • send notifications to all parties,
  • determine geolocation to make a meeting possible,
  • make payments in real time.

Let’s consider the method in greater detail. An on-demand app is impossible without the following features:

a) Geolocation

on-demand delivery services

Geolocation is significant. When users order a taxi or a courier to an exact point on the map, the location must be determined as strictly as possible. Positioning error cannot be too big (here, of course, it depends more on the user device than on the application itself). Map integration is also necessary, as the point with coordinates must be translated into an address.

Then, the app builds the route to the final address. The map provider is very important here: the quality of navigation service is crucial for timing. Optimal route planning decreases time driver/service provider needs to get to the client – whether it’s a one-way road or not, whether the house or building has a road to its main entrance or not, where the driver can make a U-turn, etc.

b) Notifications

on-demand delivery app

There are two types of notifications:

  • The service sends notifications through the cloud and stores them there;
  • The app receives notifications from its server and displays locally.

There are several restrictions for sending notifications via cloud: cloud does not guarantee delivery. Delays are possible. This is critical when the user receives a notification on taxi arrival. If the notification does not show or he/she misses it, they will pay for the failed trip/service.

To send updates to the applications in real time we recommend using your own socket server for an on-demand app like Uber.

c) Payment transactions

on demand service apps

Security is a must have for an app where users make and receive payments. To secure both user data and service provider’s money, the app needs an additional ‘layer’ between them―the platform. In this case, users transfer money. It goes first to the platform. When everything works out well, the money then goes to the service provider. If not, the money is refunded to the user.

And, when users add tips to the amount of the order, service providers receive money directly onto their accounts.

4 What is involved to develop an on-demand delivery app?

Check out the number of working hours needed to perform an activity on a typical ‘Uber for X’ project. We use a taxi service as an example.

Please note that all numbers below are in a range. Every development project might present unforeseen challenges even after the team has determined all requirements. Be prepared for flexible budgeting.

Activity Time per HR.
Analysis phase:
SRS
Wireframes
120-220
Design phase:
App screens
150-200
Implementation
iOS app
System features
app structure (basic app configuration and setup)
notifications
social networks integration (Facebook, Google Account)
payment system integration (credit card)
user access

map integration
credit card reader
navigation algorithmCustomer featuresGeneral features
registration (sign up with Facebook, Twitter, email)
log-in/log-out feature (Facebook, Twitter, email)
password recovery
main menu
main screen of the map – with customer’s current location and nearest cars, and approximate arrival time
manage profile – name, email, password, phone number, profile picture
view available free bonus rides
add promo code
notifications (to get specific notifications about accepted order, car arrival, payment transactions)
Manage payment details
update CC details
add new CC (add card details manually or scan a card)Trips history features
view list of past trips (pickup, driver, fare, car, city, payment method)
view trip details (date/time, pick-up point on map, pick-up/drop-off time, car details, driver photo, trip time, distance, price, payment details)
resend order
Invite friend
get promo code
share promo code via messengers
Order features
add pick-up point (manually or place pin on the map)
add destination point
use promo code
calculate approximate trip price
submit order
rate driver
Help features
view help information (by categories, questions)
report about problemDriver featuresGeneral features
log in/log out
password recovery
manage profile (name, email, password, phone, profile picture)
main menu
main screen of the map – with driver’s current location
Manage payment details
update CC details
add new CC, add card details manually or scan card
Order execution
indicate online mode
notifications (get notification about new order)
timer 1-minute countdown to accept the order
accept order request
view pick up/drop off points on map
indicate arrival
start/finish trip indicator
navigation from pick-up to drop-off points
rate customer (once indicated finish of the trip)
Help features
view help information (by categories, questions)
report about problem
View orders history
view list of past orders (pick-up/drop-off points, customer, city, payment)
view order details (date/time, pick-up point on map, pick-up/drop-off time, customer name, trip time, distance, payment received)
Read More
500-700
Android app
Same features as for the iOS app
500-700
Website (server part, admin panel and API creation)
System features
basic structure (basic configuration and setup)
notification
social networks integration (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)
payment system integration (credit card)
user access
static pages and site map
promo code generation

Customer features
General features
registration
log in/log out
password recovery
manage own profile (name, email, password, phone, profile picture)
Manage payment details
update CC details
add new CC
add gratuity
apply promo code
My trip(s) features
view list of past trips (pickup, driver, fare, car, city, payment method)
view trip details (date/time, pick-up point on map, pick-up/drop-off time, car details, driver photo, trip time, distance, price, CC paid from)
resend order
Check approximate price
add pick-up/drop-off points
viewpoints on map
calculate price
Subscription settings
manage list of cities (add/remove receiving Uber updates on email)
unsubscribe all
Invite friend feature
get promo code
generate invitation link
Driver featuresGeneral features
submit registration request
log-in/log-out feature
password recovery
Manage profile
manage account (name, email, password, phone, profile picture)
manage personal info (passport, driving license, car details)
Manage payment details
update CC details
add a new CC (add credit card details manually or scan card)
View history of orders
view list of past orders (pick-up/drop-off points, customer, city, payment)
view order details, date/time, pick-up point on map, pick-up/drop-off time, customer name, trip time, distance, payment receivedAdmin featureslog in/log out
notification (get notifications about registration requests, problem reports)
Manage Drivers
view list of drivers
search drivers (with filters – cities, cars, etc.)
view driver details profile info, orders
View rates and feedbacks provided by customers
Manage driver profile (add, update, block/unblock, remove)
Block specific customer (if driver set low ranking for the customer, he/she will not receive notifications about requests from this customer in the future)
Manage drivers’ registration requests
View list of all requests
View request details
Accept/cancel driver registration
Manage Customers features
View list of customers
Search customers with filters
View customer info
View rates set by drivers
Manage customer profile (add, update, block/unblock, remove)
Block specific driver from receiving customers’ requests (if customer has set a low ranking for the driver before)
Send promo code email/SMS
Update free bonus trips payment amount
Orders history features
View list of all orders
Search order with filters – country, city, driver, customer, etc.
View order details – date/time, pick-up point on map, pick-up/drop-off time, car details, driver photo, trip time, distance, price, CC paid from
Manage payment transactions features
Manage payment methods – update existing methods, add new
View list of payment transactions
Manage problem reports
View list of problem reports
View report details – customer, message
Respond – send response to customer’s email
Change status – new, resolved
Manage Help section
Manage categories – add, update, remove
Manage questions with answers – add, update, remove, assign to category
Read More
400-600
QA testing, stabilization 700-900
Project management 300-400
Total 2670 – 3720
Average timeline 3-6 months

5 What are the stages included in development of on-demand service apps?

Usually, development of an on-demand app includes three phases:

development of an on-demand app

Also, competent project management is crucial for timely product launch.

An application like Uber requires the following types of work:

Analysis phase – the client stated expectations; the development team determines requirements and formulates them in a technical document―software requirement specification (SRS). This is a document that contains a complete and clear description of the product being developed.

SRS helps:

  • Development team
    – Provide more accurate estimates of the costs, risks, and timeline.
  • Customer
    – Clearly formulate vision and ensure the development team understands core idea.
  • Both parties
    – Identify optimal set of functions.
    – Optimize development process minimizing time spent.
    – Prioritize problems to solve them easier and faster.
    – Understand which results would be optimal during testing phase.

During this phase, Business Analyst or/and Project Manager work side by side with customer to create SRS to be used further by developers and QA engineers once implementation starts.

With an SRS, it is much easier for the designer or business analyst to create wireframes for a future piece of software. Wireframes provide a low-detailed representation of the future design. In other words, this is the skeleton of the design. Wireframes clearly show the information structure, describe user interaction with the app, and its approximate visualization.

wireframes of on-demand delivery app

Implementation phase – during this phase, developers code the required functionality. For a mobile application like Uber, we consider―and recommend―a native approach.

This means a team of iOS developers develops an iOS application using Swift language while another team of Android developers prepare an Android application using Java or Kotlin. Also, a separate web development team implements the Admin panel and server side of the project.

Testing and stabilizing phase

QA team checks whether the freshly baked application operates correctly under pre-determined conditions. Manual or automated testing depends on the project size.

After QA team reports bugs in the project management or bug tracking systems used, developers start working on polishing and stabilizing reported issues to ensure the application works well and smoothly.

Project management

Project manager assigned by IT Craft is responsible for the entire communication with the product owner. The PM plans sprint tasks for the team, gathers, and sorts out the requirements.
The project manager determines how many software developers, designers, mobile developers, and other IT specialists the project needs. The PM also focuses on preparing and verifying project documentation, risk analysis, and coordination of schedules.

The PM does what it takes to make every iteration and the entire project a huge success.

Specifically, project managers monitor project performance by gathering status information about the following:

  • all changes to baseline data
  • changes in management information
  • progress activity with status details
  • list of complete and incomplete deliverables
  • activities initiated and finished
  • estimated time to completion

The project manager also organizes and systematically oversees reviews of quality management on the project. There a lot of monitoring activities on the project performance.

Once the application is complete, it will go live—to the Apple Store and Google Play market.

To sum up:

An on-demand, Uber-like app is a decent tool for an audience to get the services they want, when and where they want them.

For service providers, the app opens access to a wide audience.

An on-demand app is a product of teamwork. It requires a development team who provide mobile app development services based on previous experience and an established workflow.

This makes it possible to prepare reasonable estimates and keep up with promises.

Do you want a more precise calculation of what on-demand app development will cost your business?