In our age, when everything gets digitized, some industries still deal with an abundance of manual, non-automated work in their practices. Logistics business is a great example. Shipment arrangement in its classical sense implies a lot of time and effort. For this reason, Uber Freight became a sought-after startup that gains more and more success since the year of 2017 as it was launched (in 2021, Uber Freight doubled its revenue in comparison to the previous year, gaining $6.4 billion in North America).
Uber has become a global leader in its niche thanks to its simplicity. This service was built as just an intermediary between people who want to request a ride and people who can offer such a service. The similar principle has been brought by Uber for trucking to the logistics industry with Uber Freight. It works as an intelligent truck management solution that allows reducing the amount of paperwork and improving the efficiency of logistics services.
So, if you also want to build a truck app like Uber to improve processes in your logistics business, read our article to find out how to do it step by step.
How to build truck app like Uber: the guide
Although Uber Freight is the most popular app on the logistics market, it’s not unique in its kind. Many similar apps exist on the logistics market (Magaya Supply Chain, Shipsy, GoFreight, ShipRocket, etc.), and some of them were launched even before Uber Freight saw the light. This means that you can build such an app as well if you put enough effort into this process.
If you have a professional development team and know how to build the process of Uber-like app creation, you have all the chances to get a product that will be as functional and well-built as the Uber app is. The first point is up to you. As for the second one, we are here to help. Follow this step-by-step guide:
Step 1. Find your development team
You may already have an app development team that can ensure the creation of a high-quality app for trucks of your dreams, so you don’t have to worry about this step. If not, let’s see what you should do in each of possible cases:
Case #1. You have an in-house development team, but you lack some staff for building an Uber-like app. If your team isn’t large enough for building an app you need, you should resort to staff augmentation. It will allow you to expand your team with external team members that will work on your project for as long as you need. The company that offers IT staff augmentation services can cover the necessary positions for you, while you will be paying the fixed price for the company’s services on a monthly basis. This is a great alternative to hiring an entire team.
Case #2. Not all the processes required for building an Uber-like app can be done by the specialists from your in-house team. In this case, the best way to go is to look for third-party service providers that can get the necessary work done. You can find the necessary professionals on freelance. Thanks to that, you don’t have to hire any extra staff: you just pay for completed tasks. Plus, you save your budget as freelance platforms allow finding specialists for almost any budget.
Case #3. You don’t have plans to gather a team for the app creation or dedicate this job to your internal team. This means that outsourcing the whole project is the perfect solution for you. You can find an app development company in any part of the world, explain the task, and then just manage the process. All the rest will be done by the vendor. This specialist will gather a team of professionals that have the necessary skills to build an app you need, and will ensure that all the processes run smoothly.
Step 2. Shortlist the features you want to see in your app
This step is essential for building both an MVP of the app and its full-fledged version. Here is a list of some of the must-have features of the Uber-like app for trucks for both drivers and shippers:
When it comes to registration and login, there are two ways to go:
- implement traditional registration via email
- offer registration through social media
- Shipment details
This feature implies the necessary information about the cargo (dimensions, weight, type, etc.).
- Navigational features
They are necessary for route optimization and tracking. Drivers need to have the opportunity to track their route in real-time in order to prevent accidents and make the delivery process faster.
Alerts and reminders are necessary for any app, and an app for trucks is not an exception.
- Payment system
The app should provide the ability for shippers to pay for shipping and for carriers to receive their money.
Of course, you can feel free to add dozens of other features, like live chat, rating functionality, etc.
Step 3. Choose a tech stack
It’s extremely important to choose the right technology stack for your app to ensure its success. You need to pay special attention to this aspect and discuss it with your developers. Here are our recommendations for selecting technology stack for frontend and backend of an Uber-like app for trucks:
Front end is a part of the app that is visible and accessible for users. When building an app for trucks, it’s important to make sure that it’s available on all platforms (iOS, Android, and Windows) as drivers will probably be accessing it via laptop, phone, or tablet. That is why we recommend hiring React.js developers for building interactive elements of the web version of your app. You can build a web app using React, and then partly reuse this code to create a mobile app with the help of React Native. This allows for cost-efficiency and faster launch.
Back end is an app’s service side that is not visible to users. The back end of both Uber and Uber Freight are built using Node.js, so it’s hard to find a better solution. Node.js allows using the same programming language for both frontend and backend, so you can hire full-stack developers instead of having to manage two separate teams.
Step 4. Build a truck app MVP
MVP is the most cost-effective way to ensure that your app has demand on the current market. For this, you need to divide features that you are planning to implement in your app on necessary ones and additional ones. Your MVP should have just enough features to allow estimating the app’s viability basing on the first users’ feedback.
After you launch your MVP, you will find out if you have done everything the right way and can continue with developing your app for trucks and start implementing the rest of the features.
Prominent examples to inspire you
Before building an app, you naturally wish to validate your idea. And what can help you with that better than the stories of trucking startups that have come the way you are about to start?
Convoy is a trucking services app that was launched in 2015. The app’s main feature is a zero-waste approach that is aimed to improve the ecological situation in the world. In April 2022, Convoy raised $160 million in a late-stage funding round led by fund managers Baillie Gifford and T Rowe Price Group Inc TROW.O and is now valued at $3.8 billion.
Transfix is a trucking startup that offers its services across the USA. It uses machine learning and positions itself as “the next-generation of freight technology”. It offers organizations to optimize their delivering processes. In 2021, the company earned $296 million in revenue, increasing it by 60% in comparison to the previous year.
Droppa is one the most popular on-demand trucking startups of South African origin. It allows customers to request a truck for any moving needs. Although this startup is small and operates only in the country of its origin, it has $486K of total funding and meets the majority of moving needs of the biggest South African cities’ citizens.
On-demand trucking apps seem to bring a lot of benefit to their owners after Uber’s incredible success. So, if you have decided to build an Uber-like trucking app, you need to do the following:
- Find a reliable technical team that can cope with your kind of a project.
- Make a list of features that you are planning to implement in your future app.
- Choose a tech stack for your trucking app. We recommend combining React.js and Node.js.
- Build and launch an MVP.