Uber-like App for Trucks: Discussing Logistics App Development Features and Cost
Cargo transportation is a very popular service, and freight carriers have no reason to worry about being out of work. However, they won't mind simplifying the whole process of finding new orders and interacting with the client; therefore they would benefit from using logistics mobile apps.
Oddly enough, but there are few applications of the sort on the market yet, especially when compared to similar programs for food delivery or ordering a taxi. It means you have a great opportunity to launch a successful startup without the risk of facing fierce competition.
And by the way, it doesn't matter if you have your own logistics company, in any case, you can bring your idea to life and get a source of constant profit. A striking example is an American app named Uber Freight. It has won its place in the sun, so why not follow its lead?
If you want to learn more details on the matter, read our article. We know how to create a mobile app like Uber for trucking and are happy to share our experience with you.
It's a shame, but modern logistics still remains a long and energy-consuming process. It includes filling out a bunch of papers, collecting documents, writing emails, etc. But it's ridiculous to endure such red tape in the 21st century, when you just need to perform a simple action, namely: deliver the goods from point A to point B. Don't you agree?
That's why your carrier and trucking shipper application will certainly be in demand: if, of course, it helps to reduce the time wasted on the above manipulations. In an industry where a lot of time is being spent on phone calls and attempts to book cargo, your service should take root very quickly.
Statistics on the trucking industry
The research by InMotion Global, Inc. has shown that digital solutions are gaining tremendous value for large shippers, carriers, and outside contractors. And if at the beginning of the 21st century only 62% of carriers with a fleet of 20 or more trucks used computer technology, today the figure has grown and exceeded 90%.
Alas, the situation leaves much to be desired when it comes to small businesses with modest vehicle parks. No more than 35% of them take advantage of innovative digital opportunities. And it's undoubtedly a wrong move! As another piece of statistics from InMotion assures us, these short-sighted companies are more likely to fail.
Companies with their fleets have already grasped the importance of implementing digital solutions, but it’s not enough to satisfy all the parties concerned. And on-demand intermediary-free apps like Uber Freight are still in short supply, so to say, although they are badly needed.
But before we get to the question of how to develop an Uber-like app for a logistics business, we have to discuss the benefits of these services.
Benefits of logistics mobile apps
Let's do our best to explain why the trucking industry needs mobile apps.
Efficient freight management
Cargo transportation is a complex, multi-stage process and, until recently, lengthy. However, the introduction of innovative digital solutions is likely to simplify and optimize it. Both the fleet owner and the trucking shipping company get a powerful tool that allows them to manage the process of freight transportation and delivery from one point to another.
Sometimes a problem complicating the work of a logistics company is poor data synchronization (or its complete absence). In such cases, all sorts of overlaps, inconsistencies might occur, which leads to incorrect execution of orders.
Logistics and transportation mobile applications are the ideal solutions to this problem. They ensure a constant exchange of real-time data between each participant in the freight delivery process. So if one has to make some adjustments to the order (say, a forced route change, unexpected delays, etc.), then all interested parties will know about the change made at once.
Transparency is a key requirement for any successful modern business, and trucking companies are no exception. Customers want to know where their cargo is located at any given time, which is hardly surprising. After all, they have the right to understand what's going on with their order!
Fortunately, digital programs have special features focused on tracking the movement of selected objects, so that the logistics company can maintain a high standard of work by providing its clients with accurate data on the order status.
And if we're talking about on-demand logistics mobile apps like Uber Freight, then the situation is even simpler, and intermediaries are no longer the obligatory condition. In this case, representatives of the trucking shipping company resort to a digital platform to independently find the vehicle they need. Also, they get the opportunity to interact with the chosen carrier and track its movement without let of hindrance. So the transparency of processes is ensured anyway, regardless of the kind of logistics app (which we'll discuss later).
Though in Uber Freight, it is the carriers who choose the cargo they want to deliver to its destination, and not vice versa, it doesn't change the grounds: intermediaries are a thing of the past, and the customer and the contractor get the opportunity to keep things clear and transparent without their participation.
All data at your fingertips
Building an Uber-like app for delivery trucks means providing greater mobility to employees of logistics and shipping companies. And the carriers, too, thanks to the driver app features, get the chance to constantly stay in touch with the client.
If earlier the speed of delivery of goods was a competitive advantage, today it has become a prerequisite. And the clients of freight shipping companies demand that their cargo be delivered as soon as possible.
Timely delivery depends on several factors, such as:
a well-planned route;
the possibility to stay in touch;
data update and synchronization.
And the best solution is to make an app like Uber for trucking. The application in question can quickly analyze the database of available vehicles, optimize routes, improve schedules, minimize loading times, warn of traffic jams and road repairs, and offer other ways to speed up the cargo delivery.
Simplified document management
Logistics mobile apps can also help to simplify the paperwork that inevitably accompanies the process of cargo transportation. And if the documents are organized, then the work becomes more productive. As a result, the goods are delivered in less time. Everyone wins!
Logistics mobile apps optimize cargo transportation and thereby increase the efficiency of each participant in the process. There is no unnecessary paperwork, no endless calls, nothing to slow down the delivery of goods.
All these benefits result in the increased profit received by the logistics company. Internal business processes are being optimized, thanks to which both the speed and quality of order execution are growing. It means there is a wonderful opportunity to get more satisfied customers.
Fast order search
But what if it’s not a company with a fleet of cars we're dealing with, but an independent, p2p marketplace (an Uber-like app) for logistics? Is there an increase in profits in such a case?
Yes, there is! Using a digital service like Uber Freight, carriers can find orders faster and fulfill them better. Therefore, they earn more.
What kind of logistics apps do you want to develop?
Actually, there are only two main scenarios:
Are you a logistics company executive? Then you should create a platform focused on your own business needs;
Are you just a businessman looking for startup ideas? Consider a peer-to-peer marketplace option.
We think you've already understood that digital solutions are a real must-have if you, as the owner of a logistics company, have your vehicle fleet and provide comprehensive freight delivery services.
Still unsure about the usefulness of logistics and transportation mobile apps? Okay, let's summarize what you get with their implementation:
saving time and resources;
access to special settings (they’ll allow you to provide different user groups with different levels of access to information);
larger client base;
a powerful marketing tool, which helps you have the right impact on your customers;
significant increase in profit.
Marketplaces like Uber Freight
If you don't have your own company, but still want to make a profit in the logistics market, build an app like Uber for trucking. Or rather, to be more precise, like Uber Freight (that’s the correct name).
It has every chance of being very popular, especially since you'll have few competitors so far. But you better hurry up to take advantage of such perfect timing.
Now we’d like to finally figure out what Uber Freight is and what its advantages are.
What is the idea behind Uber Freight?
Uber has long been known as a reliable taxi booking application, operating almost all over the world. However, a few years ago, the company decided to expand its sphere of influence and created an on-demand logistics mobile app named Uber Freight. The new service appeared in 2017 and immediately interested potential users.
Uber Freight is a platform where an individual or company can find a trucker (carrier) to transport the cargo. Moreover, the role of intermediaries is being performed by Uber Freight itself. No extra steps, no unnecessary fuss. As stated in the Uber Freight description, the service takes on the most unpleasant part of the driver's job, namely, finding suitable orders.
To understand how to develop an Uber-like app for a logistics business, you need to get the main idea of the operation of this popular application. Let's figure it out!
How Uber Freight works
Uber Freight is very similar to a regular Uber taxi service: customers (shippers) place their orders, and truck drivers choose the ones that suit them. The order card contains all the information the carrier needs: data on the location of the cargo and the destination point, the offered price, the approximate delivery time, etc.
The Uber Freight platform was initially only available in the United States. However, two years later (in 2019), the company announced its entry into the European market, deciding to start from the Netherlands. Thus, Uber joined the ranks of other European logistics mobile apps and made them dangerous competition.
Uber Freight benefits
Uber is a non-standard service (in a good way). It targets both user groups with which it interacts (carriers and shippers) and offers each its unique advantages.
The carrier gets:
clear pricing system;
fast order payment. When dealing with other logistics and transportation mobile applications, the carrier has no choice but to wait about a month to get the desired payment. However, Uber Freight guarantees that the driver will receive his money within a few days. If the client doesn't pay the money on time, Uber promises to do it itself.
ease of use. The carrier can book the cargo with just a few clicks.
Also, Uber Freight took care of the second group of users and built a convenient trucking shipper app with a lot of cool benefits, such as:
instant access to an extensive database of reliable carriers;
generation of orders in real-time, regardless of the volume of shipments;
tracking the status of the order from loading cargo to unloading it.
Uber decided to postpone the monetization of its new service and start by conquering the market. Uber Freight fights its competitors with flexible pricing, as analysis by a major investment bank shows. These competitors include digital services from such famous companies as Echo Global Logistics Inc. and C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc. (and other demanded logistics and transportation mobile apps).
The principle of competitive 'battle' is simple: first, you need to lower prices, increasing your market share, and then, when there is no competition left, you can focus on profit-making. This is the strategy that Uber Freight has chosen. And by the way, according to experts, there are dozens of examples of its successful implementation, one of the most striking is Amazon.
And while the Uber company is going according to plan, we don't advise you to follow its example (unless you have a sufficient budget and are ready to wait for the service to start making a profit). Let your Uber-like app for logistics win over users in some other way. Say, with great application features.
Key features of your logistics and transportation mobile app
Your application should consist of several parts, each of which is focused on a specific group of users:
You can also add functionality aimed at solving other tasks related to cargo transportation. It all depends on the kind of logistics app you plan to create.
Features of the trucking shipper app
Registration & Authorization. We hardly surprise you by telling you that the user must first register in your application. Moreover, 'the user' means both a company and an individual. Anyone who wants to send cargo using your trucking shipper app should be able to place an order. A couple of helpful tips:
consider the opportunity to quickly sign up (say, using social networks). Of course, in the case of businesses, such an option won't work, but individuals would be happy with the simplified registration procedure;
take care of user verification for maximum data security.
Vehicle booking. So, a representative of the shipper's company has registered in your on-demand logistics mobile application and wants to book a truck to send his cargo. Give him that opportunity.
Vehicle tracking. As we've said earlier, the client wants to have an idea of the exact location of the truck delivering his cargo. This feature will help him keep track of the vehicle in real-time.
Order history. It’ll also be useful if the shipper can view the entire history of completed orders.
Order payment. Of course, logistics mobile apps are just useless if they don't provide the shipper with the possibility to pay online. Resort to proven third-party services (such as PayPal, Braintree, and others) to integrate the payment gateway, and the problem will be resolved.
Notifications. And finally, supplement the functionality of the application with alerts to inform the shipper about such things as the delivery of his cargo, the change in the order status, and more.
Features for a carrier app
Registration & Authorization. Naturally, carriers must register with your service too. We've discussed the sign-up methods above, and there is no point in repeating the whole thing again.
Search engine. In describing the benefits of on-demand logistics mobile apps, we mentioned that they simplify the process of finding new orders. To make it true, add a search engine with filtering and sorting systems. Such a feature will allow the carrier to get a list of orders with suitable parameters. He'll be able to choose from them what he likes the most.
Order details. Suppose, the carrier has received a list of orders, which seem appropriate at first glance. However, in order to make the final choice, he must be able to open the page with the order description. It should contain all the key information about both cargo and delivery.
Finding the best route. Also, driver app features should offer the possibility to find the perfect route. A lot of different factors, including the optimal delivery time, the ability to avoid traffic congestion, and so on, must be taken into account.
Proof of order fulfillment. Let's say the order has been completed, but how would the carrier prove it? Provide him with the opportunity to send the corresponding image to his client (or think of another way to confirm delivery).
The last block of features is required by companies, which have their own fleet and offer cargo transportation services. As you already know, they need a special kind of logistics app able to organize their internal business processes.
Dashboard, which contains a list of all orders with their status indication (new, in progress, completed, etc.). A company manager can see information about the shipper, the carrier who accepted the order, and so on.
Driver & Vehicle monitoring. Logistics mobile apps allow operators to better control delivery and track vehicle movements in real-time.
Payment management is another must-have feature of every application dealing with money in one way or another.
Special notifications. These are useful alerts informing drivers about regime operations (checking cargo, tire pressure, and the like).
Reports. Of course, the possibility to generate reports to see the efficiency of a particular driver (or another employee) or track the performance of the company as a whole would be very useful too.
If you have a limited budget, you can build an app like Uber for trucking without these extra features. You'll be able to launch your platform anyway. However, consider adding them in the future. This would greatly enhance your market position.
In-app messenger. Surely, the client (the shipper) and the contractor (the carrier) can contact each other using any well-known messenger, be it Viber or WhatsApp. Although, if they have the chance to communicate within your application, it’ll be a huge plus. Each side would benefit from such a feature.
QR code reader. Mistakes, including during freight transportation, are an unpleasant part of our life. Fortunately, some of them are quite preventable: say, a special QR card reader can help avoid mix-up with the item being delivered.
Multilingual support. Now is not the time to think small! And even if you don't plan to conquer the markets of other countries yet, leave yourself the opportunity to expand your business in the future. Of course, a company partnering with foreign shippers must have a logistics and transportation mobile app with a multilingual UI.
Logistics application security
Security is a multi-component concept. It's not only about data protection but also about the safety of the goods and the driver himself. However, let's discuss the issue in order:
cargo safety. The shipper cannot but care about the condition and safety of his cargo (naturally!). Luckily, any trucking shipper app can help him keep track of its safety. Special tracking devices built into smartphones come to the rescue in this case, as well as such technologies as electronic seals, which notify interested parties if the container has been damaged;
prevention of double booking. Double booking of cargo is a rather annoying and common problem that can lead to unpleasant consequences, one of which is the loss of user confidence in your service. You don't want that kind of outcome, do you? Then make sure that when the carrier books a cargo, the latter disappears from the list of available orders;
driver safety. Of course, the safety of the truck driver should be considered too. An obvious solution is to resort to some pretty simple driver app features, including geo-blocking based on GPS or RFID. The essence is simple: a certain invisible perimeter should be established along the route of the truck; if the driver leaves the specified area, an alarm is triggered;
data security. Finally, we got to the question, which immediately comes to mind when one mentions logistics app security. Yes, you should definitely take measures to protect your user data (and don't forget, you have 2 user groups: both carriers, and shippers). Alas, the security issues are quite complex, don’t risk tackling them yourself. It’d be better to seek help from experts.
Logistics App Development
Okay, how to create a mobile app like Uber for trucking? What should you do to achieve the desired goal?
Let’s see, point by point.
Coming up with your app idea
You may think you already have a clear app idea, but this is far from the case. To make sure you understand what you're doing, answer the questions:
What do you want to offer your users?
What type of trucking shipper application are you planning to build?
Do you have any promotion plans?
Formulate as clearly as possible what you want to get in the end.
Conducting a thorough market analysis
Any successful project always starts with business expertise. Therefore, the process of building an Uber-like app for delivery trucks must begin with a thorough market analysis.
What exactly should you pay special attention to when conducting your research? We’ll give you a couple of tips:
studying the needs of the average representative of your target audience;
analysis of competitors, their strengths and weaknesses;
exploring the main digital trends.
The data you receive will form the basis of your development strategy.
Looking for a logistics app development company
Now it’s high time to hire a development company for your logistics and transportation mobile app. Your task is to find a team that meets several key criteria:
openness to compromise. After all, you’ll have to communicate with the development team for a long time. You need to make sure in advance that you'll be able to see eye to eye with them.
professional experience. In other words, are they qualified enough to build an app like Uber for trucking?
affordable rate. Alas, the issue of cost also matters. And remember, expensiveness isn't always proportional to quality.
Evaluation of your project idea
You've already conducted a preliminary analysis of the market and formed a general idea of the future application. Now is the time to let the professionals evaluate your project.
Your hired team should answer two priority questions:
What are the project's chances of success? Maybe you should adjust your strategy?
How much money will you have to allocate to make an app like Uber for trucking?
By correlating your budget with the formulated project idea, you get a chance to draw up a further action plan. And above all, you can make a list of the basic shipper and driver app features.
Selection of the basic features
If you have no problems with investing in your project, you can safely skip this item. Otherwise, you should make a list of basic features, without which your service won't be able to compete with other logistics mobile apps.
Put it differently, you need to create an MVP model. In the future, you'll have the opportunity to expand the functionality of the application at will.
And by the by, such an approach to development has one more advantage: starting logistics app development small, you get the chance to analyze user reactions and update your product according to their actual needs. You won't have to guess what to offer your users, you'll know their preferences for sure.
On-demand logistics mobile app creation
Well, the key moment has come: your team is ready to start bringing your idea to life!
We see no reason to go into all the details of the development process; let's just say it includes a lot of stages such as prototyping, UI/UX creation, coding, testing, and other important steps.
Publishing an application
Your project is developed and tested. And now you just have to publish it in App Store and (or) Google Play... time will tell the rest.
The cost of building an Uber-like app for delivery trucks
Digital startups are costly, as you can imagine. We offer to roughly calculate how much money you may need to create a full-fledged Uber-like app for logistics.
The hourly rate of the order executor depends on many factors, including the prestige of the company, its location, etc. Try to find a team that will meet both your professional requirements and financial capabilities.
Now let's discuss how long it might take to develop an on-demand logistics mobile app like Uber Freight:
UI/UX. One needs from 100 to 150 hours to create a UI/UX;
Creation of an admin panel: at least 60-70 hours is required;
Development itself. It all depends on the platform you choose:
Web platform: about 700-750 hours;
iOS platform: close to 500-550 hours;
Android platform: about 475-525 hours.
Let's briefly recap what users get from logistics mobile apps:
automatic calculation of the most optimal route;
accurate information on the price and delivery time of the goods;
constant communication between the carrier and the shipper;
timely information about vehicle availability;
search and comparison of different carriers;
the possibility to order the services of cargo transportation on the go (from mobile devices);
real-time tracking of the truck driver;
real-time notifications on the order status;
convenient online payment option.