How to Build a Ride-Hailing App Like Hailo From Scratch

August 1, 2023
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Ride-hailing apps like Uber, Lyft and Hailo have become an indispensable part of our transportation infrastructure. With just a few taps on your smartphone, you can book a ride within minutes. The market has exploded in recent years, with Uber alone completing over 10 billion trips worldwide. This growth has led to increased interest in Hailo clone app development guides that provide steps on building similar ride-hailing platforms.

Hailo gained popularity in Europe as an innovative black cab e-hailing service before it was acquired by MyTaxi in 2017. At its peak, Hailo was operating in over 20 cities across Europe, Asia and North America.

So what made Hailo stand out? And how can you develop a similar app from the ground up? In this step-by-step guide, we’ll cover:

  • Hailo’s key features and functionality
  • Developing the core ride-hailing features
  • Advanced features to consider
  • Monetization strategies
  • Marketing tactics for growth
  • Estimated development costs
  • Frequently asked questions

By the end, you’ll have a clear blueprint for building your own Hailo-like app and launching it successfully.

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Developing the Core Ride-Hailing Features

The basic functionality of a Hailo clone app involves connecting drivers and riders, determining locations, requesting rides, matching supply and demand, facilitating payments, and more. Here are the key features you’ll need to develop:

User Profiles and Verification

You need to collect user information and verify driver and rider identities. Required profiles include:

  • Driver profile: Collect details like name, contact info, license details, vehicle information, and credentials. Run background checks to verify identities.
  • Rider profile: Collect necessary rider info like name, contact details, and payment method. You may require social login via Facebook, Google etc.
  • Verification: Validate driver licenses and personal details via online checks, biometrics etc. to ensure safety.

Maps, Locations and Geofencing

Integrate mapping functionality like Google Maps to enable:

  • Accurate locations: Pinpoint rider pickup points and driver positions.
  • Route optimization: Map optimal routes and estimate travel times.
  • Geofencing: Draw digital perimeters around airports, metro stations etc. to calculate fares.

You’ll need accurate location tracking to match nearby riders and drivers effectively.

Ride Request Flow

Allow riders to book a ride via the app by:

  • Entering pickup and drop off locations
  • Specifying ride type: regular, share, van, accessible etc.
  • Providing upfront fare estimates
  • Tracking the driver’s acceptance and ETA
  • Displaying the assigned driver’s details

Matching Algorithm

The core of your Hailo like app is efficiently matching rider requests with available drivers. Factor in:

  • Driver proximity: Match riders with the nearest drivers.
  • Route optimization: Avoid unnecessary detours and delays.
  • ETA predictions: Estimate arrival times based on traffic and distance.
  • Driver/vehicle preferences: Match riders with requested car types or accessibility needs.

Refine your algorithm using historical supply/demand data for your area to maximize matches.

In-app Communication

Allow riders and drivers to contact each other directly via the app for issues like:

  • Directions to the pickup spot
  • Delays or cancellations
  • Lost items

Options include in-app calls, chat, SMS etc. Streamline communications to improve the user experience.

Payment Processing

Integrate a payment gateway like Stripe to manage transactions securely:

  • Riders input card or mobile wallet details once for easy checkout.
  • Fares are calculated and charged automatically post-ride.
  • Payments go directly to your merchant account.
  • Send receipts via email or the app.

Ratings and Reviews

Implement a ratings system to enable feedback on rides.

  • Riders rate drivers on things like safety, amenities, driving skills etc.
  • Drivers rate riders on behavior, timely pickup/drop-off, friendliness etc.
  • Display average ratings publicly to increase accountability.

Reviews also help riders choose preferred drivers.

That covers the basic ride-hailing functionality. Next, we’ll look at some optional advanced features to consider.

Advanced Features to Consider

Once your core app is working, you can expand the experience with premium features:

Scheduled Rides

Allow riders to book future rides in advance for events, airport trips etc. Your system should:

  • Allow booking a ride up to 30 days out
  • Send reminders to riders as the pickup time nears
  • Reserve drivers in advance for guaranteed availability

Ride Splitting/Pooling

Enable multiple riders with nearby routes to share a ride and split the fare. Key factors include:

  • Minimal detours and route optimization
  • Comfortable limits on number of riders per car
  • Clear upfront fare splitting

Estimated Pickup Times

Provide riders with more certainty by showing estimated pickup times. Consider:

  • Driver proximity and real-time traffic
  • Typical demand in the area based on historical data
  • Driver availability throughout the day

Updating ETAs as the driver approaches improves accuracy.

Fare Estimates and Upfront Pricing

Allow riders to see expected fares before booking so there are no surprises. Calculate estimates based on:

  • Base fare, distance, time in traffic etc.
  • Surge pricing multipliers during high demand
  • Applicable promotions/discounts

Providing upfront pricing and honoring the quoted fare makes the experience more transparent.

Driver Tracking and ETA

Allow riders to view the live location of the assigned driver as they make their way to the pickup point. Show the estimated arrival time so riders know when to be outside.

Push Notifications

Send timely app notifications about:

  • Ride requests
  • Driver assigned and enroute
  • Estimated arrival times
  • Promotions and deals nearby
  • Reminders for scheduled rides

Notifications keep both riders and drivers informed and engaged.

Promotions and Discounts

Run special promotions like:

  • Introductory free rides
  • Referral bonuses
  • Bulk ride discounts
  • Happy hour sales
  • Coupons for repeat riders

Deals attract new users and increase retention.

Analytics and Reporting

Track key metrics across your app for data-driven decisions, such as:

  • Active driver and rider counts
  • Rides completed per day
  • Average fares
  • Driver productivity
  • Peak demand times/locations
  • Promotion effectiveness

Monitoring performance helps optimize operations.

Those premium features help elevate the rider experience. Next, we’ll explore options for generating revenue from your app.

Monetization Strategies

Like other ride-hailing platforms, your monetization model revolves around collecting a fee or commission per ride. Typical monetization strategies include:

Per Ride Commission For each completed ride, take a 20-25% cut of the fare as commission. Deduct it automatically from the driver’s payment. This recurring commission makes up the bulk of revenue.

Membership Plans Offer monthly/annual plans for discounted rides and other benefits to encourage rider loyalty. Offer tiers like gold, platinum etc. with increasing rewards.

Driver Subscription Charge drivers a weekly or monthly fee to be active on the platform and receive ride requests. Offer tiered plans.

Advertising Sell ad space within the app to generate additional income. Offer sponsored pins for stores/restaurants on the map or banner ads.

Premium Features Charge riders a premium for certain features like route preferences, more leg room, or carpool options.

By diversifying your revenue streams, your business will be able to thrive and scale up.

Marketing Your Ride-Hailing App

Let’s switch gears and talk marketing. With effective promotion, you can attract drivers and riders to grow your new ride-hailing app. Useful tactics include:

Social Media Promotions

Run Facebook and Instagram ads showcasing your service and discounts for first-time users. Create engaging posts highlighting benefits.

Influencer Marketing

Collaborate with relevant influencers on sponsored content about trying out your app. Target influencers in your launch cities.

Promo Codes

Distribute promo codes offering free or discounted first rides. Promote via social media, at local events or on other apps.

Referral Programs

Encourage riders to invite friends by rewarding referrals with free rides or cash credits. This viral strategy leverages existing users.

SEO Optimization

Optimize your website for relevant keywords like “taxi booking app [city]” to get found on search engines. Create useful content.

PR and News

Coverage Pitch your app launch to local media outlets. Getting featured as new startup can gain strong exposure.

Drive downloads by pouring your marketing budget into the highest ROI channels for your audience.

Development Costs

So how much does it cost to create an app like Hailo from scratch? Here are typical estimates:

App Design: $5,000-10,000 Refine the UX/UI and visual design of your app and branding.

Frontend Development: $15,000-30,000 Covers React Native or other frameworks for the rider app UI.

Backend Development: $40,000-70,000 The bulk of the budget for core logic, database, server setup on AWS/Azure.

QA & Testing: $5,000-10,000
Thoroughly test app features and infrastructure. Identify bugs.

Ongoing Maintenance: $3,000/month Post-launch support for improvements, new features, technical issues.

Marketing Activities: $10,000/month+ Paid advertising and promotions to gain users. Adjust based on growth goals.

The total upfront costs for an MVP can range from $75,000 to $150,000+, with additional monthly expenses. The costs vary based on the app’s complexity, features, and geography.

To Wrap Up

We’ve covered a lot of ground here! To recap, developing a ride-booking app similar to Hailo involves:

  • Building core features like driver/rider profiles, location tracking, matching logic, and payments
  • Expanding with advanced functionality as desired
  • Implementing monetization via commissions, subscriptions, promotions etc.
  • Marketing smartly to acquire and retain users
  • Budgeting ~$100K+ for development costs

By following this playbook, you can launch your own successful cab e-hailing app tailored to your market.

Frequently Asked Questions

With a dedicated team, it takes 4-6 months to build an MVP version with basic features. Up to a year for a full-fledged app across platforms.

A cloud-based tech stack like MEAN (MongoDB, Express.js, AngularJS, Node.js) or MERN (MongoDB, Express.js, ReactJS, Node.js) is recommended.

Excluding marketing costs, the budget for an MVP can range from $150,000 to $250,000. For a production-ready app, budget up to $500,000.

Strong onboarding incentives, promotions and referral programs will be key, especially in the beginning. Plan your launch for a concentrated market.

Make sure to follow all app store guidelines. Allow 2-3 weeks for approval review after submission.

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    Rohan Murthy

    Rohan Murthy is a freelance writer and in-house content lead at Zipprr, a custom software development company. With over 7 years of experience, he specializes in writing about business, technology and startups. As the in-house content lead, he creates blogs, whitepapers and webpage content for Zipprr. He has also worked with many other clients as a freelance writer, providing long-form and short-form content.