The two options can be a good solution for a taxi start-up, but it is important to weigh the strengths and limitations of each to make the right choice for your business. This article explores the two mobile taxi app solutions to help you understand the advantages of each over the other.
The Need to Develop a Taxi Management System
Understanding your main business objectives is the first step of designing a mobile app for the business. The objectives of a taxi operator should define the basic requirements of your application. Below are the broad categories of taxi management systems depending on the nature and size of the company:
- Taxi Booking Software as an Extension for Regular Taxi Services – This is suitable for operators with a large fleet of cabs and have their own drivers. It complements existing taxi services and makes life easier for the customers, fleet managers and the drivers.
- Independent Server-Free Taxi Booking Application – A simple mobile app for the customer that lists the various taxi packages and enables the passengers to select and order a taxi from the app. It may include other features such as map and price calculator. Such a solution doesn’t require a server, but you need to update the cabs services database in case of any changes.
- Uber-Like Taxi Booking App – Independent and full-featured booking app with separate interfaces for the passengers and partners (taxi owner/ driver). It uses a server and GPS technology to identify the live location and direct the request to the nearest available driver. For this option, you need to invest in both backend and frontend development.
However, a modern taxi dispatch software should have some minimum basic features to achieve professionalism, reliability and convenience for all involved parties. These basic features include:
- In-built map and location tracking – To track the current location of both the passenger and the driver location to enhance the dispatch process and speed.
- Fare Calculation – A feature for calculating charges for a ride depending on the company’s rates, distance covered or time spent among other parameters.
- Payment Integration – Payment integration enables your customers to pay for the services using their most convenient methods such as debit/ credit cards, mobile money transfer and other web payment methods.
- User Rating Feature – Integrating a feedback system with your taxi-booking app can be very useful to improve the quality of the cab services.
Branded or Non-Branded Booking Apps
Branded taxi booking application is designed and developed specifically for your business. You can include any feature you feel important to your business model and customers. The developer may reuse existing backed code but personalize the front end for your brand. In other words, a branded booking up is highly customized for your unique needs. Moreover, it is scalable, allowing you to add extra and upgrading existing features.
Advantages of branded apps
- It enhances brand visibility and awareness. If you are looking forward to growing your brand, branding your app can reach thousands of potential customers, thus expand your customer base with ease.
- It is a sign of quality – Competition in the taxi industry has been increasing in the last few years and there are many other companies offering the same services like yours. Developing a branded taxi dispatch software is one way to stand out in the market. Customers tend to trust branded solutions more than generic ones.
- Full Ownership – A branded application give you exclusive ownership and usage rights. As the sole owner of the app none of your competitors has access to the app and customers can get can differentiate your services from other operators.
- Supports numerous features and integrations – You can add as many features as necessary including multiple payment methods, referral programs and partnerships with other companies in the travel companies such as airlines, hotels and so on.
- Scalability – You can implement any customization request or upgrade the app to accommodate growth.
- The cost of developing a branded app for your taxi management system can be relatively high. The cost depends on the number of unique features, customizations and platform among other factors.
- It may take a little longer to develop the app especially if you are building it from scratch.
- Another difficult and potentially expensive task is to promote the new app, not to mention the potential failure of a new solution.
Non-branded (neutral) booking apps, on the other hand, is a multi-tenant taxi booking application, where the passengers can use the same interface to access taxi services from different operators. It is similar to a SaaS (Software as a Service).
Advantages of Non-branded Apps
- Low initial investment – If you are operating on a tight budget, this can be a good choice, as you only need to pay subscription fees to have the app. In most cases, taxi start-ups start with a non-branded app and later shift to the branded type.
- Support and Maintenance – The app provider deals with support and maintenance issues such us updating content and code.
- Less development time – The development task is minimal and you can have your app running within a few days.
- Issues with scalability and updating – You only rely on the vendors upgrades and update and so the app may become less efficient as your business expands.
- Limited control over the quality of code – No way to audit the code quality since you have no access to the backend.
- Limited customization – Non-branded apps offers few options to personalize the app to suit your business. This denies you the freedom to add unique features and integrations.
A reliable taxi management system and booking platform is a must-have asset for any taxi operator. Travellers are looking for companies with the most convenient mobile app to order and pay for taxi services. Investing in a branded taxi booking application enhances your business performance, as well as increases your brand visibility. However, if you are budget constrained, the non-branded app can work for you but with some limitations.