Developing an On-Demand Service App: Features, Costs, and Technologies
In this article, we dive into the world of on-demand service apps. Find out what are the basic features and technologies of an on-demand app, and how much would it cost to build one.
What is an on-demand service app?
A service app — more precisely, an on-demand service app — is a great platform for connecting the right buyers with the perfect sellers. On-demand service apps help users access their favorite services from the comfort of their homes.
Whether someone is looking for a beauty session, a health consultant, or even a taxi ride, an on-demand platform can meet the need. These service applications help users effectively solve major and minor problems.
On-demand apps connect service providers to the right customers, and in doing so, they charge a significant amount of money to service providers. This is how they earn their revenue. After all, who likes to go to a restaurant or a salon and wait for hours when you can get those same services while sitting at home! Perhaps this is why on-demand apps are so popular in the global marketplace.
Types of on-demand service mobile apps
There are different types of on-demand applications. Let’s analyze the most interesting.
Based on the target audience, we can point out the following types of on-demand service apps:
- Business-to-business (Cargomatic is an on-demand freight services app)
- Business-to-consumer (Uber is a ridesharing app)
- Consumer-to-consumer (Airbnb is an app for vacation rentals)
Secondly, we can divide these applications according to the type of service they provide:
- Delivery of tangible goods and services: Instacart (grocery delivery)
- Virtual consultations: Doctor on Demand
- Virtual content consumption: Disney+
Also, we can differentiate on-demand service apps by business model:
- On-demand apps by one company that provides its services at the touch of a finger
- Marketplace apps that act as aggregators, linking multiple businesses to buyers
Basic features of an on-demand service app
The main requirements for registration in an on-demand service app are simplicity (eliminate unnecessary steps), reliability (make sure user data is protected), and versatility (offer several registration options).
Creating a user account is the next logical step for the user after registering. A profile includes information about the user.
This feature allows users to locate your business on a map or find on-demand service providers near their location.
With real-time tracking, your users will be able to find out where the service provider or courier is and what the estimated delivery/arrival time is.
Filters are required if your company offers more than one product or service and are required for market demand. In the latter case, there should be more filters to find the right company depending on the location and the specifics of goods or services.
This feature allows the customer to move from researching to buying a service or product.
Ratings and reviews
For an on-demand marketplace, it makes sense to develop a rating system for each provider and to allow customers to write reviews. For an on-demand business app, you can only collect user testimonials because the app won’t have any competition.
Secure payment gateway
It won’t be a complete on-demand service app if your users can’t pay for the service within the app itself. To let them do this, you will need a popular and secure payment gateway. People are wary of online shopping and, given all the news about online scandals and theft of money from accounts, they are wary of providing their bank and credit card details.
Therefore, you need to use a payment gateway that is known for its security and that people trust. Plus, you should let your customers pay in more than one way; besides credit and debit cards, you might also let them pay with e-wallets.
Push notifications are a great way to interact with users and can serve multiple purposes. While push notifications are a great marketing tool for you, they’re an essential feature for users, especially for on-demand service apps.
The technology stack of an on-demand app
When it comes to mobile apps, the technology stack won’t be much different from the technologies often used in custom mobile app development.
You can choose native development (Kotlin and Swift) or cross-platform development (Flutter or React Native). At the same time, these features will largely affect your choice of technology:
- machine learning capabilities
- need to handle large amounts of data
- need for fast scaling
Machine learning is likely to require the use of Python and TensorFlow on the server side. Also, if you want to have machine learning capabilities on the device, you should stick with a native technology stack (Swift or Kotlin/Java).
To handle massive datasets created by a large number of clients, you’ll need something like Apache Spark or RabbitMQ.
When it comes to scaling, AWS or Google Cloud cloud services can help you. Then you also need to think about web technologies to create an admin portal. Laravel or a similar framework would be ideal for this scenario — first of all, because Laravel comes with ready-made features such as authorization and user role management. In addition, you can customize each element according to your requirements.
11 steps to develop an on-demand service app
Here are eleven steps to make your on-demand service app idea come to life and simplify the development process.
1. Choose a niche
There is plenty to explore in the on-demand services industry. Keep your options open and don’t focus on an area where other companies are already successful. Find your specialty, but remember that it’s not enough to fill a niche. You need to fill this niche with a product that will appeal to people and make their lives better. Ensure that the end product is reliable, user-friendly, and available at all times.
2. Start locally
It’s always a good idea to research and research before committing to a business idea full-time. It’s wiser to fix shortcomings and take your time to make ends meet when there is little at stake. When you’re working locally, you’re more likely to be in control, whether you’re recruiting new contractors, managing logistics, training, marketing, or making app updates.
3. Idea and concept
Developing an on-demand service app should begin with an original idea embodied in a concept. Answering the following questions will help you understand how to make an on-demand service app that stands out from the crowd:
- What unique features will make your on-demand service app different from competitors?
- What is the main idea behind the app?
- What value can you offer users?
4. Target audience
When developing an on-demand service app, the first thing you need to consider is the target audience. Understanding your users’ needs makes development easier and leads to a better final product. Find out as much as you can about your potential users. You can start by researching the following:
- Demographics. Find out the average age of your users, where they live, what devices they use, etc.
- Behavioral trends. Find out what decreases a user’s desire to download an app, your users’ security expectations, and so on.
To develop an amazing mobile application, we suggest creating a user persona, or a detailed portrait of your ideal user.
When you’re researching your product idea and deciding how to build an on-demand service app from scratch, you should also determine who your target audience is. It’s not enough to know the target audience’s age, place of residence, financial situation, and hobbies; you need to think about your app users in terms of numbers.
Once you start thinking about how to create an on-demand service app from scratch, you should start by doing some initial research on your target audience. This research can be done online, where you can search for statistics, find communities, and explore other data.
The next step is to test your idea with real people. You can interact with members of interest-based communities online or in real life. The challenge here is to see how your on-demand service app idea resonates with your target audience and understand how to create an on-demand service app that communicates your idea.
By now, you probably know a thing or two about how to create an on-demand service app of your choice, but there are a few more important points we should mention. It’s time to move on to the next step — building a business strategy for your app.
The wants and needs of the community you’re targeting should determine how you build an on-demand service app and what features you offer. What do your users expect from you? How do you want them to use your on-demand service app? Knowing the answers to these questions makes it easy to determine which features to include in your on-demand service app.
You can start with an initial scaled-down version of your app and then expand it with new features and innovative technologies. If your resources permit, you can immediately launch a more feature-rich app or a full-fledged product. A less risky strategy is to start small, but how to build your on-demand service app is up to you.
6. Web development vendor
You can’t decide how to create an on-demand service app from scratch and make it successful without choosing the right web development company. If you are not a developer yourself and are not ready to take on this task alone, you will need someone who can provide professional website development services and who knows how to create an on-demand service app with all the necessary features. A good option is to choose IT outsourcing in Eastern Europe due to the excellent value for money.
Approach this task with caution, as you need to find a reliable partner who understands innovative technologies and, ideally, has previous experience with on-demand service apps.
7. Discovery phase
Once you’ve decided on a software provider, you can move to the first phase of developing an on-demand service app — the discovery phase. During this phase, a business analyst will determine your platform’s functional characteristics. The results of the business analysis are used to create your app’s UI/UX design, which will later be used to build the app from scratch.
This stage is the most time-consuming, as it can take months to develop an on-demand service app, and it can take years of continuous development and iterations to build a complex and non-standard on-demand service app. However, a company with experienced professionals will be able to provide you with a plan for building your app.
Software testing services are just as important as development itself. The first thing you should look out for is poor performance, as slow apps tend to scare away users. Testing should be done prior to deploying the project so you don’t have to troubleshoot issues after an on-demand service app is launched. Keep this in mind when looking for information on how to create an on-demand service app from scratch.
9. Define your pricing strategy
Finding the right pricing strategy is a top priority for any business. For some on-demand service applications, the provider sets the price, while in the traditional on-demand marketplace, vendors set their own prices and you only charge for the service. However, when it comes to money, there is always a chance to make a mistake. The most dangerous strategy is to pay too much.
This can make it impossible for you to compete and negate all the effort you put into building the app
10. Marketing and promotion
Marketing is an important part of building an on-demand service app, as without promotion, no one can find out about your new product. You can promote your app in a variety of ways, one of which is by advertising on social networks like Instagram and Facebook. Other methods include email marketing, SEO techniques, blogging, and paid advertising.
As you can clearly see, deciding how to create an on-demand service app from scratch is not enough, as you also need to keep in mind post-development activities such as promotion and advertising.
11. Ongoing maintenance and support
It’s not enough to know how to make an on-demand service app. You also need to know how to organize the ongoing maintenance of your project in order for it to function effectively in the future. Typically, a good web development provider can advise you on this and provide related services.
How much does it cost to build an on-demand service app?
The cost of developing an on-demand service app depends on these factors:
- Product features
- Product design
- Hourly rate of your development team
- Project size and complexity
- Technology stack
- Number of team members on the project
- Time frame
The biggest factor that influences a project’s cost is the hourly rate of developers, and that greatly depends on their location. For example, an application that costs $40,000 to build in the US will cost around $9,000 if developed by engineers in Ukraine.
Developing your project with a company based in Eastern Europe is cost-effective and gives you access to top talent.
Here are the key takeaways on how to build an on-demand service app:
- On-demand service apps help users access their favorite services from the comfort of their homes.
- When developing an on-demand service app, the first thing you need to consider is the target audience. Understanding your users’ needs makes development easier and leads to a better final product.
- Developing your project with a company based in Eastern Europe is cost-effective and gives you access to top talent.
If you want to build an on-demand service app or if you have any questions regarding this topic, contact Mobindustry for a free consultation.