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Do I need my own app?

Do I need my own app?

It is undeniable that the digital revolution has disrupted the traditional taxi industry. Firms are now able to market themselves more easily and efficiently via social media and Google, whilst many independents are adopting ride hailing apps to seek more work. Consequently, with more drivers entering the market and pushing prices down, many traditional firms are realising that they must change. One of the ways in which taxi firms can change is by embracing the opportunities associated with new technologies. For example, firms can save money by adopting cheaper and faster payment facilitators such as Stripe, or improving booking and fleet management systems via real-time GPS tracking and deployment. One of the most common questions firms raise is whether they should invest in their own app.

Why would you need an app?

For most taxi firms, the ability to automate and manage bookings is the primary reason for exploring building an app. Other reasons include marketing and managing payments. However, before you embark on your app journey, it’s important to carefully think about why you need an app. For example, would your existing customers use an app? If you have a loyal customer base you may find that they are put off by an app, or may not use it even if offered because they are happy with the way things are, in which case having an app achieves very little.

One of the most common misconceptions about getting an app that it is a marketing activity. It is not! Having an app won’t automatically produce new clients. You’ll need to market your app and encourage new customers to install and use it. It’s important to think about how realistic this is and how you’d go about doing it. Apps are particularly useful when you have high volumes of daily bookings and want to provide an alternative to booking via phone or email. However, an independent driver would most likely be better off adding a booking form to their website as a cheaper and easier solution, whilst firms should conduct careful research before investing in app development.

How can I get an app?

If you’ve decided that getting an app is right for your business, there are several options to consider. You could have a bespoke app built for you. This can be very expensive, with some quotes recently received ranging from £15k to £60k. The benefit with building a bespoke app is that you can build exactly what you want, integrate it with all your systems and own the proprietary software should you sell your firm in the future. If you go down this route you certainly need to involve professionals and be sure to test, refine and test again until you’re satisfied it’s the right product for your customers and your business. It’s also important to factor in ongoing maintenance, and the cost associated with using developers in the long-term.

A popular alternative is to use an off-the-shelf app which can be customised with your branding. The costs are significantly lower, from as little as £15 per month including all maintenance. This is very appealing, but you may be limited by the apps ability to integrate with your other systems and be customised to your needs. Ultimately it will depend on what you are trying to achieve by using an app. Remember, it’s important not to get an app just for the sake of having an app.


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