An Expert’s Guide to Launch a Car Rental App Like Zipcar

May 31, 2022

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The travel industry has developed at a fast pace as one can look at commutes by simply searching online. Besides getting into public transport, people prefer luxurious living these days by hiring cab services that offer comfort and save time and money.

Various car rental mobile apps are getting users’ interest and a large customer base, such as Zipcar, Zoomcar, Hertz, Turo, Avis, Skyscanner, etc. These apps have gained tremendous recognition due to the increasing demand as people prefer a car-free lifestyle.

Since people have many options to choose from, before hiring any car rental service, they prefer to compare prices and the availability of cars from different mobile apps with the help of the internet. As car rental platforms are liked by customers these days, service providers are on the way to developing car rental apps and selling services online to maximize their profit.

To better understand car rental app development like Zipcar, we have figured out essential details for you.

What is a Car Rental Mobile App?

Car rental is a service that lets people rent a car to go anywhere using mobile phones. And car rental mobile apps are a bridge that connects people who want to rent a car to car owners who want to rent out their vehicle.

Why are these apps on demand?

It is simply due to the changing needs of customers. People these days don’t prefer to stand outside to look for cabs or visit a nearby bus stop to get a bus. They prefer things that save their time, provide them comfort, and at the same time, are not too expensive.

Car rental services give the user the option to drive themselves or have a driver according to their requirements in the comfort of their homes and get notified about the car’s details and time.

What Is Zipcar?

Zipcar is the fastest and most simple mode to rent a car. The membership fee for Zipcar starts at $ 6 per month, and tariff rates start from $ 8-10 per hour.

Zipcar offers mileage, petrol, liability insurance, and reserved parking facilities daily and hourly. You can sign up, pick the membership options, and receive a “Zipcard” in the email to start using this app. Then you can rent a car by using a Zipcard to unlock it. The card has gas and insurance details, so there is nothing to worry about the coverage.

Founded: January 2000 Cambridge, Massachusett

Headquarters: Boston, Massachusetts

Founder: Antje Danielson, Robin Chase

Revenue: $278.87M (2020)

Area covered by Zipcar

Zipcar is presently available in 400+ cities in the U.S., Spain, Canada, France, the U.K., Turkey, and Taiwan.

Cities in U.S. Zipcar offers services are Charlotte, Milwaukee, Denver, New York City, Baltimore, Kansas City, Detroit, Houston, Charlottesville, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Nashville, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Providence, San Francisco Bay Area, Washington, and Seattle.

How does Zipcar work?

After getting a membership of Zipcar, the user can book a car of any model using a valid driver’s license. The vehicle needs to be booked one hour before you need the car.

After using the car, return it to the location where you picked it up, with the fuel tank filled about 1/4 of the tank capacity. You can also reserve cars for a minimum of one hour to 14 days.

Zipcar Membership

Zipcar membership varies as per the package you choose. But users need to pay a one-time app charge of $25 and a monthly or annual fee. Rental reservation fees for a car will be around $10 per hour, and daily rental costs around $80.

Car Rental Market Size and Growth

The car rental market will grow in the coming years, and it’s good news for you if you are planning to develop such an app. The below statistics represent car market revenue worldwide from 2017 to 2025, and it is expected to reach $110,894.2 million by 2025. User penetration is 3.6% in 2020 and will hit 7.1% by 2024.

Trending Features to Include in your Car Rental Mobile app

User Panel

  • Signup or Login: Users get the login/signup page and need a few details about themselves, like name, number, email, etc. Other hassle-free and fast ways are logins using social media accounts, Google mails, etc.

  • Car Selection: After the login/signup option, users get a list of cars on the mobile app screen and choose as per their requirements.

  • Booking Management: It is a crucial feature to include if you are thinking of developing a car rental service mobile app to let users manage their bookings easily. This feature improves productivity and saves time by keeping the management systematized entirely at the customer level.

  • Schedule the Ride: In the Zipcar app, customers need to book a car for one hour, but some do not get time to book a ride in advance. Allow users to schedule their rides earlier to attract your users.

    This feature will increase the cost of your on-demand app development, but it will entice your customer base and help you get customers if you are new in the marketplace.

  • Price Estimation: The car rental app must have a feature to offer revised prices regularly to customers. If the customer has access to check the estimated price, it will be easier for them to book a ride.

  • Doorstep Car Delivery: If users want to drive themselves, you must deliver the car to their place. It is an ordinary feature but makes the customer feel valuable because it saves time and effort.

  • Tracking & Navigation:

    This feature lets users have a suitable, friendly, and time-saving drive as it gives customers directions to reach their destination. Users can also track the location of a vehicle via using this feature.
  • Multiple Payment Options: Everyone prefers online payment methods, and users prefer an app that enables them to access multiple payment gateways.

  • Notifications: This feature provides updates and notifications about delays in services, discounts, vehicles, bookings, coupon codes, etc.

  • Referral Programs & Rewards: Discounts, loyalty programs, referral coupons, etc., to keep your customers motivated and loyal.

  • Cancellation: This feature lets customers cancel car bookings before a particular time.

Service Provider Panel

  • Signup/Login: Signup feature using an email, phone number, social media account, or login using social media or email.

  • Check or Respond to the Request: Service providers can check all the details of booking requests and have access to accept or reject them as per their availability.

  • Trip Details: Drivers can check the information regarding pick-up & drop-off locations, journey time, and routes with limited traffic.

  • Driver Dashboard: This feature allows drivers to check data such as completed rides, scheduled rides, total income, feedback, etc.

  • Receive Payment: This feature lets drivers get the payment from the customer by the app after renting the car to them.

  • Feedback: A car rental app development company lets customers choose the service provider according to the ratings and feedback by adding a feedback feature.

  • Navigation: This feature gives directions to drivers about the route they set to reach customers’ locations without taking time and getting confused with the right route.

Admin Panel

  • Interactive Dashboard: This feature lets the app admin observe the vehicles/ cars to handle them adequately. It’s the responsibility of the admin to update the dashboard with information on cars that users book in a day.

  • Car Management: Admin will manage vehicles and cars and update all the data and the user’s details to whom the car is rented.

  • Fare Management: It includes all kinds of fare, location-based, and on-demand charges handled by the admin.

  • Payment Management: This feature lets the admin manage all the payment methods to make the transactions easier and transparent to everyone. It also includes the payment gateways, details, and commission amounts.

  • Category Management: Admin is responsible for handling various categories applicable to cars and then updating the app accordingly about the availability of the vehicle.

  • Report & Analytics: It is a must-have feature because it contains all the real-time reports about the renting details, like most chosen car types by the users, the average time to schedule a car, and average orders per day to simplify business operations.

  • Customer Management: The users of the car-rental service app are observed, and their information, such as ratings, addresses, and services, is available in this section.

Advanced features for developing a Zipcar clone app

  • Assign drivers: This feature lets customers book a driver while booking a car from the app. Customers can check the available list of drivers and choose them according to their details, reviews, and ratings.

  • Cost calculator: For users who want to book a car for a few days and drive it themselves, the cost calculator feature gives them an approximate amount being charged over these days, letting them compare prices with different apps.

  • Email and Message: Ride details are sent through push notifications, but it is best to send an email or message to the users about the details for their future reference.

  • Multiple Booking: Using this feature, app users can make multiple bookings for different locations to save time.

  • Quick Booking: Users who often rent a car can save the pick-up & drop-off location at a favorite location and book the car quickly. They can also change the location if required.

Things to be Considered while Developing a Car Rental Platform

  • Safety and security

  • Insurance

  • Fuel policy

  • Speed limit

  • Damage policy

  • User authentication

  • Service and maintenance

The team required to develop car rental app

  • Managers: Project Manager, Delivery Managers

  • Developers: iOS, Android, front-end/back-end developers.

  • Designers: UI/UX and graphic designers

  • Testers: Experts to analyze app quality.

Tech Stack

  • Back-end Development: Python, Ruby, AngularJS, JavaScript

  • Front-end Development: Bootstrap, CSS, Swift, Java

  • Voice/SMS/Phone Verification: Nexmo, Twilio

  • Real-time Analytics: Google Analytics

  • Database: MongoDB, Cassandra, Postgres, MySQL, HBase

  • GPS: Google Maps, Apple Maps

  • Cloud: Amazon data servers, Google cloud serves

  • Push Notifications: Twilio, Push.io

Car Rental Mobile Development Process

To develop such apps, you need experienced app developers who understand how the app works and accordingly build it. Take a look at the process an on-demand car rental app proceeds during the development phase:

  • Market and Audience Research: Before hiring an app development company, it is best to analyze your target market, such as their likes/dislikes, current trends, expectations, etc., to get a clear idea about the loopholes that your competitors fail to acknowledge. This is how you make your app successful in less time.

  • UI/UX design: Choose the right technology set to design your app. Nowadays, users prefer apps with striking and responsive designs. Make your app appealing to your customers and drive sales.

  • App development: Look for mobile app developers and designers with skills and knowledge, as once the design is completed mobile app development team will be responsible for the app working. Professional app developers will integrate features and functionalities that you want in an app using tools like Java, Python, Ruby, etc.

  • App workflow and testing: Once the design and development are completed, the app undergoes a testing phase where the tester looks for issues in an app to let developers or designers resolve them. This process continues till the app gets error-free.

  • App deployment: The final step is to deploy the app on the playstore/ Apple store or both to let users access it.

How much does it cost to develop a Zipcar clone app?

While evaluating the overall app development costs, the important factors to consider are:

  • App platform

  • Location & experience app development company

  • Team structure & technology stack

  • Features

  • App complexity

Based on these factors, the general cost to develop car rental apps like Zipcar will cost you around $20,000 to $40,000, with basic features.

Key Takeaways

Car rental mobile apps have an increasing demand. For entrepreneurs who want to develop an app like Zipcar, it is the best time to give something unique to your customers, get close to your audiences, build your customer base, and reap profits.

About the Author Sandeep Kumar is a Director at RV Technologies. Having an inclination towards software development, Sandeep always ensures to stay on top of the latest development technologies and how to implement them in real-world projects. He is always ready to share his insight with the developers so that they can also leverage the modern-day tech stack and build futuristic digital solutions for clients. Apart from overseeing all the development projects, Sandeep also likes to write down and share his insights with the world to familiarize people with the latest technologies and their potential in our everyday lives.

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