Less than you think.
It comes down to how you define clone of Uber. If you want to build a similar prototype as Uber, it is not that expensive (less than 10-15k USD depending on specific requirements).
If you want to make a CLONE of Uber, having all the advanced underlying features, then we’re talking millions of dollars (the amount of developers they have is insane).
But for this post, let us look at the elements of a prototype such as “Uber for X” (Uber for home cleaning, Uber for shipping, Uber for cooking or whatever idea you might have).
One app or multiple apps?
The difference between building one app, for instance for iOS, and building multiple apps (iOS and Android) is significant.
Building ONE app for iOS is quite simple, building multiple apps takes a lot of time and money.
So if you’re up for saving money and getting a quick prototype out, starting with one app is the way to go.
Should you build iOS or Android? It totally depends on your audience. Most Western world audiences are iOS users in 2015 (especially in wealthy areas), but there can be audiences where Android makes a lot more sense.
What elements does an Uber-like prototype have?
An app such as this usually has the following views:
- “Search view” – the view where you see possible providers close by, and a big “Order” button
- “In progress view” – the view where the work is being done
- “Order overview & history”
- “Payment methods”
The providers, the ones doing actual work, also need a view for accepting or declining the work.
It’s pretty simple if you accept it’s a prototype and you don’t need all the extra things that cost a lot of money.
This is a simple view, often based on a map, where you use Google Maps as an underlying system. It’s easy to put “providers” on a Google Maps map, and then being able to click on them.
Making a “request button” is also quite simple, and then sending out the request to 1-3 providers (depending on your needs) is also quite doable.
In progress view.
This is simple a view showing the current status of the work (in Uber, that you are being driven to somewhere or they’re about to fetch you up). Also quite simple.
Order overview & history.
A simple view showing the prior purchases and details on them. Potentially an invoice download.
Being able to select how to pay and prioritizing those payments.
Now, all this is relatively simple. The most difficult parts are the maps / GPS usage, payments and handling the distribution of work. However, none of this makes it into a 6-digit prototype, unless you have very extensive requirements.
So how much does it cost to make an Uber-like prototype?
Cheapest I’ve seen is around 5.000 USD. Closer is 10.000 USD. Some advanced versions get close to 15.000 USD. But not much more if you keep it simple.