How much does it cost to develop a car rental app like Ekar?

March 22, 2023

On-demand apps are everywhere. The quality, speed, and convenience provided by these apps make on-demand a popular business model across all sectors. And one such sector is car rental. The growing market for car rentals in the UAE and other Middle East regions has increased the demand for car rental apps like Ekar by manifold.

However, it takes a lot of work and cost to develop an app like Ekar. On an average, the cost can range from $20,000 to $300,000 or even more to develop an Ekar-like car rental app. Similar is the development cost for a car marketplace app like Autotrader. But what are the factors that drive the car rental app development costs?

Let’s shed some light on the answer to this question in this article. But before that, let’s have a quick look at the Ekar business model that makes it a successful venture.

How Does Ekar App Work – The Business Model

Ekar is the Middle East’s one of the largest self-drive mobility companies, providing users on-demand access to thousands of vehicles through a click on their mobile apps. The cars can be booked by users as short-term carsharing and long-term subscription leasing.

It has a pay-as-you-drive business model wherein users have the option to pay by minute, hour, day, weekly, or monthly.

Launched in 2016 to fill the gaps in the car sharing industry, the Ekar car rental platform has so far raised over $17 million of investment and has become one of the sought-after business models in the Middle East.

How Much Does it Cost to Develop an App like Ekar?

The cost to develop an app like Ekar is more difficult to estimate than it might seem. Numerous elements have a significant impact on total cost – the app platforms, features, tech stack, team structure, and overall complexity level. Due to the fluctuating hourly rates of developers around the world, the car rental app development cost is further impacted.

With such diversity and variables affecting the car rental mobile app cost, is it impossible to predict the entire cost?

We estimate that an MVP version of the mobile app for car rentals will cost nearly $20,000 and $100,000. However, if you decide to add some sophisticated features and functionality to the app, the development cost can increase to up to $300,000 or even more.

Factors Affecting the Car Rental App Development Cost

Now, as various factors, including the platforms, features, and tech stack affect the car rental app development cost, let us try to understand all these factors in detail below.

Tech Stack

For a car rental app to stand out from rivals, it needs the most recent and cutting-edge technology stack.

  • Real-time Analytics: Apple Flink, BigData, Cisco, Spark, Hadoop
  • Database: MailChimp Integration, Postgres, HBase, MongoDB, Cassandra
  • Voice, SMS, & Phone Verification: Twilio, Nexmo
  • Payments: e-Wallets, Stripe, PayPal, Braintree
  • Cloud Environment: Azure, Google, AWS
  • Push Notifications:, Twilio

Team Structure

To develop a car rental app that can do wonders for your business, it is important you hire a competent on-demand car rental mobile app development company like Appinventiv. The company would not only have experienced and efficient developers but also a full team of managers, testers, and designers that would follow the best product development methodologies to turn your app idea into a successful reality.

The minimum team structure to develop a successful car rental app would look something like this:

  • 2-3 Android and iOS developers
  • 1 UI/UX designer
  • 1 project manager
  • 2 QA specialists

Location and Hourly Rates of the Hired App Development Agency

The hourly rates of the app developers around the world vary greatly, which affect the overall cost to develop an app like Ekar.

For instance, hiring a developer in the US might cost between $150 and $250 per hour, while in Europe, it can cost between $120 and $180. Unexpectedly, hiring a coder in India runs between $40 and $80 per hour. Not to be misunderstood, a lower price does not imply a lower level of quality. The only factor affecting the price difference is the nation’s economy.

Region Hourly Rates of Developers
US $150 – $250
Europe $120 – $180
UAE $40 – $80
India $30 – $80

Features Used in the App

Features form one of the most important factors that deeply affect the development cost of a car rental app. While incorporating basic features can amount to a low app development budget, adding few of the advanced features is a must to ensure success in the competitive can rental marketplace.

In our next section, let us understand deeply what features you should add in your Ekar-like car rental application.

The Essential Car Rental App Features

When listing the features any app must have, it is important to think of who will be using the app. The features of a car rental app must serve three types of audiences: drivers, customers, and app managers. Let us see what features are a must-have to make sure your car rental app development is booming.

For passengers

1. Two-factor authorization

Passengers should be able to register by setting a password and verifying it using email or a contact number. It will keep their information secure and safe to use in the app.

2. Customized rides

The ride settings should be customizable for the passengers. They should be able to choose their pickup and drop-off locations, the time of pickup, language, gender of the driver, etc. the app should prioritize the convenience of customers.

3. Live vehicle tracking

One should be able to track every ride from the driver’s arrival to the trip’s end. These should also be sharable as passengers would like to share the live status of the trip with their loved ones for safety purposes.

4. Payment gateway

Do not restrict your payment options. Try to incorporate as many as you can, including credit cards, debit cards, UPI, cash, app coins, etc. Know how to integrate payment gateways in mobile apps.

5. A quick trip-matching algorithm

Based on the preferences added by the customer, the app should quickly match passengers with drivers and send requests.

For drivers

1. Driver accreditation

The documents and licenses of the chauffeurs must be verified while making a profile.

2. Rides management

Give the chauffeurs some options to manage their orders, find customers, and accept/decline requests.

3. Route optimization

Optimize their maps to show the shortest route with light traffic so they can complete a ride quickly. Know how to add a geolocation in your app.

4. Language settings

Give drivers English and other local language options to operate the app.

5. Order and earning history

You can show the daily and monthly earnings on rides for every driver.

For Admin

1. Interactive dashboard

A dashboard is a must to show all in-app data in real-time in an organized manner for you to work with.

2. Content management

Admins decide what goes where and what content shows to everyone using the app.

3. Revenue management

Managers should be able to view the complete history of all transactions and their revenues.

4. Vehicle type management

Managers must get the details of the vehicles being used, their types, and their rates.

5. Bonus payment system

The admins manage bonuses, benefits, and discounts for passengers and drivers.

Advanced Features to Include in Your Car Rental App

To stay ahead in the competition and to stand out from the competition, it is critical to add some additional and advanced features to your application. To keep a check on the development cost, these features can be added post the success of the MVP launch of the car rental app.

Camera Access – An in-app camera functionality makes it easier to upload the required documents for the user that are required to rent a car. For example, driving license, ID card, and more. It will also aid in uploading a picture of any damage in the vehicle at the time of pickup. It can also help the user quickly enter the card details for payments.

CRM – A good customer service interface can take your application to a different level. Integration of CRM will enable the Admins to maintain better customer relationships while easily rolling out promotional offers, emails, newsletters, etc. Here’s a quick guide to the complete CRM implementation process for your business.

In-app Chat – The most convenient way to interact with the vehicle owners is in-app chats. Leveraging the user with different chat options like text, video, and voice chat is a feature that is liked by most of the users.

How to Develop a Car Rental App like Ekar?

The on-demand car rental app development is a multi-stage procedure. Before developing one for your business, you must consider the following KPIs.

Find Your Niche

Prior to developing an Ekar-like mobile app for car rentals, it is critical to identify your niche, assess your concept, and include vital in-app features. Consider the general plan of a car-sharing rental app and then build yours on it.

Analyze the Market

You must extensively research local features, niche tendencies, legal difficulties, competitors, and target audience and calculate how you can take up the development of a car rental app like Ekar.

Conduct Research

Compile terms of reference for designers and developers, including functional extent, framed structure, and project implementation technologies. This will help you in the development process. You must do thorough research to ensure your project concept is technically feasible before choosing an implementation strategy.

Find an App Development Company

One of your top objectives should be selecting a software developer to design and build a car rental app. How they do their job will affect how well your project turns out. Investigate the company’s tech stack, portfolio, and specialized services to put things right. After all, these professionals will put your ideas into practice.

Build an MVP

With the selected features and tech stack, the app development partner can build the minimum viable product with basic features and functionalities. Steps like backend development, API integrations, and database creation can be taken care of to get the real-time feedback of the users and to get an idea of how the app will function.

There are several car rental software available on the web with extended functionalities

Based on the MVP product functionalities and its success, the development team will work towards making the improved and final version of the application. This is the stage where the product can be tweaked based on the review and challenges observed in the MVP.

Now, while we have covered all the major factors that contribute to the car rental app development cost and also talked about the process to develop a robust on-demand car rental mobile app, it’s finally time to discuss the strategies to monetize the Ekar-like app. After all, monetization is what the ultimate goal of every app development is.

How to Monetize a Car Rental Platform like Ekar?

To make your car rental business model successful, it is important to have a strong model for revenue generation. Here are a few monetization strategies that you can adopt for your business.

Commission Base

Car owners can list their vehicles on car rental apps. In this, the app owners receive service fees in the form of a set percentage of the owners’ earnings.

Service Subscription fee

Like other on-demand services, car rentals too can apply a nominal subscription fee to provide enhanced features to their prime and valuable customers. On the other hand, the car owners who are listing their cars for sharing can be on a listing fee basis. The car owners with a higher number of listed cars can be offered discounts and special offers.

Car Rent

Businesses can rent out their own cars to app users as a direct way to make money or lease them out to drivers and employ them. Customers who pay for the trips will earn revenue for both drivers and the business.

The End Note – How can Appinventiv Help?

The car rental app market is growing at an unprecedented pace. Statista’s report for the growth of the global car rental industry between 2017 and 2025 is shown below. The total sales in the car rental market are expected to amount to $110, 894.2 million by the year 2025.

In the UAE, this sector is blooming even further. Increasing at a CAGR of 9%, the investments in the sector keep coming in. The self-driving car rental segment is further growing at the fastest rate in the car rental industry, with a CAGR of 12.4%.

Looking at this current and future market landscape of the car rental industry, it is only the best time for you to enter the space with a banging mobile application. However, to develop a robust application, you must partner with an experienced on-demand app development company like Appinventiv.

With almost a decade in the industry, we have the experience and resources to convert your app idea into a successful reality. For instance, for one of our clients, Bluemint Labs, we built a transformational on-demand app, ActiDrive. The app was created to enable a safe driving experience by providing a completely touch-free setup on the driver’s mobile devices. The cloud-based application also tracks and records the trips for easy navigation with intuitive gesture-recognition technology.

Reach out to us for queries and chalk out an idea, and we shall be able to help you build your car rental software.


Q. What are the benefits of having a car rental app for my business?

A. Making a car rental app for your business can have many benefits. It allows transparency of ride details, provides automatic rate calculation, makes renting cars a convenient process, and improves customer satisfaction, among other things.

Q. What advanced features should a car rental app have?

A. You can allow in-app calls and panic buttons for the safety of both the customers and the drivers, so they do not have to share their real numbers and can notify managers immediately in case of an emergency. Allow easy accessibility and design a comprehensive app for a better user experience.

Q. What is the revenue model of car rental apps?

A. The revenue streams for car rental apps flow through

  • Passengers- who pay for the trip
  • Drivers- are charged for commission
  • Surge pricing- in case of situations of a longer-than-expected ride due to weather conditions, traffic, etc
  • In-app advertising- brands get customers from your advertisement, and you gain profits.
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