As a full-time city dweller, you might have noticed some new wheels among the crowds of cars. You can see them everywhere, whether you’re fighting boredom in a traffic jam somewhere in NYC or visiting Amsterdam. It’s 2019, and bicycle rental apps have finally gained momentum.
A mobile bike-sharing app allows users to locate and rent bikes via their smartphones. Ease-of-use, affordability, third-party integrations, eco-friendliness, and support from local authorities are only a few reasons why an app for bike-sharing is a great startup idea in 2019.
In this post, we’ll examine the most popular bike rental applications, define the key functions of a successful bicycle sharing app, and go over the development stages and monetization models.
Core Features of a Mobile Bike Rental Application
There is no doubt that standing out from the pack is a key to success in any business. However, the basics always come first. To help you figure out where to start, we’ve rounded up a list of features that any successful app-based bike rental must include.
Any popular bike-sharing service app owes its success to the integrated GPS feature, which allows users to find a vacant bike in the immediate vicinity. With all the necessary information at their fingertips, your customers won’t have to manually look for the location to rent a bike and thus will dedicate more time for riding itself.
QR code integration
To make your bike-sharing system app competitive today it must have a QR code scanner set in place so customers can easily unlock a bike. This procedure usually includes scanning a QR code on the bike, receiving an unlock code on the app, and entering it on the bike’s lock.
A poor payment procedure can taint the image of your e-bike sharing app. To this effect, it is critical to make the payment feature as straightforward as possible. Make sure that your customers can get the exact amount on the screen, check it, and submit funds to transfer within the application. It’s also advisable to integrate multiple payment methods.
Strategy is Crucial For the Success of Your Bicycle Rental App
A fully functional mobile app bike-sharing service can’t be created right off the bat. A clear, carefully considered strategy is crucial for the success of your bicycle rental application.
Step 1. Define your niche
It is important to define your niche and stick with it. There are a few ways to make this possible:
- Pick your personal favorite. A bike-sharing platform or a motorcycle renting app? Choose what you like most and make an application based on it.
- Do research. Explore your target audience and identify their current needs.
- Check the environment. Some cities might not have enough appropriate space to fit all bike stations. Also, the poor reliability of power supply in particular areas can be a serious obstacle to running an electric bike rental app. So check the infrastructure capabilities first.
Step 2. Define key and additional features of your app
While a standard set of features can make your personalized bike rental app a ‘clone’ to other bike-sharing service providers, additional features can transform it into a unique e-bike rental app that stands out from the crowd. Since this is what we are aiming for, the following features might come in handy:
- Bike reservations. Enable your customers to reserve a bike in advance so they are never late to their destinations.
- Customer support service. Allow riders to get in touch with your customer service team whenever they are facing a problem.
- Smart lock. Let your clients avoid using a traditional QR code system by unlocking the bike automatically as they approach.
- Trip details. Provide your users with better insight into their journey with map-view and detailed trip data (mileage, speed, time, etc.).
- Social media integration. Attract more customers by giving riders a chance to share their cycling experience with friends on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
The points listed above are the most frequently recommended features that an app should have, whether it is an electric bike-sharing app or motorcycle rental share app.
Step 3. Plan the development schedule
To bring your idea to life and make sure your app works without a glitch, planning a development schedule is of paramount importance. Regardless of your feature list and design preferences, the process of bike-sharing app development must always include the following stages:
Step 4. Plan to scale your project
If you are looking to build a perfect bicycle rental app, make sure you map out the scalability opportunities of your bike-sharing solution before it gets to the market.
Scalability is the ability of a mobile application to handle a growing number of users while delivering the same user experience. By providing your riders with a scalable app for bike-sharing, you can also minimize the number of errors, improve service, and reduce maintenance costs.
There are two main varieties of scalability — vertical and horizontal scaling.
- Vertical scaling refers to adding more resources to a single unit. For example, it may involve adding memory and power to the physical machine that is running a server or to optimizing the application code.
- Horizontal scaling involves adding more processing units to the server or database to decrease the load on every single unit.
How Much Does It Cost to Develop a Bike Rental App?
Since all mobile applications differ in terms of functionality, design, etc., bike rental app development pricing tags may differ dramatically. Whether you are going to launch a rental motorcycle app, an e-bike sharing platform, or an e-scooter rental mobile project, these are the main factors that affect the price.
In terms of software development, your tech stack is the set of tools used to develop an application — including programming languages, frameworks, backend/frontend solutions, etc. The cost of developing an app will highly depend on whether you go with a one-screen app for a single platform or build a fully functional app for both Android and iPhone users.
Set of Professionals
The price of your bike-sharing service app will also rely on the level of expertise you are looking for in the development team. Depending on what kind of app you want to launch, the team structure (and the price) may vary. Either way, a basic rental app requires the following team structure:
- Project Manager
- Front-end Developers
- Back-end Developers
- UX/UI Designers
- QA Testers
Always preceded by design (UX/UI) and followed by testing, launching, and maintaining, the development is the process of actually creating your application. Regardless of the complexity and the set of features involved, the standard app development stages are as follows:
- Back-end/server technology development
- API building
- Front-end creation
With all these factors taken into account, an average cost to develop a basic app for bike-sharing may start at $25,000 and go up to $80,000.
How to Monetize Your Bike Rental App
When it comes to bike rental apps, there are a few monetization strategies to be taken into consideration.
- In-app ads. You can advertise third-party products. Still, it’s recommended to avoid multiple banners or ads and go for native advertising instead, which can be naturally woven into the application context.
- Paid model. Since a lot of users consider ads to be annoying, this one is a good alternative to the previous strategy. Offer clients an ads-free version of your app for a reasonable amount of money.
- Freemiums. If you like an idea with paid apps but don’t want to risk, you can try the “freemium” model, which includes a free app version with a basic set of features and a set of premium (paid) ones that offer more advanced user experience for your app.
- White labeling. In business terms, a “white label product” is something produced by one company and then sold under a different brand. If you want to build a seamless application but marketing isn’t what you want to dedicate resources to, you can contact with some well-established brand in your niche and launch app under their name.
- In-app purchases. In-app purchases are products and services, which can be purchased from inside an application.
Popular Bike Rental Apps: What Makes Them Successful?
Сompetitive analysis is always critical. We’ve rounded up a few of the most renowned bike and scooter rental applications and identified what makes them successful.
A combination of sharing economy and smart appliances, Ofo is the first bike-sharing app to implement a dockless renting system. Its low cost and ability to park bikes anywhere (no need to look for designated stations) make Ofo the most successful bike-sharing app to date.
With more than 750 bike stations, Citi Bike is a great companion to explore a big city. Using its in-app navigation system, the app conducts the route planning and, as a partner of the Scoop app, provides a list of recommended restaurants, cafes, events, and beyond.
Lime is one of the most buzzworthy bike and e-scooter sharing applications. Available in 50+ cities, Lime enables riders to unlock the scooters by simply entering their ID, reserve them in advance, and after the ride requires users to take a picture of the scooter to ensure it is parked properly.
Taking into account the unprecedented popularity of eco-friendly transportation, launching a bike rental app is a great solution in 2019. While no one today is surprised by the standard functions, the customer support, book-in-advance, smart lock, and check-out-your-journey features are sure to make your application stand out.
Bringing such a project to life is not difficult if you know your customer, competition, set of features, and development plan. If you are ready to start your bike rental app business and make a splash with your own innovative solutions, Lotasoft is at your service.
With a full-stack development service package for startups and enterprises, we can help you build an app with straightforward navigation and a set of exclusive features — just send us a request and we’ll bring your most innovative ideas to life!
Check out our project reel to see how proficient Lotasoft developers are in using diverse technology stacks and integrating innovative features. To discuss your next project, leave us a message — our developers will offer a fresh perspective and ideas of how to bring your vision to life.