April 13, 2018

Starting a new car rental business has never been an easy task. Even such giants like Hertz and Avis had always experienced tough competition. Technologies have changed this market just like every other. It is safe to say that all the major players already have web and mobile applications that give users access to the vast range of car hire services on their computers or smartphones. Because of that, their customers can do all the same as if they have visited the company’s office. So, the question is no longer whether your business should have a web portal with the full functionality but what is the cost and timeline of car rental application development including both mobile and web applications.

List of Contents

THE CAR RENTAL INDUSTRY TODAY

The peer-to-peer car rental applications like Turo have made every vehicle owner a competitor for the regular providers of these services. Offering the same benefits like insurance, they often have lower prices and much wider coverage, turning every garage into a small car hire company. Something very similar happened with taxi services because applications like Uber have removed intermediator between vehicle owners and their direct customers.

What is very similar between Turo and Uber is that those apps are making the process of renting an auto or calling a cab as accessible as never before. Anybody with a smartphone or computer connected to the internet can get a required service without the need to leave their home, go to local rental services, making calls, entering their credit card numbers, etc. Moreover, every vehicle owner or Uber driver has become the first line of support able to answer simple questions like details about the vehicle or the route.

WHO ARE THE MAJOR PLAYERS ON THE MARKET

For this comparison, we will take two well-known companies and have a closer look at the services available for their customers online via the web application or mobile app.

hertz car rental web application screenshot

The Hertz Corporation founded in 1918 is one of the oldest and most successful car rental businesses ever created. From their HQ in Florida, Hertz operates more than 9,700 international corporate and franchise locations. With almost 6 million unique website visitors per month and dozens of millions of downloads from Google Play and App Store, Hertz has proven themselves as an example of successful digital transformation and migrated a huge part of their business to the web, which now generates a significant part of their revenue.

Avis car rental web application home page screenshot

Avis – just like Hertz, has become a generic name for the car rental business. Since the foundation in 1946 Avis has grown into a worldwide company with approximately 5,550 locations in dozens of countries. Website Avis.com generates almost 4 million unique monthly visitors. The well developed and organized web portal allows Avis to spread its business far beyond their offices and give their potential customers convenient access to all the services online. Also, what is very important for our research, Avis has purchased the car-sharing service Zipcar – which very similar to mentioned above Turo in 2013. They did this to penetrate the peer-to-peer applications market with the subsidiary company. This means, that despite Avis strong positions on the market, company leadership understands the importance of holding their hand on the pulse of the latest technology trends and experiment with various business models.

WHAT UNITES THE WEBSITES AND APPLICATIONS OF THE CAR RENTAL MARKET LEADERS

Companies are trying to make their best to keep up with the competition. To do that, they have to develop user-friendly and easy to use the web and mobile applications. A simple website with basic information and, for example, a list of available cars, is not enough anymore. The company’s website has, at least, to offer booking, selection of the type of vehicles, tracing of the available ones, online payment, and some extra services. People are used to booking the flight tickets, hotel rooms, and many other services online via web portals or mobile applications and pay everything online in advance by the credit cards to make sure that their room or vehicle is waiting for them in the right place and at the exact time.

WHAT FEATURES ARE NECESSARY FOR THE CAR RENTAL APPLICATION

Now let’s have a look at the Hertz mobile application and the Avis web portal to define what modern car rental system should look like.

Hertz application for mobile devices

Hertz car rental mobile application home page screenshot

The Hertz car rental application is rather simplistic yet includes all the needed functionality. It has a very clean and good looking design. Both mobile and web based car rental applications have a very similar backend with the shared database so the entire car rental reservation system provides users with most of the functions available at hertz.com web portal.
Hertz car rental mobile application parking location and car booking screenshots

As you can see, users can find nearby parking, get information about special offers, log in to their account to see the history of their past activities, change their contact information, and finally, rent a vehicle.

Also, it has a pre-booking feature where you choose between available parking, time and date and the type of car to be sure that your vehicle will be waiting for you when you arrive.

The car rental business software works really smooth and delivers great user experience and convenience in everything related to the services. Customers have access to all needed information, such as the address of their pick-up spot and the reservation number in one place. Both Avis and Hertz have mobile car rental apps that help their customers to benefit from their services on mobile devices wherever they want.

Avis car rental web application

Despite the significant dominance of mobile applications in social networks and news aggregators, people still prefer computers when they make complex banking operations, book flight tickets or hotel rooms and rent a car. Both Hertz and Avis have a great interface of the car rental system which represents all their services to the customers online.

Now, let’s have a look at how Avis.com web application deals with the full-cycle of the renting services just as Hertz’s website and mobile car rental booking software do.

Avis car rental web application home page screenshot

First of all, it provides a possibility to rent a vehicle online, select a time and date, choose a pick-up location and many other options. The booking can be prepaid online in by the credit card associated with the account or by other available payment methods.

Car choice screen

After you have chosen time and date for your reservation, Avis gives you plenty of choices between different vehicle types available at the selected parking, vehicle classes, price range, etc. Basically, it shows everything that anybody would need to make a conscious choice. As you can see, the information on the screen can address all driver’s criteria like fuel consumption, number of seats, transmission type, etc.

upcoming car reservation screen

A very informative customer profile is also there. In this section, you can track your past and upcoming reservations, adjust profile settings, etc. Profile, where customers can see the full story of their actions is a must for all types of services regardless whenever this is hotel booking, car hire service or even an eCommerce platform. Avis places the most important information in front of the user right away, so it can be obtained in a quick and easy manner.

CAR RENTAL APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT COST

Now, when we have an understanding which features are necessary to develop a car rental business software, we can roughly say what should be under the hood (back-end) of such car rental application.

We are not going to detail the features or try to make an exhaustive list of functionalities, our purpose is to have an estimate of the cost of developing an actual car rental reservation software from scratch.

Backend logics:

  • Manage vehicle availability
  • Manage membership: affiliation management, vehicle owners management, members management
  • Role management: administration of the backend, role-based management
  • Manage the front-end (content insertion, information update, etc.)
  • Manage booking system: options (pick off or drop out locations, price management – low seasons, high seasons, etc.)  
  • Contract management

Booking features: search for available vehicles, use of filters (price, vehicle model, time, pick off and drop out locations, etc.):

  • Reservation and billing
  • Research by filters
  • Cancellation
  • Confirmation
  • Postpone

Online payments:

  • Refund
  • Payment and invoice

Other features:

  • Android and iOS mobile applications
  • Rating system
  • Monitoring
  • Support and message handling
  • Pricing system
  • Membership management for vehicle owners and partners
  • Membership management for tenants
  • Cloud-based services

Based on our estimation:

  • 2 backend developers working full time for 6 months charge $80/h = $153,600
  • 1 front-end developer working full time for 4 months charges $80/h = $51,200
  • 1 android developer working full time for 4 months charges $80/h = $51,200
  • 1 iOS developer working full time for 4 months charges $90/h = $57,600
  • 1 graphic designer working full time for 4 months charges $60/h = $38,400
  • 2 QA engineers working full time for 6 months charge $70/h = $124,400
  • 1 PM who manages the project from design to project launch for 6 months charges $100/h = $96,000
  • 1 System Administrator working full time for 2 weeks charges $70/h = $5,600

A car rental application will cost approximately $588,000.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO DEVELOP A CAR RENTAL APPLICATION IN DIFFERENT LOCATIONS

SpecialistNumber of Devs.Months of EngagementUS Hourly RateWestern Europe
Hourly Rate
Eastern Europe
Total Cost$588 000$453 600$191 440
Back-end developer26806525
Android developer12806030
iOS developer12907031
Front-end developer12806530
Graphic designer12605025
QA engineer26705520
Project manager161006530
System Administrator11/2705025

IN CONCLUSION

Major players in this market have already moved part of their business to the Internet thus the significant part of their revenue is generated through the online channels. The rest of car rental companies, including those who work locally, have to provide their customers with fully-functioning web portals and applications for mobile devices to keep up with the competition. Especially this is important if you’re going to start a new business.

During our research, we came to the conclusion that it would cost about $588,000 to develop a web based car reservation system alongside the Android and iOS mobile apps that duplicate its main features. The final product can cost much less with the same high level of quality if developed in some of the offshore locations. The car rental app development process can take approximately 6 months from the moment of creation of the Functional Requirements Specifications Document to the product launch.

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Existek is a professional offshore software development company with vast expertise in the development of robust applications. If you need to build your own web-based software or get the estimate for your development costs, contact us directly and we will be glad to help you.