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 applications and mobile applications that give users access to the vast range of car rental 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 web portal with the full functionality but to know how much car rental application and web application would cost and how long does it take to develop it.

List of Contents

 

THE CAR RENTAL INDUSTRY TODAY

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

What is very similar between Turo and Uber is that those apps are making the process of renting a car 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 number etc. Moreover, every car owner or Uber driver has become the first line of support able to answer the 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 car rental 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 Hertz 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 franchisee locations. With almost 6 millions of 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 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

Avisjust like Hertz, has become a generic name for the car rental business. Since the foundation in 1946 Avis has grown into the worldwide company with approximately 5,550 locations in dozens of countries. Website Avis.com generates almost 4 millions of unique monthly visitors. The well developed and organized web portal allows Avis to spread their business far beyond their offices and give their potential customers a 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 peer-to-peer applications market with the subsidiary company. This means, that despite Avis strong positions on the market, company leadership understands the importance 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 THE MARKET LEADERS

Car rental companies are trying to make their best to keep up with the competition. To do that, they have to create very user-friendly and easy to use web and mobile applications. A simple website with the basic information and, for example, list of available cars, is not enough anymore. Car rental company website has, at least, to offer a car booking, selection of the type of the car, tracing of the available cars, online payment, and some extra services. People are used to book 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 car is waiting for them in the right place and 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 online service should look like.

Hertz application for the 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 very clean and good looking design. Mobile application and web application have very similar back-end with the shared database so the app provides users with the 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 parkings, 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 car.

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

The app works really smooth and delivers great user experience and convenience in everything related to the car rental 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 applications that help their customers to benefit from their services on the mobile devices wherever they want.

Avis car rental web application

Despite the significant dominance of the 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 web interface which represents all their services to the customers online.

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

 

Avis car rental web application home page screenshot

First of all, it provides a possibility to rent a car online, select a time and the 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 choise screen of the car rental web application

After you have choose time and date for your reservation, Avis gives you a plenty of choices between different car 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 of the car rental web application

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 the must for all types of services regardless whenever this is hotel booking, car rental 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 quick and easy manner.

COST OF EACH FEATURE DEVELOPMENT

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

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

 

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

TABLE OF THE COST

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

CONCLUSION: HOW LONG WOULD IT TAKE AND HOW MUCH DOES IT COST

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 customer with fully-functioning web portals and applications for the 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 car rental web application alongside with 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 develop it in some of the offshore locations. The 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.