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On-demand app development

A Comprehensive Guide to On-demand App Development

On-demand economy is on its way to achieve sustainability after existence of over a decade. The investors are confidently pouring money because the advancement in technology is enabling on-demand startups in eliminating venture funding. Studies indicate that this economy will be generating profits by 2025 owing to the advent of electric and autonomous mobility as well as mini-drones. Thus, on-demand app development is all set to payback its investors.

This article classifies various types of on-demand apps including the subcategories in each. It also shares the components of on-demand service platforms. Finally, the text shares methodologies for planning and on-demand app development.

Classification of On-demand Apps


Ride-hailing industry is the pioneer of on-demand economy. For this reason, the industry is more mature than other on-demand players. Although achieving sustainability seemed far-fetched when Uber initiated in 2009, yet the remarkable penetration of electric car and high probability of autonomous cars ensure that the industry will be self-sustainable by 2025. ODTap classifies ride-hailing on-demand app solutions into three primary categories.

On-demand Taxi

This is the first ride-hailing model launched in 2009. Although at least three startups are believed to be the pioneers, yet only Uber managed to survive. This business model initially required startups to own vehicle fleet. However, on-demand taxi startups soon attracted independent vehicle owners to register their vehicle for ride-hailing in exchange of a share in commission. The success of Uber in obtaining funding pulled more entrepreneurs to invest resulting in the emergence of this industry.


The success of on-demand taxi model also pushed investors to introduce car rental on-demand. Such a business model was different from usual car rental businesses because:

1. Users can seek vehicles for durations as short as an hour.
2. The rental company drives the vehicle to users’ location of choice.
3. Users can leave the vehicle in any car parking within the geo-fence.
4. Users can pay via in-app credit wallet.

These abilities also enabled some startups to introduce scooter sharing services. The introduction of electric scooters makes this model highly sustainable.


Many studies conducted on increasing traffic congestion in urban areas reveal that over 80% of vehicles in downtowns in the morning have only one seat occupied. Thus, ride-hailing industry came up with a successful business idea of carpooling. This model enables passengers to book a seat instead of reserving entire vehicle. Ride With Via is the first successful startup in carpooling business. Later, Uber and Lyft also launched their versions called UberPool and Shared Ride, respectively.

Food on-demand

One of the business models with highest success probability is on-demand food delivery. The growth of this industry is no less than a wildfire with 20% projected growth rate. At this incredible rate, the worldwide food delivery industry will reach $365 billion by 2030. The implications are quite visible now. Consumers, particularly millennial and later generations are inclined more to seek food on-demand.

Restaurants are also partnering with on-demand startups to ensure cost-effective access to consumers. For this reason, statistics forecast $1231 million worth of restaurant to consumer delivery. Apart from cooked and baked meal delivery, grocery on-demand businesses are also leading toward self-sustainability. Instacart is one of the most notable examples.

Parcel Delivery

The existence of parcel delivery services between businesses and consumers and among peers is around for decades. However, on-demand model has disrupted the traditional businesses and replaced them with highly consumer-friendly model. Analysts forecast the market size to reach $544 billion by 2023. Most noteworthy examples include:

On-demand C2C delivery

A consumer sending a parcel to a peer by using an on-demand app makes up the basis of this model. Both peers can track the delivery agent in real-time while receiver can pay via multiple payment options including virtual in-app wallet.

On-demand B2B delivery

Two businesses can utilize third party services to ensure timely delivery of goods. For instance, a manufacturer can send goods to distributor who further supplies them to retailers. Keeping a fleet is expensive. Thus, businesses seek services of B2B delivery startups.

On-demand B2C delivery

This model occurs most frequently as its demand is higher than both the prior mentioned ones. Grocery delivery also falls into this type. Owing to the excessively high demand, entrepreneurs are taking more interest in on-demand delivery app development.

Home Services Instant Apps

The traditional businesses providing home services allow the owners to charge consumers as much as they want. There is little or no quality checks at all. On-demand home services empower customers to address these problems. Besides, security is no longer a problem since details of gig worker remain with service providing company.

The businesses offering home services are likely to attain sustainability sooner because these businesses are not assumption-based. In essence, gig workers in home services obtain far more commission than ride-hailing because a percentage of ride-hailing commission goes to vehicle owner.

Some of the most notable startups include Handy and TaskRabbit. The statistics from the past couple of years indicate that consumers are more likely to acquire services including cleaning, home repair, laundry, at-home patient and children care, relocation, and tech troubleshooting.

On-demand Healthcare

Until 2013, entrepreneurs remained largely unwilling to invest in healthcare on-demand business startups. The lengthy regulatory requirements discouraged them. However, a number of startups emerged since 2013 as the industry is maturing. On-demand app development in healthcare managed to grab hundreds of millions in venture funding. On-demand healthcare business models include:

At-home Doctor

Using on-demand services, patients are not only able to seek services at home but also access them remotely. Although video conferencing is older than on-demand model, yet the introduction of Augmented Reality technology is making services more attractive. The areas with poor doctor to patient ratio can also utilize on-demand services to fill the void.

Nurse On-demand

The median age in the US will increase by five percentage points from current 37.8 in the next two decades. The aging population requires corresponding growth in the number of nurses and nannies. Startups do not necessarily need separate on-demand app development for nurses and doctors. Both can be offered in the same app.


Tele-health and telemedicine are not confined to seeking doctor’s advice over the phone. Instead, research and development in AI and big data enables us to make software as intelligent as humans or even more. The patients can access recommendations as well as pay through app. Moreover, patients can also access their entire medical history since the time they start using an app.

EMS Dispatch

On-demand medical transportation services are gaining significant attention because they are backed by governments as well. Such startups have relaxation in rules for registration. These companies are proving to be more attractive not only for investors but welfare organizations as well. Stat and Ambulnz are two of the notable examples.

On-demand Real Estate

The report from Census Bureau reveals that Americans sold 646,000 houses in June 2019. Even this massive number speaks only a fraction about the volume of business in real estate because most of aspirants make purchases after searching extensively.

An on-demand real estate app should be capable of showing the most relevant listings based on users limitations. The app should also incorporate VR technology so that users can visit houses virtually. The users highly rate this feature since it saves their time consumed in on-premises physical visit. On-demand app development for real estate should ensure that app offers automated management of customer relationship and accounts. Besides, in-app communication and consultancy fee payments are also crucial.

Beauty On-demand

Beauty apps provide stylists and beauticians with a platform to connect to customers. These apps are rapidly eliminating the existence of brick and mortar beauty salons. Instead, they are enabling customers to acquire services at home with only a few taps on smartphones. The stylists also prefer to provide on-demand services owing to the fact that on-demand industry pays more for same amount of work.

Moreover, the existing parlors often pay on-demand beauty app owners to get featured in their search results. Beauty experts tend to adopt on-demand services business model to avoid costs of maintaining costly parlors.
The success of on-demand beauty apps depend on the complimentary features available in app. Thus, you may provide AI based virtual makeup which enables users to determine the appearance actual makeover. Sephora AR app already offers such feature.

Construction Services

Although these services fall into the category of on-demand home services, yet the impressive potential and market size make construction services worthy enough of mentioning separately. This Uber for construction model is successful mainly because customers are able to connect with registered service providers whose service quality widely varies. They can choose the provider of their choice.

This is a marketplace model where your app does the job of providing gateway to customers and providers. You may offer them your own construction services if you have an established construction business. Either way, on-demand apps serve a massive purpose.

On-demand Service Platform

Regardless of the underlying business model that you choose to adopt, every on-demand app service has to have four distinct modules. Although you may choose to acquire customer app only, yet the state of competition demands providing a comprehensive dispatch platform with separate apps for customers and service providers. Moreover, admin and dispatch panels ensure a huge competitive advantage over potential rivals. Following four integrated modules collectively form a complete on-demand dispatch platform.

on-demand services platform

Customer App

An app for customers is inevitable for on-demand business. Customers are able to seek services at the location of their choice by following a simple procedure. The entire process takes only a few seconds in normal circumstances. Some of the features of customer apps include:

• Distinct profile of user
• Schedule a service
• Track agent in real-time
• Pay via multiple payment methods
• Share feedback about service agent
• Encrypted chat
• Instant notifications
• History of previous engagements

These services are part of every on-demand service app. However, there are some features which are specific to the business model. For instance, ride-hailing app can offer proximity search to find out the nearest drivers. Beauty on-demand may provide AR-powered makeover. ODTap on-demand platform offers each of these essential features apart from some specific features too. You may choose to add as many details as you want.

Service Agent App

Before the on-demand era, businesses used to offer at-home services by scheduling over phone call. For instance, the process of scheduling and dispatching a radio taxi consumed sizable time. Service agent app enables the businesses to instantly accept the request and dispatch the suitable agent. Such an app must provide following features:

• Real-time route planning
• Automatic Commission calculation
• Instant change in availability status
• Details of service customer
• Profile and history of earning
• Real-time Communication with customer
• Feedback about customer

Like customer app, you can also provide drivers with the ability to see the nearby drivers. This feature enables them to relocate to a position where there is higher probability of getting a job. Service agent app capacitates agents to accept multiple jobs simultaneously besides tracking their existing tasks and managing calendar.

Super Admin

As a business owner, you must be craving to witness the progress of your on-demand services. Super admin provides the top level view of operations in real-time with its extensive dashboard. It shares the details of every ride including the ones currently under progress, the scheduled ones, and the past ones. Moreover, it also shares the performance insights regarding each worker.

Super Admin has the authority to block or allow gig agents and consumers. This feature is vital to maintain quality in services. The admin also carries the responsibility to redefine geo-fence and access day-long earnings. You can also access Super Admin via mobile for its mobile responsive backend.

The dashboard comprises interactive graphs, tables and charts. The ability to view entire operations via an insightful dashboard ensures that consumers can be served quickly and effectively.

Service Provider Panel

Service agents do not necessarily have to have an app. They can also perform all the activities of service agent app through a web panel. A company or an individual agent can set up a profile and get registered after verification of uploaded documents. They can accept and manage rides, activate real-time notifications and access history of each job.

The agents can access complete breakdown of their daily earnings including the commission percentage. They can select from a wide range of payment reception options. Although mobile apps provide portability, yet web panel is also a comprehensive solution for service providers.

On-demand App Development Methodology

In over ten years of mobile app development history in general and on-demand app development in particular, ODTap evolved its methodology to adopt advanced techniques, tools, and frameworks. The current development methodology comprises extensive market analysis and agile framework.

Market Analysis

Every on-demand app requires broad market analysis to understand behavior of consumers, their interests and motivational factors, and challenges that they face and can be solved through on-demand services. This outcome of this research on consumers is referred to as buyer persona. In essence, the results enable us to determine the choices of ideal consumers.

Apart from consumer assessment, market analysis also engulfs competitor analysis. Competitors are the companies which provide same on-demand services in the market also being targeted by you.

Determine the Targeted Niche

There are a proportion of people that would be interested in acquiring your services. This proportion includes the consumers who currently use services from a competitor and the ones who do not use on-demand services but carry prospects to use it in future. Determining the niche implies finding the kind of people that would be interested in your services.

Niche includes individuals with varying prospects. However, buyer persona implies the most ideal candidates that you would want to be the customers. Crafting buyer persona requires determining socioeconomic conditions, problems in the existing solutions, and the age group that carries highest prospects to convert into customers.

Competitor Analysis

Even in the most fiercely contested markets, you can push your business way up on top within the first couple of years by determining the shortcomings of existing players. For instance, Lyft attracted customers by advertising their campaign regarding ethical treatment of drivers. This campaign worked well because Uber – the only notable competitor at the time was widely alleged for mistreatment of drivers.

Similarly, Ride With Via introduced carpooling model by observing its absence in Uber and Lyft. Grubhub started to deliver food specific to religions and cultures to expand inclusiveness. Flirtey found the limitations in ground-based last-mile delivery services and introduced mini-drones based delivery.

There are cases where competitors are too efficient to allow any new player. Nevertheless, targeting the relevant customers and using appropriate marketing techniques ensure that you grab a considerable portion of market share.

Business Model Refinement

There must be some business objectives that you intend to achieve. You may also have limitations in the budget and time. This stage of refinement develops a feasibility study to determine the time required to achieve targets and on-demand app development cost. The experts at ODTap develop business use cases for you after assessing your prospective revenue stream. They also prioritize the tasks to build the essential use cases first followed by less crucial ones.

Also read: Emerging On-demand Startups Challenging their Superior Rivals

The result is in shape of complete UML diagrams depicting use cases, dataflow, and network flow. This feasibility study is shared with clients for approval before commencing development phase.

Agile On-demand App Development Framework

The conclusion of market analysis and approval of outcomes from feasibility study allow us to begin the app development. At ODTap, the developers apply Agile Methodology to work on various modules. Agile allows them to perform development and testing simultaneously to eliminate errors as they occur.

This technique prevents huge amount of errors and unintended behavior in app as the deadline approaches near. Hence, Agile does not only prevent project failure but also ensure that you save time for subsequent stages.

Prototype Development

Prototyping enables us to share the appearance and functionality of app with you ahead of its development. The frontend developers design wireframes – the pages showing the appearance including color scheme, theme, and utilization of spaces. The designers develop a number of wireframes corresponding to the type of business so that you may choose the one most appealing to you.

Also read: A Guide to On-demand Mobile Apps for New Entrepreneurs

Apart from wireframes, prototypes also demonstrate the behavior of buttons and menus. This dynamic behavior provides the actual environment of app unlike wireframes which are static.

Sprint Development and Testing

This is the phase where agile plays the most crucial role. The developers perform development and testing simultaneously in distinct sprints. They strive to build predetermined modules in each sprint. This strategy is beneficial at multiple levels.

1. It enables managers to keep track of progress.
2. It allows teams to uniformly distribute tasks.
3. Each error is fixed in the same sprint within which it occurs.
4. The short span meetings on start of the day ensure that every member is on the same page.

Software Quality Assurance

Software QA engineers perform most of the quality assurance tasks while development is underway. For instance, they ensure that developed modules comply with industrial standards and do not pose any data security vulnerability. Moreover, SQA provide validation of app. In essence, it ensures that app fulfills end users’ needs. This is crucial because an app is useless regardless of its efficiency or appearance if it does not demonstrate the intended behavior.

ODTap SQA engineers conduct formal technical review (FTR), maintain change management and develop documentation to eliminate non-compliance of standards. Thus, the aim of SQA is to provide flawless experience to user without breaching international app development standards.

Take a look at ODTap Case Studies

Deployment, Integration, and Maintenance

The successful development and testing of each module and conclusion of final sprint follow the integration of all modules. Once the app is fully integrated, the developers deploy it so that it becomes a part of your business architecture. This deployment requires integration with preexisting servers.

Although the probability of bug is very small as evident from past case studies, yet ODTap provides maintenance if you identify a bug or any unintended behavior associated to any module.

ODTap is the leader in on-demand app development since 2015. Our teams have developed apps in 14 distinct industries. We would like to become your technology partner too. Contact us today with your business idea and our experts will do their magic.

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