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On Demand Businesses 101

How to beat Uber at its own game?

Uber has revolutionised the taxi industry completely. The 8 year old company has always been in news for interesting facts and rumors. Disrupting the ride hailing business, Uber baffled everyone with its unprecedented growth. Being one of the most favorite startups from this decade, Uber has had the back of all wealthy investors. However, the present scenario narrates a whole new story. With bad media coverage and lawsuits filed against it, 2017 does not seem to be a favorable time for Uber.

Stepping into the online ride hailing business at this time can turn out to be profitable. Uber’s mounting losses, recently pegged at $2.8 billion/year are outweighing its hefty valuation and growth. With its presence in more than eighty countries, its experiences are an eye opener for anyone trying to scale up their on demand business idea. Learning from Uber’s mistakes and key strategies, you can frame the right strategy for your online taxi business.

Choose the right technology

Mobile app is the most crucial part of any on demand business. It is the only interface through which your customers interact with you. Providing an intuitive and highly usable mobile app for your customers is the first step. Taxi app development can be time-consuming. To launch your taxi app in the market sooner, you can use ready-to-use SaaS based taxi booking solution. The backend Taxi Dispatch and Management system is another integral part of streamlining taxi operations. Driver app is the third element which should have features like ride assignment, route optimization and customer rating for full Uberization of your taxi service.  Tookan has an offering that will help you with all these elements for taking your taxi business mobile in the shortest amount of time.

Safety Regulations

Safety regulations are a big concern in the entire taxi industry. Uber has gone through quite a lot of incidents, majority of them being the ugly ones. Passengers in Seattle, Washington D.C. and Portland were assaulted last year. Similar incidents were reported in India and European countries. Despite myriad such incidents being reported, Uber does not follow security measures like fingerprinting in its background check process. In 2014, Uber got sued by San Francisco and Los Angeles district attorneys.

Having proper safety regulations that must have fingerprinting as a mandatory check would make a strong impact on customers. This can be an important factor in distinguishing your taxi business from Uber. The story of Cab companies in Austin, is a good case study on how a safer option took over a city after Uber and Lyft had a forced exit.

Flexible fares

You cannot keep a fixed fare model because that is not going to work always. Flexible fares can help you gain more customers and retain the existing ones. Surge pricing can only work if your fares are reasonable on other normal days. It might be a necessity, but not in times of emergencies and disasters. Uber has garnered severe criticism for surge pricing during Chelsea bomb scare and heavy snowstorms in NYC where it charged riders eight times the normal fare.

Uber`s painful surge pricing.

Better employee policies

Categorizing your drivers as self employed or contract workforce, might not go too well with law enforcing authorities and driver moral in general. Uber has found itself at the heart of controversies and driver protests in RomaniaIndia, UK along with other countries, has severely jolted its operations. So it might augur well for your business if drivers are on a regular payroll with all standard employee benefits. Not everything about Uber is wrong. You can surely  incorporate the incentives, bonuses and peak hour driving benefits which Uber has successfully done to grow its driver base. Uber’s referral program is another good case study to understand how to build a stronger driver network in short amount of time.

Uber Driver Community and Referral Program

By inculcating the strengths and avoiding mistakes of Uber, you can stay ahead of the Taxi game and compete with major players.

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