“The Sharing Economy” has been around for a long time in terms of the tech world. The sharing economy runs the gamut from famous companies like AirBnB to Uber and TaskRabbit and is basically ordinary people sharing (for a price) a service or product they own. Hey, do you have a great idea for mobile?
As with everything in the tech industry that is older than 2 months, the sharing economy is currently undergoing an evolution. Uber and AirBnB operate on 2 major principles:
1. You have a service or product that is needed;
a. With AirBnB, it’s a roof and a bed; with Uber, it’s a guaranteed ride.
2. You have the time and availability to provide that service.
However, some new entrepreneurs are making some waves and changing how we think of the sharing economy. Ventures like RelayRide adhere to the first principle mentioned above, but twist the second one on its head. The SF-native company realized that there were plenty of people with cars sitting around, but no time to drive people around.
The solution? A business that allows you to rent your car to someone else. This type of peer-to-peer service is a pretty revolutionizing way in which to view the world and has huge potential. Thinking of car sharing or car pooling? Wee, why not. Get your custom made iPhone app started with experts who know what’ll work for you.
Think about it – most people in the States have a standard 40 hour a week job; most of us have vehicles; what’s your car doing right now? My guess – sitting in the parking lot and, if you live in California, getting unseasonably hot.
RelayRides is a car sharing service based in San Francisco turns your car into a money making machine. Instead of waiting for you to need it, you can rent out your car to travellers or the car-less who need to go shopping. Hire San Francisco development team to build your next project. Make a dash before Halloween.
You can even rent out your car to Uber for drivers who don’t have their own vehicle. Pretty clever, right? Imagine, your car is making you money while you work. Considering the $400 dollars a month I spend on gas, my car making me money would be a welcomed change!
So what’s behind this push towards car sharing apps, in-car and carpool apps we are seeing in the tech world? Let’s take a look at some driving factors.
The U.S. has a storied fascination with cars. For nearly as long as there have been cars, Americans have been obsessed. Considering that the U.S. is barely behind China in auto sales, it is safe to say that cars and technologies relating to cars still play a huge role in the modern American psyche.
With this in mind, perhaps it is no surprise that Car sharing, carpooling and in-car apps are taking off like crazy. Even though non-U.S. competitors are coming up with some pretty cool new tech, the best stuff is right here in Silicon Valley. And anyone who’s spent 2 hours in Valley traffic to go 20 miles is incredibly grateful for anything that eases our driving time.
We’ve spoken previously about the importance of opportunity and observation. RelayRides is the perfect demonstration of this concept. They saw an opportunity to expand a market that, at the time of the company’s origin, barely even existed. It’s exactly how every entrepreneur should think.
In 2009, Uber got its start and shortly thereafter it’s competitors started to appear as well (i.e. Sidecar and Lyft). RelayRides had the opportunity to establish itself as a competitor Shelby Clark, the founder of this car sharing app and website, launched in 2010, but was being built right around the same time as Uber.
Instead, Shelby Clark (anyone else amused that he shares a name with the famous Muscle car?) pivoted his business. It wouldn’t be a competitor to Uber and its ilk; it would be a provider.
Clark’s decision not to compete directly proved to be a wise one. Both SideCar and Lyft have struggled to achieve the same level of market penetration that Uber enjoys, to generally limited success. Meanwhile, RelayRides is in some 2100+ cities and just recently received $25 million from the famous investment firm Canaan Partners.
Believe it or not, the app development process is easy. SDI has built many apps in the same vein in just a few months with tools like PhoneGap. Any decent app has the same broad characteristics:
Design should be the first, middle, and last thing you should consider. It is your hero for success. It is also mind-numbing, difficult and highly subjective. The most important thing when designing your own app is to remember it ain’t about you. Seriously, the only person who wants your opinion on how your app should look is you, and possibly yesmen. The only opinion that matters when it comes to design is the one that belongs to your target market. It’s the cold hard truth, folks.
• Deciding how to actually build your app or website is the next step.
• Do you want to use an already existing app that you can reskin to fit your purposes?
• A very inexpensive and quick way to get your app to market. Downsides are that reskinned apps can be buggy (though not with a reliable developer) and are hard to customize to your own business. Complex apps tend to suffer in performance.
• Do you want to use platforms like the aforementioned PhoneGap?
• A great middle path. Build your app with cookie-cutter code that can be customized to fit your needs. More expensive and time consuming than a reskinned app, but more versatile as well.
• Do you want to start from scratch?
• The most expensive and labor intensive method, but also the way to ensure that your app does exactly what is needed. Any high-functioning or complex app should be built from the ground up.
The age-old axiom still applies: no one will download an app that isn’t known. Make sure you familiarize yourself with modern marketing techniques such as SEO, ASO, and SMM (Search Engine Optimization, App Store Optimization and Social Media Marketing, respectively).
The unique feature that makes SDI stand out from the crowd is that we manage the entire project life cycle in one company, under one roof. Firstly, all information shared with us is kept 100% confidential. We sign an NDA, offer free business tips and on project completion we hand over the entire source code to you.
So if you decide to share your project plan with us, we will start from scratch. SDI specializes in design, development and marketing. We can get your app or website out there to the public before you know it. Want to dive deeper? Take a look at our portfolio and marketing strategy that can help your business succeed for real!
Hey, talking about car sharing apps, are you ready to build your own car rental market? As the saying goes, you gotta strike while the iron is hot. Call now at 408.802.2885 or contact us directly to get the first 4 screen designs for your app, free. Game on.