Custom Software vs. Ready-made System Solution: What’s More Profitable for the Sharing Business

Sharing Business Getting started

Electric scooters and software are the backbone of any kick-sharing business. Just as it is hard to imagine this service operating without transportation, it is equally challenging to conceive it functioning without a user application and internal software for the team. Thus, at the very start, every aspiring sharing business owner faces a dilemma: whether to create custom software from scratch or use a ready-made comprehensive solution. To understand which is more profitable, let’s explore what constitutes software for kick-sharing, the team needed to create it, and the time it takes to develop software from scratch.

1. Development of a User Application

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of software for kick-sharing is the user application. We have all booked an electric scooter at least once and know that riding around the city is impossible without downloading and registering in the app.

If you want to develop an application from scratch, you need to consider that it requires a team of at least 4-5 people:

UX/UI Designer. Designs a convenient interface and transition logic, draws prototypes of the future product.

Mobile Developer. Plans the architecture and implements the designer’s prototypes on Android and iOS platforms.

BackEnd Developer. Integrates the application with the admin panel and server for transmitting data about users, scooters, and trips.

Tester. Conducts comprehensive functionality testing and finds bugs before users do.

Creating an app from scratch requires at least 930 hours of work. The cost of IT specialists varies from a minimum of $18 to $30 per hour in CIS countries, with higher rates in Europe. On average, even at $25 per hour, around $23,000 is needed just for the development team.

Time-wise, the process of creating an application cannot always be parallelized – specialists pass tasks to each other in sequence. For example, a mobile developer cannot start on the app until the designer has drawn the prototypes, and a tester cannot begin testing until the BackEnd developer has set up server integration. The entire process from creating prototypes to launching the app takes the team at least 4 months, meaning you’re spending not only money but also valuable time.

2. Creating an Admin Panel for Management

The application is just the tip of the iceberg. To launch any sharing business, an app alone is not enough. Without it, you cannot track trips, accept payments, or ensure users see your scooters on the app’s map.

In addition to the user app, you need an admin panel. Essentially the project’s inner workings: the software where you manage the transport fleet, track trips, oversee team performance, and gather analytics.

The minimum team for developing an admin panel includes:

– UX/UI Designer;

– FrontEnd Developer;

– BackEnd Developer;

– Tester.

Developing an admin panel requires at least 528 team hours and $13,200. It’s important to consider that these specialists must be experienced in understanding the sharing business, which further prolongs the search for a suitable team.

As with the app, specialists can’t always work on the project simultaneously. For example, only after the design approval can the BackEnd developer start on API integration between the admin panel and app. Once integration is set up, the FrontEnd developer joins. In the most optimistic scenario, developing an admin panel alone can take half a year, and without it, launching a sharing business is impossible.

Thus, developing both an application and an admin panel requires over $35,000 – excluding taxes, additional services, and team maintenance costs, such as hiring an accountant and an HR specialist to find the right team.

3. Developing Servers

Another non-obvious aspect of developing custom software is the need to create servers. A server is more than just a storage space for user data, trips, and scooters. It’s the control center of any sharing operation, the “wheelhouse” that links data and ensures remote device access.

The minimum team for creating a custom server includes:

– DevOPS Developer;

– BackEnd Developer;

– IoT Specialist;

– Tester.

Server development takes at least 800 team hours, equating to $22,000. In total, developing the application, admin panel, and server will take at least half a year and $60,000, excluding team maintenance and ongoing technical support.

But what if you develop your app and purchase a ready-made solution for the admin panel?

This approach carries significant risks. If different development teams create both products, achieving correct integration of the two systems is almost impossible. For instance, if you plan a loyalty system or subscriptions for regular clients in the app, and the third-party admin panel doesn’t support such functionalities, you can’t implement them without custom adjustments, leading to further financial and time investments in the project.

4. Integration of Payment Systems and Other Services

The work with software doesn’t end with developing the app and admin panel. To accept payments from users, you need to integrate a payment system. Integrations with messengers, SMS providers, and other crucial systems are also required. These tasks are not part of the primary software development: separate planning for IT specialists’ work time is needed, further delaying the launch of the sharing business.

5. Technical Support for Software

Once the app and admin panel are ready, and all integrations are set, the work on the software doesn’t stop. It requires ongoing technical support and the creation of new useful features.

The minimum team for maintaining mobile and web versions of the software includes:

– FrontEnd Developer;

– BackEnd Developer;

– IoT Specialist;

– Mobile Developer.

The lowest salary threshold for the team is $5,000, assuming the employees work part-time and juggle your project with others. Software maintenance also includes monthly server payments – at least $1,000. And this is just the bare minimum, excluding expenses on marketing, the rest of the team, and additional paid services.

Thus, to create and maintain your software, you need significant resources to search for and hire developers, set the right tasks, and keep the application running. But even this doesn’t guarantee 100% success. Beyond the team and investments, creating your software requires expertise, market understanding, competitor knowledge, and an insight into how the sharing business operates.

Expertise and experience are what set the ScootAPI team apart as a software developer. Operating in the sharing market since 2019, we have already helped 15 companies launch successful businesses in 9 countries.

ScootAPI provides a ready-made solution that saves your time and resources. We’ll adapt the app to your brand, provide an admin panel for business management, and offer data storage on our servers. Our team includes not just developers, but also specialists in payment system integration and IoT device connectivity, assistance with purchasing electric scooters, and marketing consultancy for your business’s successful development.

With ScootAPI, you get not just a ready application, but an experienced partner ready to support you at every stage of your business. Apply for a free consultation and start your journey in the sharing business today!