How to Develop an Uber-like App for Delivery Trucks?

Published: March 30, 2017

10 min read

Last updated: May 2, 2022

This cannot be denied. Uber is not just an ordinary on-demand app to connect drivers and their possible clients. It’s a part of sharing economy which has revolutionary changed the entire system of relations between consumers and those who offer different services. And that’s the bright example of how mobile apps can change our everyday life.

Freight industry doesn’t stand aside from such global changes. And that’s where you can easily benefit! Take a look at the amazing infographics below:

You don’t wanna miss this piece of pie, do you?

You don’t wanna miss this piece of pie, do you? (information by American Trucking Associations and Business insider)

The question is how to turn mentioned above figures into your own profit. My answer is simple as that. Offer the solution to trucking industry problems! And I’m about to share with you a couple of ideas on how it can be done. But before we move to the keys, let’s sort out our locks.

Freight industry: how to benefit from logistic app development?

There must be a reason why Amazon considers building an app for delivery trucks as the reasonable and promising idea. Moreover, you may be surprised how simple answer is. Point is that Uber for trucks solves a number of problems both for drivers and for customers.

This kind of apps is another piece of the puzzle in the overall picture called "sharing economy", which Uber (along with Airbnb, Zaarly, Lyft and others) is definitely a part of. The term refers to the economic model based on different forms of assets exchange via online markets. It not only represents the new way of thinking but also changes the entire process of production, trading and consumption of services and goods.

Nowadays sharing economy is a part of our everyday life!

Nowadays sharing economy is a part of our everyday life! (image by Vinay Srinivasan)

How does it apply to the trucking businesses? We will come back to this question a little bit later. Before we find out how Uber freight app can improve the quality of delivery service, let’s review the main problems of the industry.

Drivers’ issues

Despite the rapid technological and social development, the old-school approach often dominates in the freight industry. This causes a range of problems for the truck drivers and leads them to the million-dollar losses. The two main challenges that occur are empty containers and freight brokers. Let me explain.

According to the research by Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue, annual costs for moving empty containers is $16 billion on the average. The truth is that even nowadays it isn’t always possible to completely fill a truck with cargo all along its way. It’s also not a rational idea to wait until an appropriate order will be found. Why? The longer it takes to fill a container, the higher spendings for its maintaining are.

Interesting (but a little sad) fact: the repositioning of empty containers costs almost as much as moving full ones.

However, even if this kind of risks can be minimized (but not totally avoided) by thoughtful planning and establishing an expedient logistics process, there occurs another obstacle. It’s important to consider the truck service is just a part of the whole shipping process. Before finding what to move, trucking companies should seek out for the one who needs their services. And that’s the point when freight brokers show up.

Cargo brokers are the nexus between shipping and trucking companies which makes the entire system work. They connect both parties in order to fill trucks with freight and provide shippers with carriers. And, of course, they don’t do it for free: the brokerage fee is often about 20% or higher. Moreover, having a middleman in a delivery process makes it more compound and less transparent.

What is to be done?

I bet you already know the answer. If your thought is "to develop an Uber-like app for delivery trucks" you’re absolutely right. It’s a win-win solution. And that’s why.

First of all, it will eliminate the intermediaries between truck drivers and customers providing them with the direct contact. No more brokerage commissions. No more drowning in a superfluous documentation. So it not only makes the entire process faster and easier but also significantly reduces clients’ expenses.

In addition, Uber freight for long-haul trucking solves the empty container repositioning problem as well. Due to easy-accessible and fast communication channels, truckers are able to get the most up-to-date information from their clients in the shortest time possible. It means they can regularly refill their containers with a new cargo, preventing themselves from riding half-empty.

Sounds promising enough, doesn’t it? Furthermore, Uber for trucking industry has several advantages for shippers as well.

What are the benefits for customers?

We have already found out how such an app can solve several problems of carriers. However, there is a potential profit for shippers too. Let’s take a look.

Uber for trucks allows instantly and effortlessly get in touch with the nearest drivers

This kind of apps brings the whole shipment process under customer’s control. With its help, your users can choose any available truck they want without the need to wait for broker’s feedback. Also, the pricing is transparent, so any speculations are excluded.

Shippers are able to track their cargo all along the way

Another benefit for customers is the ability to constantly receive information about a location of the truck with their goods. Thereby they can not only account for the freight security but also ascertain where it is now when it will be delivered or any other required data.

What do you need to create an Uber app for cargo shipping?

There is nothing wrong with using the experience of others. At first, we learn from the best, then we become the best. And that is the reason why we suggest employing original Uber app model in the trucking business as well. What does it mean in practice? Let’s find out!

Don’t hesitate to learn from other’s experience and turn this knowledge into your advantage.

You may already know the original Uber app actually "divides" into 2: one for the drivers and one for the passengers. Of course, these apps are not totally alike because both parties have their own needs that, again, aren’t similar.

It's important to develop 2 different Uber for trucks apps – one for the drivers and one for the shippers

It's important to develop 2 different Uber for trucks apps – one for the drivers and one for the shippers

The same thing is true for Uber freight app. In this case, you can’t kill two birds with one stone and avoid developing separate apps for the truck drivers and for the customers. You’ve already learned they don’t duplicate, but what exactly differs them? Read on because I’m about to tell you right now!

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What are the key features for the truckers’ app?

Our main goal here is to keep trucks filled with cargo all along their way to the eventual destination point. Thus, your app should provide drivers with the detailed list of available shipments within their area. For this purpose following features are essential:

  1. Profiles to let drivers fill up credentials, contacts and other required data.
  2. An explicit list of available freight orders with the information regarding cargo (its type, size, weight and other details) as well as the exact place and time of its lading and disembarkation.
  3. Built-in chat to stay in touch with a customer during the shipping.
  4. Map with recommended routes and real-time traffic information is definitely what drivers expect from an Uber-like app for delivery trucks.
  5. List of freight requests and accepted ongoing orders.
  6. Sending documentation and photos of consignment via email would be a great advantage.
  7. Push-notifications may be not a core part of the app, but they are especially important to the truckers that are concentrated on driving and have no possibility to constantly check their phones.
Your app should have all the crucial features for drivers

Your app should have all the crucial features for drivers (image by Ayman Shaltoni)

The most important features for the shippers

When it comes to logistic app development for customers we aim to create a convenient platform for detecting located near carriers. However, it’s only the beginning. After an appropriate truck is found a bunch of other features becomes necessary. Among others, there are payment processing, handling documentation issues and container tracking which make up the core of any freight app.

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So, the shippers’ version of an app should provide its users with the following abilities:

  1. Check the list of available trucks and detailed information on them (e.g. how much cargo they can take).
  2. Send shipping requests.
  3. Chat with drivers.
  4. Track the location of the freight until it’s delivered.
  5. Exchange photos of a load with truckers.
  6. Send and receive documentation.
  7. Pay for the delivery service directly with a mobile phone.
  8. Rate truckers.
  9. Receive push notifications.
The app should be useful and convenient for shippers too

The app should be useful and convenient for shippers too (image by Ayman Shaltoni)

How to make money with Uber for trucking industry?

Let’s start with an axiom. Advertising, which is probably the most common way to monetize, is not a wise solution for the freight apps. Why? Because it kills reliance and makes your app look like a patchwork. However, where there’s a will there’s a way.

The best alternative so far is to establish a fee. Payment amount significantly varies from app to app. For example:

  • Traansmission is free-to-use for drivers but charges 3% of the cargo value from shippers;
  • Keychain Logistics has set up the fee at the level of 6-12%;
  • uShip asks for 10-20% payment counting from the estimated value of the load;
  • Cargomatic’s margin is 20% of a total transaction.
Payment system is a must-have in Uber freight for long-haul trucking

Payment system is a must-have in Uber freight for long-haul trucking (image by Ayman Shaltoni)

Nevertheless, when setting up a fee you should remember the 2 most substantive rules.

Rule № 1: offer your clients more friendly pricing policy than brokers do.

What is the aim of any business? To get the highest income possible with the lowest spendings possible. So why would drivers pay brokers more, if your app could do the same job faster and cheaper? The answer is obvious: they wouldn’t!

Freight brokers often charge about 20%, so try not to go beyond this figure. The optimal in-app fee is about 10%, but it also depends on how complicated your app is. The more useful features your app has, the higher fee seems acceptable to users.

Rule № 2: transparency is your best friend here.

People don’t like to be deceived, do they? So don’t even try to hide any essential information from them, especially regarding payments. If the final fee would be higher than your users expected it to be (by including not mentioned before expenses), you can lose them at once.

Examples of Uber-like delivery apps

It seems now you are quite well prepared to make an app like Uber freight app. But before we end, let’s review several trucking apps. It will sum up everything we have previously discovered about logistic app development and show us how these theoretical statements are implemented in the real life.


Cargomatic app for delivery trucks

The app serves as a bridge between shippers and local delivery companies with fully or partly empty trucks. It allows customers to pick up an appropriate driver, arrange carriage and pay for it – all via smartphone.

Cargomatic project basically consists of two apps: Cargomatic Driver and Cargomatic Shipper. The list of available features is wide enough. It includes tracking, push notifications, sending photos and several others items.

Payment system deserves special attention. It offers customers a transparent way to calculate their expenses depending on a weight of load and distance between starting and destination points. The second rule of setting up a fee in action.


uShip app for cargo shipping

This is an online marketplace for drivers and shippers. Here you can post a job offer and wait until someone is ready to do it. The main uShip’s advantage is that with its help you can literally transport everything – from personal goods to the bulk cargos.

Moreover, according to the app’s founders, uShip saves up to ⅘ of costs on the national and international freight.

Keychain Logistics

Keychain Logistics app for long-haul trucking

Keychain Logistics connects truck drivers with private clients and brokers. The app (available on iOS and Android) enables to bypass traditional brokers’ commissions and directly book a carrier.

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These guys have also developed own pricing algorithm. It calculates the final costs by taking into account 78 stats as routes, fuel prices, traffic and others.


Finally, we have reviewed all the key ideas and tips on the trucking app development. By creating an app for this industry you will help truck drivers to swiftly increase their efficiency and significantly decrease expenses. In return, you can set up an in-app fee and get a good benefit.

Thinking about building an app for delivery trucks? Contact us and we will help to make it a reality.

Take your chance and good luck!

Get an Estimation for your Uber-App Idea!

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