In our latest Q&A session, we caught up with Dan Grech, founder of UK-based start-up ZINGapps, to discuss how he plans to take on the likes of Uber and Hailo.
In one sentence, how would you describe the problem that ZINGapps solves?
We offer taxi companies, limousine drivers and chauffeurs the opportunity to build their own personalised, branded apps without the costly route of having to start from scratch.
How did the idea for the app come about and how long has it been in development?
I came up with the idea after witnessing the rise and financial backing of Hailo. Although this particular service was benefiting black cabs in cities, it offered no advantage to private hire vehicles (PHV), being of little use to those in suburban areas.
Elsewhere, the companies behind PHV dispatch systems may have been the first to the market but their prices were isolating a large sector of the industry, especially the SMEs.
It took a couple of months to design and develop an arsenal of robust, user-friendly apps that were unique and yet versatile enough that any company could tailor to complement their own specifications.
What makes the apps unique compared with other taxi booking apps on the App Store?
Apps like Hailo or Uber will only provide customers with a black cab or hackney carriage. Not only are these drivers typically more expensive as they run off a meter, they don’t offer the assurance that you’d have booking with a reliable private hire vehicle company. Many PHVs pride themselves on reputation – it would make no sense for them to surrender all that and send drivers out with P2P apps that would not only cost them a commission but also goes against their philosophy of providing a personal service.
What safety checks are in place to ensure only legitimate taxi companies can use the service offered by ZINGapps?
We background check all potential parties to ensure that only registered PHVs and reputable companies can publish an app with us.
How’s it been perceived so far with taxi companies and can you share any stats on the number of companies signed up to use the service?
As a team, over 200 branded taxi apps have been published in relatively short succession. There are no signs of interest waning. We’ve been received really well as an affordable alternative to hiring a mobile developer to build something from scratch which can leave small businesses with a bill of over £1500 to foot.
What are your top tips for users on getting the most out of the apps?
We don’t plan to add any gimmicks to our apps, the key interest is to make the passengers’ ability to book easier. Like when you order a pizza off the Dominos app, you don’t expect it to arrive with a fanfare, you just expect the right order on-time.