It’s already disrupted the market for personal taxi trips and now crowdsourced driving service Uber is hoping to shake up the local market for business travel.
In a move that will see Uber directly take on taxi giant Cabcharge, the taxi app has today launched Uber for Business in Australia.
The Uber app for businesses works in a similar way to the Uber app for individuals, with business customers booking car trips through a mobile application.
But when it comes to payment, the invoice for the trip is sent directly to the employer, eliminating the need for workers to pay drivers directly and collect receipts to be reimbursed later by their employer.
David Rohrsheim, general manager for Uber in Sydney, told SmartCompany Australian Uber customers have already been using the service for business travel “because they love the convenience”.
“If you use the app, you can see when the car is nearby to the minute so you can sit in your office and keep working until the car arrives,” he says.
“And if you are travelling from A to B, you can actually share your location with others. If you’re running late to an appointment you can send a text message to show where you are.”
But Rohrsheim says the biggest benefit for small businesses is Uber’s ability to centralise payments for all work trips through Uber.
He says the employer will automatically be sent a copy of the receipt for the employee’s Uber trip, and users of business software provider Concur can integrate their Uber account with other company expenses.
While employees won’t have to worry about keeping hold of taxi receipts, Rohrsheim says employers will also have the benefit of clear and accurate records of where and when their workers are travelling to.
“We’re all about transparency, it starts from the moment the ride begins with our safety features,” says Rohrsheim.
“The name of the driver is recorded and the trips are tracked by GPS … there’s a clear record of the time and where [the employer] travels to.”
Uber For Business has been operating in the US for a number of months and Rohrsheim says today marks the international launch of the services, which is now available in 22 languages.
Some of the world’s largest banks are among the first users of the service, while Australian startup Freelancer has also signed on.
“I think they just love the ease,” Rohrsheim says of the feedback Uber has received from the early users.
“If you’re a small business, any time saving is a massive win and this makes it easier for team members as well as your finance department.”
Rohrsheim says Uber users also pay approximately 20% less than users of other taxi providers.
“And those savings add up very quickly for a business,” he says.