Easily accessible electric scooter rentals are popping up in more and more cities in the United States, and you have the chance to make money off this new business model. Read on for how you can get paid to charge scooters around town with Bird and Lime.
What Do Lime and Bird Do?
Lime and Bird are both companies offering electric scooters for low-cost rental by the public for use in cities. Lime also offers Electric Assist Bikes and Smart Pedal Bikes. Using their individual apps, you can find a scooter (or bike) available near you, unlock it, and use it to help you get around town.
What Can You Do for Lime and Bird?
With so many electric scooters flooding into cities across the States, Lime and Bird both need people on the ground willing to help them keep their scooters charged and distributed across the area. In true gig economy form, they’re offering this opportunity to anyone who applies and is approved.
Finding scooters to charge is a simple matter of opening up either the Lime or Bird app, accessing the locations of scooters in need of charging, then picking them up, charging them, and returning them to locations specified by Lime or Bird once you’re done. The app will walk you through the process of picking them up, which may involve scanning the scooter to unlock it so that you can take it home.
It looks like it can take anywhere between four to seven hours to charge a scooter, depending on the scooter and how much charge it still has left.
Since these scooters are meant to be used in high-traffic areas during high-traffic times – early in the morning up to rush hour as everyone heads to after-work errands or home – you can expect to be required to drop off the scooters in the early AM. Reportedly, you may even be paid less if you deliver the charged scooters after 7 AM. You also can’t pick up scooters with some companies until after 9 PM (unless they are almost out of charge). To really excel at this side hustle, make sure you’re both somewhat of a night owl and an early riser.
Payment information for charging is not publicly posted on either site at this time, but I’ve seen ads that Bird will pay between $5 to $20 for each scooter charged and Lime is reported to offer around the same. The amount you’re paid may depend on where you’re located and what time of day you’re charging.
Things to Keep in Mind
Maximizing your charge ability may come with an investment – you’re only given a few chargers to get you started, and you may be charged for them. (Read the fine print!) Determine how many scooters you can reliably charge a night, then decide whether the expense of investing in enough charging cables is worth it.
You’ll also be paying for the electricity to charge these scooters. You’ll need to review your own electricity statement to determine the actual cost and decide whether the money you’re making is worth the time and energy investment as well.
Since users of these Lime or Bird scooters aren’t always required to return the scooters to a specific dock when they’re finished using them, the scooters can be left in out-of-the-way or difficult-to-access places. This can make it very inconvenient to pick some of these scooters up for charging – so be sure to consider whether picking up a particular scooter in the first place is worth it. Also, as this side gig becomes more popular, you may find yourself facing competition to be the first to get to those scooters that require charging.
A Few Tips From “Juicers” & “Rangers” (aka Chargers)
As with any crowdsourcing opportunity, some people will find it lucrative while others will not. Either way, this won’t likely be a gig that can pay your bills. Consider it a side gig only. A few little tips and tricks may help you up your earnings, however.
Make it worth the trip. One Redditor said, “I just park downtown and run around to pick them all up. I would say that driving to each individual scooter is a waste until there are only a handful on the map.” Others have said they pick up scooters on foot to avoid gas expenses altogether.
Keep it fun. David Padover gets his family involved for evening “scavenger hunts.”
Each service is currently only available in a limited number of cities around the United States. Lime is available in cities in over 30 states, with the most coverage in California, Florida, and Massachusetts. Meanwhile, Bird is present in over 100 cities, mostly in California and Texas.
If neither Lime or Bird are in your city yet, you can help make it happen – on Lime’s website, cast your vote for your city to be added; once enough votes are cast, they may make the expansion. To encourage Bird’s addition to your town, you’ll need to reach out to (or be) a city official, college official, or business owner to bring Bird in.