What it’s Like to Charge Scooters for Bird and Lime

Ezra here for The Rideshare Guy and today we’re going to go out there and charge a whole bunch of scooters. It was summertime in Los Angeles when we recorded this, and we’re going to see what things are like in the scooter game right.

These scooters are in a lot of cities right now, so I’m going to go out and got my friend’s pickup truck and see how many we can charge, and how much money we can earn. Let’s get after it!

Take a look at the video below, and scroll to the transcript if you prefer to read.

Note: Lime ended scooter service in Atlanta, Phoenix, San Diego and San Antonio

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How Scooter Charging Works

Now in case you’re not familiar with scooter rental apps, they all work in pretty much the same way. Riders use the map to find a scooter and can then unlock it using the app and ride to their destination. On the worker’s side, some companies like Uber and Lyft actually use hourly employees to pick up, move and service their scooters. Bird and Lime rely mostly on contractors for this. Workers use the map to locate the scooters and scan them in.

Some of these scooters just need to be moved, but others need to be recharged and then deployed early in the morning. We’re actually going to be charging my Birds and Limes in this little container back here called Perch. And Perch is a little charging station that you can rent by the day. You can share it with another charger, you can rent it by the week and get a discount.

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One Thing We Hate About Charging

One thing I always hated about charging Birds and Limes was bringing them home. They take up a lot of room, they’re dirty, they make a lot of noise if you have neighbors. And in a really densely populated place like Los Angeles, where people do ride these Birds and Limes, people who are charging them like me, we’re generally not going to have a huge garages at our homes or just big empty rooms to charge in them.

So having a place like Perch where you can stash all of your Birds and Limes and charge them, it comes with all the power supplies and everything else you need is really cool. They have an app too, so you can actually reserve your space through the app. It’s like they make it totally self service, which is pretty, pretty cool.

Capturing Scooters For Charging

It’s a little bit after eight o’clock so I think there are some Birds and Limes out there on the streets. Let’s go find some. Let’s get after it.

So I just found and captured my first Bird of the night. Got it right over here. It is one of the new Bird ones, so it has an enormous battery, which means it takes a while to charge. Currently it’s at 29%. It’s a $6 pay out on this Bird. I figure it’ll probably take like four hours to charge this one. Anyway, let’s load it up into the back of the truck and go find some more. All right, I just found my first Lime of the night. It only pays out 3.50. It’s right over there. There’s Alfredo, he’s the director of security. We got some guy jamming on the saxophone over here, Kenny G style. Let’s load this thing up and go find some more.

So I just found my fourth Bird. It’s just after nine o’clock, going to load this up and go find some more. A couple of Limes right here and a nice view of downtown LA. So I just found another Lime. I am up to five Birds and five Limes, 10 scooters total. Truck’s getting pretty filled up. I think I’m going to go ahead and head back to perch and plug these guys into charge and then go back out and find some more.

I got eight scooters loaded up. I’m going to go ahead and take these other two Limes that I just have to drop off. They’re just transport Limes. Get rid of those. All right, so I just served up four transport Limes over here at this hub. So those are just Limes that just needed to be moved to a central location. Didn’t need to be charged. Got 14 bucks, 3.50 for each, so that’s pretty cool.

It is almost 11 o’clock, just found a Bird. Right now, I got three more Birds and a Lime in the back of the truck here. It’s definitely getting a lot harder to find these Birds and Limes. I’m going to the spots on the map where they’re supposed to be. I’m even using the Scooter Map app.

A Cool App That Helps You Find Scooters

Which is this really cool app that compiles all the different scooters from different companies like Bird and Lime into one app so you can look for them all on one map, which is really cool. But what’s not cool is I’m just having trouble finding the scooters. So I got six in the back right now and I’m on my way to try to find a Bird. This is a really steep hill right here. We found the Lime. Something kind of cool. It’s a new feature on the Lime app is you can actually reserve a Lime to pickup for 30 minutes and that’s what I did on that one because it’s super annoying. This happens to me all the time with Bird and also with the wheels bikes, and it used to happen to me all the time with Lime too. It still happens to be sometimes with Lime.

But basically you’ll be on your way to pick up a scooter. You’ll see it. You’ll be walking up to it and someone will run right in front of you or maybe it’ll be a couple blocks away and somebody, they’ll scan it then. So you just waste all this time driving to go pick up a scooter and then somebody else gets it before you can even get there. I think I got eight in the back right now and then eight charging, so if I can find five more that would be awesome. We’ll see what we can do.

Heading To A Charging Station

So I’m on my way back to the Perch charging station. Just got to go and get these all unloaded and then go get them all charged up. I got all my Birds and Limes loaded up into the Perch container here. Was actually one charger short. It was like there was one cable that was stuck and I couldn’t get to it, but thankfully there’s another charger here. Tiffany who is wonderfully knowledgeable and helped me by hooking me up with a charger. So that was awesome. I really appreciate that. It seems like there is a nice community here at Perch, which is pretty cool.

But I have everything charging up. I’m going to try to release these all by 7:00 AM. It’s about one now so I’m going to go home and get a few hours of sleep. Come back here about 5:00 AM.

Releasing Scooters Into The Wild

All right. It’s about 5.30 in the morning right now. I’m about to open up my Perch container. It uses a little fingerprint sensor padlock, which is pretty cool. I think I’m going to do two trips. I’ll probably load the Birds first. I noticed in my Lime app, there’s one that looks like it’s not charging, so I’m going to try to plug that one back in. Let’s get this truck loaded up and get on our way.

So I got all my Birds loaded up. One of them was stuck at 93%. Sometimes they don’t pay you if it’s not charged above 95. I reported it that, that was the issue, but hopefully I’ll still get paid. And then I had a Lime that wasn’t charging for some reason. So I made sure that one’s plugged in. It was at like 79% so it probably won’t get to 95 by the time I come back here. But who knows.

So I just dropped off three Birds. The other closest nests are a little drive, like a mile to the next one. Just dropped off three more Birds over here. Of course, Bird puts a nest right where there’s not even enough room to stop. So thankfully there’s no traffic here. All right, so this nest has some parking. It actually has a nice loading zone sign. But these loading zones, you can use them for commercial loading, 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM. And outside of that you can actually park in them and just use them for free parking.

So I’ve just got three more Birds and one damage Bird. I’m going to save the damage Bird for after I drop off the Limes.

Going to get back to the Perch spot right now and go pick up the Limes. All right. I got some good news. The Lime that wasn’t fully charged. I checked my app and it’s at like 96% so we should be good to go on that one. So I’ll get paid for that. 6.23 right now. So I have 37 minutes to get all these Limes loaded up and released. Should be able to do it. I don’t think it’ll be much of a problem. Definitely a good workout. Man.

So I just reserved a Lime hub, maybe half a mile away. It looked like there were a bunch of them available, so let’s go drop them off.

That’s the sound of money in the morning. Of course, there’ve been a zero security and safety issues thanks to the canine security force we got over here, he’s keeping everybody in check. That’s it for the Limes. Just the one damaged Bird. Let’s go get rid of that thing. And it’s 6.44 by the way. Plenty of time to spare.

Like releasing the scooters in the morning and deploying them, so much easier than finding them and picking them up. Sometimes you’re not going to find them at all. And secondly, you’re usually not going to find them in groups of three and four. So that’s really the hard part. The easy part is releasing. It takes like maybe one third the time or even less. That’s finding them and capturing them.

Wrapping Up The Day

Got all my Birds and Limes have dropped off with about seven minutes to spare before 7:00 AM. The 7:00 AM deadline isn’t so strict, at least with Bird, I don’t think. With Lime it might be, I’m not really sure. I never like to find out because finding out might mean you might not get paid. So I always try to get those dropped off, but it was a pretty cool experience using the Perch charging station and doing some Birds and Limes. There’s obviously a lot of scooter business out there to be had. A lot of scooters to be picked up if you want to do it. It’s not the most glamorous work. You get dirty. It is a pretty good workout though. But yeah, how are you doing?

He’s like, “You know you’re facing the wrong direction, right?” And I’m like, “Yeah, but it seems like around here pretty much anything goes.” And when I was pulling up, I was like I could do a U turn or I could just pull in the wrong way like a boss. So that’s what I decided to do.

But the Perch charging station was definitely cool. I’d much rather use something like that, than bring these dirty scooters into my home, making all this noise, making a mess, bringing them in and out. It’s much nicer to use something like that where it’s just dedicated for business purposes. And then I also transported those four Limes where I just moved them. Bird has a transport thing too, but theirs seems to pay way less. Like the Limes were 3.50 each. When I looked at the Birds, they were like a $1.50 or $2 each. So I didn’t even bother trying to go pick those up.

You Don’t Drive As Many Miles As Rideshare

I didn’t drive too many miles. When you’re doing scooter pickups and drop offs, it’s not like rideshare. You’re barely driving any miles. All you need is a crappy pickup truck, which is nice. Time to go get a little bit of rest because I didn’t get much sleep last night. And then we’ll break down all the numbers on the expenses and the earnings.

My Total Earnings For The Night

So if we look at the numbers, my total earnings for the night were $122.09 with $72.27 coming from Bird for charging 13 scooters. And $49.82 from Lime for charging seven and moving five scooters. I used the Stride Drive app, which is free to track my mileage and time. It looks like I spent four and a half hours at night looking for scooters and bringing them back to Perch to plug in.

And then in the morning it took me about an hour 20 to unload the container and drop off the 20 scooters at various locations. In total, I drove about 37 miles for an estimated deduction of $21.52 and spent just under six hours working. Renting a Perch spot like the one we use with 21 power supplies would cost about $35 per 24 hours. So you’d probably want to either share it with another charger, 12 hours on, 12 hours off, or use it for at least two charging cycles per day in order to get your money’s worth.

My gross hourly earnings were $20.87 and subtracting the mileage deduction and $17.50 for a half day at Perch would bring that down to $14.20 per hour. Keep in mind that there are plenty of chargers who know how to work much, much more efficiently than me, and I was also recording this video while I worked, so that took some additional time as well. Hourly earnings are generally going to be a bit lower with scooters versus rideshare, but keep in mind that vehicle costs should also be a lot lower because you only need a crappy pickup truck and you don’t need to cover a lot of miles. Scooter charging also allows you to work at pretty consistent hours overnight if that appeals to you.

Helpful Links To Tools We recommend

I hope you enjoyed the ride coming along and charging some scooters with me. If you have any comments or questions, please post them below. I’d love to hear from you and find out what your experience charging scooters has been like if you’ve done it. Wherever you’re watching, I hope you’re having a wonderful day out there and I’ll see you next time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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