How Does the Bird Charger Program Work?

There’s a new service in town called Bird that’s providing electric scooters for personal use. If you live in Los Angeles, or the Bay Area, or Washington DC, you may have noticed these black scooters around town. They’re like a Razor scooter, but with an electric motor

This company is blowing up right now, so I feel like this is really the perfect time to kind of keep an eye out for them and really sign up to actually be a charger for this company.

Today I’m going to walk through an article that I wrote recently that details I signed up to be a Bird electric scooter Charger. It really details that process.

Take a look at my video all about the Bird Charger program, then scroll to the video transcript below to see all of the points I cover in the video.

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What is Bird, and what is it like to be a Bird Charger?

If you’re used to driving for Uber or Lyft or you’re used to delivering food or packages, this is really a very similar job. It’s getting something from point A to B, and then I guess back to C, back out on the streets, as I’ll explain.

But for the most part, I’m calling this kind of space the personal mobility space.If you’re not familiar, this is actually a picture right here of what the Bird scooter looks like, and then also here’s a picture of me actually riding one.

We’ve got a video on the YouTube channel. I’ll play it real quickly so you guys can get a little sense of that, but basically this is really more from the consumer side of what the scooters look like. I signed up on the consumer side to try out this company and, you know, like I said, they’re primarily operating in California, but they’re expanding very rapidly. They raised $15 million and they raised $100 million a few weeks later, so they’re now in Washington DC, the LA area, San Diego, Bay Area, and I’m sure by the time you guys watch this video they’ll be in more cities. Really all you need to know is that this company is expanding quickly, so it’s definitely something to keep an eye on.

Consumers can actually rent these scooters. They charge $1 plus 15¢ per minute to ride them around town. I started using them as a consumer, and one day in the app I noticed that you could sign up to be a charger. I didn’t know what that meant or what that was, but I can show you a screen shot right here. Basically all it says was, “Become a Charger.” It says, “Join the electric movement. Charge Birds at your home or office. Earn up to $100 a night, $5 per battery up to 20 Birds. Make money while you sleep.”

What Bird Chargers do

Well, obviously I like the idea of making money while I sleep, so I actually signed up to become a charger. What chargers do is they’re the ones who actually go and round up these scooters every night and then charge them at home, like they said while you sleep, and then you release them in the morning into the wild. Bird likes to use a lot of bird related puns, which I like to joke about.

The application process to become a Bird Charger

But if you’re interested in working for this company, this is really what this article and video details. It’s a pretty typical application process. Obviously you have to have your tax information, your bank account and everything. They actually give you a phone call. Once you sign up, Bird gives you a phone call and you can go through the app and sort of see some of the flow and things like that.

You can sign up to be a Bird Charger here.

They asked me, for example, like what do you love about Birds? What type of car do you have? How many Birds do you think you can charge per night. I kind wanted to put my best foot forward, so I told them what I liked about Bird. I think it’s actually just a really cool product in general. They’re super fun to ride and I kind of think that there’s a lot of potential to really actually reduce those short Uber and Lyft trips that we get all around town that are kind of annoying.

I think it might be cool for a few different reasons. I have an SUV too, so I let them know that I have an SUV and I’m ready to charge as many Birds as possible.

The nice thing about charging for Bird is obviously it’s not as stringent as Uber and Lyft. You need to have a car, but they don’t verify it or anything like that. I have seen some chargers that go and round them up by foot if you live in a service area, so they say that you have to have a car or charge at least three Birds at a time and must live in or near a service area. I would say that these last three are sort of more suggestions than anything to me. If you’re carless, you can still do it if you live in the service area.

You can pick up Bird scooters at the end of your Uber/Lyft shift

For example, I think the most natural opportunity for a ride share driver is at the end of your shift, 4:00, 5:00, 6:00, 7:00 p.m., or whenever you end, go and look for Birds, round them up. You know, you can probably easily fit three to six in your car, in your trunk, in your back seat, depending on the space requirements, charge them at home and then before you go out and drive the next morning if you’re going out early, because Bird does ask you to drop them off early, in between 5:00 and 7:00 a.m., drop them off before your next shift.

I think that’s kind of the most natural opportunity that you might be able to work with them. You can see here this is just a little image.

How much money can you make as a Bird Charger?

For the most part most Birds will pay you $5 to charge a Bird and put it back out on the streets. But there are Birds on the map that are worth more, so the more work you do or the harder it is to find these scooters, obviously they pay you more.

They understand that there’s times where people like hide them, so if no one can find it they’ll actually put a bounty on it and make it worth more. It goes up to $20 from what I’ve seen, and you can make some pretty good money there.

If you’re wondering, you do obviously have to pay for the charging. The cost to charge each scooter is about 8 to 15¢. I think that’s directly from Bird, and when I kind of did the calculations based off of the charging cables they provide you I got similar numbers. I think the cost to charge them is pretty much negligible, not a huge amount.

What the Bird app looks like for Chargers

Once you’re approved to become a charger, everything happens in the Bird app. Whether you’re a customer or a charger, it’s all going to be in the Bird app. They’re similar to the Lyft app. Here’s actually what the charger mode looks like. This is just me kind of toggling between the rider mode and charger mode, you can see with that little toggle right there.

Once you’re in charger mode, you’re going to want to look for Bird. There’s either going to be green Birds, yellow Birds, red Birds, and each one is going to have a dollar value associated with it. At the start I recommend definitely going after the green Birds, because those are the easiest to capture. Sort of think like green Birds, I think of like Uber X, red Birds are sort of like Uber pool, except a bit more, but that’s another store. You probably want to avoid the complex stuff at first. Keep green simple.

Bird releases a bunch of these scooters onto the map for chargers around 6:00 p.m. and they’re usually all gone by the end of the night, so that’s sort of the time frame that you want to work, But at the same time, I’ve seen Birds throughout the day that you can capture, so it is quite flexible there.

Capturing them is super simple. Each one, you can see here, has a little QR code. This is actually the top of the actual unit of the Bird, and all you need to do is scan it and then on your menu item under My Birds it’ll show. This is my first night of charging Birds. You can see I picked up three, and you can see which ones. These are all the codes for each one and what battery level they were at when I picked them up.

More detail on how the Bird Charger app works

How to charge Bird scooters

Charging them is pretty straightforward. You do need special chargers from Bird. Luckily they’re free. You don’t have to pay for it, so there’s really no upfront money or anything like that to start. I found that each scooter takes around three to four hours to charge 100%. You could potentially charge multiple scooters with one charger, but that’s kind of a hassle, because you have to wake up in the middle of the night, so I just recommend asking for as many as you need in order to sort of charge. Obviously you probably don’t want like 20, but a decent number is probably six to start, three or six to start, nine or 12 once you get the hang of things.

To be honest, I found being a charger is not consistent work. You’re not going to be able to do it for five hours, but it is pretty easy. I think it’s a lot easier than delivering food for sure, because there’s no customer interaction or even dealing with customers.

Rules for Bird Chargers

There are a few rules, like I said. Bird asks you to drop off the scooters in between 5:00 and 7:00 a.m. at a nest. When you open the map in the morning, you’ll see all of these different little nests, and so you have to drop them off in groups of three. You can go to this location, claim the nest, and then drop off three scooters for example. There’s a lot of guidance there, and I think this part is pretty straightforward.

One of the cool things that I noticed is you actually get paid on the same day if you release all your Birds by 7:00 a.m. On my first night of charging I released all three Birds, and then boom, I got about almost five bucks for each of them and I made a quick $13.75 for a pretty little amount of work and got paid that same day, so that was pretty cool.

Support for Bird Chargers is strong so far

I’ve had a couple interactions with Bird customer support. At first, when I first signed up they were doing text messages. I know now they’re sort of transitioning to in-app chat support and things like that. For the most part though, I think the company is still growing and right now the support is pretty good, because it’s a lot of actual employees providing support. I definitely hope that they continue to provide that solid support.

Like I said, I just signed up for this company so I don’t have a ton of experience yet. I wanted to really cover that sign-up process and also just talk a little bit about my first day, my first night of charging, because that’s sort of what I’ve done so far. It’s been kind of fun learning the ropes. I kind of have that feeling like when I first signed up for Uber or Lyft, when I first started doing Postmates and DoorDash. It was very exciting.

To be honest, this is a lot more exciting for me than food delivery. I would say it’s most like when I started doing Uber and Lyft. I was like whoa, I’m getting paid. Four years ago the excitement was getting paid to drive people around. This is pretty cool.

One of the challenges I had though was getting up early. I do get up because of my son, but I don’t like getting up early I guess I should say. You do need to drop them off by 7:00 a.m. for the most part, but the nice thing about dropping them off early is there’s no traffic.

Here’s what my first nest looked like. You can see I dropped off three. I think I did it right. They might need to be flipped the other way, but you look for these nests on the map, so it is pretty straightforward. Like I said, I made $15. I’m not sure how it would translate into an hourly rate. It doesn’t take a long time to round up these Birds, maybe like five or 10 minutes if they’re close by, or 10 to 15 minutes, as long as you’re in the area already.

If you have to drive an hour to the area just to pick up these Birds and drive an hour home to charge them and then vice versa in the morning, it’s probably not going to be at a great hourly rate. But I could see if you sort of looked at an hourly rate, maybe it’s about 20 to $30 per hour.

Benefits and drawbacks of Bird, and being a Bird Charger

This company is brand new. Like I said, there is $100 million in venture capital, so they’ve got a lot of money to spend. Here is a signup link in if you guys want to sign up. You can do it from within the app or you can also do it on the web or in the app store, play store, so a lot of options to sign up.

The Birds are a little bit heavy, 20 to 30 pounds, and they’re a little bit awkward in general, kind of fitting them in your car, fitting them in your trunk. Obviously the bigger the car, the better. If you have a truck, if you have a van, something like that, that’s probably the ideal car.

Definitely flexible. Probably not for everyone, but at the same time I can imagine like a lot of different scenarios where it might make sense for Uber and Lyft drivers to do this. Or a night where you don’t want to drive and you’re in the area and you can do this. A lot of flexibility.

If you guys do have any questions feel free to leave a comment on this video below, and don’t hesitate to reach out if there’s anything that I can help you with. This is definitely a company I’m going to be doing a lot more content on them in the future since, like I said, they’re in LA, they’re in the Bay Area, and they’re on the east coast now, and they’re expanding rapidly.

If you’re in a major to mid-sized market and they’re not there yet, I suspect they will be soon. There are a lot of other companies launching similar products in this personal mobility space, so I think there’s going to be a lot of opportunity going forward this year and next year, so definitely stay tuned to the channel and look out for our next review.

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