Last month, RB40Jr and I started a new side gig. We became “Lime Juicers.” If you live in a big city, you might have seen these electric scooters roaming around. Some people like them and some hate them. Personally, I think they’re really cool. Residents and visitors can ride these scooters around instead of getting into a car. It’s a great way to travel a few miles. Anyway, Portland had a trial last summer and I signed up to be a charger for Lime scooters. They all disappeared over the winter and came back in the spring. In July, I finally got an approval notice to become a juicer. Basically, when a scooter is low on battery, we pick it up and take it home to recharge, then we return it for a paying customer to use. We’ve been juicing the scooters for 2 weeks now and I’ll share our experience with this fun side gig today. We only charge a few per day so it’s just beer money, but that’s not really our primary goal.
Fun summer gig
First of all, we’re having a lot of fun with this side gig. It’s the perfect summer side gig for us. RB40Jr is out of school and we have a ton of free time. This is especially true in August. It’s near the end of summer vacation. RB40Jr already finished his summer camps and projects. Also, it’s getting difficult to find a play date. It’s the dog days of summer and we’re getting way too lazy. This side gig gets us out of the house. That’s a good thing. Instead of vegging out at home, we go out and get a little exercise. Also, it’s a lot of fun to zoom down the street on these Lime scooters. Now, let’s go over the logistics.
Earlier this year, we moved to a bustling part of town. Our new home has a 97 walk score. Now, we can walk to the library, parks, grocery stores, café, and many restaurants. It’s a touristy area and there are plenty of electric scooters around. Since we live in the area, we just walk/bike to grab a scooter that needs charging.
From what I understand, the Lime Juicer app will flag a scooter that has less than 20% battery at any time. Usually, I start checking around 5 pm and can find one or two nearby. I’d reserve it, walk over to the scooter, and ride it home. RB40Jr usually bikes or rides his little scooter along with me.
The reservation process is relatively new. You can reserve the scooter for 30 minutes. I assume this removes the scooter from the pool, so I don’t have to rush over there and fight over the scooter with another juicer. That’s really good especially for a walker like me. On my first day, this juicer in a Mercedes kept beating me to the next scooter. Once I figured out how to reserve the scooter, we didn’t have that problem anymore.
The next big release is around 9 pm. That’s when all scooters with less than 50% charge become available. At this point, all the juicers rush out and grab as many as they can. I only have 2 battery chargers so I only target 2 scooters at this time of the night.
On the right, you can see what it looks like in the Lime Juicer app.
When you get approved to be a juicer, you can order 2 to 4 battery chargers, $19.95 each + $5 shipping. Lime sent me 50% off coupon so the chargers are actually about $10 each. I only ordered 2 chargers because it’s just a hobby for us. In hindsight, I should have ordered 4 chargers. You could sell it if you don’t need it. Charging would be easier, too.
Anyway, it takes 3-5 hours to charge a scooter to 100%. It charges about 20% per hour.
Here is my ideal juicer day.
- Before 5 pm – collect 2 scooters and plug them in.
- From 8 to 10 pm – collect 2 more scooters.
- Around 10:30 pm – drop 2 charged scooters off and plug the other 2 scooters in.
- 6:30 am – drop off the last 2 scooters.
That sounds like a lot of running around, but it really isn’t that bad. Usually, I only have to walk a few blocks. Sometimes, we get really lucky and find a scooter right next door. It doesn’t take that much time. Also, I’m getting pretty good at riding stacked scooters. I could deliver 2 at a time now.
Anyway, I usually can charge 3-4 scooters per day. Once we found a scooter at noon and charged 5 in one day. That’s the limit for me, though. It’s too much work to do more than 5.
This is the toughest part. Juicers are supposed to drop charged scooters off at a Lime “hub” before 7 am. This means I have to set the alarm clock at 6:30 am. That sucks! I haven’t had to wake up to an alarm clock since I retired 7 years ago. But it only sucks in theory. In reality, I’m up by 6 am anyway and haven’t had to use the alarm clock yet. Whew!
Anyway, dropping off in the morning is fine for me. There are 5 hubs within a few blocks of our home. Usually, there are some openings. There was one time when all the hubs were full of scooters. Fortunately, a spot opened up right before 7 am and I was able to drop off. I heard that you’ll get half pay if you can’t drop off until after 7 am, but I haven’t had that problem yet.
Here is what the drop off points looks like in the app. BTW, this isn’t exactly where we live. It’s just an example.
Show me the money!
We usually get $4 to charge one scooter. If we drop it off within 8 hours of picking up, then we’d get a $1 bonus. This pay rate is way lower than last year. I think juicers used to get $7 -10 per scooter back then. I really hope the pay rate doesn’t drop below $4. It won’t be worth it for many juicers then.
Occasionally, we’d get a scooter with a bigger payout. If it hasn’t been charged in a while, it’ll have a higher pay rate. A few days ago, we found one that paid out $5.75. This is pretty rare for us, though. Usually, we just grab a $4 scooter as soon as it shows up. You could wait 3-4 hours for the pay rate to increase. However, if you wait too long, someone else will grab it. I prefer to have a bird in hand.
Okay, here is the money! We made $207.85 in 15 days. That’s not bad at all for a beer money gig. Lime sends the payout to my account every day. Actually, this is a little bit annoying. Now my checking account statement will be twice as long… The pros probably appreciate the fast payment, though.
This juicing side gig didn’t cost much to start. We spent $100 on a used bike for RB40Jr. The chargers cost $25. We’ll split the rest 50/50. We’re just amateur juicers so this amount is just right for beer/fun money. From what I heard, a pro can make $100 to $200 per night. You’ll have to put a lot more time and effort into it, though. Also, I’m pretty sure it won’t be fun anymore at that point. Even 5 scooters are already too much work for me.
From what I understand, a new juicer can receive a $90 bonus if you serve 90 scooters in the first 30 days. It’ll be close, but we’ll try to make it. If you want to try riding a Lime scooter or being Lime juicer, use my code. We’ll both get a free ride.
Perfect summer gig
All in all, this is the perfect summer gig for us. We make a few bucks, get some exercise, and RB40Jr is learning the value of money. Now he knows it’s not that easy to make $100. We need to serve 20+ scooters before he can buy a used bike. Money doesn’t just come out of an ATM. Kids need to learn about personal finance so they can get ahead.
Now, let’s circle back to my clickbait headline. I’m a millionaire. Is it worth my time to charge scooters for a few bucks? I could charge $100 per hour to be a retirement consultant instead. Wouldn’t that be a better use of my time? Well, that’s the beauty of FIRE. I can do whatever I want without worrying about money much. This side gig has quite a few benefits and it’s fun. Besides, it’s hard to pass up easy money when you grew up poor. (Yes, I still pick up a penny when I see it on the sidewalk.)
Lastly, this side gig is fun in the summer, but I’m pretty sure it will suck in the winter. Soon, it’ll be cold, rainy, and dark when we need to collect scooters. I suspect we’ll take most of the winter off and get back to it in the spring. We’ll have to see how it goes.
So that’s our latest side gig. It’s great so far, but I’m not sure if this will last. How about you? Do you have a fun side gig?
*Sign up for a free account at Personal Capital to help manage your net worth and investment accounts. I log in almost every day to check on my investment. It’s a great site for DIY investors.
Source: Retire By 40
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