Welcome to the second installment of the Side Hustle Interview Series! One of the goals here at Wealthy Nickel is to help you discover new ways to make extra money. Whether you need an extra $100 a month or are looking to replace your paycheck, this series will give you insight into how others are earning money with hustle and creativity.
If you have a side hustle you would like to share with our readers, send me an email (andrew at wealthynickel dot com) and we can discuss specifics.
Today we have Thomas from from City for Millennials with us to share how he makes money through electric scooter charging. He shows us how he makes over $300 per month from being a “Lime Juicer”, as they call it. Thomas has some great tips for how to get started, and whether this is the right side hustle for you (hint – if you live in a major city, it probably is).
Let’s get to the interview…
How to Get Started Charging Lime Electric Scooters for Extra Cash
What is your side hustle?
Since I work full time as an office manager at an engineering firm, I’m all about side hustle convenience. My time is limited, so I focus on ones that integrate well into my busy schedule. As a result, I have multiple side jobs to help increase my income streams when it fits into my day. Many are associated with the gig economy.
My side jobs include delivering food with Postmates, taking surveys online, and charging electric scooters with two different companies (Lime and Bird).
Why did you want to start a side hustle? What made you decide on the electric scooter charging side hustle?
In my 20s, I focused on optimizing my W2 job. I was successful at increasing my salary through job hopping, promotion, and saying yes to opportunities that required travel. The best way to increase your income is to get a raise. In 2015 I found myself at the top of my earning potential in my career field, so I decided to look for ways to increase my monthly income through side hustling.
I decided to get serious with my side hustles while saving up for an engagement ring. I found that delivering food during my lunch break fit well into my schedule. Since I live and work in a city, it was easy to deliver with Postmates on foot. I was able to deliver one or two orders within a 60 minute window. The tips were great, and so was the exercise. Later, adding in the Lime electric scooter charging was a natural fit with the deliveries I was already doing.
Best of all, she said “yes”, and we got married in August 2018!
How and when did you get started charging Lime scooters on the side?
Following my success with Postmates, I decided to increase my side hustles to include some other “gig economy” jobs, including charging electric scooters. If a scooter is available for charging on my way home from work, I grab it and ride it home. Since I live in a busy city, there are usually multiple scooters available to charge around 9pm just outside my door. In the mornings, I deliver the scooter on my way to work. This gives me a free ride in the morning, plus extra cash!
How to Make Money Charging Electric Scooters
How much money have you made, and what can someone else expect to make with an electric scooter charging side hustle?
Side gigs add up. The great thing about participating in the gig economy is that you can stack different gigs on the same route to make more money, and find ways to fit it into your normal routine.
Lat month, I made $366.33 charging Lime scooters, in addition to several hundred dollars on my other side hustles. For one scooter, you can expect to make around $5 – 12 depending on where it’s located or how busy their other scooters are. During peak times, you can even make up to $20 for one charge!
The majority of electric scooter share programs are similar. When comparing Lime Juicing with Bird Charging, I find that Lime has slightly better payouts. For example, a Lime scooter in Oakland Ca, typically pays out $7 per charge. Bird, on the other hand, typically pays out $5 per charge. The main difference is that Bird scooters are lighter. This is important if you are collecting scooters by foot—which is the most cost effective method. I can easily carry two Bird scooters home (stacking one on top of the one I’m riding). Lime on the other hand are much heavier and larger. I can only bring one home at a time.
I average around $7 per scooter, so if you do just one per day that is $210 per month for minimal effort!
Are there any costs involved in your Lime electric scooter charging side hustle?
Not really. There is a small fee for the charging equipment, but Lime will generally waive the fee.
Since I live in a densely populated area, it’s easy for me to ride the scooters home, or walk to collect them. If you don’t live close enough to walk, you would have to factor in the cost of gas to transport the scooters.
Tell me about the day to day activities involved with charging electric scooters, and how you built it up to where it is now. What made you successful?
The day to day activities are pretty minimal. Since I work on multiple side hustles, I try to fit them into my schedule. On a typical day I’ll deliver a Lime scooter to the hub on the way to work, deliver food with Postmates during lunch, and pick up a scooter to take home with me when I’m leaving work.
The majority of scooters are available for collection and chartering after 9pm. It’s a race to capture Birds and Limes each night. Sometimes, when a scooter is low on battery during the day, you can collect it before 9pm.
The app has a map with scooter locations and battery life. I look for scooters with the highest battery life. This way it is quicker to fully charge. On average, I find scooters with 75% battery life. It takes about an hour or two to fully charge. If empty it could take up to 5 hours to charge.
Time management, passion, and consistency are all goals that lead to success. Charging Lime or Bird scooters is something anyone living in a big city could do. I only pick up one or two per day, but you could easily scale it to 5-10 per day and make $1000 – $2000 per month in the right locations.
What obstacles have you had to overcome to achieve success? What mistakes have you made?
Figuring out which side hustles work for you takes time. You will make many mistakes. I sure have. But over time you will learn what works and what does not. Time is the most valuable resource, so finding hustles that integrate with your schedule and have a high return on investment are the ones to pursue.
What are your goals for the future?
My goal is to continue exploring other gig economy opportunities that would integrate well with my current routine. If you can make them part of your everyday life, it doesn’t even feel like work!
Is an Electric Scooter Charging Side Hustle the Right Fit for Me?
What advice do you have for someone looking to get started with charging electric scooters for Lime or Bird? Who would be an ideal fit?
If you are looking to start charging scooters, take a few days to do some research. See where the scooters are located each night. Identify where the delivery hubs are located.
The best way to do that is to drive around at 7am to see where cluster of scooters are located. These are typically hubs. If you see that there are multiple scooters near your home each night, and there is a delivery hub nearby, then great! It’s all about location.
I do not recommend collecting scooters by vehicle. You will spend money on gas which reduces your ROI. If there are not many available scooters near your home, within walking distance, then this gig may not be right for you.
Wrapping Up – Thoughts from Wealthy Nickel
Thank you Thomas for sharing your story! This sounds like a no-brainer side hustle idea if you’re in a larger city with a Lime or Bird electric scooter fleet. I’ve seen these scooters lying around town and hadn’t really considered I could be picking them up and making a little extra money on the side.
Thomas gave some great advice to those just getting started with electric scooter charging on how to identify the delivery hubs and use the app to find the best-paying scooters.
I love side hustles like this one that you can fit into your normal everyday routine. It’s so easy to make a few hundred extra dollars every month just by opening your eyes to the opportunities around you!
What do you think about this side hustle? If you still have questions about electric scooter charging, or have your own advice to add, leave a comment below!
Andrew Herrig is a finance expert and money nerd and the founder of Wealthy Nickel, where he writes about personal finance, side hustles, and entrepreneurship. As an avid real estate investor and owner of multiple businesses, he has a passion for helping others build wealth and shares his own family’s journey on his blog.
Andrew holds a Masters of Science in Economics from the University of Texas at Dallas and a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University. He has worked as a financial analyst and accountant in many aspects of the financial world.
Andrew’s expert financial advice has been featured on CNBC, Entrepreneur, Fox News, GOBankingRates, MSN, and more.