Everything You Need to Know About Working as a Bird Charger
Did you know you can make some decent money by charging those Bird scooters you see all around town?
If you’re unfamiliar, Bird is an electric scooter rental company (similar to Lime) that provides easy access to transportation in walkable cities and college campuses.
Scooters are rented via the Bird smartphone app. You just open the app, find a Bird on the location map, and unlock it by scanning the QR code near the handlebars.
Rentals cost $1 to unlock and 15¢ a minute to ride.
Commuters can pick up Birds in their “nests” in the morning. A nest is a place where a flock of scooters is placed by scooter chargers. During the day, you might find Birds parked outside of business and public buildings, schools, parks, shopping districts – anywhere that a rider might want to go. Your app map will tell you where the nearest Bird is located.
Bird scooter chargers locate scooters in need of a charge using the same app, they just switch to Bird charging mode and the map shows scooters with low batteries.
Even though Bird asks riders to park responsibly in a bike rack or at least upright and in plain view, that’s not always the case. If the Bird isn’t visible, the charger can make the bird “chirp” to help locate it.
You can now find Birds in these and other major and minor cities across the nation and the world:
- Arizona: Scottsdale
- California: Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, San Jose
- Colorado: Denver
- Georgia: Atlanta
- Indiana: Indianapolis
- Kentucky: Louisville
- Maryland: Baltimore
- Michigan: Detroit
- Minnesota: Minneapolis, St. Paul
- Missouri: Columbia, Kansas City, St. Louis
- North Carolina: Charlotte
- Tennessee: Memphis, Nashville
- Texas: Austin, Dallas
- Washington D.C.
- Austria: Vienna
- Belgium: Brussels
- France: Paris
- Israel: Tel Aviv
- Mexico: Mexico City
- Switzerland: Zurich
Visit the Bird homepage for the complete list if you don’t see your city listed above.
What is a Bird Charger?
A Bird charger is a person who “captures,” charges, and “releases” Birds for money.
All bird scooters are fully electric and they run out of batteries after around 30 miles. Instead of hiring full-time employees to collect and charge the scooters, Bird realized on gig-economy workers to handle the job.
Chargers are paid per scooter, so the more scooters you charge, the more money you can make.
Bird Chargers are freelance Bird employees that make their own schedules. They get paid per scooter for every Bird they capture, charge, and release. If you don’t want to hunt Birds today, no problem – it’s your choice.
Why Become a Bird Charger?
Working for Bird is a chance to join the gig economy and make some extra money. Plus, the sign-up process and the daily work it easy. Or challenging – if you really want it to be (some people like to treat it like Pokemon Go and make a game out of it). Charging for Bird is different for everyone, but the upside to that is that you make it what you want it to be. To an extent, you write your own job description.
Bird even sends you all of the equipment you need to charge the scooters. You charge the scooters overnight in the comfort of your own home. All you do is plug in the power supplies and go about your normal activities. Bird sends you three power supplies to get started. If you prove to be a consistent charger, they will send you more. Many Chargers use six power supplies.
You can be in on the dawn of a huge transformation in commuter culture. Being a Bird Charger gives you the opportunity to contribute to a new form of urban transportation and be a part of helping the environment at the same time. Scooters are cleaner than fossil fuel vehicles and take up less room on the roads and are a great alternative for those that don’t have the stamina or the ability to use bikes.
How you run your charging strategy is up to you. You decide how much you want to work. No commitments. No obligations.
One of the best reasons for becoming a Bird Charger is that you get paid the same day. When you release Birds the next day, you get paid for it – the rest of the wait is up to your bank or wherever you choose direct deposit.
How Much Can You Make as a Bird Charger?
You get paid for every Bird that you charge and release. Each individual Bird is worth the price it shows on the map when you’re hunting.
Most of the Birds will net you around $5. Some birds, those that haven’t been charged in a long time or that are more challenging to capture, will be worth more.
Your expense to charge the Birds is minimal. The largest expense is the gas needed to drive around to collect scooters. The electricity you use charging a scooter is usually somewhere in the neighborhood of 8¢ to 25¢ per Bird. If your strategy is to capture Birds in your own neighborhood or along routes you take in your normal daily life, you’re looking at a profit of at least $4.75 a Bird.
That’s around $15 a night for plugging in three Birds and doing next to nothing until morning. The average Charger charges six per night. If they charge six a night for five nights, that’s $142 a week for very little effort.
Tip: Earn more money by doubling as a Lime scooter charger!
How to Become a Bird Charger
Bird only has a few requirements to join the charger program
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have a car
- Charge at least 3 Birds at a time
- Live in or near an area where Bird operates
They also recommend that you have a vehicle that can hold at least three scooters. Many Chargers are able to fit 6-8 scooters into a four-door sedan or an SUV. You have to be careful not to scuff the scooters, so don’t take more in one load than your car can handle.
If you meet these requirements, then all you need to do is sign up. The process only takes a few minutes. You’ll need to provide basic information about yourself, your vehicle and your tax-information.
A Bird representative will call you to follow up on your request to be a Charger. The main point of the phone call is to see if you’ll be a good fit with Bird and if you share their vision for a more sustainable form of transportation. The rep will also give you a rundown on how being a charger works and how to succeed at it.
If that call goes well (which it should), you will be approved as a Bird Charger and they will send you the required charging cables. When you receive them you’re ready to start hunting and capturing Birds!
How to Hunt, Capture, and Charge Birds
You can begin as soon as you receive your power supplies from Bird.
The first step is to log into the charger version of the Bird app. Once you have the Bird app downloaded, toggle it to charger mode. The map will then show you where the uncharged Birds are roosting throughout the city.
Each uncharged Bird is designated on the map with a color-coded symbol:
- Green Birds – these are the easiest to find and pay the $5 minimum per charge.
- Yellow Birds – a little harder to find and pay slightly more than the minimum.
- Red Birds – the hardest to find and offer the highest payout.
Payouts beyond the $3 minimum are highly variable. The best strategy is to look at the map and consider the gas, time, and effort versus the payout. Six $5 birds in the hand are worth more than the one stuck under a tree at the bottom of a canyon that pays $30.
If you are looking for a yellow or red Bird, remember that you can have it “chirp” so that it’s easier to find.
When you find the Bird you’ve been hunting, just scan the QR code located on the handle or enter the code into the app to capture it. Once you’ve unlocked it, you now have the Bird “Captive.” You can find all of your captive Birds in the My Birds section of the app.
Load your captive Birds into your car and take them to your home for charging overnight.
Early the next morning, you will take the Birds to a nest, which is a public place where you will release your flock for morning commuters to rent.
Bird nests are pre-determined locations and the app will show you where you can drop off scooters. You don’t have to religiously follow the suggestions, but they have an idea where the highest traffic will be and high traffic means used up batteries which means more money for you.
Bird has these rules for nesting Birds:
- Drop the scooters off between 4 and 7 a.m the next morning.
- Release the Birds in sets of three on private property.
- Release the Birds on a flat surface near foot traffic but out of the way of pedestrian walkways.
- Space the scooters evenly and turn the wheels out.
When you drop the Birds off, you need to release them into the “wild” by scanning the code on the handle again.
Once you’ve released your Birds, the company will pay you per scooter via direct deposit to your bank account.
What are the Benefits of Being a Bird Charger?
- You work and earn as much as you want.
- Wages average out to around $20-$30 per hour.
- You can make extra money by hunting hard to find Birds.
- The app is very intuitive and easy to use, so you can get started right away.
Pretty much anyone can do it as long as they meet (the very minimal) requirements.
What are the Drawbacks of Being a Bird Charger?
- Some Birds are really hard to find.
- Glitches in the app mean you could show up to capture a Bird that isn’t there.
- You have to charge at least three Birds at a time which means that you have to find three or more in order to get paid for your work.
- You have to have a car to transport the Birds.
- The Birds have to be released before 7 a.m. and that’s really early for some!
Bird Charger Customer Service
Bird supports its Chargers. You might be freelance, but that doesn’t mean Bird doesn’t want to help you succeed. They are there to help if you have any issues.
You can call 1-866-205-2442, or email Bird support whenever you have an issue.
One of the best ways to contact them is through text. You can start a conversation with Bird right in the app.
How can you sign up to be a Bird charger?
Go to their website and fill out an application. Someone will contact you to do the rest.
Do you need to pay anything to be a Bird charger?
No. Just your gas to drive around and get Birds. The charger is provided for you by Bird.
How do you get the equipment to charge?
Bird sends it to your home when you become a charger.
What kind(s) of scooter does Bird use?
Xiaomi MI series M365 and Ninebot Segway ES2s or ES4s. A newer, rugged scooter being designed that will have features that have more control over parking.
We love being a Bird charger or Lime juicer because how you work for Bird is mostly up to you. You’re really working for yourself, providing your time and energy to Bird as a service.
We also like these new scooter companies as a consumer because it can be cheaper (and more fun) than taking an Uber or Lyft.
As with building any business, you have to create a plan for how you’re going to succeed. Some Bird Chargers do it as a sideline for extra cash and some Chargers who love the game-like aspect of hunting lost Birds make as much as $600 a night.
It’s easy to try charging Birds and there is no initial investment. It’s worth it to try it out and see how it fits you.
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