Electric scooters, or e-scooters, are becoming one of the hottest fads in urban transport. Several companies have gotten in the space, putting rentable, dockless e-scooters in major cities around the country.
Spin is a bikeshare and electric scooter company that started just a few years ago but has quickly become a major player in the field. With a presence in 53 American cities and over a dozen college campuses, it’s become a popular way for people to get door-to-door transit in a way that’s simple, easy, and fun.
In this article, we’ll look at Spin, how it got its start and how it quickly expanded across the country. We’ll explain how dockless scooters work and how you rent a scooter with Spin. Finally, we’ll share how people looking for a side hustle can make money charging scooters with Spin.
What is Spin?
Spin is an electronic bicycle and scooter-sharing company based in San Francisco. The company is young — it was founded in 2017 as one of the country’s first attempts at introducing “dockless bicycles” in the country. They started with their rollout of the dockless, bikeshare pilot program in Seattle that year.
Dockless Bikes vs. Scooters
Shareable bikes in this country typically have docking stations, places where people can pick up and drop off bikes around a city. They are unlocked by entering a key code into the docking station, which releases the bike and lets you ride away.
Dockless bicycles took a different approach — instead of needing to find a docking station, people could leave the bikes wherever they were going. They’d park them on the sidewalk, lock them up, and there they would sit until the next rider would pick them up.
Bikes are large, however, and many cities soon grew tired of them blocking public sidewalks. Thus, a new movement gained popularity, one that Spin itself got in on: dockless scooters.
In February of 2018, Spin introduced dockless electric scooters in the cities they were operating in. Scooters can still block sidewalks, of course, but they are much less intrusive than bikes, and easier to hop on and go. Spin still operates their dockless bike program in some cities but is growing its scooter business rapidly.
In November of last year, Spin was acquired by the Ford Motor Company. In 2019, with Ford behind them, they started a rapid expansion program, putting out 15,000 scooters across 53 American cities, including Portland, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C.
In September 2019, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) picked Spin as one of its preferred operators, allowing them to bring 1,000 scooters to the city in October.
How Spin Works
Spin works like most other scooter sharing programs with a few small tweaks that differentiate them from competitors. Before we get to those, let’s do a brief overview of dockless scooters and booking with Spin.
How Dockless Scooters Work
Dockless scooters allow people to get around cities quickly and easily. With no docking stations, there isn’t a limit on where you can take them, which makes them very popular for people who want a quick, affordable ride, door to door.
Almost all dockless scooters are electronic and run via a small motor. These motors are usually speed capped, the limit depending on the city. (Some cities limit speeds to 10 mph, while others go up to 15 mph.) Each scooter is equipped with a GPS tracking device to allow people to find them through their respective apps.
Scooters are usually charged every night, and different companies have different approaches to the process. Some companies allow anyone to charge up a scooter and rely on the free market to get them charged every night. Other companies insist on hiring a workforce responsible for safely charging the machines every night and getting them placed properly in the morning. Spin chooses the latter method, which we’ll discuss below.
If you want to book a Spin scooter, you’ll first need to download the Spin app. The first time you use it, you will need to link the app with a payment source and agree to Spin’s safety standards. You’ll also need to scan a driver’s license to prove your age.
Once you’ve provided them the information they need and a way to pay, it’s time to unlock and ride. Spin has a scannable QR code on their scooters which will allow you to unlock them and turn on the motor. If you enable the app to use your phone’s camera, you can scan the QR code, authorize payment, hop on and ride.
Riding is pretty simple. There’s a throttle on one handlebar, which you turn to get the scooter moving. To brake, they have a pad over the back wheel, which you step on to apply pressure and slow down. When riding, try to stay in bike lanes, as opposed to navigating on the sidewalk, as you don’t want to run into pedestrians.
When you’re finished with the ride, they ask you to park the scooter safely without blocking traffic and take a photo to show where you’ve parked it. Then you’re done.
Make Money Charging Spin Scooters
Spin doesn’t typically allow normal users to earn by charging. Instead, they hire hourly employees in a city to go out, collect scooters, and charge them overnight. In the morning, you’ll take them back out and drop them off around the city.
Spin offers its employees reimbursements for mileage, electricity, and cell phone usage. The pay is hourly, and they cap the amount of shifts you can work in a week, as well as the length of shift.
Requirements include having a clean driving record and the ability to drive a larger vehicle like a truck, SUV, or van that can carry at least 20 scooters safely. (You can use your own car if you have that type of vehicle, but for the right candidate, they can also supply a vehicle.) You also need to be able to lift 40 pounds, and you should have the ability in your home or garage to charge at least 40 scooters every night. They also like tech-savvy people who will know how to use the GPS locator on the app to find scooters every night.
Sound like something you could get into? Check out Spin’s job listings and fill out an application. They have plenty of jobs available, but the ones you should look at are called “Spin Scooter Chargers.”
Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve covered how Spin’s dockless scooters work and how you can make money working for them. Let’s get to some frequently asked questions.
What do I do if a scooter is broken?
Dockless scooters can unfortunately sometimes be victims of tampering or vandalism. Don’t try to ride a broken scooter. Instead, shoot an email to email@example.com and let them know the problem and where to locate the busted scooter.
How does Spin compare to competitors?
The electric scooter space has quickly gotten crowded with several companies looking to get in on the fun.
Uber has a scooter service called JUMP; Lyft now has one, too. Bird and Lime scooters are two other big names in the field. Spin works like most of their competitors with the noted exception that they hire a workforce to charge their scooters at the end of the night, while some of the other companies will allow any user to find a scooter, charge it in their home at night, and get paid for it.
Where is Spin located?
Spin is in 53 cities across the United States. While it started on the West Coast, they’ve expanded across the country, reaching Washington, D.C., on the East Coast and many major metropolitan areas in between. The service has especially focused on development in college campuses as of late, and Spin Scooters are a common sight at many universities around the country. Some of the bigger markets that Spin is in include:
- Ann Arbor, MI
- Denver, CO
- Kansas City, MO
- Los Angeles, CA
- Memphis, TN
- Milwaukee, WI
- Minneapolis, MN
- Portland, OR
- Washington, DC
Ride Easy With Spin Scooters
Spin Scooters allows people in cities to move about quickly and easily. It also hires scooter chargers around the country to make sure their scooters are ready to go every morning. If you’re looking for a good job that can be done in the evenings and early mornings, it’s a great way to bring in some extra cash. Now get out there and scoot it up.