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Millionaire Charges Lime Scooters for Beer Money

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Millionaire charges Lime scooters for Beer moneyLast 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.

Scooter pickup

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.

Lime scooters pick upThe 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.

Charging

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.

Dropping off

charge lime scooter millionaireThis 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.

lime scooter pay outOccasionally, 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 be a Lime Juicer, signup with my referral code.

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.

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. He spent 16 years working in computer design and enjoyed the technical work immensely. However, the job became too stressful and Joe retired from his engineering career to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. Today, he blogs about financial independence, early retirement, investing, and living a frugal lifestyle.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is increasing his investment in real estate with CrowdStreet. He can invest in projects across the U.S. and diversify his real estate portfolio. There are many interesting projects available so sign up and check them out.

Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help DIY investors analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.
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{ 47 comments… add one }
  • Fire Year FIRE escape August 15, 2019, 7:22 pm

    This is awesome! Its so silly, and flies in the face of the general mantra of the corporate world that it only makes sense if you are retired.

    Great way to play around with RB40Jr. Do you think this has elevated his level of business savvy? Or maybe it would have been better to level up his coding skills to get in on the IPO boom. 🙂

    • retirebyforty August 16, 2019, 6:48 am

      I’m just hoping this will teach him that money isn’t easy to make. If you want to buy something, you have to work for it. Nothing is free.

  • Skillful Wealth August 14, 2019, 4:14 pm

    Hey, fun post. What a great way to spend time with your son. Plus the point you made about spending your time on things that you want to do without money being the motivating factor is awesome. Congrats!

  • Dr. McFrugal August 14, 2019, 8:18 am

    What a fun summer side gig / hustle!!!

    Yes, you can make more per hour doing early retirement consulting. But where’s the fun in that? Plus you wouldn’t be able to bond with your son by doing that.

    Time spent bonding with your son, enjoying the outdoors, getting some exercise, and making some beer money sounds awesome to me!

  • Tawcan August 13, 2019, 10:05 pm

    I love this, it’s a great side gig for sure. I wonder if people would believe you if you tell them that you’re a millionaire and you charge lime scooter as a side gig. 🙂

  • Dan August 13, 2019, 8:39 pm

    Great side hustle! Wish I had these in NYC. Do you plan to use the money earned in a solo 401k? Will your son use it for an IRA?

    • retirebyforty August 13, 2019, 10:18 pm

      Part of it will go to my solo 401k. Unfortunately, my son isn’t a real employee. I think you have to be 18. I’ll pay him under the table. 🙂

  • Michael @ Financially Alert August 13, 2019, 2:09 pm

    What a fun summer side gig, Joe! And, you get a little exercise in at the same time.
    We live in the suburbs, so there are not too many scooters around us. But definitely, something to consider if I were closer to the city.

    Our kids’ summer side gig was limited to recycling bottles for CRVs. Not a lot of money, but it’s great having them be eco-conscious at an early age.

    • retirebyforty August 13, 2019, 10:17 pm

      Cool. I used to do that when I was young. It’s pretty competitive here with the recycling. The homeless population digs through all the bins to get them.

  • Financial Panther August 13, 2019, 10:15 am

    Sounds like you’re in the perfect spot to take advantage of scooter charging! Don’t forget the other benefit of charging lime scooter – you get to ride them around for free! I literally ride scooters to get around everywhere and never pay for them.

    The best thing to do is pick up a scooter shortly after 12pm because then you don’t have to worry about dropping it off until the next day. Charge it up in the afternoon, then have yourself a free scooter to ride around on later in the afternoon and in the evening.

    Also, you can still drop them off after 7am. Up until 9am, you get full pay, so no need to rush if you don’t want to.

    • retirebyforty August 13, 2019, 10:16 pm

      Thanks for the tips! It’s pretty rare to see a scooter around noon. Most of them still have plenty of charges left.

  • Jim @ Route To Retire August 13, 2019, 9:02 am

    That’s really cool! I’ve never seen those scooters around in any cities I’ve been, but I have seen the bikes that you can get.

    I think you said it best in the end that your time is worth more money, but you’re FIRE so you can do whatever you want. This is a great opportunity to spend time with your son, teach your son about working, and have some fun and exercise in the meantime! Awesome!

    — Jim

  • [email protected] August 13, 2019, 7:20 am

    Love it! I wish they had them around here. It sounds like the perfect job to do with your young kids. It’s so hard to find a job for kids that has this kind of flexibility were you can work if you want or are able.

  • Financial Nordic August 13, 2019, 1:51 am

    Haha! Nice little side gig that combines fun & work.

    Some countries in Europe have already banned those scooters because they are pretty dangerous sometimes. But I think that in the USA these vehicles will not get banned.
    Good summer!

    – Financial Nordic

    • retirebyforty August 13, 2019, 10:14 pm

      Really? If you ride carefully, it should be okay. An accident can happen anywhere.

  • Abigail @ipickuppennies August 12, 2019, 2:55 pm

    Sounds like a great gig! We don’t have the program here in Arizona. I don’t think people want to be outside of anything air conditioned for getting around. So I doubt it’ll come to Phoenix, but I guess never say never.

    Glad you found a fun side gig that’s teaching your son a valuable lesson at the same time. I don’t have any fun side gigs, unless you count the blog I suppose. That can be fun.

    • retirebyforty August 12, 2019, 11:00 pm

      I can imagine. It’s probably not much fun when it’s 100 degrees out. Whew!

  • J.D. August 12, 2019, 11:02 am

    Joe, this article is hilarious (in a good way). I love it. Plan to share it via Apex, newsletter, etc. I love that you’re getting RBjr in on the action too! 😉

  • One Frugal Girl August 12, 2019, 9:43 am

    This sounds like a really fun way to get in a little extra exercise each day. I love that the “juicer in a Mercedes” kept beating you. Something about that part of the story really cracked me up.

    • retirebyforty August 12, 2019, 10:50 pm

      Right? A Mercedes isn’t the right vehicle to collect these scooters.

  • Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early August 12, 2019, 9:31 am

    97 walk score! That’s freaking incredible!

    • retirebyforty August 12, 2019, 10:49 pm

      We love it. I rarely have to drive these days. It’s great to be able to walk more.

  • Financial Fitness Fanatic August 12, 2019, 8:55 am

    I’m super impressed that you got your son to agree to this! I’ve been really wanting to get my 13 year old interested in some sort of job — babysitting for neighbors, pet-sitting, or now maybe juicing! — but so far he hasn’t been enthusiastic. Was there any particular way that you presented it to your son to get him excited about it, or is he just naturally entrepreneurial and was all-in from the beginning?

    • retirebyforty August 12, 2019, 9:01 am

      Our son likes money so he was all-in. 🙂 I also told him we could get a new bike for him with this money. That helped too. We gave his old bike to his cousin last year. It was way too small for him.
      Good luck with your son. Maybe you can reward him by matching the next big purchase. Usually, I pay 50% for a toy my son wants to buy. He’s naturally frugal so it hasn’t been a problem for us.

      • Financial Fitness Fanatic August 12, 2019, 1:07 pm

        That’s a great idea. I will try the 50% route the next time he wants something big, and hopefully that will get him motivated!

  • JK August 12, 2019, 8:51 am

    Have you figured in the increase of your electric bill with this or are you waiting to see that?
    Here in southern CA. we have tier pricing with electricity. If you go into the next tier it shoots up.

    • retirebyforty August 12, 2019, 8:59 am

      From what I heard, it cost around 10 cents to fully charge a scooter. It probably cost more in CA.
      Usually, our electric bill is around $50/month. I should be able to see the increase next month.

  • freddy smidlap August 12, 2019, 7:56 am

    that’s an excellent gig. did you know that “juicer” was also slang for a heavy drinker? that’s how we used in in the late 70’s/80’s where i grew up. these are all going to be good lessons for junior.

    our main hustle is ebay, but we only sell our own stuff or what we get for free. oh, sometimes we sell one of mrs. smidlap’s paintings.

  • Lazy Man and Money August 12, 2019, 6:43 am

    I like that it’s good father/son bonding time, while teaching some value of money. We don’t have scooters here, but I’m trying to do some of this with dog sitting. I don’t think it’s as straight-forward as, “we each make $2 when we do this thing. Here’s yours, here’s mine. What are we saving up for?” That’s awesome stuff.

    There’s room for other stuff like retirement consulting too, if that’s something you want to add. However, as you said, you don’t need to. Maybe when winter comes, you can do that for an hour each day while RB40jr is in school.

    • retirebyforty August 12, 2019, 8:01 am

      It’s a lot of fun in the summer. I suspect it’ll be much more difficult to get Jr to come with me when it starts raining.

  • Tom @ Dividends Diversify August 12, 2019, 5:42 am

    That’s pretty cool. I wouldn’t be into the 7 am deadline though. It sounds a little too much like a job. Interesting how the pay rate has dropped. I’m sure as the word gets out and more people get approved supply/demand will dictate a lower rate. But at some point, the rate can only fall so low or people won’t be interested. Basic economics. The rate will find some equilibrium where they have enough juicers at the lowest rate they can get away with. Very interesting. It could be an academic research paper. A thesis on the economics of juice hustling. 🙂 Tom

    • retirebyforty August 12, 2019, 8:00 am

      The pay rate was really good last year. I think $4 is sustainable, but probably not lower than that.
      Most juicers drive to collect scooters so they have to pay for gas. $3 wouldn’t be worth it for many of them.

  • Xrayvsn August 12, 2019, 3:28 am

    That sounds like a great side gig for you and you son, and I was surprised at the amount of money that could be made doing this.

    I think the morning drop off deadline would be the part that would get me if I even had the opportunity to do it (I don’t since I live in a rural area).

    The best thing about this is if you wanted to your child can start saving into a Roth Ira up to the amount earned. That would be an incredible head start for retirement.

    • retirebyforty August 12, 2019, 7:58 am

      Actually, you have to be 18 to be a juicer. So RB40Jr can’t put this money into his Roth IRA, unfortunately.
      I thought the morning drop off would be painful, but it hasn’t been that bad. Usually, I wake up at 6 am and I go drop them off right away. It takes less than 10 minutes and I’m back to make coffee.

  • MINDY FAN August 12, 2019, 2:23 am

    This actually sounds like it could be really fun in the summer! It feels like a game to find and charge them and you also get exercise as well! I don’t think I have seen these around on the East coast, but I have to keep an eye out for something similar. 🙂

    • Mindy Fan August 12, 2019, 2:24 am

      Lime Scooters are in Boston since May of this year!

    • retirebyforty August 12, 2019, 7:56 am

      Right! It’s like Pokemon Go, but you get paid. It’s a great summer gig.

  • Mr. Nomad Numbers @ NomadNumbers August 12, 2019, 2:11 am

    Thanks for sharing your experience Joe. This is such a great idea! Too bad we aren’t living in the US anymore as I remember seeing them a lot in San Francisco and did not know you could “juice” them to make some side income out of it. Can it be possible for the scooter to run out of “juice” so you can not ride it all the way back home?

    • retirebyforty August 12, 2019, 7:55 am

      Often, they’ll run out of juice on the way home for us. It basically stops working when the charge drops below 5%. Then I’ll have to push the rest of the way. I’m not sure how it works for riders. I haven’t paid for a ride yet. 🙂

  • Dave @ Accidental FIRE August 12, 2019, 2:06 am

    So cool Joe… “Amateur Juicer”. I bet you never thought you’d have that job title when you were younger 🙂

    It is a shame though the lengths we have to go as a society to get people to stop using their cars for short trips. In my area people are complaining like crazy about the scooters – the same people that supposedly believe in human-caused climate change and use their gas guzzling SUV for trips under a mile. I think any ecologically friendly transportation that can get prevent a fossil fuel burning car from being used is a good thing.

    • retirebyforty August 12, 2019, 7:54 am

      I just signed up to be a food taster too. These side gigs are fun if you don’t really need the money. 🙂
      Some people hate the scooters here too. The main problem is they are often blocking the sidewalk. The riders should park them out of the way. It’s not that hard. Other than that, I think they’re great.

  • Done by Forty August 12, 2019, 1:51 am

    I’ve been trying to do the same with Bird but I think the college students have provided way more applicants than they could possibly need.

    It sounds like a rad, easy side gig though, Joe. I like the idea of something that’s pretty low stress & this fits the bill.

    • retirebyforty August 12, 2019, 7:52 am

      Bird was here for the trial last year, but they didn’t come back. Maybe they didn’t get approved for some reason.

  • Mr. Tako August 12, 2019, 12:29 am

    Sounds like a fun new side gig Joe! If you can make a few extra bucks for going for a walk/bike ride in your neighborhood, why not?

    Too bad we don’t have any of these scooters in my area. It sounds like a great way to teach kids about earning money and personal finance.

    In the winter I bet this side gig really slows down though — Who is going to want to ride one of those scooters in the winter when it’s pouring out?

    • retirebyforty August 12, 2019, 7:51 am

      The tires have no tread so I’m not sure how these scooters will do in the rain. I’m pretty sure it won’t be much fun.
      If we see one around the corner, we’ll probably drop by to get it. Otherwise, we’ll pass.

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