lime juicer

How to Become a Lime Juicer: A Guide to Being a Lime Charger

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Mixing it up is a sound strategy for gig drivers. For rideshare drivers, this means working for Uber and Lyft simultaneously. For food delivery drivers, this is working for several companies in the same way. And then some drivers mix rideshare and food delivery. 

Other gig drivers add to the mix when they get involved in micromobility, sometimes referred to as the last mile. We’re talking specifically about Lime scooters. As most of us know, the opportunity is to get involved as a Lime scooter charger, or as Lime refers to it, a Lime Juicer. 

For those interested in becoming a Lime Juicer, read this article to the end. Changes are coming.  

The questions and topics we will address include

  • What is Lime, and how does it work?
  • Where will I find Lime scooters?
  • Why have some cities banned e-scooters?
  • How do I become a Lime scooter charger?
  • How do I order a Lime scooter?
  • How much do Lime Juicers make per charge? hourly? monthly?
  • Part-time vs. full-time, what are the winning strategies?
  • What is hoarding?
  • Lime vs. Bird—which is better?
  • What changes are coming in the Lime market?

What is Lime and how does it work?

Lime is one of the two big players in the rentable electric scooter market, part of the larger micromobility arena. Bird was the first company to launch rentable electric scooters in 2017. Lime, which was actually founded before Bird, has been giving them a run for their money ever since. Who’s on top in market shares switches back and forth, with the other players back in the pack. Those other players include Uber, Lyft, Spin, and Skip. 

Lime scooters and their competitors are electric scooters, also known as e-scooters. They are rented through an app and typically used in congested city areas for short trips. Lime and Bird scooters have a top speed of about 15 miles an hour, and a range of about 15 miles before the scooter needs to be recharged. Both companies also have e-bikes, but that market is not part of this article. 

Where will you find Lime scooters?

Like all scooter companies, Lime is looking for target-rich environments where the scooters get a lot of use and are easy to find and harvest. This means large downtown areas, the beach, and some resort areas. The Lime website lists 53 cities in the US, although this number is constantly growing. Users skew toward millennials and Gen Z, especially the hipster and bougie crowd. 

You will also find Lime, as well as the other electric scooter companies, around the world. Europe is a big market, larger than the US in terms of cities. If you live in the US, then there is a city near you that offers Lime scooters and its competitors. 

Some cities have banned e-scooters

From the very start, there have been problems with this emerging mode of micromobility. Many cities banned them, citing accidents caused by reckless scooter users, scooters abandoned in the middle of streets, and other issues. Many of these were legitimate concerns. 

Other cities later invited them back, often in trial programs. A city might invite Lime to be part of the program, along with a few others, but exclude Bird. It’s all dependent on which company made a good proposal. E-scooters are a very fluid market.  

How to reserve a Lime scooter

If you want to use a Lime scooter, download the Lime app and link it to your debit card. The app will then show you available scooters in your area. When you select a scooter, it is reserved (usually for about ten minutes), and the app gives you the scooter number and the address of its location. 

Once you locate the scooter, you scan the QR code on it, which unlocks the scooter. You give it a push, crank the electric accelerator, and off you go. Charges can vary slightly from one city to another, but unlocking the scooter is generally $1, and then there’s a per-mile cost of 15 cents, although it goes as high as 30 cents. When you arrive at your destination, Lime asks you to leave the scooter someplace safe (which doesn’t always happen). Deactivate the scooter on your app, and you’re done. 

Becoming a Lime scooter charger 

Charging Lime scooters is where the gig work comes in. Lime calls them Lime Juicers. At a designated time, usually 9:00 p.m. or 10:00 p.m. (it can vary by market), the Juicer portion of the Lime app will start displaying scooters that need a charge. The Lime Juicers reserve their scooters and hit the street to find them. Lime calls this harvesting. 

You get three or four Lime charger cords when you sign up as a Lime Juicer. If you were one of the early ones to sign on, there is a good chance you received them free from Lime. You are more apt to pay for a Lime charger now though. Figure about $15 or $20 for each charger from Lime. You can also find them on Amazon and eBay (both new and used) for lower prices. Also, look on OfferUp and similar sites. 

Once a Juicer has completed their harvesting activities for the night, it is back to their home to charge the scooters. This process takes about five hours and probably involves a power strip or two or three (Amazon has some chargers that will juice up to six scooters at a time). According to various reports by Lime Juicers, it costs less than 20 cents in electricity to charge a scooter. Other Juicers say they don’t notice a change in their electricity bill. 

Once the scooters are charged, Lime requires that they be back on the street, generally starting at about 4:00 a.m. for the early rush hour users, and no later than 7:00 a.m. (these times may vary from city to city). Lime says it will not compensate Juicers for scooters dropped off after 7:00 a.m., although some Juicers claim they have been paid for late drop-offs. 

How much do Lime Juicers make?

When a Lime Juicer looks at the app, they see how much Lime is paying to juice each scooter. Rates are based on how much of a charge the scooter needs and how easy the scooter is to find. A scooter on a major street in a downtown area might get the Juicer $3 to $7, depending on the charge needed. If the scooter is on a side street and it’s drained, the pay might go as high as $12. 

Then you have the scooters that are abandoned in difficult-to-find locations: a residential neighborhood, an alley on the outskirts of downtown, or some other strange location. The app may even be reading a scooter that someone is keeping on the porch or garage, intending to ride it to work the next morning. These are probably better left alone. 

How do these rates translate hourly?

Lime Juicers can easily make $15 or $20 an hour once they figure out how to harvest scooters and be efficient about it. Some claim to make as much as $30 an hour. How well you do really comes down to how well you hone your strategy, and everyone has their own strategy on how to do it. 

The big takeaway to remember is that Lime Juicers have limited hours. The earliest you can go to work is 9:00 p.m., and the scooters get picked up quickly.

Lime can also be very seasonal. The business drops off during the rainy months. Does it snow in your area? Not much scooter business then, either. 

Winning strategies: How much do Lime Juicers make a month?

This depends on your strategy. Everyone has a different approach, but there are three main categories:

Full-time Juicers 

These are Juicers with a truck or van and a good number of chargers. They hit it hard, are constantly looking on the app for new scooters, and might charge 30 or 40 scooters a night, maybe more. They claim they make $4,000 a month minimum. Check out this Reddit thread about a Juicer who claims $400 a night.   

Part-time Juicers

Some Lime Juicers have shared their strategy for maximizing part time earnings. One Juicer harvests a scooter with a charge on his way home from work and then uses it as his Lime Juicer scooter to locate others, which he then stacks on the first scooter. Then he rides the stack home. Their reported record is seven scooters stacked at once while driving down the street, but this Juicer is most comfortable with four scooters at once. In the morning they stack the charged scooters and checks the app for the nearest drop-off location indicated on the app. Working part-time, this Juicer says he once made $1,000 in one month as a Juicer. Other Juicers on Reddit claimed this strategy, too. 

Hoarders

This is the type of activity that will get you kicked off the Lime app or any other scooter app. Still, it happens a lot. Hoarders go out before the appointed 9:00 p.m. hour and corral as many scooters as they can, ideally hiding them in a truck or van. At 9:00 p.m., they start scanning the scooters to see which ones require a charge. When the honest Juicers come out, all the easy-to-find scooters are gone. As you can guess, hoarders who don’t get caught bring in good money. 

Another strategy regards the easy-to-find scooters vs. the hard-to-find ones which command a bigger price. Wise Juicers will disregard the hard-to-find scooters, knowing they can pick up five easy-to-find scooters in the same amount of time and make more money. 

Lime vs. Bird

In markets where both Lime and Bird are active, it’s a toss-up as to whether it is better to be a Lime Juicer or a Bird Charger. Rates are different in every market and they tend to fluctuate. According to Kevin Ha from FinancialPanther.com, the same chargers work for both Lime and Bird scooters (that is, at least some generations of the scooters), so it is easy to work for both companies. 

Also, remember that there are markets where Lime or Bird are excluded. Obviously, that limits your choices. 

Bird is also going through some changes that affect the gig charger community. Read on to find out about those changes. 

How to sign up to be a Lime Juicer

The steps to being a Lime Juicer are about as straightforward as the other app-based jobs in transportation and micromobility. Here are the qualifications. You must

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be in possession of a valid US driver’s license (despite Juicers who claim they don’t use a car)
  • be in possession of a Social Security number
  • own a vehicle that can store at least one scooter (again, even though some Juicers don’t use their car)
  • own a smartphone, iPhone or Android 

As far as the actual sign-up process, it is easiest to download the app and navigate to the Juicer section. Fill out the online form, send it in, and wait for Lime to contact you. 

This is where it gets frustrating in some markets

Lime’s latest innovation is their Gen 4 scooters. These models have a rechargeable battery pack. As of this writing, they are not being used in all markets, but according to an article in TechCrunch, that’s where the company is headed. In markets with the Gen 4 scooters, Juicers are out of business. 

Lime has created a new gig position called movers, using contract workers to pick up scooters in outlying areas and bring them into the city, but most of the Juicers are complaining loudly. You can read about a Juicer on Reddit and their Lime experience in Denver.

Lime is purportedly paying movers around $3.50 per scooter they relocate. Most people don’t like change, but there are former Juicers and others who will undoubtedly embrace the model and figure out a strategy to make it work. 

Changes to the Bird charger program

Bird instituted a program in which they created fleet managers. See this Gridwise report from a few months ago. The managers purchase Bird scooters, which Bird finances. Bird also retains ownership of the scooters (it’s strange, but the contracts are hard to come by and the fleet managers sign a non-disclosure agreement). The managers are in business for themselves. They get a bigger share of the profits but are responsible for warehousing, maintenance, and repair of the scooters in addition to charging. Again, in markets where Bird fleet managers are active, gig chargers are out of a job. 

The arrangement has worked well for some, not so well for others, according to an article by SmartCitiesDive.com

What’s the future for gig workers in the scooter sector?

If there is one constant in the micromobility and rideshare/delivery business for gig workers, it is that things will change. Who knows? Lime’s Gen 4 scooters may have a manufacturer recall, or they may encounter some other kink. According to the TechCrunch article, Lime would have rolled out the Gen 4 program earlier but there were supply chain issues.  

Scooters seem to be here to stay, so if you’re looking for an extra gig, it’s worth checking out.

Whether you’re already working as a charger or you’re considering it, make sure you download the free Gridwise app to track your miles as a Lime Juicer.

And have fun out there!

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