As electric scooters are now everywhere on the streets of major cities around the world, their daily need to be recharged is an opportunity for you to earn money by doing it yourself. It’s a fairly simple job that has its advantages and disadvantages as we’ll see in this article.
- Here's the program
- What exactly is a “juicer”?
- Who can do this job of juicer?
- How do you get started as a juicer?
- How much can a juicer earn?
- Uberization of Work
- Some tips to get started
- Pros and Cons
- Information recap
What exactly is a “juicer”?
Electric scooters have many advantages, the main one being that they improve mobility conditions in urban centers while having a much lower impact on the climate than cars and motorcycles. It is no wonder that they have been a great success since their appearance.
However, they suffer from a certain handicap directly linked to their size: their limited autonomy. If being able to travel about 30 km per day is more than enough for those who own their own scooter, it poses a problem for those put in free floating.
The popularity of this type of service is sometimes so high in certain cities that it often happens that an electric scooter runs out of juice only a few hours after being recharged and then put back into service. Hence the need for “juicers”.
Juicers, also called “hunters” or “chargers”, are the people who, behind the scenes, take care of recharging the batteries of electric scooters in order to make them available again to users. These juicers work for the numerous companies offering this type of service, most often as freelancers, as we will see later.
Who can do this job of juicer?
Being a juicer is a fairly simple and flexible activity, but it does have a few constraints. First of all, it is a job that is mainly done at night, at the hours when the scooters are less solicited, when everyone is sleeping. These are difficult hours and can be a problem if you have a family life or a second job, for example.
Then, you need to have a large enough vehicle (big van, SUV, trailer…) to be able to transport the e-scooters (which weigh about 15-20 kg each) to the place where they will be recharged. This place, it will be up to you to find it and to arrange it if necessary. It can be a box/garage, a workshop, or even your home if you have enough space.
Note that this job is especially for those who live in a city, or nearby, where several rental services of electric scooters already exist, of course. But that’s not all, because even if there is a fairly high demand for juicers in some cities, in others, the market is already quite saturated, and it will therefore be more difficult for you to find enough scooters to charge to earn what you need to live. The ideal is to live in a city where the demand is strong enough but the competition is rather moderate (as it often is, by the way).
This is a job that you can do part-time in parallel with another one since most of the work is done passively. You will spend about half of the time picking up and dropping off the scooters while the other half will consist in letting them recharge smoothly.
How do you get started as a juicer?
To get started, you’ll first need to sign up on the apps of the companies that offer these sharing scooters (Dott, Lime, Bird, VOI, Bolt, etc.), or fill out an online form on their website. Once your application is accepted, you will receive a charging kit and have access to a map that geo-locates the scooters that need charging. This usually happens in the evening and at night but also during the day since a scooter can be proposed for recharging as soon as its battery has lost 20 to 30% of its capacity (figure varying according to each company).
You will then pick up each scooter with your vehicle and put them in charge (a full charge takes between four and six hours, in general), then you drop them off at the place indicated by the application (preferably before 7 a.m.).
As for professional status, few companies will hire you as an employee. I don’t even think it exists, but considering the high number of companies offering this kind of service, it’s not impossible either. But in the vast majority of cases, you will be asked to work for your own account.
In Europe, the regulations in place are quite strict, and no company will pay you your salary without you having an official status of self-employed or otherwise. In the UK, people who wish to work as juicers must register as a self-employed entrepreneur or as a sole proprietor. This involves registering with the tax authorities and complying with the country’s tax and regulatory requirements. Self-employed individuals must also carry liability insurance to protect themselves in the event of damage to scooters or others during their juicer activity.
In the United States, you don’t need to have a specific professional status. Juicer work is often considered self-employment, so it is not always necessary to create a company or have a specific professional status. Note, however, that legal requirements vary (as they always do in the US) depending on the state and city where you operate. Some cities may have specific rules and require, for example, a business license or official self-employment registration.
Whether you live in the U.S., Europe, or elsewhere, be sure to check what these local legal requirements are so that you are in compliance with all the laws and regulations that apply in your country. But regardless of your employment status, be aware that you will be responsible for your own taxes, including income taxes and Social Security and Medicare fees.
Finally, you may also need to purchase liability insurance to cover any damages caused while working as a juicer. This doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, and it can be useful in case of accidents or damage to scooters or others while you are working. Check with insurance companies and choose the coverage that best suits your needs and budget.
I’m doing a quick update here, because I’ve noticed that more and more companies are integrating removable batteries into their electric scooters, and in this case it’s no longer necessary, or at least essential, to have a large motorized transport vehicle, as you can simply carry a few already-charged batteries and replace the empty ones. And in this case, a lighter vehicle is more than sufficient.
How much can a juicer earn?
In most cases, you will be paid for each scooter collected and recharged, but the amount you will receive each month is extremely difficult to determine, as there are many factors that influence this amount. It will depend on what the scooter company you are working with offers, the area you are operating in, the number of scooters available, the number of juicers working in the area, the weather conditions, and user demand. However, it can be estimated that the amount you will receive varies from a few dollars to about ten dollars, or sometimes more, per scooter.
This seems interesting, but don’t forget that you have to deduct your various operating costs from this. Among them there is the cost of electricity that you consume to recharge all these batteries, the purchase and maintenance of the transport vehicle as well as the fuel to make it run, the rent of a room to store the scooters, the taxes, and the possible insurances.
With all these variables, you can understand why it is difficult to give a precise figure, or even a not too large range, of what you can earn. The best thing to do is to see what other juicers are earning. And for that, you don’t need to run after them to ask the question because there are specialized websites that display this kind of data, like Indeed, Talent or Salary.
But if you really want a figure, you should know that globally the net amount you will receive, all expenses deducted, is not extraordinary and even quite mediocre in some regions of the world where the salary level is already quite low. In Western Europe, North America, and Australia, you should be able to earn about 5$ per scooter.
Uberization of Work
Just a quick aside to tell you about the phenomenon of the uberization of work that emerged during the 2010s when companies such as Uber and Airbnb began to disrupt the transportation and accommodation industries with their atypical offerings.
The term “uberization” refers to jobs directly related to online application-based business models such as VTC drivers (Uber, Lyft, Bolt, etc.), bike delivery drivers (Uber Eats, Deliveroo, etc.), cleaning services (TaskRabbit, Helpling, etc.), or the “Gig economy” (small jobs on Fiverr, ComeUp, Upwork, etc.).
This economic system has often been criticized for its tendency to create precarious and low-paid jobs but also for the fierce competition that sometimes reigns between workers because of the lack of social security and legal protections, as well as for its sometimes negative impact on existing industries.
Uberization has been praised, however, for offering more choice and convenience to consumers, as well as for its ability to allow self-employed workers to work flexibly, according to their own schedules and needs, and thus be able to earn the money they need to live.
Overall, the uberization of certain occupations, including juicers, is a complex phenomenon that has its pros and cons, but it allows millions of people to work and take care of their families.
Some tips to get started
Let’s end this article with some tips that can help you get started as a juicer but also allow you to earn a decent salary/hour and motivate you to continue.
- Buy several chargers: Having several chargers will allow you to charge several e-scooters at the same time, and therefore increase your productivity and your income. It will also be very useful if one of your chargers breaks down.
- Use a large vehicle: Having a large vehicle such as a pickup truck or van will allow you to carry multiple scooters at once. If your goal is to be able to load 30 scooters a night, try to find a vehicle that has the capacity. This will save you from having to make several trips back and forth each time.
- Work for multiple companies: Work for multiple scooter rental companies, and you’ll have the opportunity to collect more scooters, which will again increase your income. Don’t hesitate to compare rates and working conditions to choose the most profitable companies too.
- Work as a team: Of course this will increase your costs, but if you can collect a lot of scooters each night, you will also increase your income tenfold. If there are two of you, for example, one person can drive while the other searches for places to go. You can also create 2, 3, or 4 independent teams. The important thing here is to see the cost/benefit balance.
- Get organized: To maximize your time and productivity, you will need to organize yourself efficiently. Plan your route ahead of time to optimize your trip based on traffic, road work, where the most scooters are concentrated to be charged, etc.
- Work at night: There are usually fewer scooters to charge during the day, so work at night when most batteries are empty and users are sleeping.
- Fully charge: Be sure to check the charge rate before returning the scooter because if it is less than 95%, your pay may be lower. Be sure to read each company’s terms and conditions.
- Be punctual: As soon as they are fully charged, the scooters must generally be returned between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. Try to respect these drop-off times, so you don’t miss this window. Some companies may penalize you financially if you return them outside of these hours. Again, read the terms and conditions.
- Be well equipped: Always carry a flashlight, it is always useful for night activities. Also, wear a safety vest so that you can be easily spotted by other road users.
- Respect the rules of the road: Most fines that juicers receive are for illegal parking, sometimes even dangerous. So take a few minutes to find a suitable parking spot rather than stopping anywhere. And don’t speed, either, because a ticket can be expensive and easily ruin several nights of work.
- Pay attention: Scooters should be carefully loaded but also inspected. If you notice any problem (mechanical or otherwise), report it as soon as possible to the company concerned (they usually repair their scooters).
- Manage your budget: Consider travel, electricity, and other costs associated with charging scooters. Carefully calculate (and optimize) your costs to ensure that you are profitable. It would be a shame to work for little or nothing.
Juicer, or scooter loader, is a rather flexible activity, that you can even do in addition to another job. However, you will have to make sure that your collections are well organized (pick up the scooters, load them, and drop them off at the places indicated on the app) and above all optimize the ratio between the income you will get from them and the operating costs (the cost of electricity, travel and storage costs, taxes and other expenses).
You’ll also need to find out what professional status is required by local regulations, if any, and consider taking out insurance to cover you in case something goes wrong. And if you do things right and follow the few tips in this article, your chances of making a decent living will only increase.
Environmental and climate change issues are more than ever at the heart of the concerns of this 21st century, which is why I am proposing a few ideas that will enable you to limit the negative impact that the implementation of this idea could have.
These solutions that I suggest are sometimes largely insufficient to compensate for these negative impacts, such as carbon offsetting. Unfortunately, there is not always an ideal and 100% efficient solution, far from it. And if you have others, please do not hesitate to share them in the comments below.
Contrary to what many people might think, electric scooters are not (really) environmentally friendly, at least not as much as personal electric scooters, electric bicycles, and even less than public transportation. Read the study.
But that’s just for information because what we are interested in here is the impact that the activity of a juicer can have on the environment and the climate. Well, that’s not good either (sorry). Finally, this level of nuisance will depend on different factors as we will see now.
LThe collection vehicle: As you may have guessed, using a van or SUV to transport the scooters is the first environmental negative of this idea. So unless that vehicle is electric (and again, electric is far from environmentally neutral), there’s a good chance it will emit a large amount of GHGs (greenhouse gases). And unfortunately, I don’t see much of a way to do this without a vehicle (Horse and buggie?).
The type of electricity: A large majority of the electricity produced in the world is from fossil fuels such as gas, oil or coal. This is the primary cause of the climate change that humanity is facing today.
However, if you have the possibility to use green electricity, which is produced from renewable energies (solar, wind, hydroelectric, or even nuclear), you can greatly limit your impact on the environment. In Europe, for example, you can opt for a green energy supplier quite easily. Otherwise you may have the possibility to install photovoltaic panels at home (even if in the city it is more complicated, indeed)?
- Uncomplicated work and flexible hours
- Possibility to do this as a second job
- Nearly 50% passive work (waiting for the batteries to be charged)
- It’s more of a night job
- The salary can be quite low
- Competition is sometimes tough
- Need to have a vehicle for transportation
- Location: Near your home
- Investment: If you do not have a vehicle, it can be important. Opt for a second-hand vehicle rather than a new one.
- Earnings perspective: Variable, but you should earn about 5€ per loaded scooter.
- Required: Have a sense of responsibility, some technical/electrical knowledge to be able to solve a problem for example, a driver’s license, be able to respect schedules.
- Risk level: Fairly low. If you really don’t like it, you can always sell your vehicle.
- Implementation time: Quick, if you already have a transport vehicle.
- Material needed: A vehicle to transport the scooters, a smartphone to connect to the app, a space to charge the scooters (unless you find a way to charge them directly in the vehicle).