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Looking for a new side hustle? One of the latest (and perhaps most unconventional) jobs in today’s gig economy is the Bird mechanic.
But, Santa Monica-based Bird goes one step further by hiring mechanics to fix their machines. After all, if there are broken scooters littering the streets, the company won’t make any money.
If you’re mechanically inclined, this is a great opportunity to boost your gigworker earnings.
Keep reading to learn how you can make money as a Bird Scooter Mechanic.
- What Does a Bird Mechanic Do?
- How Much do Bird Mechanics Make?
- How to Sign Up
- Can You be a Mechanic and a Charger at the Same Time?
- Tips to Increase Bird Mechanic Earnings
What Does a Bird Mechanic Do?
Bird mechanics have one main job: to make sure that the company’s dockless scooters are safe for riders.
Bird scooters are popular. Multiple people ride them every day, so they constantly take a beating.
For the most part, mechanics are needed to make basic repairs. Most work involves changing flat tires and performing basic maintenance.
Sometimes, scooters need more complex repairs. For instance, mechanics may need to fix brake levers or repair engines.
The point of the job is to make sure that all scooters on the street are safe for operation.
To work as a Bird mechanic, you need to know how to repair cars or, at the very minimum, bikes.
You’ll need an arsenal of tools as well, but Bird will send you a starter kit that includes a small tool bag with allen wrenches, inner tubes, tires, and tire levers. The starter kits also include Bird stickers and a few other branded items.
Don’t have the technical know-how to repair scooters? You can still work as a Bird Charger!
The Day-to-Day Life of a Bird Mechanic
Mechanics work as independent contractors, so you can work as little or as often as you want. You won’t have a boss breathing down your neck, and you won’t have to deal with anyone telling you what to do. As long as you know how to make the necessary repairs, it’s a great way to make some extra money.
Mechanics use the Bird app to locate broken Birds. Similar to Bird Charger mode, the Mechanic mode shows you where to find machines that need fixing.
In most cases, you’ll need to fix flat tires, tighten throttles, and repair brake lines. Some simple jobs can be done right on the street. Other jobs require you to take the scooter home for repair.
Bird requires that you do a two-minute safety inspection to determine the level of damage before you fix it.
On occasion, you may come across a Bird that’s damaged so severely that you cannot fix it at all. When that situation arises, you’ll take the scooter to a designated drop-off location.
Once you complete a repair, mechanics need to charge the scooter and drop of the fixed Bird at a “nest,” just like chargers.
To find “nests,” visit the app and look on the map. The map shows you where to drop off the scooter.
All Bird scooters need to be back out on the street, fully charged, by 7 AM every morning. They have to be ready for the influx of commuters during morning rush hour. So, if you’re not a morning person, this may not be the best job for you.
How Much Can a Bird Mechanic Make?
Bird mechanics earn $15 for every scooter you fix. If you find one with serious damage that you cannot fix, Bird pays between $5 and $10 to drop it off at a designated location.
The exact rate depends on how broken the scooter is. If it’s only partially damaged, you’ll receive $5. If it’s severely damaged, you’ll get more.
Keep in mind that Bird maintains very strict drop-off hours. You can only bring a scooter to the drop-off location on weekdays during the following times:
- 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM
- 1:00 PM – 5:30 PM
So, don’t pick up scooters unless you can drop them off during those specific hours. Otherwise, you might get a penalty.
This side hustle is great because it allows you to hone your technical skills while making some extra money.
If you have a full-time job, you can pick up one scooter on your way home from work and make an extra $15 bucks while you’re watching TV.
If you want to make more money, you can pick up several scooters at once and earn $60 or $70 working from home.
How Do I Sign Up?
Are you interested in working as a scooter mechanic?
To get started, fill out an application on the Bird website. You need to be at least 18 years old, and you’ll need to provide some basic info, such as your name, address, email, and phone number.
The application also asks what type of vehicle you drive, if you have your own set of tools, and if you have your own garage or workshop.
Unlike Chargers, Bird Mechanics must have technical experience. On the application, you’ll need to describe your mechanical knowledge and indicate how many years of experience you have.
An interest in repairing scooters isn’t enough – you’ll need to show that you have the skills to get the job done.
After you complete the application, and if the company needs Mechanics in your city, they will contact you. If you have the necessary skills, they’ll enroll you in their online course and start training you for the job.
The company also provides a set of videos and guidelines on how to repair certain models. These videos will walk you through the specifics of the job and show you things like how to fix a Ninebot Es2.
As long as you have some technical know-how, these videos are easy to understand.
Can I be a Mechanic and a Charger at the Same Time?
Technically, no. Bird prohibits contractors from performing both jobs at once.
But, in a way, Bird Mechanics are also Chargers.
As a Mechanic, you’re required to fix Bird scooters and charge them before releasing them back out onto the street. So in essence, you’re doing both jobs. But, you aren’t paid extra for charging scooters.
Bird pays $15 for every scooter you repair AND charge. You can’t just repair it and put it back out on the street without any juice. So, before you become a Mechanic, make sure you’re also prepared to do some charging as well.
In a sense, you can think of that $15 as broken into two parts: $10 for the repair and $5 for the charge.
Now: Let’s say you’re a Mechanic. One day, you decide that you’re not in the mood to fix any scooters. But, you still feel like making money, so you head out and start capturing Birds to charge.
You’re not allowed to do that. In fact, the Bird app prevents you from doing it.
Here’s how it works
Within the app, chargers use the “Charger Mode” setting. There’s an alternate map for “Mechanic Mode.” You can’t switch back and forth between the two.
If you start out as a charger and then get approved as a mechanic, Bird switches your account from “Charger Mode to “Mechanic Mode.” Once you’re accepted as a Mechanic, the app won’t even show you scooters that just need a charge.
Tips for Making More Money as a Bird Mechanic
There are lots of ways to increase your earnings as a Bird Mechanic. If you work strategically, you can save time and make more money each night.
Here are some specific ideas for how you can make more money repairing Bird scooters:
1. Don’t Waste Time
When you view the map of Birds in the app, you’ll see a marker for where each scooter is supposed to be – but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s there. And if it is there, it might not be accessible.
Don’t waste time trying to hunt down hidden scooters. While you’re killing time doing that, other mechanics will be out there scooping up easy-to-find scooters. If you’re stuck on one scooter for more than a few minutes, cut your losses and move onto the next one.
2. Take Advantage of Weekend Bonuses
On occasion, Bird offers weekend bonuses. Some bonuses pay as much as $50 to any mechanic who can repair ten scooters in one day. If bonuses become available in your city, try to meet them. It’s a great way to make extra money and can even make the job more fun.
3. Learn from Other Mechanics
Join a Bird Mechanic social media group to learn more tips and tricks on maximizing earnings. The scooter community is thriving. Here’s a good chance for new mechanics to learn a thing or two from seasoned mechanics who’ve been doing the job longer than you.
In the ScooterTalk forum, you can read Bird Mechanic reviews from real workers. You can also ask questions, seek advice, and complain about the job until you’re blue in the face. You can also learn capturing strategies from other Mechanics and Chargers.
4. Keep Your Tools and Parts On-Hand
You won’t be able to do your job unless you have the parts you need. When you’re running low, request additional parts through Support Chat or head to a drop-off facility to locate them. Preparation will ensure that you always have what you need to fix any broken Birds you find.
5. Double Up and Work for Lime
At this time, there are no freelance Lime mechanics. The company doesn’t hire contractors to repair scooters. But, they do hire “Juicers” to charge them up.
If you’re in a city where both Lime and Bird operate, it’s a good idea to double up and work for both companies at the same time.
You’ll need to bounce between apps to find scooters for each company. If you’re lucky, you’ll find them near each other.
Lime pays a minimum of $5 for every scooter you charge. So, if you see one on the street, there’s almost no reason not to pick it up and charge it while you’re fixing your captured Birds.
If you’ve got some mechanic skills, you can make $15 just for fixing a scooter. It’s a flexible job, so you can work as much or as little as you want.
Plus, the company is expanding at a fast pace. Whether you live in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, or almost any city in between, there’s plenty of work for Mechanics.
And you can do it all (or most of it) from the comfort of home. So, it’s a great job for people who want to earn extra income without having to drive for Uber or Lyft.
Bird needs Mechanics to keep their fleet operable on the street. If you’re up to the task, you can make extra money every night just by putting your most basic technical skills to work.
You can increase your earnings by capturing more Birds, having a strategy for finding them, and gleaning tips from other mechanics.
The scooter rental industry is growing rapidly. So, if you want to grab this gig while it’s still available, now is the time to do it.
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.