Some would describe it as the Wild West. Instead of horses and cowboy hats though, these folks have chargers and scooters.
Since the City launched its shared electric scooter pilot project in July, more than 200,000 trips have been recorded on Lime and Bird e-scooters. But the way the scooters are designed, eventually all of them need to be charged.
That’s where Lime “Juicers” and Bird “Chargers” come into action.
Juicers are responsible for finding, picking up, charging and dropping off scooters in Calgary at $5.25 a pop. If an electric scooter ends up somewhere it shouldn’t be or is in need of repair, Juicers are responsible for relocating scooters around Calgary for $4.25.
The scooters however have certain conditions they can be picked up for a charge.
“Any Lime that needs to be charged will show up on the map during the day. But those show up only if they are 19 per cent or under. After 10:00 p.m. they release anything under 60% and we’re allowed to charge those ones throughout the night,” said Jill Chamney, a Juicer with Lime and moderator of a Facebook group dedicated to Juicers.
Juicers can either reserve scooters for pick up or race to get it before others – if it’s not already reserved.
Hunting for Lime scooters in Calgary
However, Mather Cronier – also a Lime Juicer – said if you miss a reservation, Lime bans you from reserving anymore scooters for the rest of the day. That leaves Juicers to hunt for scooters around Calgary if they want to make money.
“Sometimes I will walk up to a scooter and you just see people running to them. I’m just like ‘they screwed up, they don’t have a reservation and now they’re basically hunting,’” said Cronier.
“I’ve done it a few times.”
Cronier said if you want to be successful as a Juicer you need three things: a truck, proper location, and a garage.
Living close to Kensington, Cronier said he has all those things. As an electrician, he’s even wired and re-arranged his garage to charge up to 22 scooters at a time.
In his experience, others who are just looking to make some extra cash are easily soured with the reality of being a Juicer. Eventually, Cronier said they end up selling their chargers to people like him.
“So people with cars or SUV’s, or people doing it in the deep northwest or east, or people that don’t even have a garage – some of them will even leave it in their truck and charge it overnight…it’s not worth it.”
Lime Juicer money is never guaranteed: Cornier
But even then, Cornier says the money is never guaranteed.
“It comes in waves sometimes. Two days in a row I basically make like $130 a night and it feels great,” he said.
“I feel like a bunch of people just gave up and it’s good. Then yesterday there was nothing. This morning there was absolutely nothing.”
The fluctuation of the Lime Juicer market is something Chamney has noticed as well. She said when she first started, there were scooters available all over Calgary, now you’d be lucky to get any during the day.
That hasn’t hampered her success with the job though. Chamney also works for Skip the Dishes and Door Dash to make extra money on the side, so she knows the grind.
“You have to really hustle and know your area,” she said.
“But I really like it. I’ve seen some people that are getting quite frustrated with the process but I am enjoying it. It’s making me some extra money that I’m putting towards my debts.”