Bird Scooter Cost: Is The Electric Scooter Worth it. Bird one scooter

Meet the Bird ‘Fleet Managers’ Who Hunt and Release E-Scooters in Downtown Los Angeles

It’s Friday night in Downtown Los Angeles and fleet manager Adan Aceves is cruising the streets in his Ford Ranger pickup truck looking for a bird — not an e-scooter, but an actual bird.

“First time I saw the bird I was wondering what the hell is it doing in Downtown?,” said Aceves. “It doesn’t seem like a city bird, like a pigeon or a seagull…The second time I realized, ‘Damn, I only find this fool in Skid Row.’”

We never come across the mysterious bird who acts like a human. Instead, we drive the streets of Downtown, dropping off and picking up scooters — a different type of Bird — under the bright lights and amid throngs of people, many of them dressed to the nines and out on the town, looking for a good time.

By day, Aceves, 41, works in his family’s business repairing power tools in South Central. By night, he deploys, charges and rebalances e-scooters for Bird, one of eleven fleet managers located Downtown. The zone that he covers includes Dignity Health on Grand Avenue (once called California Hospital) where he was born.

He wears a security vest that reads “Bird Ambassador” and it’s a fairly accurate description of his role in the hustle and flow of the city at night. In all the chaos, he’s a steady presence.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, Aceves was already charging scooters for Bird, Lime and Wheels, making pretty good money, about 100 for three hours of work a night. But when the virus shut down his family business and prompted companies to pull their scooters from the streets, he suddenly had no work and no income. Then, he got a call from Bird.

Photo from inside Adan Aceves’s car. His responsibilities at night range from deploying e-scooters, charging and re-balancing the e-scooters. Photo by Maylin Tu

From Flyer to Fleet Manager

For deploying, charging and fixing a fleet of about 150 scooters, 100 of which are on the street at any given time, Aceves takes home on average 4,500 per month after expenses. Bird deducts a city fee, an insurance and hardware services fee and something called “contra.”

“If someone claims, ‘Hey, the scooter doesn’t work,’ they get a discount. So that goes against me,” Aceves explained. His contra normally comes out to about 1% to 2%, while for other fleet managers it can run as high as 7% or 8%. After everything is deducted, Bird and Aceves split the remaining profit 50-50.

As for expenses, he spends 1,200 a month renting a charging container from portable charging infrastructure Perch — an investment he says has reduced the amount he spends on gas by 50%. If he only needs to cover a short distance, he’ll sometimes use a scooter to pick up other scooters, saving himself even more money on gas, an expense that currently comes out to about 100 per week. He also purchases parts directly from Bird to make repairs, another expense.

Aceves starts every night at 10 p.m. and works for four to five hours. Between repairing power tools and managing a fleet of scooters, he works 11 to 12 hour days to put his two daughters, 15 and 19, through college.

It’s physically taxing work — a Bird Two, the model in Aceves’ fleet, weighs 46 to 47 pounds. “After you pick up 40, 50 scooters, then you start to feel it,” he said.

As one of the top flyers, Aceves is a perfect fit for the role.

Born in and raised in South Central and Downtown L.A., Aceves said both sides of his family were from Guadalajara. His grandfather on his father’s side helped build the railroads in California. His father died when he was 11 and he mostly lost touch with that side of his family.

He went to Cathedral High School in Chinatown, an all-boys Catholic school, before attending Los Angeles Trade Technical College for industrial technology and machining, skills that have come in handy in his work repairing power tools — which he’s been doing for the past 30 years.

“So I would go from South Central to Chinatown and I was always in Downtown. Though I gotta tell you, when I was in high school in the 90s — Downtown was not the place to be.”

When he turned 18, his mom told him, “You’re out of high school, figure it out.” Now, he’s working to get his daughters through college without taking on student debt.

He knows Downtown’s streets inside and out. This gives him an advantage when scooters go missing, trapped in parking garages or parked under bridges where the GPS is spotty. He uses the Bird fleet manager app to track, fix and release scooters. In a sense, Bird also uses the app to track fleet managers.

“Bird sees everything. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re listening to us right now.”

When Bird launched the fleet manager program, he was excited to start repairing scooters.

“As a mechanic, I take a lot of pride in my work. So I’ll keep mine to where they’re working 100%, if not better.”

Photo of Adan Aceves, working on this fleet of Bird e-scooter. Photo by Maylin Tu

The Pokémon GO Era of E-Scooter Charging

Back in the early days of the e-scooter boom, companies offered a “bounty” for retrieving, charging and redeploying scooters. You could make up to 20 per device — companies paid a premium for devices that were harder to find. According to multiple sources, it was like a grown-up version of Pokémon GO. People would hunt scooters with their partners, friends or kids.

This cadre of independent scooter wranglers and chargers — Bird called them “flyers” and Lime called them “juicers” — made good money and had fun doing it. But it wasn’t a sustainable solution for Bird, Lime and their successors — or the environment.

“The thing about the independent contractor model is that it’s great for high growth,” said Harry Campbell, founder of The Rideshare Guy. Companies could launch rapidly in cities without going through the trouble and expense of hiring local employees — showing up with a truck full of scooters and using gig-workers hired through Craigslist to charge and deploy them. Bird, flush with investor cash, was willing to shell out a premium for this new job.

But that model was short-lived, partly because the micromobility startups realized that while using independent contractors was great to help them rapidly scale in unfamiliar cities, it also left them with little control over workers. Some flyers also started to cheat the system by hoarding scooters until the bounty on them went up, Campbell said.

When he started as a flyer, Campbell was making between 40 to 50 an hour. “I was like…I know that this isn’t sustainable,” he said, “because this has happened over and over in the gig economy.”

Bird’s independent scooter wranglers and chargers are called “flyers” and used to be able to make 20 per device wrangled. Photo by Maylin Tu

How AB5 Impacted E-Scooter ‘Flyers’

In 2019, California passed AB5, a bill targeting companies who misclassify employees as independent contractors.

In response, Uber and Lyft and other companies that rely on gig-workers spent 200 million to pass Prop 22 in California, exempting themselves from the law’s requirements.

E-scooter companies were forced to take a different route. Bird launched its fleet manager program in early 2020. The program employs small businesses like Aceves’s to manage e-scooters while giving them a cut of the profits. To become a fleet manager, individuals must register their businesses as an LLC. Lime uses logistics partners, while competitors like Superpedestrian and Veo make a point of hiring W-2 workers from the local community.

As municipalities ratchet up their regulations around micromobility services, they tend to look favorably on companies that employ W-2 workers. Los Angeles, for instance, is an “open permit” city, which means there is no competitive request for proposal (RFP) process, but companies must submit an annual permit application and a 20,000 fee. Campbell points out that for many cities, including Santa Monica and Long Beach, operators are required to submit detailed applications that are scored on multiple metrics, including community investment.

“It also makes them stand out relative to Bird or Lime that [aren’t] using that type of employment setup,” said Campbell.

Critics of AB5 say that gig-work is actually ideal for parents, caregivers or anyone looking for flexible work with a low-cost of entry.

“It’d be great to have these easy entry, easy exit jobs, where you can hustle when you want and put them down when you don’t,” said Erin Hatton, professor of sociology at the University of Buffalo. But some employers take advantage of workers by offering flexible work without employee rights and benefits, which Hatton calls a “false construct.”

The “hybrid” fleet manager model was a logical next step for e-scooter companies, according to Campbell. As the Rapid growth in the shared micromobility market started to slow, there was also regulatory uncertainty with AB5.

“Bird probably had hundreds of thousands of chargers at a certain point, so it would have been really hard for them to do a 180 and pivot to an employee model,” said Campbell.

The new fleet manager program seemed like a win-win for both Bird and the independent contractors it hired. No longer were contractors hunting down devices for a bounty. Instead, they would become responsible for the care, charging and placement of individual scooters. The better a fleet manager’s e-scooters perform, the more money they can make. On its recruitment page, Bird advertises that fleet managers can make up to 1,500 per week (with fine print caveats).

At the same time as it offloaded risk and gained more control, Bird didn’t have to invest in hiring W-2 employees.

Bird did not respond to a detailed list of questions about its fleet manager program, but confirmed to dot.LA that it employs 40 “independently owned businesses” in the city of L.A. who are “deeply invested in the communities they serve” and offer “bespoke block-by-block operational expertise.”

“I do not represent or speak for Bird or on their behalf,” Aceves read from his phone while sitting in the driver’s seat of his pickup truck in the parking lot outside of the Perch container. “So, I’m only speaking for my LLC, which is called Up Now.” He added that, per this message received from his engagement manager at Bird, “My relationship with Bird is as a logistics service provider.”

It’s not just about money. Going from “flyer” or “juicer” to “fleet manager” can be source of pride. Aceves said that some flyers were ashamed to be charging scooters and that it was stigmatized as the “Millennial’s way of collecting cans.” But after they became fleet managers, those same people started bragging about how much money they were making.

“They have hustle,” said Perch Mobility co-founder and CEO Tom Schreiber. “They want to build a better life and have all the dreams everyone else does.”

In 2020, Medium’s tech-focused OneZero publication released an investigation into the program, claiming that Bird was “luring” fleet managers into thousands of dollars of e-scooter debt. However, a follow-up by Smart Cities Dive offered a different picture, focusing on some fleet managers who said they were happy with the program and making good money.

Bird is careful to refer to fleet managers as independent small businesses (not employees) and to emphasize the autonomy that fleet managers have to manage their own fleet. While fleet managers are responsible for repairing damaged scooters, Bird owns the scooters and fleet managers are not financially liable for lost or stolen scooters. But if owning your own business is part of the American dream, that dream can also be exploited by companies who promise one thing and deliver another, according to Hatton.

“Being able to realize a dream of being an entrepreneur — especially when you’re coming from such a background — is really powerful,” she said. “And if it pays off for them, I’m all for it. But if they’re being taken advantage of under the guise of a dream, then that’s deeply problematic.”

From Bounty Hunter to Fleet Shepherd

Adan Aceves has seen things as a Bird fleet manager working nights in Downtown L.A. He jokes that he should start wearing a body cam to capture it all. At 2 a.m. when the bars and clubs get out, things start to get interesting.

Last week, he broke up a fight between two men in front of Union Station. One man was accusing the other of raping his niece.

“And I said, ‘If this dude’s a rapist. I’m gonna help you beat him up. When and where?’ And he said it happened 20 years ago in Compton.”

The man being accused said he didn’t know the other man and that he was sleeping when he was attacked.

He’s been in some tense situations while trying to retrieve scooters, including being threatened by a guy with a stick and pulling out his knife in self-defense.

At night, Aceves functions as “eyes on the street” In Downtown L.A., providing a kind of crucial, if unrecognized, public service, in keeping the city safe and vibrant (as urbanist Jane Jacobs outlined in her book “The Death and Life of Great American Cities”).

There are the drunk people who think it’s funny to knock over a row of scooters like so many dominoes or tangle them up in a torturous triangle for fun. He only lines up three to four scooters at a time because he’s found that people are less likely to mess with them.

People have left scooters on the freeway or under bypasses, and once, someone threw a Bird onto a street sign, where it hung suspended like an upside down “L.”

bird, scooter, cost, electric

“They’ll leave them in places where it’s like, ‘Why? Why would you put it here?’ Not only is it time-consuming but sometimes it can be dangerous,” he said.

Sometimes an enterprising user will ride a Bird scooter all the way to Venice or Marina del Rey, where he has to go to retrieve it, cutting into his profit margin.

One Bird recently made its way all the way to Mexico. “I told Bird, “Hey — this bird decided to migrate.”

All told, he’s lost about 130 scooters since he started. And while e-scooters are extremely visible on the streets of L.A. — much to the chagrin of some Angelenos — Aceves works mostly behind the scenes, not only recharging and rebalancing scooters, but also making sure that they are legally parked and not blocking the public right of way.

“That is one thing I would like people to know — that there [are] actual humans behind each scooter,” Aceves said.

For Lack of a Safety Net

Photo by Maylin Tu

Aceves works with two other fleet managers (one is his brother). He said they help each other out. Otherwise, it can be hard to maintain a grueling, seven-nights-a-week schedule, with no vacation pay or sick days.

He makes more money than he would as a so-called gig-worker, but he doesn’t receive either the legal protections afforded employees under federal and state law, nor the types of perks tech companies often offer.

“One of the things that is quite tricky about the independent contractor model is that the costs of that model are not readily apparent,” said Hatton.

Nonetheless, for many workers, the trade-off is worth it and Aceves says he enjoys the flexibility.

“I enjoy the freedom. I enjoy driving Downtown. I like the fact that the scooters are providing a service to a city without majorly giving us pollution and decreasing traffic,” he said. “I always think to myself, ‘I gotta leave this planet better than when I came in. Because my kids are here and possibly their kids’.”

Aceves grew up during “some of the worst years in South Central” and wants to write a book about the experience. He thinks he has enough material — the kind of stories you wouldn’t believe if he told them to you — for two or three seasons of a TV show.

He was 11 during the 1992 Los Angeles Riots, when the streets were on fire.

“I was like, ‘What the hell’s going on? Is it the end of the world?’.”

As a teenager, he said he had a few run-ins with the LAPD’s infamous Rampart Division. Aceves said corrupt cops would try to shake down gang leaders for money and retaliate against people in the neighborhood when they refused — doing everything from beating them up, to trying to plant drugs or guns on them, to picking them up and leaving them in a rival gang’s neighborhood.

“So basically expecting you to get killed ‘cause it wasn’t like they were going to greet you — or offer you a ride back. So I would be running home at 2 a.m. down Central Avenue, as fast as I could. People would think I was on drugs and I was just running home for my life.”

Today, Aceves cruises through the streets of Downtown L.A. every night, to put his daughters through college and to make the world a better place.

In working with cities, companies like Bird straddle the line between private enterprise and public service — claiming to make cities greener, safer and more equitable. And shared micromobility has changed the landscape of Downtown L.A., arguably for the better. But it’s people like Aceves who deal with the best and the worst the city has to offer.

At one point, Aceves leans down to pick up a LINK scooter that’s lying with its handlebars in the street. “We’re not supposed to touch competitors’ scooters,” he explains. “But normally, if they’re in a situation like this, I pick it up…I feel like it’s my community.”

Bird Scooter Cost: Is The Electric Scooter Worth it?

Brett Helling is the founder of He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates.

Since that time, he has expanded his knowledge into the Gigworker site, as well as writing the book Gigworker: Independent Work and the State of the Gig Economy Paperback, now available on Amazon.

Our website is supported by our users. We sometimes earn affiliate links when you click through the affiliate links on our website

If you need to take a quick trip through a major city, college campus, or just about any congested area, an electric scooter rental might be the fastest and cheapest way to get around.

Bird’s popular dockless electric scooters are easy to find and use, but with so many competing scooter companies and ride-hailing options like Lyft and Uber, is the Bird scooter cost worth it?

We’ll take a quick look at how to use Bird scooters, as well as how to check for and find competing electric scooter companies in your town.

And if you’re a frequent user of Bird scooters, you might consider saving some money in the long run and buying your own scooter.

What Are Bird Electric Scooters?

Bird is an electric scooter service founded by CEO Travis VanderZanden in 2017 that allows riders to quickly grab the handlebars of one of their scooters and ride for a small fee.

All you have to do is use the Bird mobile app on your smartphone and register as a user.

Once you’ve created a profile and provided a form of payment, you can look for an available Bird scooter, scan the code on it, and start your ride.

Bird scooters are Xiaomi M365 Electric Scooters made by Ninebot Technology Company.

There are multiple models available depending on the city, including the standard Bird One and the more rugged and durable Bird Zero.

bird, scooter, cost, electric

When you’re done with your trip, simply drop off the dockless scooter in any safe area and the app will charge your credit card based on the distance you traveled.

Bird scooter sharing is just part of the company’s electric vehicle ridesharing strategy.

You can purchase a Bird One scooter or use the Bird app to rent a Bird Cruiser, the company’s new seated electric bike.

How Much Does the Bird Scooter Cost to Rent?

The Bird scooter cost depends on what city you’re in and how long you used it.

Every ride requires 1 to unlock a dockless scooter using the Bird app and then charges for each minute used, not how far you actually travel.

However, the per-minute fee is different depending on which city you’re riding in, so be careful.

Bird started with a flat fee of 15 cents per minute, but in 2018 the company started raising rates in certain cities.

If you’re a scooter rider in a major American city like Los Angeles or Washington D.C., you could be charged up to 25 cents per mile for a Bird ride.

Meanwhile, riders in smaller towns ⁠— especially near colleges with cash-strapped students ⁠— have seen rates drop as low as 10 cents per minute to appeal to younger consumers.

Depending on the availability of competitors, you might see a drop in rates as more companies like Lime enter your local market.

To check Bird scooter rental fees, you can check out this guide.

If you’re in a major city, you might want to use multiple apps to compare current per-minute pricing for electric scooters in your immediate area.

Bird Scooter Fees vs. Other Scooter Fees

With Bird charging as much as 33 cents per minute in some cities, it’s good to check out the entire market for electric scooters.

Luckily, there’s plenty to choose from: In addition to Bird, companies like Jump, Lime, Skip, and Spin offer the same electric scooter services.

And in some areas, ridesharing apps like Lyft offer electric vehicles.

With competitive rates across the board, location is the best way to determine which electric scooter is best for you.

You can download any of the ridesharing apps for free on your smartphone.

Once you’ve registered, use each app’s GPS system to locate the nearest Spin, Bird, or Lime scooter.

Lime is the biggest competitor to Bird, and available in almost every city you’ll find Bird.

Just like Bird, Lime scooters use a scannable QR code to activate, offering an almost identical scooter experience.

Scooter Rentals Are the Cheapest Ridesharing Apps

Because the Bird scooter cost is only 1 to unlock and a fraction of a dollar per minute, electric scooters are a much better choice for your wallet when you’re looking for short-distance rideshare options.

Most rideshare services start with a minimum of 5 plus fees and tips.

And if you’re traveling in a congested urban area, you’ll rack up per-minute charges gridlocked in a car that you could’ve completely avoided using an electric scooter service.

A Bird scooter certainly can’t take you 30 miles to an airport, but if you’re trying to get around town for a few miles, taking a Bird scooter that runs 10-15 mph is a fraction of the cost of an Uber or Lyft car ride.

Plus, electric scooters can cover more ground in a shorter amount of time when traffic is bad.

However, if you’re not traveling alone or need to haul anything more than a backpack, Bird isn’t a great option.

Bird prohibits more than one person riding on a single scooter at a time, and warns against riders putting excess weight on handlebars, such as a large package or groceries.

The Social Costs of Electric Scooters

Electric scooters are very useful for riders, but they’ve become a burden in many cities, including in Santa Monica, California, where electric scooter culture started.

Cities like San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles have put strict restrictions on electric ridesharing vehicles after scooters were found clogging bike lanes and causing car accidents.

Rider responsibility has become a major area of concern for Bird and its competitors.

The more often Bird and Lime riders disregard rules and leave scooters in inappropriate areas like private residences, bike lanes and city streets, the more pressure is put on local legislators to ban electric scooter use completely.

Each major city has their own requirements for scooters, and some have outright banned electric scooters from their streets.

Bird scooters are still available in over 100 cities in the United States.

To check availability near you, simply turn on your Bird app.

You’ll also be informed if particular areas of a city are off-limits to electric scooters and if there are restrictions on parking areas.

Companies like Bird can be charged by city governments if scooters are found parked in restricted zones — in certain cases, even customers can be charged fees for leaving scooters in unsafe areas.

You should also check to see if your city and state have age requirements to use electric scooters, as well as local helmet laws.

Depending on where you live, it might be mandatory to wear a helmet while using an electric scooter.

Bird Scooter Rental vs. Buying an Electric Scooter

If you find yourself using Bird scooters on a frequent basis, those 4 and 6 rides can add up, and it might make more sense to buy your own new scooter.

In fact, you can own your own Bird scooter since they offer their scooters for sale.

The best way to determine if you should buy or rent a scooter is simple math.

The standard Bird scooter is a Xiaomi M365, retailing for 400.

bird, scooter, cost, electric

If you’re spending around 50 a month on scooter rentals, you could pay for your own new scooter in well under a year.

But unlike renting a scooter, owning a scooter brings added responsibilities.

You’ll have to monitor the battery life, charge the scooter, and securely park it whenever it’s not in use.

That can be a big hassle if you’re attracted to the carefree nature of scooter rentals that can be left just about anywhere.

Bird Scooter Cost: Worth It for Quick Trips

If you’re looking for a way to commute every day or travel with more than just a small backpack or messenger bag, ridesharing vehicles or public transit are better choices to get around than renting a Bird scooter.

Weather, long distances, and traffic safety can often rule out electric scooter travel completely.

But if you’re looking for a quick trip in a crowded city, a Bird scooter is a much more affordable and faster option than ordering an Uber or Lyft.

Even if you’re in a high-fee city, the worst price for electric scooter rentals is only a fraction of traditional rideshare. Just be sure to park somewhere safe.

1 thought on “Bird Scooter Cost: Is The Electric Scooter Worth it?”

I think the electric scooter is worth it! It’s a lot of fun and it’s great for getting around town. Reply

How To Connect Bluetooth To Bird Scooter? (Let’s See)

While on your scooters, many of you may want to listen to cool music from your scooter or listen to podcasts, which is why you would need to connect the electric scooter to Bluetooth.

Doing this involves a few easy steps, and you are good to go as long as you have the bird scooter app.

For you to be able to pair your Bluetooth to your bird scooter successfully, you would need to scan the QR code of your bird one. Next, ensure that your bird scooter is fully charged, your bird scooter app is open, and the ride option has been selected, but before doing all this, make sure your phone is connected to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi first.

How To Connect Bluetooth to Bird Scooter?

To successfully connect your bird scooter to the app, you must have a bord app associated with your account.

It would be best if you thought of the bird app as the key to your scooter vehicle because this feature lets you know how far you can travel, connect with your phone’s Bluetooth, and check out new app updates.

To connect your bird one scooter to your Bluetooth, you would need to follow the following steps;

#1. Charge Your Scooter

The first step you should take to connect your phone Bluetooth to your bird one scooter successfully is for you to ensure that the scooter is charged.

With a low scooter, you wouldn’t be able to go far with your journey, and it would also be indicated on the bird scooter app for you. So, the very first step is charging your scooter.

#2. Scan Your QR Code

The next thing you should do is scan the bird’s QR code. Just like when you want to transfer files from your phone to another, you need to scan the code; the same applies to your scooter device.

The scooter QR code is located as a sticker on the side of the bird near the bird stand.

To successfully capture the QR code, make sure you take a clear picture of the SN number on the sticker. It should be on the left side of the scooter.

After scanning the code, ensure that your phone is connected to Wi-Fi and its Bluetooth is on because you would need both the internet and Bluetooth to connect successfully.

To know if your bird scooter has connected to your Bluetooth, you would receive a message saying, “welcome to your one.”

This message is an indication that your device has successfully connected to your bird.

How Do You Unlock Bluetooth on A Bird Scooter?

Thanks to other new features the bird team has provided, you can easily unlock your device with Bluetooth.

This feature can enable scooter renters to get off the block easily because, with a quick start, you can detect when a scooter is within your range with just your mobile device and also allow you to unlock it with just tapping a few buttons.

According to its testing, a quick start completes its activation process twice faster than the normal process requiring you to use a scan-to-use method.

Once your scooter is connected to a Bluetooth device with the bird app, you can unlock and move it.

Don’t worry about how you can unlock it. As long as you connect with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and log into the electric bird app, you will see a button that enables you.

How To Connect Bird Es4-800 Scooter to Bluetooth?

Connecting your es4-800 scooter to Bluetooth involves nearly the same procedures as connecting all other types.

The steps are as follows;

  • You first need to take a picture of the QR code on the electric scooter, located at the scooter leg or as a tag on your scooter. Then, after taking a picture, you move to the bird app.
  • If you do not have a bird scooter app, go to your play store or Apple store and download it directly from the site.
  • After the app has been installed, go to the app and log in or sign up and log into your bird account.
  • After switching on your Bluetooth and your phone’s Wi-Fi, you will see an option that allows you to connect with your es4-800. Click on it, and you can now do whatever you want while it’s connected.

Why Is My Electric Scooter Not Connecting with My Device?

You can encounter a few significant problems while connecting your scooter to your device. One of the first things you should do is check your Bluetooth basics.

Turn your Bluetooth on and off and then reconnect again and be sure that the device is refusing to connect because sometimes, it might just be a minor issue with your network.

You can now troubleshoot your problem when you are sure that that is not the issue.

Then, you can report your problem; hopefully, this team will fix it, but you must ensure that you have been trying to connect it carefully.

If you cannot find your QR code or the code is missing, you can use your 4–5-digit bird ID to manually capture the bird.

So, in cases where your bird ID is missing;

  • Check the sticker located by the side of the bird stand. 4
  • Then take a clear picture of the sticker, including the serial number; the serial number is the one usually on the left side.
  • Please submit a request through your bird app alongside the picture of the serial number, and it should be obvious.
  • After that has been done, you should wait for some time, and an agent will provide you with the bird ID, and now you can capture it.

In cases where you can connect with just the serial number, you do not have to bother by going through this lengthy procedure.

However, not all models of electric scooters need this. You would need a Bluetooth connection for you to be able to connect.

Still, once you are done, you wouldn’t need to use the internet connection because all information and media are already stored in the device’s memory.

If your bird scooter is not charged sufficiently, the connection might not be easy, depending on the model of the scooter you have.

So, in cases where your scooter refuses to connect with your device, you should check properly and be sure that the battery percent is not the issue because sometimes, battery percent also affects how the scooter behaves.

On the other hand, in cases where your device is sufficiently charged, you can close the bird app and retry again.

How To Reset Your Bird Scooters?

You can be able to achieve this in just six easy steps.

  • Remove the six bolts under the brain of your device to remove the enclosure first.
  • After removing that part, you can now access the micro-USB port by removing the four circuit board screws that hold the gaps.
  • Pull out the GPS module for you to remove the board. And after that, ensure that you disconnect the antenna.
  • You should now take the micro-USB cord, connect it to a power bank or wall charger, and press the reset button.
  • Once the brain has gotten enough power attached to it, you can now remove the micro-USB.
  • Don’t forget to re-attach the antenna and tighten all the bolts correctly for it to work.


Connecting your Bluetooth device to your electric scooter shouldn’t be much work, as you can even successfully pair them by just going through the user’s manual.

However, if your device gives you a tough time and does not connect, you should wait a bit and be sure it is not a problem with the network connection before taking action.

The Revenue, Costs, And Margins Behind Bird’s Scooters

The scooter wars flared up seemingly overnight, driving huge amounts of scorn, hype, and fundraising as traffic-choked tech workers in California fell in love and hate with electric scooters brought to their cities by two now famous startups: Bird and Lime.

The scooter space quickly gave birth to unicorns, regulatory spats, lawsuits, and more. It was a wild ride for the companies and the tech industry as a whole.

But now some time has passed, and although scooters are very much still in the conversation, the early hype has faded. That brings us to a fun question: Are the scooter companies any good as businesses?

As capital-accepting and headline-generating vehicles, they are tremendous. But does that mean they’ll mint profits?

The Bird Income Statement

Happily, after we spent time scratching about in the dark trying to answer our viability question without too much to work with, we have new data on Bird, one of the two leading American scooter companies, via this excellent report from The Information.

The report in question covers the company’s performance metrics: revenue (total money brought in from riders), gross margin (the percent of revenue that Bird has left over to pay for its operating costs, like office space and staff), and its costs of revenue (the money required to provide its basic service to customers).

The report’s data helps us understand Bird’s chance of long-term survival. It also helps us understand the scooter sector, as other key players have similar business models.

Constructing gently, here’s a partial income statement of sorts for Bird based on what The Information gleaned from a Bird investor digest.


Bird generated 3.65 per ride, far above our estimate of 2.50. Bird scooters were handling six rides per day in January of this year, a figure that fell to five by May. The number of rides per day matters for Bird and other scooter companies. If they can generate more revenue per day per scooter by increasing utilization, their model makes more sense. Here we see the opposite trend.

Those rides grew Bird’s revenue from a run rate of 65 million 1 in May of 2018 to “hundreds of millions of dollars annually” by this October.2

So the company has growth figured out; however, its profitability is a different matter.

Gross Margins

As the above chart indicates, Bird has a diverse set of revenue costs. Let’s explore them.

Bird’s gross margin3 is 19 percent. That’s what left of revenue after charting (47 percent of revenue), repair (14 percent), credit card processing (11 percent), regulatory costs (5 percent), and customer support and insurance (3 percent).

Is 19 percent good? Not really. Keep in mind that a company has to pay its operational costs from its gross profit. Gross profit is revenue minus cost of revenue. So if you only have 19 percent gross margins, you’ve spent most of your revenue just generating your top line. At Bird’s old 65 million run rate, for example, the firm would only have 12.4 million left over after costs of revenue to pay for offices and staff with 19 percent gross margins.

Software companies sport gross margin percentages in the high 70s to low 80s. That’s why they are worth so much; their revenue is extremely profitable on a per-dollar basis.

The figures above tell us margin improvement (getting that gross margin percentage higher) at scooter companies will be paramount. At Bird’s current gross margins, the firm and its cohort will struggle to generate operating profits.4

The Information goes on to note that “Bird projected much better economics in the ‘near term,’ allowing it to generate a 33% gross profit margin.” I’d wager that’s the golden ticket. Every percent of gross margin that Bird can drive at the moment, holding revenue flat, raises its gross profit by around 5 percent. That’s enormous.

Thinking a bit more, Bird and Lime must be consuming mountains of cash (more here and here) for investing purposes; neither, given our math, generate anything like enough cash to finance their employee costs—let alone what they are spending on new hardware. So I’d hazard that while either firm is adding markets to their portfolio, they are working to add capital to their accounts.

Consider all the above a snapshot. revenue metrics will leak, at least as long as the scooter world needs to raise cash. And then we’ll have an even more complete picture.

  • Run rate, in this case, is the pace of revenue generation for Bird for a certain time period, annualized.↩
  • The takeaway here is that Bird grew rapidly in 2018 to nine figures in revenue.↩
  • Gross margin is the percent of revenue left over after cost of revenue is deducted from the firm’s revenue.↩
  • Operating profit is gross profit minus operating costs; if Bird can increase its gross margins, it has more gross profit with which to pay its operating bills.↩

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