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Now any rich idiot can run their own Bird scooter empire – ANITH
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Now any rich idiot can run their own Bird scooter empire

Now any rich idiot can run their own Bird scooter empire

This can all be yours — for a hefty price.

Image: ROBYN BECK / getty

So you fancy yourself an entrepreneur. A doer. Someone who seizes opportunities and grabs life by the handlebars. Well hot damn, has Bird got a deal for you. 

You see, for the low low cost of buying your own e-scooters and paying Bird a 20 percent commission on all rides in perpetuity, you can now run your own fleet of Bird scooters. The program, announced Nov. 27, is called Bird Platform, and gives would-be two-wheeled tycoons the opportunity to do Bird CEO Travis VanderZanden’s job for him. 

“Bird Platform enables independent operators to manage their own fleet of shared e-scooter vehicles,” explains the Bird Platform page. Simply “[upload] your logo, select a sleeve color, cover the cost of city permits, and we’ll do the rest.”

Of course, there’s a little more to it than that. Specifically, you have to outright purchase all the scooters for your fleet directly from Bird, and then pay the company a cut of every ride taken on your scooters. 

So easy!

“Bird will sell its top-rated Bird Zero model scooters at cost to all independent operators participating on the platform,” explains the company.

So just how much does each scooter cost? We reached out to Bird to find out, but didn’t get an answer to that specific question by press time. We do, however, know about that 20 percent cut Bird takes thanks to TechCrunch

But you better believe that people are interested in becoming Bird Kings. According to a Bird press release, “[more] than 300 individuals have already expressed interest in Bird Platform.” So, at least a few people are theoretically looking to launch their own scooter empires. 

They might want to think twice, however. After all, rental e-scooters rental from companies like Bird and Lime are frequently vandalized, and if you own the scooters we can’t imagine that Bird will fix your busted rides for free. 

You will, though, “enjoy Bird’s economies of scale.” So at least there’s that. 

“In exchange for all of these benefits,” we’re told, “Bird will charge a service fee on every scooter ride.”

Notably, Bird wasn’t the first scooter company to come up with the idea of having other people do its work for it. Austin-based e-scooter platform Goat announced a similar business model over the summer. 

“The way we look at it is,” explained Goat CEO Michael Schramm in a press release, “why would someone want to be a charger and make $5 a scooter, when they can manage their own fleet and keep all the earnings doing the same task they’re already doing?”

According to the Goat website, the scooters’ estimated delivery is set for November 2018. Which, well, let the second-tier scooter wars begin. VanderZanden will enjoy watching from afar, chilling out and collecting that sweet 20 percent. 

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Anith Gopal
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