Riding an electric bike is a lot of fun. Imagine if you could get paid to ride one! It's possible when you use an eBike to make deliveries on gig and sharing services, like DoorDash, Uber Eats, Postmates, and others. These services have created opportunities for people to have side jobs or full time jobs in creative ways, including eBiking for money in their spare time.
Imagine if you could buy an electric bike and pay it off quickly with a job using your electric bike! And after it is paid off you can really reap the rewards of using your eBike to make some good money.
In this article we will look at delivery by eBike, eBiking for business transport, eBike tours & rentals, and eBike incentives. Plus we will cover how to carry cargo on your eBike.
Advantages Over Car Delivery
An electric bike has a lot of advantages when compared to car delivery. The operational costs are much less when you consider:
- High cost of gas
- Maintenance in stop and go traffic (oil change, tires, tune ups, etc.)
- Insurance costs
- Possible parking costs
- Missing out on exercise
Here is an article that breaks down the cost savings of an electric bike compared to a car for commuting and errand running. In this scenario an electric bike can pay for itself in less than a year which is a good return on investment (ROI).
The ROI could be even better depending on the income generated from an eBike job. Also remember that some expenses can be tax deductible (check with your accountant).
In some situations riding an electric bike around town can be faster than driving a car. Traffic jams can really slow down car travel and add a lot of unpredictable delays to a route. An eBike can cruise along in the bike lane, neighborhood streets, and bike pathways without slowing down due to traffic. In some cases there are bike routes that can be faster than a car route even without traffic delays.
One of the best advantages of eBiking is the fun! Riding an electric bike for work is way more fun than sitting in a car and stressing about bad drivers, traffic, and parking problems.
Riding an eBike is also a great way to connect with your community. On an eBike you are much more approachable and it is easier to strike up a conversation with a fellow rider or pedestrian along your route. An electric bike is always a good conversation starter because many people are curious about them.
eBiking is also much better for the environment by eliminating emissions from a vehicle. The eBike battery will eventually run its course but there is a recycling program available through Call2Recycle and the many bike dealers around the US.
What type of eBike should you buy for DoorDash or Uber Eats?
You'll be more successful with services like DoorDash and Uber Eats when you begin with the right eBike. Look for these features before you buy:
- a standard or optional rear rack, which allows you to add bags to carry the cargo
- a throttle, so you can ride on both pedal-assist or throttle-only modes
- a removable battery, and availability of replacement batteries - this is important because it allows you to keep riding by swapping to a fresh battery, instead of having downtime while you wait for your battery to charge
- lights, if you plan to make deliveries in dim or dark conditions
- an upright riding position, so you can look around in traffic
EBikes designed for commuting to work or school are great choices for using with a delivery service, since they have many of the important features included.
Food delivery by bike/eBike has become popular in dense urban areas with companies like DoorDash, Uber Eats, Postmates, and others.
Some eBike subscription companies (Zoomo) have developed monthly payment plans for their eBikes with a focus on riders for DoorDash and Uber Eats. Speaking of payment plans, electric bikes like Denago can be purchased with Affirm to break down the cost into monthly payments.
Domino’s Pizza is hiring eBike delivery riders in many markets and they provide the eBike! There may be other restaurants in your area that will also provide the eBike for deliveries.
Being a bike messenger is another opportunity for those living in larger cities where it is valuable to have someone deliver items (documents, architectural plans, etc.) quickly. B-Line is a company in Portland, Oregon that makes last mile deliveries to businesses with their electric cargo trikes and they also provide advertising on the sides of the cargo box.
Even big delivery companies like FedEx, UPS, and DHL are using electric cargo bikes/trikes in dense urban areas to make deliveries because of their efficiency for getting around in crowded areas. The United States Postal Service is even testing some electric cargo trikes for deliveries in select areas.
Amazon is also testing electric cargo bike deliveries in London and they may expand that to more cities. When you consider all the perks of delivering by electric bike the best is that you get paid to ride around and get some exercise!
There are a lot of options for carrying cargo on your electric bike. Here is a look at a number of them:
- Front and/or rear racks
- Backpacks, messenger bag
- Cargo trailer
- Cargo bike
Here is an article with a closer look at these cargo carrying options.
Using an eBike for non-delivery service businesses
Another option is to use an electric bike in a business that you own or a business that you work for. For example a handyman or other technician may be able to use an electric cargo trike to transport tools and some supplies from job to job.
Other possibilities are mobile notary and any other professional that makes regular visits to homes and businesses.
An electric bike can also be a good company vehicle for employees to get around town on. Some larger institutions like college campuses, warehouses, manufacturers, hospitals, and airports could benefit from an eBike fleet for employees to get around quickly where cars can have limited travel options.
While an individual may not make money from this, it may improve the bottom line for the companies who own the fleet of eBikes.
Local eBike Tours
If you really love to show people around your town to experience all the highlights then becoming an eBike tour guide could be just the ticket. There may be an existing business you could work for in your area or maybe this is your opportunity to start one up.
Some of these companies offer tours to people with the rental of an electric bike. 2 sources of revenue and you get paid to ride and show people around, not bad!
Another option is the eBike rickshaw that is an electric trike with seating for 2 on the back. This is a good way to show people around and also offer a taxi service for getting around a downtown area.
Going for big fun is the electric beer bike that is always a hit! Here is a video with a look at how these work and a company that makes them:
Rent Your eBike or Fleet of eBikes
In this high tech world we live in the gig economy and the sharing economy has become a part of our lives. AirBnB is one of the most notable sharing economy platforms for renting property and there have been many other platforms set up to rent cars and other items, including bikes!
Spinlister is a platform for renting bikes/eBikes and other outdoor gear. This could be a way to rent your electric bike when you are not using it. For instance if a big event is happening in your town, maybe you could rent your eBike for a premium. Have someone else pay for your electric bike!
If you enjoy renting your electric bike then you could step it up and start your own electric bike rental company with a fleet of eBikes. And don’t forget the eBike tour option for additional revenue. Then there are also sales opportunities of new eBikes and the used rental fleet when the season is over and you need a new batch.
eBike Incentive Programs
Another way to make some money by eBike is to explore the incentive options for commuting by eBike/bike. There are some state, city, and employer incentives that offer upfront incentives or tax incentives for commuting by electric bike. Also, keep an eye out for a possible federal incentive.
Speaking of incentives, there are a number of state and city incentives for the upfront costs of buying an electric bike. Checkout this article for more on the eBike incentive programs.
The Expenses of Using Your Electric Bike
It is important to remember that there are expenses with using your electric bike to make money, but they are much less than using a car.
The cost of electricity to charge an electric bike battery is almost negligible and probably range from 5 cents to 25 cents depending on how much your electric utility charges. Maintenance generally involves tune ups and a new chain and tires after a good bit of miles. These costs are generally pretty reasonable at a local bike shop and if you have some DIY skills the costs can be quite low.
One of the largest costs is the replacement of the battery after many miles of use. Most batteries will get 800 to 1,000 full charge cycles and it’s good to put aside a reserve amount of the earnings per month for when it's time to buy a new battery.
Start It Up!
It’s fun to imagine the possibilities of making money by riding your electric bike.
We live in a great time of opportunity and there are many ways to put together a business that provides a valuable and positive service while at the same time being fun “work”.
Enjoy your (biz) rides!