Spin provides micro-mobility services across the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany. They partner with cities, campuses, community groups and businesses to provide dockless scooter-share services. They focus on providing quick, safe and affordable transportation to people looking to travel small distances within a city, and were acquired by Ford in 2018.
Using their mobile app, Spin customers can view available scooters in their vicinity, reserve them, and drop them off at their destination. Spin is an operationally-heavy business. Every night, scooters need to be picked up, charged, and placed in optimal locations in the city the next day. They have extensive operations teams in each city responsible for this. Having adequate coverage in each city, and being able to quickly assemble teams in new market launches is critical to their success.
The majority of Spin’s operations teams consist of full time employees. They strongly believe in hiring people that will be with the company long-term so that they can invest in their training and development. However, the dynamic nature of their business and specifically ridership means a surge in demand within a city, or building an operations team in a new city requires them to hire quickly.
This is where their Flex Network comes in, allowing operations teams in each city to quickly hire independent contractors to work on scooter pick-up, placement and charging. During hurricane season in Florida last year for example, their Tampa team hired independent contractors to help with getting scooters off the street before the hurricane made landfall.
Independent contractors are paid based on the number of scooters they pick up, charge and deploy the next day. While Spin has built an internal system for registering contractors, tracking their work and calculating their earnings, they needed a payments solution to pay contractors on time and accurately.
“Our mission is to support market operations teams with a flexible labor solution,” said Ashkan Mizani, Head of Flex Network at Spin. “We provide all the tools and processes to quickly vet and hire contractors while complying with different state laws, and pay them out at the end of the work week.” When Ashkan and his team started evaluating payment solutions, their chief requirement was a quick turnaround time. With their provider at the time, it took seven days for a payment to reach their contractor’s bank account because it needed to pass through the provider’s account first. This was unacceptable because most of their contractors rely on these payments to meet immediate expenses.
They also needed a solution that could help with onboarding contractors, track their payment history, and offboard them when they stopped working for Spin. Since the Flex Network hires new contractors every month, automating most of that process and eliminating errors from manual processes was also critical. Finally, they also needed an efficient mechanism to handle disputes that allowed them to quickly reverse or modify payments if a contractor’s earnings were miscalculated.
After looking at Modern Treasury’s product and understanding how it would work with their corporate bank account, they knew they’d found the right solution.
It took Spin about three weeks to start moving money with Modern Treasury. “Modern Treasury is a drastic improvement over our previous provider. Because payments flow directly from our bank account to the contractor’s, we’re able to deposit funds into their accounts on the same or next business day, instead of seven days later,” said Ashkan. “This has really improved our relationship with contractors.” Today, they send more than 250 payments per month using Modern Treasury.
Spin uses Modern Treasury’s counterparty onboarding flows to add new contractors. Through the web app, the Flex Network team sends them an email with a form to provide their personal information, bank account details and social security number. Built-in verification features ensure Spin only collects valid bank account and routing numbers, and all information is encrypted and stored securely on Modern Treasury servers.
Since they can search and filter payments by counterparty in the Modern Treasury web app, they save hours every month in resolving disputes and errors. The ability to customize how a payment is displayed on a recipient’s bank statement by attaching details like number of scooters handled or duration of work for example, has enabled them to provide more transparency to contractors. Since all payout data can be accessed via API, they’ve also been able to automate creating annual 1099 tax forms.
Today, contractor payouts are initiated by Ashkan and his team through the web app. Each week, they upload a CSV file generated by their internal system containing contractor payouts for the week to Modern Treasury. In the near future, they aim to automate the entire process by initiating payments directly from their internal workforce management system using Modern Treasury APIs. They want contractors to have the option to receive their earnings on a daily basis, and complete automation is critical to that. As his team grows, Ashkan is also planning on using the financial control features in the web app to set up approval flows for payments.
As a business, Spin continues to add more cities in the United States and also plans to launch in Spain and Canada. The Flex Network is critical to this, allowing Spin to quickly assemble operations teams while they build a presence in a new market. With Modern Treasury, they don’t have to worry about payment operations when they add a new city. By providing contractors with fast and transparent payments, they will always have enough scooters charged and deployed to provide their customers with a great mobility experience.