Forget about fixing your desired schedule to fit that of your future employer. Forget about starting on a date predetermined and desired by someone other than yourself. Forget about doing a job you don’t really want to do, for a wage that you really feel is unfair.
It’s time to start workamping on your own terms by learning how to negotiate a workamping position.
Know Your Stuff & How to Negotiate
Now, think about your career in workamping. This is your ticket to find the perfect job. Your escape from the standard 9-5, into a world of adventure and discovery. With positions, compensation, and employers just as flexible as your travels, finding a job that suits all your needs shouldn’t be hard at all. In fact, it’s more likely you’ll have a harder time choosing which jobs to accept and which to postpone until the next year.
Before you start scouring the internet or the latest edition of Workamper News for your next position, take a moment to enlighten yourself with a few of these need to know aspects of finding your perfect jobs. Discover the most popular types of workamping employers, compensation packages, and workamping positions.
Knowing the types of employers that are looking for and hiring Workampers is a must for anyone looking to work while traveling full-time. There are several types of workamping employers, and having a general idea of each type will allow you to narrow your search when looking for employment. Let’s look at the 4 major groups and discuss the general idea of each.
Big business programs like Camperforce & The Beet Harvest are two of the largest Workamper recruiting programs in the Nation. They advertise year round, to fill hundreds of open seasonal positions inside and outside of their warehouses. Workampers are pushed to their limits and in return make large amounts of cash, in a very short amount of time. Production times and hard physical labor are no secrets to these types of workamping jobs- so be prepared when you accept the offer.
Many jobs are offered by private individuals, who own a small company and are looking to keep expenses low and productivity high by hiring a seasonal worker. Campgrounds, like KOA & Jellystone Parks, are all prime examples of how private owners can offer many workamping jobs for those looking for out of the box employment. Each owner will have their own unique way of running their business and this might work in or out of your favor. Dealing with small town politics isn’t for everyone, and you hopefully won’t find it at every park. But if you can safely navigate the thin ice between what is required and acceptable- working for a private owner will open the floodgates with a steady stream of job opportunities.
Several corporations also offer a variety of workamping jobs from season to season. Companies like Bowlin Travel Centers actively hire Workampers to work and live on-site at their Travel Centers in New Mexico & Arizona on both short or long-term positions. Offering benefit packages including perks like a 401K, Vacation Days & Medical Plans are very appealing to the right person.
State & National Parks:
Closer to the natural beauty of the great outdoors, workamping at one of the many State or National parks can offer the ability to see new and exciting parts of the country from an insider’s perspective. Living onsite at Yellowstone National Park would be completely different than a quick a weekend road trip, by offering more time to explore the park and surrounding areas. Staffing companies, as well as onsite staff and websites dedicated to each State or National Park, offer daily job listings for multiple positions and time frames.
Think outside the box:
Employers around the globe are looking for seasonal workers to fill open positions. Looking beyond those who know the meaning of the term ‘Workamper’ will not only open the horizon for employment but also further the education of future employers who could benefit from hiring Workampers for their businesses.
Every employer will have their own way of serving up their positions to applicants. One way will only work for some, while another will attract the masses. Knowing the different types of compensation you can expect to be offered will give you a better idea of which jobs you should even apply to. Also, if you know these 3 main types of compensation, you’ll know how and where to start your negotiations.
Work for Site:
Working for your site or volunteering is only an option for someone with an additional stream of income. Many companies offer these arrangements in hopes of finding Workampers, who are not relying on them to furnish a paycheck, just beautiful scenery and a few hours a week of busy work. You’ll be able to read whether a position is offering compensation or not, but most will say “volunteer” to help you narrow the search.
FHU + All Hours Paid:
Probably the most desirable workamping agreement, the employer will pay you for all hours worked at a specified rate. An employment ad might say, “FHU provide plus $13.50 per hour. 30hrs per week.” This is a very attractive deal for the Workamper, as all their living expenses would be included, and as a result of such, these jobs will typically be the first off the market. Make sure to apply early and put your best foot forward, they’ll have many applicants to consider and you will likely have just one chance to pitch yourself!
Combination Compromise Package:
In many cases, the employer agrees to pay for all hours in addition to making you pay a reduced rate for your site, or requiring a set number of hours each week to cover the cost of the site and the utilities. This is considered a compromise. Either you get paid for all hours and you pay for your site or you work for the site and get paid for the additional hours. An example of this compensation would be an ad reading “FHU for 12 hours, all others paid at $13 per hour”. Words of advice: Make sure you have a written agreement that states the actual amount of hours you’ll work after the site is paid for, or you could end up just working for your site…
Think outside the box:
Instead of accepting the first offer thrown out, why not counter offer with something that suits your needs. Asking for a custom tailored compensation package doesn’t offend most employers. They will likely counter back, giving you a compromise somewhere in the middle. You can ask for things like, more hourly pay, less hours for your site, or for certain days off. It’s worth putting your needs up front and knowing that the perfect workamping package for you is out there!
You know where you’ll apply and what you’re really looking to receive, but what jobs tend to be most available? Popular Workamping positions are just a starting point, for your RV travels. Gigs are available all across the map in just about every job category you can think of. But starting with the most commonly offered ones will give you an idea of what to expect and what to look for.
Hosting at a campground is probably one of the most well-known Workamping gigs. The idea of living onsite, welcoming fellow campers, answer questions, escorting, and closing the park gates are some basic job functions, that make applying for jobs as a campground host, very attractive. Less strenuous labor requirements, the ability to usually work from your site or close to it, and the opportunity to return year after year make these positions highly sought after and quickly filled.
Front Desk Staff:
Along with the comforts of working mostly inside the office, with well-stocked shelves and air conditioning, the job of the front desk staff is quite appealing for those who know their way around the computer. Entering reservations and checking out customers on a POS system, while answering questions and the phones are the main responsibilities for this position. Standing on your feet with little movement can be a downside for some, but to others it’s ideal. Many front desk associates have a background in customer service or retail that serves them well when entering and applying for these jobs. But even a newbie to computer reservations can pick up most park software relatively quickly, with the right amount of training and support.
As the single most organized person on the campground staff, the Activity Director has to be well equipped with a Plan A, B & C at all times. Responsible for recreation, events, activities ,and the overall fun factor of the property, you have to know your property, plan accordingly, and make sure each activity or event is structured and staffed to ensure guests enjoy themselves. A typical day can include hours of computer work, researching crafts and creating new themed games, as well as training the recreation staff as to how to properly conduct the activities. Then, of course, the act of overseeing the events and throughout the property.
This is one of those jobs, that no matter how much you do and how many employees are working together, there will always be something else that pops up. The job of property maintenance is never-ending. Every day, there are jobs in different areas that will require your attention, some will be more pressing than others, but all will need to be completed asap. Typical duties can range from cleaning fire rings for the next camper to installing electrical in new onsite cabins over the winter. Based on your experience, certifications, and level of comfort and expertise, taking a job in property maintenance can mean a lot of different things for a lot of different people.
Hands down the hardest Workamping job on most properties, housekeeping is one of those love it or leave it positions. If you love what you do and your good at it, then you’ll enjoy it. If you don’t, then just leave it alone. Cleaning cabins, washing laundry, keeping up the bathhouses and even the main buildings like the office and café is hard work. It’s also made even harder by the necessity to continuously redo it throughout the days because the spaces are so heavily used.
Working for the retail giant Amazon is a whirlwind type of experience. They filter groups of Workampers into a variety of different positions in their fulfillment centers, through the fall season. Expecting a full season commitment, 100% accuracy in addition to the physical requirement of demanding manual labor. Camperforce is a popular choice for many Workampers, as it’s an ‘easy’ way to stack cash for the winter and hold you over until the Spring.
Think outside the box:
Just because the ad said they were looking a maintenance man doesn’t mean that’s what they really needed. So if you’re a woman, who enjoys working outdoors in maintenance, landscaping or escorting, then speak up, the job might be yours if you just ask for it!
Many jobs will also say they want a couple, but it doesn’t hurt to reach out if you’re interested. Most places prefer great skills regardless, so show them what you’ve got!
The reality is workamping jobs come in all shapes and sizes. Just like the adventurous people who apply for them, they’re created to be flexible. They are easily customized to meet the needs of the masses, making them perfect for you, your neighbor, and your friend down the road. Knowing the main types, popular compensation packages, and employers will not only make your search run smoother but also allow you to negotiate and tailor each job offer to meet your specific requirements.
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