Podcast

LCW 1.07: Special Situations of Workamping

Season 1 Episode 7 of the Live.Camp.Work. Podcast!

Special Situations
Workamping Singles & Families- What You Need To Know To Be Successful

In this episode I’m going to be talking about two less than traditional types of Workampers and what you need to know about each to be successful. We’re talking Workamper Singles and Workamping Families- two groups of RVers who travel and work outside the traditional scope fo what was once the norm.

Come along for the adventure as I navigate through the world of Workamping with real information, tips & trick, stories from the road, and interviews from Workampers and Employers! You can download the episode or just click and listen online!

In addition to many others, the following employers have said they specifically have positions for Single and Solo Workampers and most will work for families as well.

  1. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  2. Texas Advertising – AGS Publishing
  3. Southeast Publications
  4. Express Employment Professionals
  5. Kitchen Craft
  6. Amazon Camperforce
  7. Bowlin Travel Centers
  8. Southern Cross Corp
  9. KOA: Kampground of America
  10. Equity Lifestyle Services/Thousand Trails
  11. RVing Lifestyle Network Ambassadors
  12. Sky Thunder Fireworks

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Episode Transcript

Let’s get started with Episode 7: Special Situations of Workamping

Workamping is the adventurous life of travel enjoyed by many Americans of all ages. Traveling from place to place, state to state, and job to job may not be a lifestyle made for everyone, but for many it affords the adventurous life they have always dreamed of while providing a modest income to boot.

Many of today’s Workampers travel as couples.

But many folks also travel in two less than traditional situations as either a single or a couple.

Let’s start with Workamping Singles.

Not all Workampers come in pairs, and for those who don’t, there are often additional worries about finding employers who are willing to hire just one.

While these fears are not to be entirely disregarded, they are a little over exaggerated with the usually negative social media posts that dominate the scene.

Knowing the Difference

Let’s first clarify the difference between a single Workamper and a solo Workamper…

  • Single refers to a situation where one person is able/willing to work. This person may or may not be traveling with a partner.
  • Solo is describing someone who is traveling alone.

Many employers, in my experience, will try their best to fill spots with couples based on the simple fact that they can get two workers that only occupy one site. It’s not personal, it’s business. They’re trying to lower their costs while being able to utilize the skills and labor force of two individuals compared to just one.

What you need to know is that employers are looking for both, those who can fill one spot and those who fill two. Solo & Single Workampers may not be the majority when it comes to folks who travel, but the reality is that many amazing people do this alone and their numbers are growing!

There are many employers who hire just one worker per site. Some employers only have one available position, or maybe they prefer to not have the possibility of personal issues trickling into the workplace and have made the choice to not hire those who live or travel together. Either way, it works in your favor. Embrace these jobs and these opportunities and you’ll find there is a variety of options for you to choose from.

What Types of Jobs Are Available?

There are a variety of employers and income opportunities available for Solo & Single travelers. A mix of negotiation skills, creativity and patience is almost always a requirement.

Many employers hire one Workamper, some just don’t make a point to directly state this in their recruiting ads. Others obviously love to recruit two strong workers to fill one RV site but welcome single workers with open arms if and when possible. Many employers would be in favor of one strong worker as compared to a couple where one half is seen as a thorn, so do your best to always inquire with employers about the availability for hiring one person.

In addition to many others, the following employers have said they specifically have positions for Single and Solo Workampers.

  1. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  2. Texas Advertising – AGS Publishing
  3. Southeast Publications
  4. Express Employment Professionals
  5. Kitchen Craft
  6. Amazon Camperforce
  7. Bowlin Travel Centers
  8. Southern Cross Corp
  9. KOA: Kampground of America
  10. Equity Lifestyle Services/Thousand Trails
  11. RVing Lifestyle Network Ambassadors
  12. Sky Thunder Fireworks

The next special situation is one I’m very familiar with,

Workamping With Kids In Tow

Back in 2013 when we hit the road with 4 kids in tow to live a life of RV travel, let’s just say it was not the norm. We were one of just a few families traveling full-time in RVs with the intention to work short-term jobs along the way. Family Workampers had not been heard of for the most part and we only met two others during the first year. But something changed between 2015 and 2016, as we approached another season at Amazon Camperforce in Campbellsville, Kentucky. When we arrived, we were met by an unexpected sweet surprise… families were everywhere, and it totally changed the experience for our kids and further normalized our decision to work and travel!

Over the past several years, we’ve met several families who travel and many others online that wish to travel in the near future. Most folks have a ton of questions and while some are specific to their life, the following are almost always asked about.

Can Both Parents Work?

Regardless of whether you need child care for younger children or not, both parents are able to work while traveling. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways and all revolve around what you find comfortable. For my husband and I, we choose to work opposite shifts, so we could easily work for the same employers. We would line up employment at various places and ask if one of us could work in the morning and then the other would work at night. We weren’t particular about having the same off days, as we knew this would only be temporary, and to our surprise and enjoyment, it turned out to be a welcome change to those who wanted the same shifts. It always worked out for us!

A Few Things To Note:

  • A normal schedule included about 20-30 hours per person. We only worked 40 hours (or more) while working for Amazon Camperforce.
  • We made the most of our hours worked, by only accepting jobs where the site was offered for FREE.
  • Working opposite shifts gets old quickly. Not having the same off days as your partner in addition to starting your shift when they are ending their shift means you will not see each other very often.
  • Scheduling our stays at 4 months or less for these job locations made it more manageable.

How Much Will I Make?

I like to be very upfront and honest about this topic and may have said it before, but you will not get rich Workamping. You will make a decent wage and sometimes be provided a FREE site if you snagged a great position, but you will not be adding to your savings account or retirement fund by any means. If Workamping is your only means of income and you have kids in tow, money will be unreasonably tight, and the adventure will be overshadowed by financial woes. Do yourself a favor and find ways to earn extra income through a well-planned small business or income-producing hobby, also known as a side hustle.

What is a Side Hustle?

A side hustle is an additional income stream you can rely on for X amount of dollars. It’s not your day job, a career or even your main Workamping gig- it’s literally one or more things you’ve picked up for extra income on the side. In my opinion, everyone needs at least one side hustle, as multiple income streams are always best.

When we were Workamping, we also made money through freelance writing, affiliate sales from our blog, and little side jobs we picked up along the way from talking with fellow RVers, friends and family who needed services like content writing, proofreading, website creation, and email management among others. This also helped us not feel 100% dependent on working 40+ hours at every job. We could easily work 20-30 and have great adventures in our downtime!

Is It Harder Finding Jobs?

I can’t say it’s harder, because I never actually had a hard time. I can’t say it’s easy because it took a lot of well-crafted emails to get the jobs we wanted along with a great interview. Workamping with kids is different from those who do it without. So, you have to attack it differently and master how to pitch yourself to be successful.

For instance, when you see a job posted for a campground position you need to react a little quicker than usual. You don’t have time to think about every detail. Give the employer a quick look, decide if it’s something doable and then apply. You can do more research later, after your application or resume has been submitted.

In your email to the employer you’ll need to craft a very polite and cheerful introduction including how you are excited about the possibility to join the team at a family friendly establishment, some details about the adults looking for work, maybe a recent accomplishment, and then mention you are part of a traveling family with x number of kids.

Let the employer know about your experience and why you’ll be a great addition to the team. I usually added a sentence about how we did not need the same days off, but alternating shifts were preferable. Include pictures of yourself and the family as well as your RV or insert a link to your blog where they are welcome to go ‘meet’ your family.

Attach your resume with relevant work experience or just the previous positions that would highlight your skills. When it comes to family Workampers, I find it’s better to show a severe over qualification, than to send too little information and hope they will ask the right questions.

Can Kids Come To Work?

This is such a tricky question and one that I think cannot just be left to common sense and good judgment. Bringing small kids or even younger teens into the workplace requires many things, but at least three to integrate seamlessly, which is usually just not the case.

  • You are assuming they will behave, be helpful and stay content throughout your shift without needing constant supervision or for you to hover over them.
  • Your employer, if they are okay with this, is assuming your children are well behaved (according to the employer’s standards) and that they will not interfere with your work and in some cases may be able to help.
  • Everyone is assuming that the kids are aware of how to behave in the work environment, understand their role and the expectations set by you and your employer.

My husband and I worked as property managers for a resort and were faced with this issue more than once. We enjoyed a few well-planned days when our kids were able to come to work with us, which allowed for both of us to work at the same time. This amounted to my husband and I working with one of our twins by our side and our older girls split up with a park ranger to help with small tasks like refilling drink stations and golf cart patrol during school field trips on property. Easy Peasy! In this example, it worked well.

An example of it not working would be taking your kids to work with you when you are required to work on heavy machinery or in food service. Having your kids hang out with you in the office is also probably not ideal in the eyes of the employer or customers in person and on the phone.

So I guess it just really depends on what you’re doing, where you’re employed, and what the rules of the property are. Keep in mind it could also be doable on one day and then a totally unrealistic request on another.

I advise going into the situation with an open slate. If having the kids come to work with you is the only way to make it work, be upfront and honest with the employer from the beginning. You never want to travel any distance with the looming possibility that you may be turned away or asked to leave earlier than expected.

Are Extra Hours Required?

Occasionally an employer will come up with the ‘great’ idea that requiring extra hours for the kids or simply requiring hours based on the occupants of the site- regardless of age. I don’t believe this is a reasonable requirement or expectation on behalf of the employer. If hours are being required to cover the cost of the site, which I seriously think you should try to negotiate to be completely FREE, you should not have to work extra hours to cover the kids’ stay.

For example, I once applied to work at a family-friendly property in New York. During the second conversation with the owner of the property, I was told that 10 hours would be required for each person in the RV weekly. I laughed, thanked him for his time and moved on to my second option.

There was no way we were going to agree to work 60 hours each week just for the site. I found this to be an employer’s kid tax initiative, which led me to believe his property was not as family friendly as he made it seem. I also use this judgment when traveling, for campgrounds who charge additional rates for children without amenities or anything more than a gravel parking spot.

I caution you against agreeing to such a situation, as you will not be getting a fair trade. Make sure to always weigh the pros and cons of each Workamping position and research the employers to see what exactly you’re getting into.

That’s gonna all for today on the  Live Camp Work Podcast. This was Episode 7 of Season 1 and I hope you’ve enjoyed the information so far! If you have any questions always feel free to send me an email directly to sharee@livecampwork.com or join in the conversation in the live camp work group on facebook!

 

And until next time-

Safe Travels & Many Adventures!

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