Workamping: The Ultimate Guide to Seasonal RV Jobs
In this Ultimate Guide to Workamping I’ll answers those questions among many others for a complete and comprehensive guide to Workamping & Seasonal jobs for RVers, today!
Tired of searching the web for pieces of information about what is Workamping, what Workamping jobs are available for RVers, and who hires Workampers? This guide is for you!
One of the biggest mind hurdles for people who are contemplating traveling full time (with or without kids) is how they can make money while traveling. This also happens to be one of the most interesting topics for people who are just interested in reading about people traveling fulltime!
The big picture is actually quite simple!
Regardless of how much you’ve saved to start the adventure- you will likely need or want to supplement income while on the road. You can do this easily with a little creativity, a lot of flexibility, and an adventurous spirit with a nomadic career in Workamping.
In this Ultimate Guide to Workamping I’ll answers those questions among many others for a complete and comprehensive guide to Workamping & Seasonal jobs for RVers, today!
Workamping is most easily defined as working while RVing. It’s the lifestyle of people who travel by RV and pick up monthly, seasonal, part-time and full-time jobs along the way. The jobs come in a variety of positions ranging from sales to outdoor hospitality and they offer a variety of different compensation structures that will include a basic trade of hours for a free RV site, free sites + pay, straight pay, as well as many others.
Workamping has been around for decades, and over that time it has changed and developed beyond its initial roots of the life of retired professionals who worked for low wages or just free camping.
It now includes a younger demographic of wanderlust RVers who love the freedom it affords them to travel slowly throughout the USA while still earning an income to take care of bills and expenses.
The number one benefit of the Workamping lifestyle is Freedom of Place!
Can you imagine the ability to go wherever you want, do whatever you want, and stay for however long you want without having to consider things like the cost of the accommodations in the area? This is what Workamping provides.
For people who wish to travel and see the country, without starting a small business or taking their remote jobs on the road- Workamping is the answer to your travel income source.
You keep all the benefits of regular work, while taking with you none of the burdens of having a location dependent job in one place for many many years and only getting to travel during your vacation time.
People make the decision to go Workamping for many different reasons, just as RVers make the decision to go full-time for many different reasons. Sometimes this is a way to escape the hustle of the 9-5 world of jobs and career that do not allow for location independence, sometimes this is to make money and travel while living in an RV full-time, and for others it’s an easy way to earn money after retirement.
For those who are not in it for the additional income opportunity, you might be more intrigued by the opportunity to meet like-minded travelers, form a community of the road and the benefits of volunteering in some of the greatest places the US has to offer!
Volunteering for RV Parks & Campgrounds has great benefits for RVers who just want to see and do, in great places across the map!
Check out this post for contact information for every state park Workamping program!
There are many common misconceptions about Workamping. People assume one type of individual Workamps, and that they do only a certain job.
This is wrong. Over the years, Workamping has evolved to include a wide variety or people and jobs!
• Workampers are not all retirees.
• Workampers are not hobos, gypsies, vagrants, or homeless.
• Workampers are destroying the American dream.
• Workampers have to live in RV’s because of the economy.
• Workampers are usually taken advantage of by employers.
• Workampers are forced to work for less than minimum wage.
2 things to keep in mind when considering Workamping jobs and deciding which ones are the perfect for your RV life!
Not all Workamping jobs are the same.
Several types of Workamping jobs may seem similar, such as working as a camp host at state parks. Depending on the state parks you are looking into, the jobs can actually be quite different.
Each job will have its own unique destination and that alone is worth doing research to look into whether the location is somewhere you want to spend a month or a full season, but other key difference will include things like the pay, job responsibilities, additional benefits, and on site amenities.
Free Site Doesn’t Equal Trade For Hours Worked.
Some Workamping employers will ask for a specific number of hours to cover your RV site rent. This is a common practice, and although it doesn’t always prove to be the best compensation for Workampers wanting to cover additional expenses it is something to keep in mind if it works for the particular situation.
But working for an RV site, is not the same as being provided a free RV site. So make sure if you agree to work for your site that you calculate the number of hours you’re working for it and see how much you’re really being asked to pay.
Workamping has 2 distinct seasons each with its own set of characteristics, employer recruiting activities, and more.
Also known as the camping season, the spring/summer is hands down the best and easiest time of the year to grab a great job in a great place. Spanning from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the camping season opens its doors to a flood of Workampers scattered throughout the country at different employment opportunities for time spans of 1- 6 months each
During this time, employer recruiting is usually very low, as they are dealing with the day to day operations of running their businesses and many will only post ads if looking for winter hires.
While at your spring/summer job, you will need to actively interview and apply for fall/ winter employment to make sure your seasons are lined up in a way that allows for seamless travels. Keep your eyes open!
During the fall and most usually right after Labor Day, the camping season for many comes to an end. Many Workampers will head to big employers like the Sugar Beet Harvest and Amazon as opportunities are scarce at campgrounds and RV parks unless they are in warm climates.
Many Workampers take the winter months off and retreat to warmer places like Florida, Arizona, Texas & California, where they can either relax or snag a highly sought after job in a snowbird destination.
While you might not snag a winter position if you don’t plan far in advance, this is the main recruiting season for summer, so applying for your next job will help fill your time!
Employers will be actively recruiting and hiring for the next camping season, so Workampers should have their resumes active and be on the continuous lookout for jobs in the places they wish to travel.
Planning each season one at a time is the best way to start planning your Workamping adventures!
This will allow you to line up your travels in a route that not only makes sense on the map, but one that works out financially as well. Skipping around the map, trying to find jobs in places you end up will not work long-term and might led to financial stress of not finding a job once you’ve arrived someplace really great. It may not work short-term either, depending on where your travels lead. So before you hit the road, take some time to properly plan out your adventure for 3 seasons of travel with at least 1 employer for each season.
The easiest season to plan for is the camping season.
And it is for that reason, I always suggest people start out in Workamping, start with a position that starts in the spring/summer. These positions will be advertised with starting dates from April 1-June 1st and snagging one will lead to a quick and easy start.Just because it is the easiest time to start, doesn't mean it isn't competitive!Click To Tweet
Summer recruiting is heaviest from January through mid March, but can actually start as early as at the end of the prior year’s camping season back in September.
If you find a position advertising for a summer position, you should apply asap. When you see the ad, make sure you are able to meet the requirements and it’s a good fit. Fine tune your resume, and then apply!
The sooner you get your information to the employer the better chance you have of being high on the list of possible hires! Since the recruiting season spans across the holidays, make sure to concentrate your efforts either before Thanksgiving or after the New Year planning to followup with a least 1 email and/or phone call!
Once you have your summer job booked, you’ll know your end date for the camping season and can now move on to booking your Fall/Winter gig next. Because Fall/Winter positions are always a bit harder to grab, I suggest new people starting out make it easy on themselves and just head to big employers like the Sugar Beet Harvest and then Amazon Camperforce, which are both super easy to get and allow for a big return on the short amount of time they require.
Planning to join one fo these two programs in year one, will again allow you to start Workamping much sooner than trying to narrow down employers who fit your specific needs. Saving this for year two after you’ve had a chance to test the waters and have more time to plan is an easy win!
If one of those employers doesn’t suit your needs, or if this isn’t your first rodeo here’s what you need to know about grabbing jobs for the winter Workamper season. Winter recruiting can be tricky to time, but in general you can expect to see employers advertising during the peak of the summer months from July-August.
Ads will continue to run up to the last-minute, especially if last-minute cancellations leave positions empty leading up to the snowbird season.
Same rules apply, so if you see a job you want and your resume is good to go, just apply as soon as you know for sure the job and location will work for you!
Follow up within 3 days of sending your information and be a little more persistent with moving things along, as these jobs are usually harder to grab and more competitive than the summer.
With this advice you will be one step ahead of the game, as you only have two seasons to plan for. It gives you more time up front to get yourself prepared for traveling with fewer worries about where your income will be coming from. One thing to remember is that the farther in advance you plan, the easier it will be to secure jobs.
Some people find it easier to stick with the routine of returning to the big employers in the fall and just changing up their summer jobs, so they have less work to do.
If in the next year you decide not to go back to the Sugar Beet Harvest or Amazon Camperforce, you will have some Workamping work history under your belt and look more favorable to employers who need seasoned Workampers on their team.
You can go anywhere in the USA.
Technically you can also go to Canada and Mexico although I’m pretty sure you can’t work legally in either place but they’re pretty to visit!
Many folks, just starting out will plan to test the waters of RV life by renting an RV and Workamping by trying a short Workamping assignment while still in their sticks & bricks homes at a location nearby. Other folks go for the gusto and decide their first stop is going to one for the bucket list and venture out to places like Yellowstone National Park and even Alaska!
Workampers have the unique opportunity to choose to work as much or as little as the please, in positions they choose. There are jobs for couples, families as well as those who need workamping jobs for singles.
Campground jobs are extremely popular, so if you are willing to do your homework, you can find a full spectrum of companies offering jobs to RVers in areas from Maintenance & Housekeeping to Park Rangers & Customer Service.
This will range from State & National Parks to Private and franchise campgrounds. Another popular choice is big business super giant Amazon.com.
While many positions in the Workamping community center around the Outdoor Hospitality industry, there’s plenty that don’t!
As a Workamper you can find jobs in retail, sales, marketing, writing, blogging, customer service, camp hosting, as a tour guide, shuttle bus driver, park ranger, resort manager, activities director, lifeguard, crafter, entertainer, and much much, more!
Amazon Camperforce is also another popular option.
Wherever you decide to Workamp, just know your options are not limited! Thousands of employers are hiring RVers to fill seasonal, short-term, part-time and full-time positions!
Who doesn’t want to visit Yellowstone, America’s oldest National Park? Well how about the chance to live and work in this amazing location for a whole summer? Delaware North @ Yellowstone provides jobs for RVers in several General Stores inside the park. They also staff a few hotels as well! Compensation includes an hourly wage, RV sites range from about $30-70 per month, and they offer an employee meal plan for on site eats!
Adventureland is known as one of the few theme parks that currently hire Workampers. Their program was actually designed and developed to hire thousands of RVers over each summer to help fill gaps in their recruitment activities. Adventureland Park offers jobs inside the amusement park, including retail, food service and ride operators. They offer an hourly wage, RV sites and if I’m not mistaken free entrance to the park.
Who hasn’t heard of the Sugar Beet Harvest? If you haven’t just do a quick search on Google or YouTube to see the many different opinions about this Workamping opportunity. Express Employment staffs for jobs at a few harvest locations offering the ‘Unbeetable Experience’ of making $2K in 2 weeks! While not the most glamorous of Workamping jobs, the Sugar Beet Harvest draws a large number of returning campers to their program. They pay for every hour worked, provide ample overtime and provide FHU sites for FREE.
If you haven’t heard of the Amazon.com Workamper program, you may have been hiding under a rock! This program receives more reviews and media inquires than any other hands down! The program hires 400+ RVers at sometimes up to 6 different locations for jobs inside it’s warehouses. The jobs come with an hourly wage, overtime, a FHU site and benefits depending on how long you stay. They do require long days or nights of your choice, with up to 12 hours of standing/walking.
Southern Cross hires mobile leak survey technicians whose main job responsibility is to inspect gas lines to make sure they are working properly and then report the findings. They offer one of the best paying Workaming gigs available with a large RV site per diem, pay for every hour worked as well as career benefits!
I need to be as upfront as possible with you about the income you can expect from Workamping jobs.
To be frank, it’s not the best and it’s definitely not the highest wages you’ll likely have made in your life, if you are considering the traditional Workamper jobs centered around outdoor hospitality.
You can expect a modest reliable income that can help get you on the road faster than you thought possible, with added benefits like being immersed in a great location for longer than typical possible for tourist, on site benefits like campground amenities, discounted activities both on site and sometimes in the surrounding towns, as well as many others.
A combination of paid positions, non-paid and volunteer positions as well as those that offer a combination, are what you will typically find from Workamping employers at campgrounds and not.
Many positions are noted for paying minimum wage or something slightly higher, but in my own personal experience I found that there are many Workamping jobs that offer between $10-$14 per hour with Free sites. These were the positions that I sought out and applied for. They include things like reservations, activity director, store inventory manager, and even park general manager.
Other positions in housekeeping, landscaping, grounds crew, light maintenance, cash register operations, and check-ins are typical at campgrounds. You can also find a variety of non-campgrounds jobs paying higher wages with companies such a Kitchen Craft, AGS, and Lt. Blender.While I love to negotiate, it just doesn’t work in every situation. I’ll give you a heads up from one Workamper to another… negotiating with larger employers with well-established programs that typically hire hundreds of Workampers is a waste of time.Click To Tweet
While every Workamping job will be drastically different, there are a few common traits that we have experienced:
So you’ve found the perfect location for your next Workamping position and are ready to send over your resume. You read through the ad, which states you’ll be working near Yellowstone National Park! They’re looking for Campground Hosts as well as Maintenance, which is perfect for you and your husband/wife. You’ll work 25 hours a week, combined, for the site. All other hours at $7.25.
Before you go any further- you may want to reread that advertisement…
“Work 25 hours per week, combined, for site. All others paid at $7.25”.
What does that really mean? How much are you really paying to live on site? Is this a good deal for you or for the employer? It’s time to break out your pen, paper, and your handy dandy calculator!
This means every week. You and your husband/wife will collectively need to work 25 hours minimum to pay for your site. The ad doesn’t specify how the 25 hours will be split. So, make a note to ask about this when you speak with the employer.
Think about this for a minute- If the site charges $350 per month for long-term guests. That means by working 25 hours per week to pay for your site, with 4 weeks in a month, your work is being valued at $3.50 per hour!
Some people will argue that when living onsite, it is acceptable to value the exchange of labor at a lesser rate. I’m not one of those people! Last time I checked the Federal minimum wage was $7.25- but if you feel comfortable working for less than half of that… go right ahead.
Once you have met the 25-hour requirement to pay for your site, any additional hours you work, will be paid at $7.25. The ad didn’t specify that additional hours were guaranteed or how many to expect if any. So make a note to ask the employer how many hours each of you should expect to work on a weekly basis. They may not have a guaranteed number- but they should be able to give you a close estimate.
Think about this for a minute- If the employer says they will pay you $7.25 per hour all hours over the first 25- then why not calculate the number of hours needed to pay for the site at the same rate?
If that were the case, you would only need to work 12(ish) hours per week to pay for your site (which in my opinion is much more reasonable). Requiring 25 hours each week- if calculated at $7.25 would mean you’re paying $725 for the same monthly site other guests are paying just $350 for. Gosh! I hope that includes electric, propane, laundry, store discount, a meal allowance and free amenities…
Seems to me- that you are being undervalued!
Apply early and follow up!
Send your resume by email or fax. Wait 1-2 days then give the employer a direct phone call. Introduce yourself and let them know you sent your resume and hoped they had time to review it.
Try to move forward with setting up an interview where you can discuss and go over the details of the position.
Negotiate your way to the perfect position!
Employers are advertising jobs that have their best interest in mind. It may or may not be the perfect fit for you.
With this in mind try to find easy ways to tweak the position so that its great for you and the employer! Handle these negotitations in your interview and make sure you list them in a clearly worded work agreement!
One you have the information you need and fully understand the basics of Workamping and Workamping jobs, all you really need to know is where you can find the information about what jobs are now available.
Websites for Workamping jobs will vary from paid to non-paid and offer a range of benefits from just basic job info to a full arsenal of tools and resources. Decide which sites suit you best and don’t be afraid to ask their support team specific questions, if you have them.
Workamper job listings are easy to find all across the web and I’ve listed 11 links below to help you get started.