Working on the Road
So, you are a little bored or want to make some extra cash while travelling. Read this article first before you accept that job!
Here are some observations and interesting facts on some of the more common jobs available for RV'ers:
- Campground Host
Although the job duties are varied, invariably part or all of your pay is a campsite at the campground. You need to get a clear understanding of what your job duties are, how many man-hours are required for your "free" campsite" - AND what the true value is of the campsite. In the vast majority of cases, the monthly rate of the campsite divided by the total manhours that you must work for the campsite means that you are working for FAR below minimum wage!
- Christmas Tree / Pumpkin Lot Manager
The usual lure of the this job is the amount of money that you can make in a relatively short timeframe. But is it really worth it? Typically, you may be paid $4000 for six weeks work. However, this also means that you and your partner (they almost always want two-person teams) will be working 14 hour days seven days a week. Not counting overtime, this is approximately $3.50/hour. Counting overtime, you will be lucky to make $2/hour!
Here are some additional guidelines to use when checking out one of these potential jobs:
- Some jobs pay you weekly, and some don't pay until the end - in which case you most likely will get PAID NOTHING if you don't stick it out for the duration. If you get paid weekly, at least you will have some money if you decide to leave early.
- Some jobs pay you only a percentage of gross sales. Usually, you have to pay your workers directly "under the table". Don't fall for one of these gimmicks!
- Some jobs have a strict "labor budget" that you must adhere to.....and any you are responsible for any budget overruns, usually out of your commission check.
- Make sure that you are not personally responsible for any inventory shortages.
- If your employer is not providing a telephone, insist on compensation for using your cell phone or costs for using a pay phone.
- Make sure that any employees that you hire will be on your employer's payroll.
- Get a contract in writing that details your exact job responsibilities, and don't take on any extra responsibilities without extra pay.
- You will need the services of a "honey wagon" to empty your holding tanks. Most employers will pay for the services of a "honey wagon" once a week.
- Accidents happen.....
- Make sure your employer has adequate insurance coverage.
- Make sure that you are covered for accidental injury by your employers workman's compensation.
- Make sure that your RV and belongings are covered by your employer while parked on their property. Case in point - an inadequately-supported blew into a friend's RV causing it great cosmetic damage. and the employer refused to cover.
- VENDOR JOBS
We have some friends who travelled the country selling items at various car race circuits. They hauled around a 26' vendor trailer behind their coach. Although they set their own schedule, they had to commit to a significant number of events each season. This turned out to be very tiring, as a lot of driving was involved. Days were long, and almost always they were boondocking without access to water, so even their personal hygiene suffered. To make matters worse, they found out that there were usually two others vendors from the same company competing for business. They put many miles on their coach and made very little money.
Bottom Line - Most typical RV jobs are not worth having, simply because the pay is usually below minimum wage. Personally, I think it is time that all RV'ers unite and NOT take any job that does not pay at least minimum wage.
Most successful workcampers either find odd jobs that pay at least minimum wage or have a skill that allows them to find work and make a decent living at hours and locations that they determine.