Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Workamping Forum: Pay or No Pay?
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tapiper

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Posted: 07/20/21 07:58am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

This seems to be a hot topic with a lot of workampers so I thought I would post my 2 cents worth.

Essentially, there are 2 types of workamping positions:
A. Positions where the campground pays the workamper
B. Positions where the workamper pays the campground for the privilege of working there.

Most advertised positions fall within type B above. The ad may read "volunteer", which means the campground will gain at the expense of the workamper's time and efforts. Another prevalent ad might read "work 40 hours a week, the first 25 hours for the FHU and the balance of hours receive pay at $10 per hour." That's 100 hours per month at $10 or $1,000 per month. So, in reality the workamper is paying the campground $1,000 to be there. One recent ad even stated that the workamper would be paid $12 for every hour worked and the cost of their site and utilities would be deducted from their check each pay period. This would mean the workamper would then receive a W-2 at the end of the year and have to pay taxes on money they never got to see. The campground sells a site and only has to pay for the extra hours which came to $631 or less than $4 per hour for the workamper over 40 hours.

I know there are plenty of people who jump at this offer, but to me it doesn't fly. Type A positions are what I look for. They will read "Perform duties for X hours per week, compensation is $X per hour for all hours worked, FHU and utilities, use of facility and amenities." These are campgrounds that actually value their workampers.

valhalla360

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Posted: 07/20/21 08:46am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Unless it's a really high end place, monthly rates are typically down around $500-750/month, so more like $5-7.50/hr.

If you are really volunteering, it may be OK because a free site is a side benefit but not the reason you are there. I could see being a greeter/info person at a visitor center...cleaning toilets isn't my idea of volunteering.

For the paid jobs, the pay may be horrible but I would disagree with you get a W-2 for money you never got to see. You saw it but it was provided in the form of barter. Reality is at the pay rates we are talking about, you are paying next to nothing in terms of income tax anyway.

We've thought about similar but looking at going to a tourist area (say Mackinaw or Yellowstone) for the summer. With a small full time population and a busy tourist season, they have lots of summer jobs. Get a job that pays cash and then get your own campsite. If they offer a campsite, it's on top of being paid. We'd be looking at it as a way to qualify for heavily subsidized obamacare before we hit full retirement age. If you hit around $25-30k/yr, the subsidy makes insurance dirt cheap. If you make too much the subsidy goes away.


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soon2bexpat

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Posted: 07/20/21 10:04am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I agree with you, tapiper. I've been workamping for 7 years now and always take the type A jobs. If the goal is to make money, that's the route. I suppose if you're retired and can't figure out how to occupy your free time, a type B gig would be appealing [emoticon]


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FWC

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Posted: 07/20/21 10:18am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I think a type B gig would be OK if it is for a good cause, like supporting public lands by volunteering for the USFS, NPS, BLM etc. There is no way I would take a type B gig (or a type A gig for that matter) for a private for profit entity. If the goal is to be paid for work, then there are much more lucrative and stimulating opportunities than working in a campground.

wapiticountry

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Posted: 07/20/21 10:50am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

See if working for Walmart gets you a free place to park with full hookups. I bet at that Walmart job you won’t have the ability to roll out of bed and be to work in 60 seconds. Seldom are the Walmart’s of the world located near national parks and other tourist destinations. I bet the work schedules aren’t as flexible and the jobs not as easy as most Workcamper positions. But if you attach no value to those points Workcamping is a bad deal.

TexasShadow

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Posted: 07/20/21 10:53am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

we did camp host volunteering for a few years at a state park we liked, but we only did it a month at a time. then it got to where the parks demanded the hosts volunteer for the whole season and that was too long for us.
but the "job" was easy enough and pleasant...just checking folks in and out and keeping restrooms stocked with paper supplies and reporting messes or unruly guests etc to the office, or calling the state police if necessary...which never was.


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FWC

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Posted: 07/20/21 11:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

wapiticountry wrote:

See if working for Walmart gets you a free place to park with full hookups. I bet at that Walmart job you won’t have the ability to roll out of bed and be to work in 60 seconds. Seldom are the Walmart’s of the world located near national parks and other tourist destinations. I bet the work schedules aren’t as flexible and the jobs not as easy as most Workcamper positions. But if you attach no value to those points Workcamping is a bad deal.


Agreed. But for many of us the choice is not between work camping or working at Walmart. My point was that I am not willing to work for less than market rate in order to increase someone else's profit margin.

If the idea is just to cover living expenses, then I will spend a week a month working remotely at my real job, and have the other 3 weeks free to do what I want. However if the opportunity is fulfilling in some other way, say volunteering at a National Park then I am happy to straight volunteer, and if they give a free campsite, all the better.

valhalla360

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Posted: 07/20/21 12:22pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

wapiticountry wrote:

See if working for Walmart gets you a free place to park with full hookups. I bet at that Walmart job you won’t have the ability to roll out of bed and be to work in 60 seconds. Seldom are the Walmart’s of the world located near national parks and other tourist destinations. I bet the work schedules aren’t as flexible and the jobs not as easy as most Workcamper positions. But if you attach no value to those points Workcamping is a bad deal.


Are you implying workcampers are lazy and unable to get up on time? Seems odd criteria.

Walmart is something completely different. I would be looking to work at a shop near the tourist area...which is likely has campgrounds nearby.

toedtoes

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Posted: 07/20/21 01:55pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

FWC wrote:

wapiticountry wrote:

See if working for Walmart gets you a free place to park with full hookups. I bet at that Walmart job you won’t have the ability to roll out of bed and be to work in 60 seconds. Seldom are the Walmart’s of the world located near national parks and other tourist destinations. I bet the work schedules aren’t as flexible and the jobs not as easy as most Workcamper positions. But if you attach no value to those points Workcamping is a bad deal.


Agreed. But for many of us the choice is not between work camping or working at Walmart. My point was that I am not willing to work for less than market rate in order to increase someone else's profit margin.

If the idea is just to cover living expenses, then I will spend a week a month working remotely at my real job, and have the other 3 weeks free to do what I want. However if the opportunity is fulfilling in some other way, say volunteering at a National Park then I am happy to straight volunteer, and if they give a free campsite, all the better.


I agree with this.

For me, workamping isn't meant to make money, it's a way to subsidize the camping. If I needed to make money, I would get a better job. If I wanted to spend 3 months in a great campground that had a 14-day limit and costs $26 per night, I would consider workamping to bypass the stay limit and drop the nightly cost.


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wapiticountry

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Posted: 07/20/21 04:11pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

valhalla360 wrote:

wapiticountry wrote:

See if working for Walmart gets you a free place to park with full hookups. I bet at that Walmart job you won’t have the ability to roll out of bed and be to work in 60 seconds. Seldom are the Walmart’s of the world located near national parks and other tourist destinations. I bet the work schedules aren’t as flexible and the jobs not as easy as most Workcamper positions. But if you attach no value to those points Workcamping is a bad deal.


Are you implying workcampers are lazy and unable to get up on time? Seems odd criteria.

Walmart is something completely different. I would be looking to work at a shop near the tourist area...which is likely has campgrounds nearby.
When you workamp you are on site. No commute needed. You are there to walk your dog, to make a better lunch than a sandwich, to be at your home should you need something or if something goes wrong. To many people that is a valuable benefit of workamping.
A workamper position is basically unskilled labor. If you have special skills and training that commands high pay good for you. Doctors, lawyers, hedge fund managers and Fortune 500 CEOs make huge wages, but that doesn’t matter to a park hiring workers. That $500 an hour lawyer will only get $10 an hour as a workamper if that is what the going rate for workampers is.

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