Note: I first posted this blog in January, 2013, based upon my book Work Your Way Across The USA and the seminar by the same name I present at RV rallies coast to coast. Since I hear from a lot of RVers looking for ways to make money on the road, I thought we would have another look at the topic.
Many people only think of workamping as working in an RV park. That can be interesting and can help you save some money in camping fees. However, as I always say in my seminars on working on the road, if your goal is to make the most possible money in a given time period, often you would be better off to rent a site in an RV park on a monthly basis and get a job at the local Home Depot or a restaurant in town. RV park wages are just not that good in most cases.
We know many RVers who work in RV parks around the country to offset their traveling costs. Typically, they work a set number of hours per week in exchange for a free RV site, and any hours over those agreed upon for the site are paid at an hourly wage. Some workamping RVers return to the same campground to work every season, while others prefer to move about and see new places.
But there are plenty of other ways for workampers to make money. If you want to do something a little bit different and still earn money, there are many, many opportunities out there to make money and have fun that don’t involve cleaning bathrooms in an RV park, serving French fries in a fast food restaurant, or working in retail stores.
Selling Ads On Site Maps – We have met several RVers who do very well working on commission selling ads on campground site maps. It involves a lot of cold calling, but if you can handle rejection along the way, you can be successful at it.
Gate Guarding – Many RVers we know are making $125 or more a day as gate guards at oil and gas wells from Texas and Louisiana to North Dakota. Their job is to check in and out all vehicles coming to the drilling site and they live in their RVs at the gate. The company provides a diesel generator, fresh water, and dump services. Some gates are manned 12-14 hours a day and can average 60 – 80 vehicles a day. Others require guards to be on duty 24 hours a day and the RVing couple split the hours. We have heard of a very few gate guards who work really busy gates making nearly $700 a day, but they can expect to deal with as many as 700 vehicles a day.
Beet Harvest – We have known several RVers who have worked the sugar beet harvests in places like North Dakota and Minnesota. Jobs include everything from driving trucks to sorting the beets when they arrive at warehouses. One website on the sugar beet harvest claims that some workers make as much as $7,000 in a month or less.
Mall Kiosks – During the holiday season companies like Sees Candies and Hickory Farms hire lots of people to work their kiosks in shopping malls, and it’s a popular temporary job for RVers.
Canoe & Kayak Tour Guide – From the Florida Keys to Michigan’s wild Upper Peninsula, canoe and kayak liveries are busy all season long introducing tourists to the joys to be found on the water. It’s a great job for RVers who want to make some extra money and spend the summer (or winter) paddling.
Working For Amazon – During the Christmas rush, online retailer Amazon.com hires many RVers to work at their three fulfillment centers around the country. The last I heard, the wage was over $12 an hour plus bonuses, with overtime available.
Dealing Blackjack – The gaming industry, in places like Las Vegas, Reno, and Laughlin, Nevada, provides many working opportunities for RVers. Jobs range from dealing blackjack to working as a customer greeter in casinos.
RV Show Vending – There is an entire subculture in the RV world of vendors who work RV shows and rallies nationwide. Some are entrepreneurs who sell products they carry or that they create, while others are paid a salary or commission to work the RV circuit for companies selling all sorts of products. Some vendors also work dog shows, horse shows, gun shows, and other events.
Driving Tour Bus – From Alaska to the Grand Canyon to Florida, tourist areas provide many employment opportunities for RVers. Driving tour buses, ranging in size from extended length vans to full sized coaches, is a good way to make money while spending time in places where tourists pay big bucks to visit.
Fish Cannery – This is hard, dirty, smelly, physically demanding work, but one fulltime RVer we know spends a full summer in Alaska working long hours at a fish cannery, and he tells us he makes enough in a season to pay for two years of fulltime RV travel.
Working The NASCAR Circuit – Every race car driver, from the superstars to the new guy in the pits, has somebody selling souvenirs with their names and car numbers on them. We’ve met a couple of RVers who tow a vending trailer behind their motorhomes and follow the circuit selling souvenirs to racing fans.
Selling Christmas Trees – This is obviously a seasonal job and is hard physical work, but we have known many RVers who sell Christmas trees on lots across the country and several have told us that they have made $8,000 or more in less than a month. Many times the same companies who hire RVers to sell Christmas trees hire them to sell fireworks for the Fourth of July and Halloween pumpkins on the same lots. One couple we know made about $7,000 in two weeks selling fireworks this past summer.
Horse Wrangler – I make it a point never to ride anything you can’t put gasoline in, but if you are an equestrian fan and are comfortable in a saddle, you may find work as a horse wrangler, leading trail rides at one of the many dude ranches in the Southwest. The pay usually isn’t top dollar, but tips can be good and if you love horses, it’s your chance to get paid for playing cowboy (or cowgirl).
Gas Line Survey – For several years now here has been an ongoing thread on the Escapees working on the road forum about working as a gas line surveyor and the RVers we have talked to who have done this work all say that it’s a great way to make good money and get a lot of exercise in the process.
What are some of the ways you have earned money on the road?
Stay tuned for an upcoming blog on ways you can make money with your computer as you travel.
So far over 200 people have already entered our latest Free Drawing, and that doesn’t surprise me. This week’s prize is a set of three books by Master Certified RV service technician Dale Lee Sumner that are excellent introductions to RV 12 volt electrical systems, 120 volt RV electrical systems, and RV appliances. While these books won’t make you a qualified RV tech, they will show you the basics of how your rig’s systems operate, how to get the most out of them, and give you some basic maintenance tips. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.
Thought For The Day – Strong people don’t put others down, they lift them up.