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Workamping: Seasonal Opportunities

Workamping: Seasonal Opportunities

*Kelly Barnett (2PSNAPOD) is a contributor to HeartlandRV's blog. All opinions expressed are her own.*

I've shared our experiences working as Gate Guards in the south Texas oil fields as well as workamping in campgrounds in previous posts, but there are other ways to make money while living and traveling in your RV.

I've asked several of our friends who have worked other gigs to share their experiences. Keep in mind, all jobs aren't for everyone but there is something out there for everyone!

In this installment of my workamping series we'll discuss working the Beet Harvest and the peak season at Amazon.

Amazon Camperforce – Jessica &
Harry

Jessica and Harry are owners of a 2011 Heartland Landmark Rushmore fifth wheel and have been full time RVers since December 2012. They have worked at Amazon during the peak season since 2013. They were kind enough to take time out of the summer escapade with their grandson to answer my questions.

Location

Harry and Jessica worked at the Campbellsville, Kentucky, facility (Although there are several other locations that sometimes use campers in TN, TX, IN and NV…those tend to change)

How long have you been doing (or did) this type of work:

Jessica said, "The first year that Harry and I worked at Amazon for the peak season was fall of 2013, and we worked four seasons in all. All of our experience was at the Campbellsville fulfillment center, except for one month we spent in Jeffersonville, IN."

What kind of commitment is required:

According to Jessica, "Depending on the facility, and business needs, a person can start as early as sometime in August, or as late as November."During the application process, you provide the date you are available to begin working and Amazon will attempt to start you as close to that date as possible.Campers need to commit to staying until the December 23rd release date.

Pay:

Although pay can vary by facility it is generally around $10.50 to $11.00 per hour. If a camper completes a peak season and stays until the release date there is a $1.00 per hour for every hour worked bonus.

Hours:

The hours depend on the shift you are given. The base shift is 4 ten-hour days. It can be any variety of days throughout the week. During the height of peak season, there can be 50-hour weeks or even 60-hour weeks. For campers though, the 6th day is optional.

RV site:

Jessica explained that, "Amazon provides a list of approved campgrounds, and the camper chooses the campground where they want to stay. Your site and electric are paid for from two days before you start work to two days after your release date."

Describe the work:

There are a variety of jobs that one might work at Amazon. You might work in the Inbound area or the Outbound area. No matter the area, all jobs will require you to stand on your feet for ten hours. Each facility utilizes their Camperforce in different ways so not all positions will be available in every facility.

Over the years, Jessica and Harry have worked in several different areas. They find 'Stowing' to be one of the jobs with least intensity. In this job they took the product off of a cart or out of a box and found a place to 'stow' it in the bins. Not much walking or heavy lifting involved but quite a bit of bending is needed.

Picking was the job that Harry and Jessica did the most and which they enjoyed. Once again, not much heavy lifting was involved but a LOT of walking is required. They regularly walked 14 or 15 miles per shift.

Jessica said, "I was thankful for our good shoes and the fact that we have trained for half marathons. This is my opinion, but I think campers who have problems with picking do so because of the fast increase of mileage when they first start. If you decide to do picking, I would definitely recommend you spend some time each day during the summer before walking to prepare for it, preferably on concrete, and get yourself to the point where you walk at least ten to twelve miles a day. You will thank yourself later!"

Visit  http://www.amazondelivers.jobs/about/camperforce/ for more information on Amazon CamperForce. The 2017 season is already closed, but applications for the 2018 season may be submitted.

Beet Harvest – Roy & Sally

Roy and Sally own a 2011 Elkridge 27RLSS and are pretty much what you'd call 'Anytimers'. They're able to travel anytime they feel like it and work on the road for some additional income.

Location: Drayton, North Dakota

How long have you been doing (or did) this type of work:

Sally and Roy worked the 2014 fall harvest and again in the 2016 season. They have plans to work again this fall (2017).

What kind of commitment is required:

"There is a 15-day commitment or whenever the station completes the harvest. It really depends on the harvest and the weather. It generally runs 2-3 weeks...if all is good and the weather is decent, 2 weeks...if it rains a lot the harvest can run longer...trucks can't get into the fields without getting stuck...or if it gets too cold the beets will freeze...on the other hand if it gets too warm the beets can't be pulled from the fields!"

Pay:

"In 2014, we each made $12.10 an hour. In 2016, we each made $12.86 an hour. We had to start over at beginning pay in 2016 due to the fact that we did not return in 2015...if you continue to go back each year your pay increases."

Hours:

Sally explained, "When the actual harvest begins on October 1...you work a 12 hour shift, with time and a half paid after eight hours. Saturday's are time and a half and Sundays are double time."

There's a bonus program based on your income. The bonus is 5% for new hires, 10% for rehires with the bonus usually being paid out paid at the end of the year around Christmas.

The harvest is a 24 hour operation so you work one year on days and if you return the next year you'll work nights.

RV Site:

"Free with hookups! Our campground was just down the street from where we worked! This was fairly new campground made for the beet harvesters."

Describe the work:

According to Sally, "There are different job positions: Harvest Assistant, Safety Coordinator, Communication Coordinator, Mechanics Helper, Piler Operator, Skidsteer Operator, Helper/Sampler Taker, Scale Personnel."

Both Roy and Sally worked as Helper/Sampler Takers in the 2014 season and Roy also operated the boom on the Piler. In 2016, Roy was a boom operator out on the Piler and Sally worked in the Scale house.

The work is not easy and you must be prepared to work in the elements. Sally told me that, "Working as Helper/Sampler Takers you must be prepared to work outside all 12 hours no matter what the weather...sunshine, rain, snow, and wind! It is dirty work...best to go to a thrift store and obtain some work clothes that can be thrown away after the harvest!

Sally preferred her job in the scale house as it was out of the weather. "Working in the scale house in 2016, the trucks pull through loaded with their beets...they get weighed and I would hand them a ticket showing the weight of the truck and randomly a sample ticket would be given out. Once unloaded they pull back thru the scale and get weighed again. I would hand another ticket over for that weight."

For anyone interested in working the beet harvest, contact:

Express Employment Professionals
3590 S. 42nd St.
Grand Forks, ND 58201

And tell them Sally and Roy sent ya...they'll receive a referral bonus.

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