Campground Pay Rates: Competing with High School Kids for Campground Jobs

Campground pay rates, for jobs requiring limited skills, are often low. Campground owners base pay on the job requirements and on who is willing to do the job, not on your qualifications. If the work requires the skills of a teenage high school dropout, minimum wage is about all you can expect.

Campground Pay Rates Commensurate with Job Duties

Campgrounds are businesses. It's reasonable to expect the campground owner to want to make a profit. Part of that is hiring the right people to do the jobs they need to have done. As with any business, some positions require more skills and abilities than others. And, likewise, some positions pay more than others. If the campground is looking for someone to perform minimal work or low skilled duties, the pay is likely to be minimal. Your advanced college degree, years of management experience, and decades of life skills may not make you anymore valuable to the campground than a local teenager. That is, unless you can -- and do -- explain why you are better for the particular campground job.

As one campground owner so tersely put it, "Why should I pay a work camper couple an hourly wage; give them an RV site that I could otherwise rent out; and absorb the costs of the utilities they use when I can get a sixteen year old from town to do just as good a job, and I only have to pay them the minimum hourly wage?"

She has a point.

The caveat, though, is two-fold. Are there really teenage kids willing to work for minimum wage these days? Fast food places that I've seen advertising for help are starting their inexperienced workers out at above minimum wage. And, does a teenage kid really do as good a job as an adult who lives on the premises, uses the facilities, and interacts with the other guests who use them?

If you want that campground job with site and hourly pay, it's your responsibility as a job hunter to answer her question: Why should she pay you more?

Your initial interview and/or cover letter should let her know immediately how your advanced education or experience can work for her. You need to let her know what benefits she'll get from hiring you that she wouldn't get from the other guy -- whether a teenage kid or another RVer.

Still, some campground owners may only want or need -- or be able to afford -- staff to do the very basic tasks. So, again, the campground pay rates come down to this: What is required for the job?

The reality of it may simply be that you are competing with high school age kids. They're available for summer jobs. They're likely to be available for weekends and holidays. A campground job where they can come in and clean bathrooms for an hour or two in the evening may fit perfectly into their schedules. They'll work for minimum wage, without the added perks of an RV site and utilities. If they don't already have the skills for the job, they can learn them.

Campground owners may prefer more mature workers. But, if the job doesn't require your wisdom and experience, they may not be willing to pay for it. Supply and demand influence campground pay rates. For the campground owner quoted in this article, the supply of high school kids looking for part-time jobs is adequate to keep her from offering more than minimum wage to RV workers.

Read more about working at campgrounds.

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