Working Camper Barter Rates

- a Workers On Wheels RVer writes....
(Figuring the Hourly Rate and Making Changes)

Working camper barter rates come up again. This time, my answer favors the campground, even though I personally believe 20-some hours a week to work for a site is too many. My answer also provides simple solutions for getting changes made and offers a work around until those changes come to be.

An RVer writes...

I am currently working as a workamper in California. The owners here charge us 100 hours a month for our site, then pay is $10.00 an hour after that (minimum wage).

I was wondering how in the world they get by with charging workampers $1000.00 a month for our site and how they expect anyone to make a living. We work 40 hours a week, so after all is said and done, really aren't getting paid what we should.

Am I insane or is this just absolutely crazy or what? And if so, what can we do to stop this? I'm just puzzled and need some direction.

Coleen the working while RVing editor replies...

The answer to your question of how they get by charging what they do for a site is simply that there are RVers willing to pay it. Campground owners are business people and the purpose of a business is to make money.

It all comes down to supply and demand. As long as you and other RVers are willing to work 15, 20, even more hours a week for a site, you can't blame the park owners for welcoming you to do so.

What to do about it if you don't like it? I don't mean this sarcastically, but, find another place to work. And, don't patronize those campgrounds that charge more than you think is reasonable. Let your friends know. As more and more RVers refuse to pay excessive hours for a site on barter deals -- and when lots of RVers stop going to those campgrounds as customers -- then things will change.

If the barter offer isn't acceptable to you, ask for the hourly wage for all hours worked and then pay the regular rate for your site. I don't see any reason a campground owner would object to that -- unless he was trying to take unfair advantage of you.

Actually, I checked the website for the campground where you said you were working. It lists the campground rate as $59 per night, with the fourth night free. At that rate, on a 30-day month, the cost comes to $1357 a month. (They don't provide a monthly rate.) So, actually, if they are only charging you $1000 a month, you are getting a deal! Put another way, they are paying you $13.57 an hour for those first 100 hours.

Comments for Working Camper Barter Rates

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Barter Rates for Site

Most campgrounds we have worked are at 24 hours a week for site, 12 for each worker in a couple.

We did work in one in Pennsylvania for which the site was free and we were paid for all hours worked. The owner left you alone to do your work and was a very nice person.

We have been workcampers for 10 years and have seen a lot.

Barter for Campsite

Colleen, you are exactly right. We determined long ago that we would calculate the hourly rate times the # of hours required, which would equal X amount.

We would then determine the monthly rate for the park. . .sometimes it's better just to work outside the RV park, and pay for a space.

Until WK's stop signing up for these extortion deals , they will continue. . .however, that is where some people want to be, so they will continue to accept the terms.

Great question, and answer. . .would love to know the actual monthly rate for the park in question.


Workamper Barter Rates

Prospective workers should do their due dilingence, just as they would applying for a "regular" job. Compare going rates for the position and negotiate accordingly.

If the employer offers such great benefits that you'd take a pay cut to work there don't be surprised when he does exactly that.

You should always know what the $$ value of the offered benefits are - even more so as a workamper when you are trading parking and other benefits for your time.

ALL of your time is valuable - but only you can decide HOW valuable, just as the employer must decide how valuable his benefits are in comparison to the position he needs filled. Then, it is a matter of negotiation and agreement - when you can make it a win-win situation neither side feels they are being taken advantage of.

Get your agreement in writing before you travel cross-country on a verbal discussion. Saves lots of misunderstandings later on.

Low Pay?

I have worked as the park manager for this park for over 8 years. The park has 16 spaces, and is not full all the time right now. I handle the "whole ball of wax" except for maint., groundskeeping, and housekeeping.

The park charges $325 per month, and I have to pay $150 for my space. I work full time outside of the park, and am manager, for close to 40 hours a week. I handle all the reservations, money, deposits, and other park security issues.

When I have asked the owner about the $150 per month charge I pay, they or he feels it is fair. I don't however, after reading the posts here!

How do I get him to change his mind on this? Also, the owner feels like if he has an empty space, he's losing money. Right now, I don't own a tow vehicle, but if I did, I would definitely be looking for a different park. Any help?

Coleen, the RVing editor replies:

The campground owner IS losing money on every empty space. He is correct about that. As manager of the park, one way you may persuade him to pay you more is if you increase business to the park. That could be through higher camper satisfaction so they return more often or better promotions. Show the owner what you are doing to help the campground make more money.

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