By Cheri Sicard
IMPORTANT UPDATE 1-23-2023
Apparently Amazon has put this program on an indefinite hold. Reader Joe Wilk of HappyKayakers.com wrote with news of the latest email he got from Amazon which stated that they were reviewing the program to determine if it was still needed.
The video below is a CNBC story on how Amazon’s CamperForce is changing the ways companies handle seasonal staffing shortages while giving RVers an opportunity for well-paying temporary work.
In it, they profile an RVing couple who work for Amazon each year from December through February as temporary workers that fill seasonal needs. This couple has been working for Amazon seasonally for the past three years. The job allows them to make a decent amount of money in a short amount of time. The rest of the year they travel in their RV and work at minimum-wage jobs.
The work is hard but the couple is thankful for the opportunity which gives their family both income and freedom.
The Amazon CamperForce has been growing each year since its inception and other retailers are launching their own similar workamper programs.
But for all the pros, the benefits Amazon offers these temporary workers have been scaled back. For instance, they used to arrange for and pay for campgrounds. That is now on the workers.
The video provides a great overview of what the program is and how it works. It’s well balanced with interviews with former employees and labor experts, in addition to current workers who love the opportunity Amazon offers them each year.
Amazon starts its recruiting process in July of each year. They also set up booths at popular RV shows like the annual gathering in Quartzsite, AZ.
What are the qualifications to join Amazon’s CamperForce?
- You must be at least 18 years old.
- You must have a high school diploma or equivalent.
- You must be able to lift up to 49 pounds.
- You must be able to stand or walk for 4 to 10 hours a day.
- You must reside in an RV at a campground for the full duration of the assignment; there is no parking on Amazon property.
Applicants can choose the location of their work. In 2021, Amazon offered 26 CamperForce sites in 14 states. That number has been growing each year.
How much does Amazon’s CamperForce pay?
According to the video (and this is from 2021), starting salary was $18 an hour, plus $120 a week towards campground expenses, plus up to a $3,000 signing bonus.
Additionally, there is up to $3.00 an hour extra for overtime. And if you complete the entire 3-month assignment, there is an additional bonus of $0.50 an hour for every regular hour worked and $1.00 extra per hour for every overtime hour worked.
At least that is what Amazon says. The couple profiled started with a lesser base salary of $15 an hour. In recent years, Amazon slashed benefits to the point where it may or may not be worth it for long-time CamperForce employees to return. Although most do. The video shares details.
Whether or not you personally are looking for seasonal employment, the report is a fascinating peek at a subculture a lot of the population doesn’t realize even exists.