Questions to ask during workamper interview

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terrycarhart

Member
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Apr 8, 2017
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14
Location
Highlands Ranch, CO
Hi All,
My wife and I are going to try this as a test run to see if we like it. We found a position at a day use only site and therefore the responsibilities are pretty basic and straightforward, just what we want for our first try.
I've been trying to cover all aspects but concerned I'm missing some major points.
Wondering if anyone has a list of questions or topics to cover during the interview? It would be great to compare to mine to see if I'm on track.

Much Thanks,
Terry and Linda
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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At our Silver Springs FL home
Basically you want to learn what your specific duties are, the hours of work, and the remuneration (pay or in-kind). If it's a job for a couple, make sure you understand whether you both work together or have separate hours. And whether the pay is per person or as a couple. A "free" site in exchange for two people each working 20 hours is not a real great deal.  Depending on the answers to those questions, there may be more.

Another big one is "what am I supposed to do if there is a problem". e.g. unruly guests, medical emergency, etc. Either during your work shift or after hours.
 

donn

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Nov 8, 2009
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While Gary thinks 20 hours each for a couple is not a great deal, we on the other hand see it as a good deal.  In exchange for a beautiful site, use of the facilities all for 40 hours!  Yea, it might work out to $3.00 an hour, but who works hard?  Almost no one.  Our experience is they ask for 20 hours each per week, but only ask you to do what you can, and are willing to do.  Do you like landscaping?  Great, go do it.  Dont want to clean rest rooms?  Thats fine, the rangers do it.  Personally I am more customer service oriented, so will do what ever is necessary to ensure the guests get a clean, well maintained park that looks like they were the first guest of the season.
As for what to ask?  Get from them what is asked of you. In our enxerience with day use parks, you open and close the gate, mow grass, pick up trash, empty garbage cans, check and restock restrooms.  If their really bad and the ranger is not scheduled for a couple of days, Im not afraid to clean them.  But again thats just me doing what is necessary to make for a great visit for the guests.
 

terrycarhart

Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2017
Posts
14
Location
Highlands Ranch, CO
Thanks Donn and Gary. Great info and good points. I think I'm more of the temperament of Donn, do what it takes since this is kinda of "our" park for the next 6 months. Money isn't the object but of course you don't want to feel put upon also and I have heard some horror stories!
Now all we have to do is find the right deal on the RV we need!!!
 

donn

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Terry,
You do have to understand that our experiences are all volunteer positions with the State park system, and are only for 30 days at a time.  There are rangers that I would not work for again, and others that we will go far out of way to help.  I have helped them snake out clogged sewers, cleaned poo from bathrooms, raked sites, cleaned fire pits, bundled fire wood, scrounged logs to block people driving where there not suppose to, well you get the idea?  6 months sounds like your looking at a paid position?  These will certainally have other duties, some of which you may not want to do.  Honestly I think for a first time I would be looking at only a 30 day commitment.  At least if you hate it, your noy stuck in a long term contract. And believe me, paid positions will have a contract.
You dont have an RV yet?  Your kind of waiting for the last minute for this year.  Most of the plum spots are already booked, so you might be getting yourselves into a place that is simply horrible and your stuck.
Bottom line, the key is Have FUN.
 

RobinsBill

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Oct 31, 2012
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Oregon
We are currently volunteer Camp Hosting at one of our favorite Oregon State Parks  :D
The Willamette Valley had a very long wet winter! We both have been putting in 12 hrs a day 3 to 4 days a week with spring clean up.  The only "requirement" of duties is to be available for wood and ice sales, and to clean the camping cabins when guests check out (there are 6 and each one takes just a few minutes).  So obviously we choose to do a lot more.
I agree that starting out as a volunteer will help you figure out which questions to ask for yourself (everyone is different).  The State Parks seem to be really good at working with what you want to offer.  And it has also been our experience that paid workamping and site in exchange for work are all over the place.  The most important question IMHO, would be to have work hours to be in writing. And duties in writing.
Good luck!
 

KODIAKHERSHEY

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Aug 27, 2016
Posts
58
We have limited experience, but, forgot to ask about sewer...Not fun without it. Some do not care about it. I do.

Other things may be important to you. think it thru.
Best wishes, Have fun.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Thanks Donn and Gary. Great info and good points. I think I'm more of the temperament of Donn, do what it takes since this is kinda of "our" park for the next 6 months. Money isn't the object but of course you don't want to feel put upon also and I have heard some horror stories!

The real point here was/is to understand what is expected of you. Only you can decide if it is acceptable or not. I've worked with more than a few couples who expected to do only what they felt like, or thought they were just going to be congenial greeters. They were quite shocked and very put out to find the owner/manager assigned them specific duties and hours of labor. Two of those couples quit after a few weeks.  None of the places expected what I thought was onerous work, and in most cases the owner shared in whatever tasks needed to be done.

I recall one lady who objected to taking her turn at shifts in the office, saying she didn't like dealing with the public and didn't want to be indoors. The manager said OK, you can do outside tasks instead. But she didn't want to mow lawns or clean fire pits either. The park was an upscale place with lovely flower beds and she said she liked gardening, but it turned out her idea of gardening was cutting flowers for a bouquet. She didn't want to get dirty with any actual flower bed maintenance. Her husband was a willing worker, so the manager offered to let them pay for half the site rental (at the monthly discount rate) so she would not have to work at all. They left instead.  Note: This park paid minimum wage for hours worked in addition to the free site.

I personally think that 40 hours of actual labor for the use of a $30/night campsite is a poor deal. If there is other work near by, you could get a part time job and work 25 hours @ local minimum wage to pay for that site and have more time to enjoy it. But that  assumes the labor is more-or-less equivalent effort.  You might consider that 25 hours packing grocery bags is better duty than 40 hours cleaning bathrooms (or whatever).  Much depends on YOUR perspective.

The sites assigned to workampers aren't necessarily prime ones either, so ask about the site location, size, and facilities. Again, the idea is to avoid surprises, not necessarily to insist on primo treatment.

There is typically a substantial difference in expectations between barter-only arrangements ("free" site only) and those that offer some hourly pay.
 

Danny B.

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Apr 12, 2014
Posts
4
I have a question for you regarding something that happened to you prior to your purchase of your RV. I was reading the one about the voltage story you told, what was the outcome? Voltage pegged at 18.
 

Back2PA

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Gary RV_Wizard said:
A "free" site in exchange for two people each working 20 hours is not a real great deal. 


Depending upon the retail value of the site in question I agree with Gary. 40 man hours (a couple each working 20) might be an OK deal in exchange for a nice site in the Florida Keys, but it's not if you're talking about a rural campground in PA that has $2000/yr seasonal rates. I run the math when considering a job, it's it's not at least in the ballpark of minimum wage I don't apply as I consider that abuse of the system by the employer. I for one am not working for $3/hr but maybe that's just me. Also, I try to avoid arrangements with less than unlimited electricity. If you're already paying less than minimum wage, I'm not further subsidizing the operation by paying for utilities.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I have a question for you regarding something that happened to you prior to your purchase of your RV. I was reading the one about the voltage story you told, what was the outcome? Voltage pegged at 18.
Danny: Who is this question for and what is it you want to know?  It doesn't seem to have any relationship to this topic (workkamping).  I suggest you start a new topic and request whatever info you are interested in.
 

Danny B.

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Apr 12, 2014
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Sorry still new to this site.  The question was for RobinsBill, they had an issue back in 2013 i believe with the RV they were about to purchase in Klamath falls Oregon,  i wanted to know the outcome with the pegging of the voltmeter, I am having the same issue. I turn the key to the on position to let the CAT do it startup sequence,  Volt meter pegged out at 18. Now fuel gauge is pegged past full and the speedometer does not go left to right when i turn on the key. I installed all new batteries, checked the alternator it reads above 12. Any help would be appreciated.
 

Rene T

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Danny B. said:
Sorry still new to this site.  The question was for RobinsBill, they had an issue back in 2013 i believe with the RV they were about to purchase in Klamath falls Oregon,  i wanted to know the outcome with the pegging of the voltmeter, I am having the same issue.

Danny. The OP hasn't been back since February of 2019. They are full timers so they may not be able to respond depending on where they are. You may want to try and send them a PM. Just click on the small square under their avatar. Good luck.
 

donn

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Nov 8, 2009
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4,346
Have hosted day use sites.  Our duties, open the gate at 7, close it at 9.  Pick up trash. Answer questione, make sure no unrulely people, mow the grass, check the bathrooms.  They may ask 20 hours, but I always put in way more if it was necessary.  Some places we hosted I worked from 8 till nearly dark.  Never asked to do more than I was willing to do.
Where, or what state are you hosting?
 
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