CamperForce Earnings 2013

camperforce-earnings-20131The numbers are in! Here’s how my CamperForce earnings stacked up this year. As many of you know, Amazon is one of the best paying RVer friendly jobs out there. But is worth the hard physical work, repetitive nature of the job, and long hours? I’ll give my numbers and you can be the judge.

This season, I started at Coffeyville on October 24th and my last shift ended December 23rd, that’s three weeks less than I did last year for those who are keeping track. I worked four 50 hour weeks, three 40 hour weeks, one 10 hour week (my last day), one 20 hour week (my first week, mandatory work hardening for campers means your first week is always four 5 hour days and no overtime options), and one 9 hour week (2 orientation days before my first week).

At the Coffeyville site, base pay is $10.50 an hour, but after my orientation days I made $11.00 an hour since I worked nights. Overtime is time and a half on base pay ($15.75). I did sign up for all the overtime I could get, it was canceled on two nights so I worked a total of four overtime shifts.

Without further ado, the paychecks after all taxes were taken out (I did no withholding and took no tax credits). These are in order from first to last.

  1. 271.78 (29 hours)
  2. 803.84 (90 hours total, 10 overtime)
  3. 803.58 (90 hours total, 10 overtime)
  4. 803.59 (90 hours total, 10 overtime)
  5. 827.80 (60 hours total, 10 overtime + $1 bonus for every hour worked (359 hours)

TOTAL EARNED: $3,510.59

3.5 grand, not bad! Of course that’s not the whole picture. From October 22nd when I arrived to December 25th when I left, I spent a total of $1,570.54 on everything from food, to gas, to Christmas presents, to my Vet Tech license renewal. All of that needs to be deducted to get my total savings.

$1,940.05, so I saved over half of what I made, go me! I believe when I arrived in Coffeyville back in October I mentioned in a post or possibly on the Facebook page that I was planning on saving $1,700 this season based on last year’s figures, so I came out a bit ahead of where I expected to due to the slightly more numerous overtime opportunities this year compared to last year (last year I had one less overtime day).


But that’s still not the whole picture. It cost me $232.73 in gas to get from the Badlands to Coffeyville, but I deduct that from my Badlands earnings since I can’t really spend money I haven’t made yet. But I should deduct the gas money it took to get from Coffeyville, KS down to Texas, across to South Carolina to visit friends, and finally down to Melrose, FL for my next gig, which totaled $309.14 (yay cheaper gas prices!).

So, you could say I netted $1,630.91 on my two month Amazon stint this year. But what does that number mean without anything to compare it to? I managed to save about one grand in almost six months at the Badlands, so it’s clear to see which is the winner money-wise. To me, Amazon’s CamperForce is definitely worth the longer days, harder work, and less enticing locale if you need to supplement your travel fund by working. I know I have several readers who worked at Amazon this season, what did you think of your experience? And to the CamperForce curious, if you have questions about the program feel free to ask.

* * *

More pictures from the OSBS, where the weather has warmed up to something quite pleasant (at least, as far as a northerner like I am concerned), and I am continuing to enjoy my first volunteer experience. I had 23 deer sightings yesterday, a new record. On Wednesday I assisted with taking pictures at various locations on the station for my volunteer hours, can it get much better than that? And yesterday I heard back from the ren fair I’d auditioned for, Julie and I have the part! Which means after this gig gets over I’ll be heading up to the Atlanta area for nine weeks to do that, cue another rush of furious planning as I figure out how it’s all going to work, not that I mind the planning when it’s for something this awesome.

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At IO I teach people how to ditch the status quo and travel full-time before retirement, and share stories of my adventures (and misadventures) to inspire future nomads and armchair travelers alike. Included at no additional charge: seizing your dreams, living boldly, and making a difference.


  1. RamblinRose on January 20, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    Congratulations on your auditioned!! Can’t wait to see those photos 🙂

    • Becky on January 21, 2014 at 9:35 pm

      Thank you Rose, and welcome to IO.

      I need to get an outfit (or two) together before I can even think of photos! There’s work to be done. 🙂

  2. Dawn on January 20, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    Congratulations on the Ren job! You’re going to have a blast! Interesting numbers from your stint at Amazon. I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to do that work so I guess I best keep my day job!

    • Becky on January 21, 2014 at 9:34 pm

      Thank you Dawn.

  3. travelfables on January 19, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    Yay! Snoopy Dance at your audition results! As an old school Georgia / former SCA / theatre fella / history & fun lover I tend to drop by that fest now and then. I might be a number you get to entertain, if I don’t RUNNOFT again in the Air-stream Im fixing up (an upgrade for me- funny when upgrades are even older than your last rig.): Again many congrats on the part.

    • Becky on January 20, 2014 at 11:21 am

      Thank you Travel, if you do happen to visit GA fest this year please do stop by!

  4. Pleinguy on January 18, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    Nice report on Amazon. My back would never last though. Grats on the RenFaire, hope you enjoy it. Take care.
    Pleinguy recently posted..Desert PlantsMy Profile

    • Becky on January 19, 2014 at 10:28 am

      Thank you Plein. And yeah, there’s a lot of bending, stooping, and reaching in the jobs I’ve done so far. Something like packing might not have as much bending but you’re still on your feet for 10 hours a day.

  5. Cindy Hampton on January 18, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    Congratulations on the ren fest! Another goal achieved. We enjoy your blog and hope we can meet up with you in Gainesville sometime.

    • Becky on January 19, 2014 at 10:27 am

      Thank you Cindy.

      Sure I’d be interested in meeting up, the best way is to drop me an e-mail and let me know when you’ll be in the area and what times you’re available. Or are you out at Cedar Key? I’m planning to get out there some weekend soon.

  6. Roger in SoCal. on January 18, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    Hi Becky,
    Congrats on getting the gig at the Ren fair!
    Thanks for all this great finance info., these are things I need to know. I am going to apply online for Amazon Camperforce, and will also drop in on the booth they will have when I go to the RV show in Quartzite this coming week.


    • Becky on January 19, 2014 at 10:20 am

      Glad to help Roger. Say hello for me to Pamela when you get to the booth at Quartzsite, she’s the manager of the CamperForce program and will be there.

  7. Ian B on January 18, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Hello, your travel reports are very interesting and useful. What type of MPG do you get with your rig on the long trips? I travel a lot in a camper van and wonder how the two would compare.

    • Becky on January 19, 2014 at 10:19 am

      4.7L V8 ’01 Dodge Dakota, it get’s 15 mpg towing on flat ground at highways speeds with no headwind, the trailer is somewhere between 3,500 and 4,000 lbs. A newer truck or a V6 would be getting better mpg and is capable of towing a Casita, but I’d rather have more power than I need for getting up and down big hills, a preference thing.

  8. David Michael on January 18, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Great job over at Amazon. I was fortunate that my wife elected to work with me at Amazon in Fernley. You’re right. Long hours, repetitive work, and hard physical labor. But…who’s complaining! We made about $12,000 together (12 weeks) with all of the mandatory overtime and bonus thrown in. In addition, by not moving and having the RV park paid for, we were able to save about half of our social security income. In hindsight, it was a worthwhile experience. Enjoyed my coworkers and we had excellent management in our ICQA department. They were very supportive of the senior workampers. Hated getting up at 4 AM in the freezing temps and driving on snow or ice coverered roads. But no problems except my wife had carpal tunnel for weeks from the work in Prepping.

    In your recommendations for Amazon, don’t forget to mention your name as the reference for potential workers next year. My friend Jimbo earned an extra $250 by referring several people (5) to Amazon and received $50 for each one .

    My wife has decided she will not work at Amazon again. At age 75, she is entitled to spend extra time with the kids and grandkids or just kick back. As for me (age 77), I hold the question open. I keep saying, shoot me if I consider it, but not sure how I’ll feel by next October.

    Congratulations on your gig at the Ren Fair. Fun!!! You’re creating a nice balance of work and play in different sections of the USA. Go Becky!
    David Michael recently posted..Eastern Sierra NevadaMy Profile

    • Becky on January 19, 2014 at 10:16 am

      Thank you for the Fernley info, from talking to people it sounds like Fernley regularly has more overtime compared to the other two sites. So it’s harder to do, but you make more money. I’m definitely not a up at 4 am person to get ready for work, I like the night shift.

      One person gave my name this season so I made $50 extra on my first check. Guess I should have put that in my financials, haha. Oh well.

      And yes, the first half of this year is going to be less work and more fun, I’ve waited so long to be able to work at a ren fair.

  9. Evelyn B on January 18, 2014 at 8:10 am

    Congratulations on getting the fair parts. Amazon works well for us too. We chose not to work any overtime this year, but still made almost the same amount of money as last year. Last year we were pickers for the whole time we were there and they kept sending us home early before Thanksgiving, so the pay equaled out. We will be going back next year for our 4th year. Our biggest frustration this year was stowing into bins that were already stuffed full.

    • Becky on January 19, 2014 at 10:11 am

      Thanks for sharing Evelyn, and you aren’t the only one at Coffeyville who had that complaint. I guess that’s what happens when you bring 3 times the normal amount of product in for the holiday season. I personally liked ICQA and stowing about the same, but from what everyone was saying I probably would have been more frustrated in stowing this year. And yeah, the first week being only 20 hours threw me off because last year I didn’t have to do work hardening, it’s a good thing I got more overtime this year or I wouldn’t have met my goal. Take care and perhaps see you next fall, I might be at a different site next year.

  10. Ken Howitt on January 18, 2014 at 8:08 am

    Excelent financial info, truley inspiring.
    Congrats on the Atlanta gig it sounds like fun.

    • Becky on January 19, 2014 at 10:08 am

      You’re welcome Ken and thanks.

  11. MarciaGB on January 18, 2014 at 8:04 am

    Thanks for sharing your financial info. That’s awesome news about the ren fair! Should be lots of fun. Meanwhile, enjoy your time in FL.

    • Becky on January 19, 2014 at 10:08 am

      Thank you Marcia. I’m definitely looking forward to it. It being both Florida and fair.

  12. Mike LeBlanc on January 18, 2014 at 7:41 am

    Becky, does Amazon give you a 1099 for the RV site?

    • Becky on January 19, 2014 at 10:07 am

      Nope they do not.

  13. Mike LeBlanc on January 18, 2014 at 7:24 am

    CONGRATULATIONS on the ren faire position and especially thank you for the update on Amazon. May 2014 continue to go forward as you want!

    • Becky on January 19, 2014 at 10:07 am

      Thank you Mike! Hope you have a good 2104 as well.

  14. Wil on January 18, 2014 at 4:14 am

    Very interesting. Seems like a worthwhile stint. A big question – would you do it again?

    Plan on at least two (three is better) complete changes of performing garb due to drying difficulties. From personal experience, it is easier to keep yourself clean with daily sponge bathes than it is to keep clothing clean and smelling presentable. I sure wish they’d had unscented Febreeze back when I was doing Ren Faires.
    Wil recently posted..Oodles of NoodlesMy Profile

    • Becky on January 19, 2014 at 10:06 am

      For that kind of money Wil? Absolutely. At least until I can find some better way to fund my traveling.

      And thanks for the tips. Luckily we’re going to be peasant-y types so clothing won’t be super expensive.

  15. jonthebru on January 17, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    You’re gonna be all fit and tanned! You and your friend are gonna knock ’em dead!

    • Becky on January 19, 2014 at 10:00 am

      More fit? Perhaps. Tan? Not so much. Still not exactly sunbathing weather. 😉

  16. Kim on January 17, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    YAY! Great news – I bet you can’t wait. Good financials too.
    Kim recently posted..Homeward BoundMy Profile

    • Becky on January 19, 2014 at 9:59 am

      Yeah, really looking forward to it. The money from Amazon helps now while I just have the volunteer position. Sounds like you had a good time down in Florida!

  17. Phyllis on January 17, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    So glad you guys got the part! Looking forward to hearing about big city Rving, Atlanta style.

    Phyllis in Oklahoma

    • Becky on January 19, 2014 at 9:55 am

      Thanks Phyllis!