Want to be a Camp Host? Campground Host Q&A!

If you’re looking to make a little money while enjoying the camping vibe, camp hosting can be an fulfilling and fun experience. However, there are campground hosts who have had their exciting workkamping adventure turn into a miserable and bitter experience. Having been a camp host, we’ll show you what to expect.

While waiting for our home to sell so we could go travel in our RV in 2014, I needed a way to pay for our campsite at a popular Kentucky State Park campground. I did my research and decided camphosting would be a great opportunity to dip our toes and test the waters of RV camping.

I scored a Camp Host job at Taylorsville Lake State Park. My new campground host job was supposed to be for the Spring and Summer with understanding when our home sell, we’d leave in a respectful time. The best part of this camp host position was it’s only 5 miles from our home. So, I could commute easily if I needed to prepare our home for a showing.

At the time of my interview, I asked what my duties were to entail. The Campground manager was clear in spelling out my responsibilities and the written contract was clear; 25 hours a week, checking campers in and out, ice and firewood sales, cleaning out fire pits, and bath house cleaning. I was also told that they were going to be hiring another Camp Host to share the workload. However, needless to say, I lasted about 2 months. And it was nothing I did wrong to break my contract.

Let’s just say, I could have written a book regarding the experiences and things I learned camp hosting. That said, don’t let my experience deter you from seeking a Camp Host position. Since, I learned a ton of ‘woulda shoulda coulda’ and that’s why I’m presenting you the information I’ve learned.

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Thinking about becoming a Camp Host?

 

What IS a Camp Host?

A Camp Host is the first line Ambassador or representative of a Campground or RV park; providing hospitality and a quality experience for camping visitors. Living on-site, Campground Hosts typically greet guests, help solve tenant issues, provide positive guest relations, encourage camper safety, collect fees, report attendance and revenue, facility cleaning and light maintenance.

Camp Hosts are the persons seen driving golf carts, answering questions, cleaning, and perfecting a camper’s temporary home. Camp Hosts can be hired as a couple or as a solo. And Campground Hosts must live in a fully-contained RV at the campground.

How to get a Camp Host Job?

Camp Hosts

There’s several ways to procure a Camp Host position. A lot of RVers will go through Workamper News; an interactive resource of jobs for RVers. In addition to providing listings of Campground Hosts, they also offer other workamping opportunities such as RV park groundskeeping and maintenance, housekeeping, reservations and office work for campgrounds. 

Another resource is RRM-CLM Services that puts you in touch with Campground prospects.

Other Camp Hosting Opportunity Resources:

Camp Hosting Facebook Group Resources:

What are a Camp Host’s job requirements?

Camp Hosts typically work in several capacities within the campground; from checking in and checking out campers as well as basic care of campground facilities and campsites. Campground Hosts will need to be able to tackle manual labor such as cleaning interior facilities as well as outdoor facilities and campsites.

At some campgrounds or RV parks, your job as Camp Host may entail selling firewood and ice. Or Campground Hosts may be asked to work a few hours in other capacities such as manning the camp store, ice cream shack, boat rentals or other places within the campground. Camp Host job description may also include maintaining a litter-free campground facility, clean fire pits, grills and picnic tables.

As you see, there may be several jobs attached to being a Camp Host. Therefore, it’s important to get the job description defined in detail in the written contract before signing.

What qualifies you to be a Camp Host?

NPS Camp Hosts
Photo courtesy of NPS – National Park Service

Camp hosting is all about hospitality. Campground Hosts are the first all the way to the last person that campers and guests will see throughout their camping stay. From the day campers check in to the day they roll up their welcome mats, pull in the slides and drive away. 

So, if you’re a keep-to-yourself introvert, camp hosting may not be a good fit because you have to be personable and have good strong customer service skills. Because most of your job will be interacting with the campers.

You’ll need to be a self-starter, think-on-your-feet problem solver and possess some leadership skills. In other words, you need to be courteous and display a helpful attitude to not only the campers but also the staff and other Camp Hosts.

To qualify to be a Camp Host, you’ll also need good written communication skills as well as have record keeping experience. As well, campground hosts need to be physically able to lift 20 pounds comfortably. And, camping hosts should be able to move over various terrains and work in all types of weather.

And, the most important requirement of Camp Hosting is you’ll need to work flexible work schedules that include weekends and evenings.

One last note on qualification, campground owners or managers may run a background check on you. So, you will need to provide your social security number and current personal information. They also may require a credit check if you will  be required to handle money.

How do Camp Hosts get paid or compensated?

CampGround- Host Site

How Camp Hosts are compensated is based on individual campgrounds and will be spelled out in your camp hosting contract. Typically, Campgrounds will pay Camp Hosts monetarily OR compensate by providing a campsite.

 

Work for Campsite

If Camp Hosts are compensated for work by being provide a campsite, I urge you to exercise caution if agreeing to this arrangement. A lot of campground owners will take advantage of actually having the Camp Host work more hours for less compensation. In my opinion, don’t fall for this trap.

Let’s explain. Say the campground’s campsite monthly rate is $500 a month. If the campground owner is requiring the Camp Host to work 25 hours a week, that works out to being paid $5.00 an hour. If you were paid monetarily though at the federal minimum wage standards (2021), those same hours worked would earn the Camp Host $725 a month.

While yes, monetary payments are subject to IRS withholdings and state tax, being paid monetarily is a better deal because you’re actually being paid for your worth and your work. That said, this is one of the reasons why elderly RVers who receive social security are Camp Hosts. Because in-kind compensation is not reported therefore, won’t interfere with their social security payments.

That said, if a FHU campsite (and other facility perks) is your compensation, the first thing you need to ask the campground is if in-kind compensation will be subject to IRS reporting? Yes, some campground DO this.

If the Campground Camp Host contract states that they will be reporting any or all compensation to the IRS, you will  be on the hook for paying tax on that campsite just as if you were receiving an equal amount in a paycheck. So, it’s important to get this information into your contract before signing it. And, I highly suggest seeking guidance from your tax consultant.

But, there’s more to the in-kind compensation that I want you to be aware of. And, that is what we military types call, ‘mission creep’. Mission creep is the gradual broadening of the original objectives of a mission or job.” While the campground already has you on the hook for the Camp Host position, they may creep more hours or add jobs than what you originally agreed to. Whereas, if a Camp Host is paid monetarily, the Campground owner must adhere to employee hourly reporting and paying accordingly.

Whichever you decide to agree to, make certain to understand the terms of the contract completely and those compensations are spelled out directly; including campsite, utilities, facility usage or other campground amenities. 

Recommended reading: 5 Tax Tips When Workamping or Camp Hosting by the Tax Queen (also an RVer)

Camp Host - Compensation Getting Paid Money

Monetary Compensation

Some campgrounds may compensate your work in form of monetary payment. If you’re hired on as an employee (being paid monetarily), you’ll be required to fill out tax documents such as a W-4 and state tax withholding of the state the Camp Host position is located. This gives your employer permission to take out required taxes from your paycheck.

However, if the campground hires you as a contractor, taxes on your earnings will be your responsibility. You’ll be required to furnish your social security number on a W-9 IRS form.

Make certain your camp hosting contract specifically states form of payment  and required hours to be worked; either as a couple or as a solo workamper.

Worth noting, according to ZipRecruiter’s “What Is the Average Camp Host Salary by State”, 2021 monetary compensation ranges from minimum wage upwards to $13 an hour, depending on the type of job and location (state). And, each state usually imposes its own minimum wage. That alone should be a Camp Host candidate’s decision maker. 

Now, one last thing when negotiating Camp Host compensation. IF you are a returning Camp Host (with tenure) or a Camp Host with many years of reputable experience, it’s not out of the question to request a campsite compensation in addition to monetary compensation.

Who does the Camp Host work for?

During your interview, you should meet the Campground owner and manager. Small(er) private campgrounds will typically one in the same. As well as them asking you questions, you should be given the same respect to your own inquiries. Campground Managers are Camp Host’s supervisors and should be treated with respect because they will essentially, be the boss.

Realize, like any type of employment or job, sometimes personalities, professionalism and level of respect may impact a Camp Host’s job performance as well as keeping a good working relationship. It’s important to remain professional at all times; even off hours. If you have issues that need rectifying, they should be dealt professionally only with the campground owner and/or manager.

Do Camp Hosts deal with unruly campers?

Sometimes, Camp Hosts may have to intercede with campers not adhering to the campground rules. Campground hosts will need to be able to listen to, assess and reason the situation from all sides; not just from the complainant. With backing support from the campground owner or manager, part of the Camp Hosts job is to try to keep harmony within the campground without over-stepping boundaries.

That said, if a Camp Host position is for a National Park, Corps of Engineers Park or State Park, any camper violating issues may be dealt through the Ranger who has a law enforcement background. Again, it’s important to know up front what the Camp Host responsibility entails when it comes to mediation and altercations. NO Camp Host should be put into a position of potential harm or injury.

Is there a bonus if I complete my entire Camp Host term?

Some campground owners may offer a bonus if a Camp Host completes the specified term of hosting. It’s important to get this term written into your contract so there is no question at the end of your term. 

Waterfront Campground

Questions to ask prior to signing your Camp Host contract

During your Camp Hosting interview, whether it be through an internet questionnaire, web-based conference or an in-person interview, you should be provided time to ask questions or state concerns. Based on my experience, those seeking Camp Host positions should ask these questions if they haven’t already been addressed in the interview:

    1. Camp Host start and end date(s)
    2. How many hours or work per week or month
    3. What is the form of compensation (campsite vs. monetary)
    4. Will there be a regularly posted work schedule?
    5. How many other Camp Hosts will be working?
    6. Are Camp Hosts permitted to leave the campground on days off?
    7. What happens if I need to leave for a medical or family emergency
    8. Is there a bonus if I complete my entire Camp Host term?
    9. May I take time to review the written contract before signing?

What are your rights as a Camp Host

Your rights as a Camp Host are to be treated the same as any employment agreement. Camp Hosts will not be discriminated against (age, race, religion, gender, marital status, etc.). Lastly, Campground Hosts should never be put into any unsafe situations that could pose personal injury to yourself or others.

Interested in Camp Hosting at a National Park? We recommend reading RV Life’s How to get a National Park Camp Host Job.

Final Thoughts on Camp Hosting

We hope this compilation answers a lot of your questions regarding Camp Hosting and what you should expect as a Camp Host. This type of position can be rewarding and a wonderful memory. But, the big take away here is to ask as many questions possible and make certain to get everything into a written agreement or contract.

Also, join a couple social media Facebook pages designed for Camp Hosts and Campground Managers to get insight and information on upcoming Campground Host positions. We hope this information will help you find the perfect Camp Host position that fits within your expectations. So, do you think you have what it takes to be a great Camp Host?

Watch our video of to see if WE ever Camp Host again:

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