Amazon Camperforce Summary

Working as an Amazon Camperforce employee is certainly an experience. This time was better than in 2015, mostly because last time was such a transitional time. Some say Amazon was the same, it was our expectations that were different. Perhaps there is some truth in that.

We arrived a few days ahead of our October 16 start date and got settled in quickly. We chose, once again, to stay at Heartland RV Park, totally for the convenience of its location. It is not a beautiful location, with wide open spaces and green grass, or a view of a lake out my door, but instead only 1/4 mile from Amazon.  All our neighbors were fellow Amazon Camperforce, so it was always quiet. After working 10 hours, the last thing we wanted was have even a 5 or 6 mile trip home. We did walk sometimes, but some mornings were just too cold, which made it worth taking the car for the (less than) 5 minute commute.

We had the same jobs as our last peak, Bill was a picker, while I packed. He actually liked picking, and didn’t mind walking 10 miles per day on average, which was nice. Overall, I didn’t mind pack, except for the times the boredom got to be too much. But, I got through. Physically, we both did okay. My shoulders and back got sore, but nothing some Advil, heat pack or back rub couldn’t help. I did use KT Tape on my knees every day and they did fine.

So, how did the financials play out?

We worked a total of 10 weeks. There was overtime available to those who wanted it. Amazon breaks it down into to categories, MET or mandatory extra time, and VET, or voluntary extra time. There was several weeks that MET was cancelled, but VET was still available. In those cases, we generally choose to work 5 hours VET, which was a nice compromise.

Financially, we didn’t do as well as we did Peak 2015, even if you take into account we worked 2 less weeks. The main reason is we were on day shift and didn’t earn the $0.75 per hour on straight time and $1.13 on overtime differential. You might think that isn’t a lot, but it actually adds up to quite a bit.

I was paid for a total of 390.93 hours of straight time, and 42.62 hours of overtime. Bill was paid for 398.47 hours straight time and 57.88 hours of overtime.  Straight time pay was $10.75, and overtime $16.13. So, not including the bonus, our total earnings were $8,486.05 straight time and $1,621.07 overtime. Grand total (before bonus): $10,107.12.  This is gross earnings, before taxes have been taken out.
If we were earning differential on those hours, it would have come to an additional $592.05 on straight time and $113.57 on overtime hours, $705.62 more for the season. Differential is paid for split shift (which we signed up for but it wasn’t available for our start date), and night shift. I believe there is also a shift that your regular scheduled days include Saturday and Sunday, that gets paid differential.

Bonuses!

I also received a $500 referral bonus this year, $125 each for referring 4 people.  Didn’t quite make up for not getting the differential, but almost.  It was taxed like regular pay.

Amazon Camperforce pays a bonus for each hour worked when you work until your completion date, which this year for us was December 21, at about 8am. The way they paid your overtime hours bonus this year was different. In 2015, we received a $1 per hour worked, regardless of straight time or overtime. This year, they are paying $1 per hour straight time and $1.50 per hour for each overtime hour worked, so an extra little bump.  Using the numbers above, our total bonus was $940.15, bringing our total gross income, also including the referral bonus, up to $11,547.27. Not too shabby – a fair time/money exchange, as Bill likes to call it. No where what we used to earn in our “previous life,” but especially for Bill – absolutely no stress at all – and that’s worth a lot!

The next financial consideration is our campground fees were paid by the Amazon Camperforce program.  We generally budget $600 per month for campground fees, so 2 1/2 months of “free” parking represents a savings to us of about $1,500.

Costs in Campbellsville

Campbellsville also has a fairly low cost of living, groceries, fuel and the like are less expensive than other places we’ve stayed. For example, a gallon of milk is less than $2 at Walmart! Gas for the car averaged about $2.10 per gallon. Diesel was not cheap, but rather about average what we’ve seen in other places (except Alabama – Alabama was cheap for diesel!)

Bill went to the movies with Steven and it was $13.50 for admission, a large popcorn and drink.  We went to see a play at the local college and it was $10 each!  Other things we did (distillery tours) were between $8 and $14 per person. Out to dinner was also inexpensive, we ate at the college for $12 for the 2 of us, including drinks and dessert, Garcia’s was about $34 average with a drink, dinner at Brothers was under $25 and Thanksgiving dinner buffet at Creekside was $30 for both us!

 

Final Thoughts

We really loved being around other full-timers, we just “get” each other; we share stories and tips easily. I’d like to give a special shout-out to Steven & Linda and Lee & Tracy, not sure we could have made it without you! Also – Debbie & Jim, Deb, Kevin, and John, my pack dept buddies who helped the day pass with laughs! A few blue badge Amazonians that stand-out: Bryan, my manager, who was always there with his high-energy enthusiasm and a smile AND played awesome music at start-up meetings and in blurbs occasionally during the day. Jessie, other pack manager, who was always so sweet and a calm-in-the-storm when needed. There were also PA’s who were ever present and helpful – I’m afraid to call them out by name for fear I’d forget someone.

The most asked question when people find out we’ve worked at Amazon “Would we do it again” – while it wouldn’t be my first choice, I’m sure if conditions were right we would. Conditions being we need the money, but we are hoping our new venture(s) in 2018 will make it so we do not.

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20 thoughts on “Amazon Camperforce Summary

  1. Great review. Although it is not what you used to make in your former careers, it is pretty good money for the weeks you were there. $11,000 goes a long way in this lifestyle.

  2. Nicely written, Kelly, and a fair appraisal. I think Amazon does a commendable job of making the workplace comfortable, and the work enjoyable, but in the end Amazon is a business, we are working in a warehouse, and it’s your coworkers that make each day enjoyable.

    As to returning, my outlook is somewhat different. I’ve signed on for 2018, so the decision is mine come summer. This was my third peak staying at The Stables, a 7 minute commute. At this point Darrell & Erin (the owners) and several other regulars have become good friends, and I now look upon peak as a long social visit regularly inconvenienced by work (i.e., real life).

    Travel well and stay safe!

    1. Thanks John! We may apply just to keep it open as an option, if we need it, if so, perhaps we will see you there!

  3. Glad we could experience it with you! You made it bearable for me as well!,

  4. Hi Kelly. Nice summary of Amazon. We never met formally but I remember speaking to you in passing and seeing you in the breakrom at lunch. Finding out that you worked in packing explains why I didn’t see you more. This was our first time at amazon. It was very hard on us physically walking around on concrete for 10 hours a day. I don’t know if we will return next year, but if we and you do, I hope that we have a chance to actually get to know one another. Best wishes on your future trsvels.

    1. Thanks Carol! Sorry we didn’t get to know each other better! I’m not sure if we will return either, I’m sure I will be talking about it here if we do. If we both find ourselves there, we will have to make more of an effort to get together! Thanks for reading!

  5. Hey Kelly. Sounds like all went well and you got to have some fun in between. I hope you had a wonderful holiday and the New Year is starting out great for you and Bill so far.

    Have a good week. I hope it is warm where you are. Went down to 2 last night. I do not like the cold and so ready for summer.

    Take are, safe travels.
    Chris.

    1. Hi Chris! While Amazon is not my fav way to make money – it serves its purpose and is good for the budget! It’s been chilly here in FL, not nearly what you are experiencing, but supposed to warm up over the next couple days!

  6. I also started Amazon on October 16th at Campbellsville as a picker. From what I see you could have made more money if you chose to. I had a total of 137 hours overtime during the same time frame. This year they offered VET every week we were there which allowed me to work from 50 to 60 hours every week. I am a solo camper and I grossed just over $7000 for the nine weeks I was there. I just wanted to let your readers know that the opportunity was there to make more money if they chose to. This was my sixth year at Campbellsville and I never know if I will return until late summer when I know if I need to lose some weight and I am ready for a change in my work schedule. I really enjoyed your article and wish you both the best.

    1. Thanks for reading Greg! You are 100% correct – there was lots of opportunity to earn more, if desired. We worked what we felt we wanted to. It’s so easy to say you (not you in particular- just anyone) will work all that’s available, but when it comes time to turn on that alarm, that’s when you find out how bad you want it – ha! I appreciate you showing a different perspective! Safe travels! Maybe we will see you next Peak!

  7. Great write up….well written and extremely fair. You published a lot of good information for those that want to know what the Amazon gig is all about. We did one season at the distribution center in Kansas, (now closed).. we worked the night shift and made the extra differential. One thing I would emphasize is that you should come prepared to work. Amazon is NOT a stand around and shoot the breeze job…… when you walk in the door you are getting it as in “assholes and elbows”…. It was brutally cold in Kansas and we did not like that (we are from Florida). You are so very wise to point out the free campsite since in all honesty that is part of the compensation. Again, great info and well presented.

    1. Thanks Mike! I appreciate you reading and your kind words! You are right – no standing around – you are always physically busy – just wish the mind was also!

  8. Wow! I have been talking to my husband about doing this kind of thing when we retire because we love to camp and I have always wondered what it was like to work at Amazon. Looking forward to reading more of your blog!

  9. I’m not a full timer yet, I’ll be putting my house on the market soon. Things will move along from there. I’ve wondered about working at Amazon, thanks for all your helpful info.

    1. You are very welcome! Please keep in touch and let me know how things are going! Thanks for reading!

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