Going Beyond Workamping
Most people think that workamping is the only type of job arrangement for full-timers. Ironically though, it’s often anything but a way to support yourself. That’s because trading your labor for an RV campsite is a good deal if you’re retired, but if you are looking to earn money, workamping rarely generates enough of it. The biggest downside to workamping is that it limits the number of hours you can spend on generating real money.
Aside from workamping, you generally only have two choices to earn money on the road: become a seasonal employee, or be your own boss. I’ve worked as a seasonal employee but it’s not for me. The reassurance of having a regular paycheck for a while was nice, but I soon realized that even with all of its uncertainty, being self-employed makes me happiest. Recently, however I spoke with another full-timer who told me about how he and his wife get to enjoy the best of both worlds. I was intrigued, and here’s why:
Larry Chiuppi and his wife, Nancy Raimondi, have been on the road since 1998. I profiled their lifestyle in my August 2013 RV Life column, “Can You Have It All?” but to recap: when they started out as 43-year-old full-timers, they had to figure out a way to continue enjoying the lifestyle. They workamped and tried their hand at different ways of making a living but ultimately found that the most lucrative and satisfying situation was to get on board as sales representatives for AGS, the nation’s oldest provider of guest service guides, Internet marketing and promotional materials for RV parks. Larry and Nancy quickly rose to become one of the company’s most successful sales teams, all while working from their gorgeous RV at campgrounds across America.
Recently I talked to Larry about AGS opportunities and learned why this is a fantastic job for any motivated full-timer who wants the freedom of being self-employed with the reassurance of receiving excellent training and support from a reputable company that understands the full-timing lifestyle.
A Career with Freedom to Roam
Every RVer has seen work produced by AGS sales representatives. The company publishes the guest services guides you receive at RV parks and campgrounds across the U.S.—you know, the full-color booklets that you pore over to get acquainted with the campground layout, nearby businesses and attractions.
The role of every AGS sales representative is to manage new and existing AGS accounts by assisting parks with annual directory revamps, by renewing relationships with directory advertisers, and by establishing new connections with nearby businesses that want to reach the park’s customers. But before any new reps roll into a park, they are provided with all of the training, tools and support staff needed for success. AGS training is led by experienced sales reps that know how to be successful in this industry.
The more I talked to Larry, the better this job sounded to me. What makes this opportunity one of the premium ones for full-timers is that as an independent contractor, you have the freedom to structure the assignment so it works well for you, the customer and the company. Unlike a seasonal or workamping job, you get to choose how much you want to work and how often you want to move around.
For example, if you only want to explore the Pacific Northwest for a certain season, you can ask to work in that region and coordinate your AGS assignments to your desired itinerary. Or, if you’re itching to work your way from coast-to-coast, you can do that too. You won’t always get your preferred route but the company does its best to make it happen. Each year you’ll manage about 12 to 15 assignments, which take about 14 days to complete. The more experience you acquire, the more parks you can visit and the more money you can earn.
This is one of the few opportunities I’ve discovered that doesn’t require you to be a computer techie. However, if you do have more advanced computer skills like graphic design and layout, you can use them to great advantage as an AGS rep. Larry says that oftentimes what makes great teams stand out from excellent ones is the ability to research a potential advertiser and create a computer-generated mock-up of a directory advertisement. When you arrive at your sales appointment, you have something to get them excited about. He explains that without that tangible product to show them, it’s like trying to sell a car to a customer without letting them touch it.
Don’t Apply Just Yet
Now, if you’re thinking this might be your dream job on the road, wait. Don’t visit the “Join Our Team” page on the AGS website until you consider that:
- The most successful AGS representatives are two-person teams with at least one person who has sales experience. Having two income-earners on board ensures a faster, smoother job completion for each AGS customer—which adds up to more money earned for you.
- Generally team members agree to take on very distinct job duties. For instance, one person will serve in a traditional sales rep role by venturing out to meet directly with customers and advertisers. The other works from the rig to support the sales rep by managing logistics such as coordinating appointments, implementing customer changes to existing directories and handling the paperwork of running a business.
- Most importantly, as an independent contractor, you will have the responsibilities of owning your own company. You must already have a strong sense of self-discipline and motivation. Without a boss hovering over your shoulder, you need good productivity skills. Even when the stunning scenery outside your window beckons, you must have the discipline to put work before fun.
Although my husband, Jim, and I haven’t signed on as AGS representatives yet, I’m not ruling it out. Our current Internet-based business endeavors are keeping us too busy to take something else on, but if there comes a time when we are ready to do something completely different, joining the AGS team is first on our list.
If you’re still thinking this might be a great full-timing opportunity for you, contact Larry and Nancy at their website, marketing2rvers.com.
Rene Agredano and her husband Jim Nelson have been living and working on the road since 2007. They chronicle their travels in their blog, LiveWorkDream.com. Rene also writes “The Full-Timing Nomad” blog at rvlife.com.