Caretaking jobs for RVers are nothing new, these positions have been around for decades. But thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic, more people than ever are in hot pursuit of caretaking as a seasonal job opportunity.
Jobs for RVers Are Still Out There
As full-time RVers my husband and I have held down a variety of seasonal jobs to make money on the road. We’ve done organic farm workamping to animal rescue volunteering, ranch work to office work. Over 14 years we have explored different ways to earn a few bucks and save money on rent. One of our favorite arrangements was property caretaking in Southern Arizona. The absentee owners needed someone to look after the property during winter and do minor maintenance. In exchange we got free rent, relatively warm weather and desert solitude.
We haven’t looked into a sweet caretaking job like that since. But then the Coronavirus hit. We needed a shelter-in-place destination, so caretaking was high on our list of potential options. But then a friend generously offered us full-hookups on their property, so we jumped at the chance to park on their land. I haven’t stopped thinking about caretaking since.
Curious about how jobs for RVers are affected by the pandemic, I reached out to Gary Dunn, owner of Caretaker Gazette. Dunn owns the 38-year old publication that matches property owners to house sitters. Apparently, I’m not the only person that thinks caretaking is a good idea.
“We started noticing an up-tick in our business in mid-March when cities started locking down and homeowners were leaving populated areas to relocate to their vacation or 2nd homes,” said Dunn. In an email interview, he explained how demand for his service is exploding in the aftermath of COVID-19. “We also heard from property owners who owned resorts, bed and breakfasts, RV parks, etc. Under normal circumstances, these places would be filled with vacationing guests. But because of the virus, they were closed down and empty. Rather than leave them vacant and at risk for vandalism, the property owners turned to us to find caretakers for their properties.”
Sheltering in Place with Benefits?
And it’s not just people with second homes calling him for help. It’s also full-time RVers like me who are searching for places to stay. Many of us are scanning the Gazette in search of jobs for RVers that will allow us to shelter in place and wait out the pandemic. The good news is that caretaking jobs are plentiful. The downside is that the average commitment times for those seasonal RVer jobs are shorter.
“We have been receiving more short-term caretaker gigs from homeowners who aren’t sure how long they will be staying away from their main house, and are just waiting things out until the pandemic is over,” says Dunn.
The More Skills, the Better
Despite the uncertain time commitments attached to opportunities, many experienced and newbie property caretakers remain undeterred says Dunn. The arrangement is more popular than ever. For some, property caretaking jobs turn into a long-term career. It’s not like typical seasonal workamping jobs that require the job-seeking RVer to vacate when the season ends. Instead, property caretaking can turn into an actual career. Many positions offer wages, housing and other benefits. “We have many subscribers who found their caretaking gig via The Caretaker Gazette in the 1980’s or 1990’s and are still on the same property,” says Dunn.
Like workamping jobs for RVers in campgrounds and resorts, property caretaking job details and applicant requirements run the gamut. The basics of honesty, trustworthiness and motivation apply to every caretaking job. But the more you can offer, the more a position gives back in return. Many positions are as easy as occupying a property and looking after it.
Some jobs require applicants to have experience in areas like groundskeeping, land stewardship, farming, gardening, forestry, ranching or resort management. And those RV job seekers skilled in areas like fence mending, snow plowing, gardening, animal husbandry or plumbing and electrical work, can write a golden ticket to find great caretaking jobs wherever they want to live.
Opportunity and Adventure Working on the Road
When it comes to caretaking versus workamping, the differences are subtle but the opportunity is there. Looking after another person’s property isn’t the easiest way to work while traveling, I’ll admit. But it definitely adds an element of adventure to the mix.
I’m so glad to know that caretaking is still an option even during a global pandemic. This full-time RVing lifestyle might have its ups and downs but the ability to change locations at a moment’s notice is certainly a bonus in an age of uncertainty.
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.