Working on the Road
If you are interested in working on the road as an RVer, there are many choices. You’ll want to explore the different types of work and potential income – you’ll find some idea here for jobs on the road. But first, give some thought to some general aspects of working on the road. What are you looking for? Monetary goals may be upfront in your mind and there are other things to think about as well.
Focus your search on jobs that are right for you - how will working fit into your overall lifestyle. Bear in mind that “fit” may be a literal consideration, especially if you are a fulltimer or most-of the-timer. Space is at a premium, as is the weight of your RV and tow vehicle.
This may limit your options in carting around physical inventory or equipment. For this reason, web-based opportunities are often a good fit for working on the road. Definitely take a few minutes to watch this video. It shows how even a a novice can get started.
If you decide to go with physical inventory, you may want to pursue business opportunities that allow you to operate with samples, where someone else handles the storage and shipment of products or a warehouse facility is available. Physical inventory may be less of a concern for people in a service business or those who plan to work outside of the RV as an employee or independent contractor.
Beyond considerations of physical products, there are still space considerations for the RV worker. Within the limited space of an RV, you need to find room for computer, files, paperwork and any other equipment or supplies needed to perform the job.
If you're working on the road, chances are that you'll be living in the RV - at least part of the time. This means organizing the space to strike the right balance between working and living. “A place for everything and everything in its place” is usually a good mode of operation for anyone spending time in an RV. Even more so when you are also working on the road.
Will your work require you to have a lot of stuff spread out on the kitchen table or RV desk? You may need to put it away everyday to have dinner or use the living area. If you are traveling solo, it’s probably easier to juggle how you use RV space. If you are traveling with others, then it will take a bit more planning.
If you are in a business where your current or potential clients come into your RV, then you should try to have things organized and tidy. Even if you are dealing with RVers who understand the issue of limited space, it won’t hurt to create a favorable impression of a well-ordered business operation.
Where do you want to work on the road?
Beyond space considerations, think about the nature of the travel and how it will meld with your RV lifestyle. Working on the road can mean a lot of time actually on the road, but often it is a matter of working in one spot for a time and then moving to another area.
Assess how often you want to move, and how far you are willing to travel for the next job. Many potential employers want to some sort of time commitment from their workers.
If you prefer to be free of such commitments, then you might want to focus on work that is truly “virtual” - not tied to physical location. That will put you in control of where you travel and for how long.
If you are fine with staying put for a while, then you can look at prospects that require a commitment for the season, a few months, or longer.
Think about weather and if you want to limit potential work locations to places with a favorable climate. We spent several winters in the NJ area, so that we could continue in our corporate jobs. Many workers (construction, engineers, communications techs, etc.) travel where the work is, including areas with snow and ice. If you have no intention of being in a winter climate, then you can rule out those opportunities right off the bat.
How much is a good thing?
Think about the hours you want to put in while you are working on the road. Are you looking for fulltime work? Or are you just looking for a few extra bucks from part-time work to offset expenses?
Do you want (or need) to work regularly throughout the year? Maybe you’d rather concentrate your work effort into a lot of hours over several months, and then take the rest of the year off.
Consider how much free time vs. work time you want to have in a given week. Obviously, income needs as well as personal preferences come into play here. But if you have some idea of how much time you are willing to devote to working, it can help you focus your job search.
What do you want to do?
Maybe you have a specialized skill that is easily taken on the road. Or you might be ready for a change and seek something completely different than you have done in the past. Now might be the time to brainstorm a bit. List different kinds of work you might enjoy and be good at. Consider life experiences you have had – they may be good groundwork for a new work endeavor.
After all, if you are going into something new, you might as well go for something you really like doing. Get some inspiration by browsing the SBI! bulletin board.
How to connect:
If you are working on the road out of your RV itself, connectivity may be a big factor. In today’s world, businesses and consumers are highly connected to internet and email. In selecting types of work, determine what your connectivity needs will be and make sure you are equipped.
If email and internet are a big part of the job, don’t try to handle it with infrequent access to dial-up connections. Read our information on RV internet access.
You will probably need to rely on cell phones most of the time. Check out the coverage maps for your cell phone provider.
If your road work will require frequent phone use and you are going to be in an area for a while, consider finding an RV park where you can activate a landline connection.
Working on the road can mean operating day-to-day work from your RV itself, or going to a job outside of the RV. There are all sorts of possibilities, limited only by the imagination and preferences of the RVer.
On to more ideas and resources for working on the road.
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