*quick disclaimer that I am not officially affiliated with Amazon nor am I a spokesperson. These are just my views based on my experience.
It’s that time of year to start applying for a position with the Amazon Camperforce, if you’re so inclined. Here is a rundown of my experience this last season in hopes of answering any questions you may have.
What is camperforce? Amazon hires RVers as temp employees during the peak holiday shopping season. You work in one of the available listed fulfillment centers, receive a wage, campsite and more (read on for more info).
Where did you work? I worked at the Murfreesboro, TN location. In 2016, there were also available spots in Campbellsville,KY and Haslet, TX. In the past there have been other available locations as well. It looks as though a new location has opened for campers in 2017.
What are the benefits of participating in camperforce? You receive a wage, free campsite with full hookups, paid bonus, chance to win gift raffle items, meet and make new friends and it is a great workout!
How much did you get paid? At the TN location, I received $11.50 an hour. If you worked nights, you got a little extra. I also earned time and a half for overtime. If you stayed until the end of the contract, which ended right before Christmas, you received $1 for every hour you worked. So if you volunteered for more overtime, you got a bigger bonus in the end.
What was your job? There were 4 jobs available: stowing, picking, packing, quality assurance (QA). Each job has it’s own pros and cons and physical challenges. I was a Stower. My job was to place items onto the shelves so they could later be picked after being ordered, and then packaged and shipped out. I averaged 5 miles of walking a day, plus a lot of lifting and repetitive motion with my arms. I didn’t do these other jobs, but from what I gather from coworkers; Pickers walk more than 13 miles a day, Packers stand in 1 spot all day, and QA has to kneel and sit a lot. Each job has a quota to fulfill.
What hours did you work? It is a 40 hour work week. Normally. I worked four 10 hour shifts, then three days off. Once Black Friday came, most weeks were mandatory 50 hour weeks (paid time & a half) but you could volunteer for 60 hours. Each work day included two 15 minute paid breaks and an unpaid half hour lunch. Though, part of those are spent walking to and from where I was working so the breaks aren’t really that long.
What was the application process like? In March I applied online here. Then there was a phone orientation. A couple weeks later I received an acceptance letter for the location I chose. The next month I told them when I could start as well as my shift and job preference. I received a list of campgrounds in the area that were approved to use and I then made my reservation with them, with my tentative start date. I had to take a drug test in August. And the last week of September, I received my finalized schedule and start date of October 7th. If you’re not a patient person, this process may drive you insane.
How did you choose a campground & what was included? Amazon sent me a list of approved campgrounds in the area. It was then our decision to choose the one to our best liking and call to reserve a spot. That’s it. I just gave my name, said I was with Amazon, when my assumed start date was and that was that. I updated the campground later when that date changed. We received a spacious lot, full hookups and wifi and amazon took care of the bill. *edited to add the campsite was paid for during the duration of our stay, including two days before I started working and two days after the contract ended.
What were other perks to the job? Aside from the paid bonus, we were: -fed numerous delicious catered meals, had pizza week, donuts and snack days. – There were many giveaways for gift cards (amazon &others) and prizes, a money machine where the dollars fly around you. -Amazon hosted an Open House during Halloween and we were able to bring guests to tour the facility. They also had trunk-or-treating in the parking lot and put on this big celebration inside for the kids. -I made new friends; both RVers and regular Amazon employees. -it was like having a free gym membership with all the walking and lifting. -It was fascinating to see the inner workings of the place. -we received special camperforce items (tshirt, pin, lanyard, water bottle, super cool fanny pack) -we were able to earn a half day of paid time off.
Other things to know: – you can’t bring your phone into work. Huge bummer for some people. -you must exit through a metal detector every day. -the facility is HUGE! Even if you don’t work in a position that requires many miles of walking a day, you’ll still do a significant amount of walking just to get to your job station, bathrooms, break room, etc. And this could be up and down stairs. -speaking of walking…you’ll need good shoes. -while the majority of the campers were of retirement age, there were a decent number that were not. There was a good mix of 20 and 30 something year olds. However, we’re the only ones I met that had children, which meant our kids had the playground to themselves.
Would you do it again? -yep! I’ve actually already signed up and requested the same location as before. As a previous employee, you get to apply again before the general public.
I chose to title this **OUR** season even though I’m the only one that worked at Amazon. This was the first time I’ve ever worked away from home this many hours and our family dynamics completely changed for a few months. Jeff stayed home with the kids, made meals, did homeschooling and I went to work. On weekends he would work while i was off. It took some adjusting for all of us. I’m sure everyone is happy things are back to our normal. For now. Until next fall and we’ll do it all over again 🙂
Have you been an Amazon camperforce member? Which location were you at? Are there other questions I didn’t answer? If so, leave a reply! And thanks for reading.