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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Amazon Recap – Finances

This is the final installment about our experience at Amazon during the 2013 Peak season…

We’ve had a lot of questions about whether we intend to return next year for another season…and the short answer is Yes! The longer answer is more complicated….

We already knew when we were preparing to put the house up for sale that we weren’t going to make enough money to pay off the truck and fifth wheel loans. While we are blessed to have Harry’s pension and subsidized health insurance, his pension is not enough to cover our living expenses and our loan payments. (Also, we were so happy when we bought our truck to get 0% financing, but the downside is it locked us into a five year loan with a pretty sizeable loan payment. And we really would hate to refinance it to a  lower payment because then we would have to start paying interest which would be so depressing.) So our choices were…to stay in NY and keep working at our jobs until the truck was paid off, which would mean we would hit the road sometime in mid-2015 (this was our original plan) or to spend the first years going from one workamping job to the next (which was too uncertain for Harry and I to feel comfortable making this choice).

So, back in the fall of 2011, when I was doing research about full-timing, I was so excited to read in a fulltimer’s blog about something which I considered the answer to our dilemma – the Amazon Camperforce program. In researching the program, I discovered that not only would we have our site fee covered for the time period we were working, which would save us that expense, but we would also have a salary coming in. And, after reading more about the interview process, it seemed like it would be a pretty sure thing as long as we were willing and able to make the commitment of time they were looking for. After talking it over, we decided that this would be enough to supplement our income and would make up what we need to cover our loan payments. Those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile may remember a couple years ago when my countdown to putting the house on the market took a pretty significant jump forward. It was this job plan that enabled us to make that decision. So we were planning on working for Amazon in Kentucky long before we even sold the house, and barring any unforeseen complications, we will be going back for at least the next 3 to 5 seasons.

Now…to get to the financing recap details…

We arrived in Campbellsville on Sept. 7th and started work on Sept. 9th.

The first two weeks were the work hardening weeks. So we worked 22 hours the first week, and 30 hours the second (four 7.5 hour days).

After that, in total, but not in this order, we had six 40 hour weeks, one 45 hour week, four 50 hour weeks, and two 60 hour weeks.

Our normal full-time income was…$5,900.38 each.

We each made an additional $1,324.48 in overtime for a total of $7224.86 each.

On top of that we got a bonus of $1/hour for each hour worked. We each worked 633 hours.

Total earned (gross) including regular pay, overtime pay, and bonus - $15,717.09

We are happy with the return on our three and a half months of work. Now, our reward is that we get to relax and enjoy the next 8 months or so until we head back to Amazon for the 2014 season.


  1. at least your plan came together!..now you can enjoy your 'vacation time'!

  2. Not too bad, especially considering on top of that, your site & utilities were comped, and while sitting you weren't spending money on fuel & sightseeing. I know that saves us so much too!

  3. Thanks for the info. I've often wondered how much people made working for Amazon. Definitely worthwhile if you can do the work. Now get out there and play, play, play.

  4. It looks like a very intense and physically challenging job, but if it solves the cash flow problems and you can do it, it also seems like a good motivation for keeping fit the rest of the year. Good for you!

  5. So by my calculations, your normal rate of pay was $8.50 an hour?
    That's not too bad since your campsite was free while you worked there for sure.
    Some challenges involved, but in the end looks like it was worth it!

    1. The hourly rate is $10/hr. The dollar figures are from our final paystubs, but the hours may be off a little. For ex, Harry had that little bout of diverticulitis early on that cost him a couple days etc. So he had two 30 hour weeks. I just didn't go into all that to make it a little simpler, figured the summarized hours would be close enough to give people an idea. :)

  6. Thanks for sharing, considering your site was also paid for, I can see why folks would do this. A definite consideration when we part ways totally with Dave's company. Enjoy your time off.

  7. Looks like you guys really thought this through. We tried Amazon but it didn't work out for us. The money is great and sure helps ease your mind for the rest of the year. Happy New Year and safe travels!

  8. Jessica this was a fun post to read. You and Harry can be proud! We never considered Amazon until a neighbor at Sault Ste. Marie, MI talked us into it. AND she didn't do it. It's fun hearing stories from Amazonians. We are retired and have our Social Security and pensions, but Amazon CamperForce meant we didn't have to touch our investments. Combined hours of 647.04 grossed $7,634.34. We were there 53 days. Now Kris tells me she could do 3 months!??*#* I detailed our experience on a Page on our blog "Amazon CamperForce 2013" I asked Jenifer if I could detail our experience on my blog and she OK'd it. I really didn't expect it to be SO detailed, but hopefully it will give someone an idea of what to expect if they consider Amazon CF 2014. Looking forward to following your blog. Bill www.SeeingTheUSA.com