The #1 question asked by most people when I explain my new lifestyle as well as the #1 question asked by most people considering this lifestyle is…..
But how will you make a living????
While it’s true that it is cheaper to not pay rent or mortgage, utilities, property taxes etc. etc. by living in a van or an RV most likely you will still have expenses such as car insurance, food and gas.
So if you are not lucky enough to have a nest egg saved up or some type of income coming in such as a retirement fund or social security…..or even if you do have an income coming in but it’s not enough to cover your expenses…..What do you do?
As I mentioned, way back when I started this blog, I came across the vandwelling lifestyle while I was doing research for a book I am writing. While doing this research I have come across so many different ways of making money…..things I would have never, ever thought of on my own….things I never knew even existed….things I know others don’t know exist (I know because when I talk about them to others the looks on their faces is one of incredulity). So I would like to share these ideas with you my readers.
Before we dive in let me please just point out a few things that I think would be obvious…..but I have learned in my life not to assume…..
- Not everything I list will work for you……not everything I list will work for me even.
- I am making no guarantees….I have found these ideas through research….I have not tested all of them….some I will get to, some I may not.
- Although it is sooo tempting (even to me – though I consider myself pretty cynical) I really, really try hard to stay away from get rich scams….but again I make no guarantees……please do your own due diligence.
- Some of these ideas may seem WAY out there……be considerate….don’t slam me…..you have no idea what some people are willing to do or what some people are comfortable with….just because you are not comfortable with it does not make it unacceptable…..I find that I am willing to do a lot more than most of my friends……but I have always been a little different
So without further ado……..
I thought I would start out with something that I know all about……temp agencies.
Temporary agencies, or employment agencies, are companies that act as the middle man between companies looking for employees to either fill a gap or to fill permanent positions and employees looking for work. I started out doing temp work when I was 19 and fresh out of high school. I’m now 43 and have worked for temp agencies many, many times over the years.
When I first started out doing temp work things were a little different than it is now. Back in the day I would sign up with an agency (or two), maybe have a little interview with the agency, fill out some paperwork with the agency and then they would call me with assignments that lasted anywhere from 1 week to 3 months. Once the assignment was completed they called me with the next assignment. When they called me with assignments they would give me the specifics and then ask me if I was interested…..I would say yes or no and off I would go.
These days things are different. Now most assignments are what they call temp to perm…..which basically means that the company gets to “try” you out before they decide if they want to “keep” you in a permanent position. You also get to decide if you like the position or not before you accept the position. It seems rare that they have any actual temporary positions (where you might fill in while some one is on vacation or maternity leave) any more.
Now instead of the agencies calling you with the information and you deciding if you want the assignment or not…..you get a call asking if you would be interested in a particular assignment….if you are interested your resume gets sent to the company with a few other resumes and IF they like you then you get called in for an interview.
The third most recent thing that has changed has been the way that you are considered for positions. Used to be you had to call in every week to let the agency know that you were available for assignments and they would call you when something came up. This is still being done in some offices that I have encountered but now more and more I’m being told to go to their website and look for open positions and then apply.
The result of these changes has made it more difficult in my book to get true TEMPORARY work……but not impossible. If you are looking for a permanent position it is a good way to go….I have obtained several really, really good positions through a temp agency and a lot of big companies and government agencies exclusively hire employees through temp agencies….so it is a really good way to get your foot in the door. But if you are on the road and all you truly want to do is Temporary Assignments it can be a little challenging.
The first thing that I want to point out is don’t wait until you have $20 bucks left in your pocket and don’t plan on doing temporary work if all you have is 2 to 3 weeks to spend in one place. Finding temp work takes a little bit of time.
Another important thing I want to point out is…….don’t think you can only do this if you have experience working in an office……NOT TRUE!!! You might have slimmer pickings but there are a lot of assignments that temp agencies take on that have nothing to do with office work. Recently I talked to a recruiter in a temp agency who told me they received assignments all the time for events where they needed someone to sit at the registration tables and sign people in. If you are able to handle more physical assignments there are employment agencies who do nothing but assignments for house cleaning, assembly lines, farm work, construction work etc. etc.
If you are going to be staying in one area for a little bit of time and you are interested in trying the temp work route here is the process that I suggest….
(Note: This process really does not differ any from looking for a permanent opening so if you happen to be reading this and are interested in looking for permanent work you can still follow this process)
1. Once you arrive in town make a list of the temp agencies in the area – you can Google “temp agencies, the town you’re in” or “employment agencies, the town you’re in” to come up with a list of agencies. Some of the bigger name agencies are Robert Half, Manpower, Kelly Services and Office Team. There will also be quite a few local agencies as well that you can check into.
2. Go to their websites and see if you can set up your profile on their website. I would do this BEFORE you call…..you will save yourself some time because they are going to tell you to do that before they even talk to you.
3. If you are able to search for open positions and apply on their website do so…..do this BEFORE you call them because they are going to ask if you have done this before they will even talk to you. Plus, once you start applying for positions you are in their radar. I applied for a few positions the other day that I wasn’t really sure were even still available and within one day they were calling me asking me what I was looking for and what my situation was. Before I had applied for the positions online I couldn’t get anyone on the phone to talk to me.
4. Once you have filled in your profile (if they have that option, some companies don’t) and applied for any openings that they have, give them a call and let them know that you are interested in temp assignments, that you have registered online and you would like to know if there is anything further that you need to do. Some companies are going to tell you to keep applying for positions available on their website and someone will call you if you meet their needs. Some companies are going to want you to come in and interview and maybe take some qualifying tests (ie: for the type of work I look for I usually have to take a typing test and tests for MS Word and MS Excel).
5. Check the websites daily for new positions and apply religiously. This keeps you in their radar……sort of like how you used to have to physically call in once a week to let them know you still existed. The thing is…..even if they don’t want you for that position they are going to see your qualifications and think of other available positions coming up that you would qualify for. The other day I had a recruiter call me on a position that I applied for ….. it wasn’t the right fit for my situation but I told him what my situation was and he sent my name onto another recruiter who did have a position that fit my situation…..a recruiter that had an opening that wasn’t even listed online yet and they were the ones who actually called and gave me an assignment.
6. When I first started traveling I worried about whether or not the agencies would have a problem with my traveling from city to city working or if I would have trouble explaining to them what I wanted to do, if they would have an issue with me having a temporary address in town and a permanent address states away. I have found so far that they really don’t care and have been very understanding and helpful. On this trip I have told them that I am visiting friends and family so maybe they have been more understanding because of that. At one place I told them I was visiting friends but I also told them I was full time RV’ing (I didn’t tell them that I actually have a van with pretensions of being an RV) and they just thought that was the most awesome thing ever. I’m sure that temp agencies will vary from city to city and from town to town but so far I have not found the censure that I thought I would find.
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