Question Of The Week

Seven Ways To Make Money On the Road

From finding, selling, and repairing equipment, to mystery shopping favorite stores, to cleaning carpet and furniture, to on-the-spot professional consulting, readers share how to make money on the road.

This week’s Question of the Week was, “Have you ever considered ways to make money, other than workamping, while truck camping?”  One of these readers responses might help you offset your travel expenses, and open up a new door of traveling possibilities.

“Great question, but we are very careful to make our truck camper experiences not work related.  We have multiple businesses and, when we are using the truck camper, it’s considered down time.

However, one of our past experiences has made us a little money on the road.  I am an advanced ham (amateur radio) operator and am always interested in radio equipment.  Much of the ham radio equipment we find along our travels is in need of TLC, so purchasing it is usually quite affordable.

We have long cold winters here on the Canadian prairies.  One of the ways I stay busy (outside of working) is cleaning up and repairing any of our ham radio finds.  Taking into account how much time I spend making these repairs, fixing ham radio gear is more therapy than a serious money making venture.  But, it’s great fun and one never knows what you will find.” – Wes Hargreaves, 2016 Ford F450, 2006 Snowbird 108DS

“I’m a dentist.  I’ve considered a mobile dentist office in a Wells Cargo trailer or a box truck.  The problem is I’m only licensed in Washington State.” – Geoffrey Anderson, 2014 Ford F450, 2015 Eagle Cap 1165

“What immediately popped into my head was offering detailing and minor mechanical work and upgrades.  Folks may want to install a nice set of aluminum diamond plate mud flaps, but doing so is not their skill set.  Of course that would require some negotiating with the park owner or manager, but they are usually open to favors to soften them up.  My wife is also a talented seamstress, so perhaps we could find some tailoring for her.” – Kenneth and Claudette Kaftan, pending truck, pending camper

“Become a mystery or secret shopper!  You can do it anywhere online.  Yes, you get paid to shop and, most often, you are instructed to purchase an item that you keep and get reimbursed for.  Plus, you get paid for mystery shopping the shop.

I recommend signing up with shopper companies online, but never pay to become a shopper.  Once you have signed up and received your shopper ID, go to the website and select what shops you want to mystery shop.  You can select as many as you would like, just make sure you complete the shop(s) you signed up for.

Once you become a reliable mystery shopper, your pay per shop should increase.  You could also be contacted to pick up last minute shops that need to be checked, or a shop that someone signed up for but did not complete.

Really, the sky is the limit.  I have been doing it for 14+ years now all over the United States!” – Valerie Ring, 2007 Dodge Ram 3500, 2014 Arctic Fox 992

“I am a registered Dietitian/Nutritionist.  We eat healthy meals when we travel.  I plan our meals ahead of time.  My husband and I are healthy, include exercise in our lifestyle on a daily basis, and plan to continue to live a healthy lifestyle when we retire and have more time to travel.

I have wondered about hanging out a shingle on the RV, and charging a reasonable price to help people with their diets and lifestyle.  However, I doubt we will be staying in RV campgrounds for extended time periods where something like that might work.” – Barbara Sutton, 2003 Dodge Ram, 2006 Okanagan 90W

“I clean carpet, furniture, and vehicle interiors while traveling.  This is my 50th year.  It all started when I was a young sailor with a family and needed the income.  I found out that I love to clean just about anything.  It gives me a feeling of accomplishment like maybe a carpenter would experience.

It seems that the commercial cleaners charge too much due to overhead and high insurance needs, which don’t have.  They also work too fast and are only interested in making dollars per day.  I enjoy the job, do it correctly, and I am not concerned about the dollars per job.  If you don’t understand basic chemistry, it’s likely you will do a poor job due to residue re-soiling.

I just put a small magnetic sign on my truck when I’m available and have the time to do the work.  Most of my work is totally dry in about one hour and no residue whatsoever thus my jobs stay cleaner longer.  I only have room to carry my Lomac System and a small two gallon hot water extraction machine.  That’s mainly for furniture cleaning to remove body oils from humans or pets, and food spills.

It’s a must to have a full understanding of the old and modern day fabrics in order to clean properly.  It is hard to do all the jobs once people see my work.  Another difficult task is to reverse their efforts that make the jobs more difficult.  People become impatient removing spots and removable stains, thus the task is far more difficult to achieve the results that satisfy me.” – Bob and Linda Robinson, 2002 Chevy 2500, 2010 Travel Lite 960RX

“My training in animal behavior perfectly adapts to the traveling RV life.  As long as my brain is with me, I have my tool bag to fix the canine, feline, or any traveling mammal behavior issues that many RVers encounter.

I often post a seminar schedule on various topics, and also I hang my consulting shingle at campsites.  I do pet sitting Wednesdays and Saturdays in the RV park (the other five days are for my fun and leisure).  Travelers can go see the sights and not have to worry about Fido and Fluffy.  If you just need me to let your animal out once from your camper or if your silly Schnauzer needs to be at my side all day because he will tear up your RV or bark his fool head off if left alone, I’ll do it.

I have consulting fees by the half hour, and negotiated sitting fees.  In a high tourist area I net $200 per day, plus three to four hours of consulting per week.  If the campsite allows a dog class, $600 to $1000 a week is possible.

Everything is by appointment.  Otherwise you will be answering questions all day, every day.  My advise is that if your expertise is in your head, say for computer how-to sessions or RV repairs, put your sign out with a sign up clipboard.  Then you call/visit their campsite to schedule and/or do the consult.  And always do free consults at truck camper rallies!” – Denise Barber, 2011 Chevy 2500, 2006 Lance 815

“Does clipping coupons count?  I’ve heard it’s lots of fun!  On the serious side I look forward to having fun while truck camping and haven’t thought too much about making money.  At this point in my life, volunteering to help things I like to do can be fun too.” – Dave Miller, 2015 Ford F350, 2003 Bigfoot 10.6E

“I have all the work I want around the house keeping the truck and camper up to snuff.  Truck camping is our time to travel and play.” – John Bull, 2004 Dodge 3500, 2015 Arctic Fox 990

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