Personal Finance

Summer jobs for students

May 26, 2001: 6:00 a.m. ET

by Staff Writer Shelly K. Schwartz

NEW YORK (CNNfn) - It's that time of year again. School is out. The days are getting longer. And students across the country are trading in their textbooks for bathing suits, a little older and hopefully a little wiser.

But it's those carefree months ahead that create a particular dilemma for the parents of teen-age kids: How do you keep them off the couch, out of trouble and involved in activities that will serve them during this summer?

According to experts, the solution is simple: Put them to work.

"Employment helps (young adults) gain a better understanding of the value of money which means they may not be so quick to squander it at the mall," said Myrna Shure, author of "Raising a Thinking Preteen." "They also learn responsibility, time management, and how to respond to authority, which is sometimes difficult for teenagers."

The great outdoors

Summer jobs have come a long way since the days of flipping burgers and mowing lawns. Interesting job opportunities abound for enterprising young adults, including cross-country driving gigs to deliver new recreational and specialty vehicles from the manufacturers to the dealers. Those with a taste for travel can always hit the road.


Unbeknownst to most job-seekers, an army of 100,000 full-time drivers each year get paid to deliver recreational and specialty vehicles from the manufacturing plants to the dealers. Those vehicles include RVs, vans that are too large for auto delivery trucks, limousines, ambulances, school busses... and just about every other specialty vehicle you can think of that you've never seen being transported on trucks.

  graphic WHOM TO CALL  
    Altogether, when the RV dealers are included, there are more than 7,000 U.S. and Canadian companies that need drivers to do the work described here. Detailed information for most of them is provided within the comprehensive resources that are available from
"The summertime and late spring are the greatest times of production for this industry because dealers sell more of these vehicles at this time of year," said Craig Chilton, author of "How to Get Paid $50,000 a Year to Travel: Without Selling Anything."

"They need extra people to come in and supplement their work force and summer vacation just happens to come at the right time," Chilton noted.

Chilton estimates more than 5,000 college students and teachers are brought on to deliver recreational vehicles each summer. Drivers typically receive a cash advance before they depart to cover fuel costs during transport and return airfare to the city of origin. Once the drivers return they are paid an average of 35 cents per mile yielding about $1,000 for a coast-to-coast trip.

  You set your own hours and once you've delivered the vehicle your job is done. You get to see North American on someone else's nickel. Most of the public isn't even aware that this job exists.  
  Craig Chilton
XANADU Enterprises
Chilton said students who keep at it full-time during the summer months can reasonably expect to earn $8,000 to $12,000. He also notes that while some states require drivers to obtain a chauffeurs license, which usually involves only an additional 5-minute written exam. No state requires the more difficult-to-access commercial driver's license (CDL) for RVs other than bus conversions.

"You set your own hours and once you've delivered the vehicle your job is done," he said, adding he was a Road Rat himself in the late 1970s while he was teaching. "You get to see North American on someone else's nickel. Most of the public isn't even aware that this job exists."

    A few changes have been applied by me (Craig Chilton) to update the above information, which originally was written in mid-2001, to be current as of mid-2008. In addition, the full article, as it originally ran, included descriptions of some other summer jobs which are unrelated to this job -- so the content provided above is limited to just that portion which pertains to the delivery of brand-new vehicles.

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