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dalsgal
When my husband and I were traveling in our RV we always stopped at a campground office to check in. If it was after hours we still stopped to see what their policy was. Did they want us to fill out something and drop cash in a drop box? Did they want us to call them for check in? Did they want us to park and pay before we left? No matter what, we always stopped to see. We manage a campground now and, at the office, is a stop sign. On the door of the office there is a sign that says everyone must stop and check in, no matter what time of day or night. I have had more and more people just go park, even in the middle of the day, and when questioned they tell me that every park has that policy. What do you folks find when you travel? Do you stop to check on the policy or do you park and then go find out what the policy is?

I had a man tonight that said he figured we were closed and he didn't see anyone around. I was in the office and he ran the stop sign and never slowed down to see if I was inside.
pianotuna
Hi,

If you wish them to stop then install one of those bars that are at rail way crossings. (Just make sure it is easily repaired!)
Fitzjohnfan
We always check in, in some way, and I woul suspect anyone who just drives into a park without stopping at the office first to be a potential freeloader. My proceedure is usuallY:

A. Call ahead to check on site availability. If I'm arriving late, I let the staff know, and they usually leave an informational packet in a conspicuous place.
B. When arriving, I always stop in at the office or check in kiosk to get info on sign in proceedures.

I can't believe people would drive into a park, utilize the services, and not expect to pay, but I've heard of the same thing in other threads on this forum.

These same losers are probably the ones who empty theiy holding tanks in wal mart parking lots, leave trash in fire pits, and let their kids and dogs run loose without a care for other people's comfort.
dalsgal
QUOTE(pianotuna @ May 16 2013, 09:13 PM) *

Hi,

If you wish them to stop then install one of those bars that are at rail way crossings. (Just make sure it is easily repaired!)

We can't do that. If we did they would have to be installed at the hwy and that could be disastrous. Our campsites are set up in kind of a P shape and go all the way to the highway so it would be impractical to put up bars.

It wouldn't be so bad but people do come in and spend a few hours and then leave. Since the office doesn't open until 10 AM most RV'ers don't want to sit and pay after I open.

I don't understand why they can't stop at a stop sign and at least check to find out what to do. I have caught people leaving before. One woman told me she was headed to the office to pay but the office was 30 yards behind her and I happened to be at the end of the drive working.
Tallboy
10 AM is pretty late to have the office open. Might want to rethink that one.

We call ahead to see if there is a site and to be sure it's big enough for all our stuff. Fortunately we have never had to come in late. Like to be parked by 5 PM at the latest. I really dislike it when an RVer comes in at 10 PM or later to park. Banging doors and yelling at one another as they get parked. If you are coming in that late find a Wal-Mart or truck stop and stay there for the night.

We have done some workamping and in the winter I work in an office so am on call on evenings/nights that people come in after hours. However the winter job has a gate so they have to call unless they follow someone in.

At summer campgrounds that we have worked at have heard stories from owners/managers of people coming in after hours and then trying to leave early in the morning to not pay. Have had several who got up early in the morning going around with a list to see who came in after dark wrote down license number just in case they tried to leave without paying.
Ted Morgen
QUOTE(Fitzjohnfan @ May 16 2013, 08:51 PM) *

We always check in, in some way, and I woul suspect anyone who just drives into a park without stopping at the office first to be a potential freeloader. My proceedure is usuallY:

A. Call ahead to check on site availability. If I'm arriving late, I let the staff know, and they usually leave an informational packet in a conspicuous place.
B. When arriving, I always stop in at the office or check in kiosk to get info on sign in proceedures.

I can't believe people would drive into a park, utilize the services, and not expect to pay, but I've heard of the same thing in other threads on this forum.

These same losers are probably the ones who empty theiy holding tanks in wal mart parking lots, leave trash in fire pits, and let their kids and dogs run loose without a care for other people's comfort.

I have to agree with Chris on all points well taken. If someone parks in a spot and you did not expect them or greet them, I would go out there and tell them to move to some other space just to make them move. IF a tow trailer, wait till they disconnect. Sooner rather than later they will gain respect and stop acting like they own the place. My dog does that. Take him around the park once and he thinks it's his territory. Thankfully I never seen anyone make a dump in a Walmart parking lot, then we don't use them to park our trailer in. I am surprised that Walmart doesn't have spaces for RVs with hookups and then charge for them. They seem to be quick to make money any other way.
Ted formally from
Conifer, Colorado and now in the Sunshine state.
edcornflake
I don't know that I've gone anywhere without reservations except one stop last year on the way back from Disney - pushed a few extra hours and stopped in NC, but we called ahead first. I've always stopped in at the office first, even with reservations, and even if it's a place I've been before and know exactly where my site is... it's really common sense/courtesy. I can't understand going in, setting up, and then sneaking out in the morning. These idiots give RVers a bad name!
Florida Native
We always stop and almost always call ahead. I suspect that some people come in late, set up, and leave early and skip the paying part. Being willing to sell your integrity for $25 is pretty bad.
pianotuna
Hi dalsgal,

I'm sorry the gate idea won't work for you.

How about coin operated power points? I know it would cost to put them in--but free loaders....well that's just ROTTEN. Almost no one who drives an RV can't afford the cost of a decent place to park for the night.

I do love boondocking--but NOT at a campgrounds expense.

dalsgal
QUOTE(Nolan @ May 17 2013, 10:54 AM) *

10 AM is pretty late to have the office open. Might want to rethink that one.

We call ahead to see if there is a site and to be sure it's big enough for all our stuff. Fortunately we have never had to come in late. Like to be parked by 5 PM at the latest. I really dislike it when an RVer comes in at 10 PM or later to park. Banging doors and yelling at one another as they get parked. If you are coming in that late find a Wal-Mart or truck stop and stay there for the night.

We have done some workamping and in the winter I work in an office so am on call on evenings/nights that people come in after hours. However the winter job has a gate so they have to call unless they follow someone in.

At summer campgrounds that we have worked at have heard stories from owners/managers of people coming in after hours and then trying to leave early in the morning to not pay. Have had several who got up early in the morning going around with a list to see who came in after dark wrote down license number just in case they tried to leave without paying.



I work 9 hours a day as it is. If people had their way I would never leave the office. I am on call 24/365 and am always available for people to check in. I think that is sufficient for people wanting to camp here. This is a small CG and my husband and I are the only employees. The office is closed on Sundays except for people wanting to camp here and I can't leave the property without having calls forwarded to a cell phone. I don't mind getting up in the middle of the night to check someone in but I don't want to have to be out there at 6 or 7 AM so that someone can pay in the morning. I do have grass to cut, bathrooms to clean and other duties that I like to do before I open at 10 AM.

In TX there is a law called theft of service. If you leave without paying you can be prosecuted. The bad part is the two times I have tried to do that for someone the Sheriff's department tells me it is a civil matter and they won't do anything about it. They don't want to bother with helping us. The DA agreed that we had a case this last time but the head Sheriff said our policy is not proper (the tenant signed and agreed to the policy) and he convince the DA to do nothing. I have spent hours already trying to get something done.

Fitzjohnfan
Ok, I have two small, relatively inexpensive possible solutions.

1) locks on the electrical hookups. You can unlock it when you guide a "paid" newcomer to their site.
2) a camera that could record freeloaders, possibly their license plate, and evidence of arriving and departing.

Not sure how feasible they are for you, but????
dalsgal
We could do the locks but they could still hook up water and sewer and leave without paying or using electric.

I don't see how recording license numbers would help since the Sheriff won't help and it would take many hours of my time going through the civil process.

I love the suggestions you guys are tossing me. Part of the problem is that the owners want me to make sure people pay and follow the rules but can't afford upgrades and wouldn't spring for it since they see all this as my job. I'm not complaining because I love my job but I do get frustrated being responsible for getting payment without owner help with follow up.
docj
This might be more work than you want, but it wouldn't be expensive. Since you said it's not feasible to put a gate to block traffic on your interior, why not fashion gates at each site secured with a "combination style" bicycle lock? The gates could be simple logs that you swing out of the way. The site gates would prevent someone from using a site without stopping at the office to get the lock combination. If they drive past the office they will have to come back.

After hours they would stop at the office to call you for the combination after filling out their paperwork. This won't stop those who leave in the morning without paying, but I suspect that if they had to write down their names they would be somewhat more reluctant to skip out. They have no way of knowing that the Sheriff won't help to collect.

Personally, I find this entire thread pathetic. The very idea that a significant percentage of people will "steal" from a business (and that's what taking a service without paying is) is IMHO a sad commentary on the state of our society.
pianotuna
Hi,

How about removing the handles from the bibs? Or a locking cover over them?
NYDutch
It looks like the biggest problem is not just finding workable solutions, but finding workable solutions that will fit into the owner's apparent lack of support in solving the problem. That's a tough one...
docj
I understand that the owners don't want to put much money into the property, but the best solution I can think of is a gate that opens automatically when you drive in but which requires a code when you leave. If people want to drive in without stopping they're going to have a rude awakening when they try to leave.

After hours my solution would be to install a credit card reader like you find on gas pumps; after a customer has successfully processed his credit card the screen would give him the exit code for the gate.

If you really want to crack down, have the exit codes be usable for maybe 3 exits per day. That way if someone wants to share the code with his friends who just drove in he may find himself locked in.

Yes, all of this would cost money but it would be a one-time investment which would probably pay for itself. An alternative would be to find a source of "Denver Boots" and go around early in the morning and put them on vehicles that haven't checked in. Use the boots a few times and I bet word would get around that yours wasn't a CG to sneak into. laugh.gif
Florida Native
Just shoot a couple of drive offs and word will get around.
Fitzjohnfan
QUOTE(Lindsay Richards @ May 18 2013, 08:35 PM) *

Just shoot a couple of drive offs and word will get around.

Lindsay, you had my whole family laughing with that one!! Another suggestion from my XYL would be to put in those "sever tire damage will occur" spikes in the road, in your exit, and they can lowered with a button in the office.
dalsgal
Especially loved the "shoot em" suggestion. My bosses will not put any money into doing anything. I really like the owners but there are so many things I see that really should be done but they won't pay to fix. If I was to go around putting Denver Boot's on I might as well just stay up all night and then go knocking on doors. I have knocked on doors if I woke up during the night and saw an RV out there that I hadn't registered.

Any gate we put up would also inhibit people from being able to even park in a few, rarely used, campsites. Because we are not a destination campground and located in a very small town, most of our people are permanent so these guys are in and out a lot going to work, school or just to shop so changing the codes would be a chore. I was chatting with one couple that came in for overnight and they asked if we had any permanent campers here. I told them yes and asked if they could tell which one. They couldn't and were surprised when I told them they were the only overnighters that evening. My husband and I work very hard to make this place look good and can't afford to pay for upgrades ourselves. We already have had to buy many of our own equipment for keeping up the yard.

I thank all of you for your suggestions and your understanding. It is good to feel there are others that see "sneak in's" as someone trying to steal.
kcmoedoe
Unfortunately, the owner is correct in this situation. Any rock solid solution is going to cost many times more than what is actually lost when someone steals the services. The actual cost of service theft is the cost of the utilities they actually use. The best solution is agressive management of the park. A late night or early morning drive through with a note on the door that they need "forgot" to pay at the late check in box and that their license numbers have been recorded along with the amount they owe for one night will be sufficent to get most to pay. The other few are just chucked up to a loss, cost of doing business.
Tallboy
QUOTE(dalsgal @ May 17 2013, 05:25 PM) *

I work 9 hours a day as it is. If people had their way I would never leave the office. I am on call 24/365 and am always available for people to check in. I think that is sufficient for people wanting to camp here. This is a small CG and my husband and I are the only employees. The office is closed on Sundays except for people wanting to camp here and I can't leave the property without having calls forwarded to a cell phone. I don't mind getting up in the middle of the night to check someone in but I don't want to have to be out there at 6 or 7 AM so that someone can pay in the morning. I do have grass to cut, bathrooms to clean and other duties that I like to do before I open at 10 AM.

In TX there is a law called theft of service. If you leave without paying you can be prosecuted. The bad part is the two times I have tried to do that for someone the Sheriff's department tells me it is a civil matter and they won't do anything about it. They don't want to bother with helping us. The DA agreed that we had a case this last time but the head Sheriff said our policy is not proper (the tenant signed and agreed to the policy) and he convince the DA to do nothing. I have spent hours already trying to get something done.


It doesn't surprise me about the Sheriff's dept.

Where is your husband in all this? Husband would go in around 6 to 7 AM and then you come in around 10 AM. Then he could go out do maintenance and mowing chores. Workamped for a couple and this was their schedule.

Traveling man
I have always stopped at the office to check in upon arrival at private parks, and just assumed this was common If I anticipated arrival after typical office hours, I would call, and often have been told "just go ahead and stop in and pay in the morning" which was appreciated. One park owner/manager who has her phone number listed in big letters on the office door for after hours , and will come down and open till about 10pm for late arrivals said that she had people arrive at 11pm, not pay, and pull out at 6am to avoid payment. She said that if people are that desperate then they can have her spot, but questioned how much enjoyment they got out of their stay.

The idea of parking first is more the norm at many of the public campgrounds in Western states. You generally select a spot then return and pay for it within say 30 minutes or less. However even in these parks there are people who try to cheat the system as there are often fines levied if discovered.

I grew up in an era where you paid for gas after filling up not before, and it was considered rude and unnecessary to ask guests to pay for a motel room till they were ready to leave in the morning. I still think the RV community as a whole must still have high standards, as RV parks are one of the few places that almost everyone gladly accepts out of state checks.
Florida Native
Jim Crowl, unfortunately the world you and I grew up in no longer exists.
dalsgal
"Where is your husband in all this? Husband would go in around 6 to 7 AM and then you come in around 10 AM. Then he could go out do maintenance and mowing chores. Workamped for a couple and this was their schedule. "

The office is open from 10 AM til 7 Pm. What more should we do. Those hours are 6 days a week. We both do all the yard work, all the maintenance, all the office work and we are the only ones working here.We start working between 7 and 8 outside to keep the lawn up. Do you think we should work 24 hrs a day for what little pay we get now? We get one check for the both of us and I think that the hours we put in are plenty. Now that the pool is open I have to be on duty even longer because I have to lock it down and clean up that area at night. With our campsite provided, with electric, about $400.00 a month and $1000.00 check we figure that we make less than $4.00 per hour and that is not each, that is shared between us. Sorry but I'm glad I don't work for you.
Texasrvers
I sympathize with your situation. The owners really need to step up and get you some help—either security equipment or personnel. That said I also understand that it may be a bit of an inconvenience if one of your guests needs to leave before 10am and needs something from the office. So would it be possible to split the office hours. Come in at 7; stay open until about 15-30 min after your checkout time; stay closed until around 3pm when people start stopping, and then stay open until 7pm. During the time the office is closed, I assume you would still be on site doing other things, so you could have a notice on the office to “call this number for service,” and that way people could still reach you. Just a suggestion. And BTW, I also think it is absolutely horrible that people would try to come in late and leave early to avoid paying.
dalsgal
Everyone knows that if they need me they can use the phone on the porch to reach me at any hour. There is a sign on the porch with the number and it is also on the brochure that I wrote to hand out to people when they sign in. We live about 30 steps from the office so I get to the office really fast, day or night. I also fill propane tanks so there is no way I can close the office for a few hours during the day.
Onemoretrail
Have you tried using traffic cones to block access to the sites? That might get expensive if you have more than a few sites to block, but it might deter a few people that don't stop at the office.
dalsgal
Yes we have used cones. They just get out and move them, and in some cases, take them with them.
FosterImposters
We encountered a park, in which the check-in process was accomplished on the other side of a busy interstate from the park. It was a 24/7 gas station, with the clerk managing everything from cig and slurpy purchases, to campsite payments.
These folks kept the electrical pedestal, and the water turn-on device locked.
Unregistered guests could pull in and park, but that was it.
You got a key upon payment.
edcornflake
What about a fake camera (available at home dpot for a few bucks) pointing at the exit, and a sign - "Parking overnight without paying is a criminal offense. Your license plate is recoreded upon exit"

Would the owners spend ~ $20 for a solution taht COULD have an ROI of 1 stolen night?

the scofflaws don't have to know that the sheriff is lazy and unhelpful. As Veronica said to Dante in Clerks: "Honesty through paranoia."
Onemoretrail
QUOTE(dalsgal @ May 20 2013, 04:37 PM) *

Yes we have used cones. They just get out and move them, and in some cases, take them with them.


Well I hope theft is still a crime in Texas and your local sherriff takes that seriously. Maybe you need one of those surveillance cameras at the entrance with a sign saying,"hi, you're on candid camera". There's got to be something to deters these knotheads.
Tallboy
QUOTE(dalsgal @ May 20 2013, 08:57 AM) *

"Where is your husband in all this? Husband would go in around 6 to 7 AM and then you come in around 10 AM. Then he could go out do maintenance and mowing chores. Workamped for a couple and this was their schedule. "

The office is open from 10 AM til 7 Pm. What more should we do. Those hours are 6 days a week. We both do all the yard work, all the maintenance, all the office work and we are the only ones working here.We start working between 7 and 8 outside to keep the lawn up. Do you think we should work 24 hrs a day for what little pay we get now? We get one check for the both of us and I think that the hours we put in are plenty. Now that the pool is open I have to be on duty even longer because I have to lock it down and clean up that area at night. With our campsite provided, with electric, about $400.00 a month and $1000.00 check we figure that we make less than $4.00 per hour and that is not each, that is shared between us. Sorry but I'm glad I don't work for you.


No I don't expect you to work 24 hours a day. Just giving you a suggestion or two. I have a few more, but I'll pass on them. Good luck to you. Hope you can come to an idea on getting RVers to stop, pay first and not just take any site they want.
Florida Native
My shoot a couple and let the word get around is beginning to look like the best suggestion so far.
dalsgal
Lindsay, we did get accused of greeting people while we were waving a gun at them. The funny thing is that, not only would we not do that but....we don't even own a gun. To be honest, there have been a few that I would like to have done that to. biggrin.gif
QueenofQuitealot
As I see it, your complaint is late arrivals who leave early to skip paying. People have made good suggestions and you have basically 'shot down' all of them either because the owners won't spend money or it is not convenient for you. There is no solution that won't be one or the other.

The owner's lack of financing security measures is beyond your control since you can't make them spend money. The only thing within your control is what you can do, personally. You've made it clear that you will not rearrange anything so that you or your husband can open the office earlier to be available for people to come in and pay, which would be the optimum solution.

My only suggestion then would be an evening sweep of the park (maybe an hour after the office closes) annotating empty spaces and then a 'dawn patrol' (say 6 or 7 am) with visits to late unregistered arrivals to collect fees or register them if they're staying longer.

Just be sure you have clear signage for the late arrivals so they know that if they don't pay upon arrival they can expect a knock on the door early in the morning. We stayed in one park that handled late unregistered arrivals that way.

Unfortunately there is no way you are ever going to catch those 'in after the office closes, out by 4am' cheats. We've seen them arrive in the night & sneak out early in the morning. They're despicable.
dalsgal
The people that sneak in come in around 11 or 12 and leave about 5-6. The owners can't afford expensive security devices and I am not paid enough to spend 24 hrs sitting in the office. When we have 6 acres of yard to mow and keep clean, a pool to clean and other maintenance issues I think 10 -7 is plenty of time to spend in the office 6 days a week. The more hours we put in working the less we are paid since we get a very low salary. I know, at all times, which spaces are empty and which are rented so a sweep would be unnecessary. Also that would mean we must stay up late each night to do that. Since we are up about 5 AM and starting to work doing the cleaning we don't want to sit up all night and see no reason for it. I have waked up in the middle of the night and checked outside and gone pounding on doors to get the rent. We have signs plainly posted stating that everyone must check in before parking at any hour and a stop sign in plain sight at the office but too many don't want to bother stopping at all.

I'm not trying to be difficult, as you implied, but trying to find a solution that is feasible. My husband and I already purchase our own tools (weed eater, chain saw, extension ladder, leaf blower)for yard work. We also are available 24/365 for anyone wanting to check in no matter how inconvenient it is for us personally.
Texasrvers
Some of this is going to sound a bit harsh. But the way I see it, when someone doesn’t pay, they are not stealing from you—they are stealing from the owner. You will get paid whether the patron pays or not. So why should you bust your butt for an owner that appears not to care. Otherwise if he did care, he would get you the help/equipment you need to do your job without having to work almost 24/7. (Hope he is not a close friend of yours, or worse yet—a relative.)

You seem to be conscientious managers who want to do a good job. You probably feel some loyalty to the owner simply because he is your employer, and your work ethic compels you to do everything possible, in spite of your working conditions, to run a nice campground and keep people from freeloading. It sounds like the owner knows that he has a good thing going and continues to take advantage of you, and I’m afraid you may be enabling him to do that by trying to work out solutions that basically involve you having to make unreasonable changes to your schedule—get up earlier, stay in the office later, close the office during the day, patrol at midnight and dawn, work 25 hours a day. It really is not up to you to provide a solution. The owner has to step up. If he can’t see the problem and help out in some way, I’m not sure I would worry if someone doesn’t pay.
pianotuna
Hi dasgal,

You are being taken advantage of. Unless there is some compelling reason to continue to work for your employer I'd be giving my notice.
kcmoedoe
QUOTE(pianotuna @ May 28 2013, 04:43 PM) *

Hi dasgal,

You are being taken advantage of. Unless there is some compelling reason to continue to work for your employer I'd be giving my notice.

I would have to agree. Especially if there is something else occuring we do not know about. The fact that a few people are stealing services is really not your concern. If the owner is busting your chops about it, tell him it is his problem, so he needs to find a solution. I seriously doubt it is a recurring problem, there really aren't that many dishonest RVers running around. If the situation was you closed the office early and didn't open till late, that kind of changes things. But are there really a lot of people who arrive around midnight and scoot out at 4 AM? Personally, I would pay dearly to not have to keep those kind of hours. That sounds like a whole lot of trouble to go through to save a few bucks.
Unfortunately, theft is a fact of life for a business. It is a cost of doing business, and you really shouldn't get too caught up in it. Hopefully they will eventually get their just do, but it is not your job to make bad people good.
Getting back to Pianotuna's point, and my agreement with him, you have listed a whole bunch of grievances against your employer. Given your low rate of pay, and the fact that a similar position shouldn't be that hard to find, maybe it is time to move on. Many times both sides of the employment equation start to take advantage of the other and it works for both to go their separate ways. Good luck, you sound like a potential employee an owner would be lucky to get.
willranless
dalsgal, I am a park owner and I was surprised when I read what your responsibilities are compared to what you are paid. I have workampers too and I would love to have someone like you working for me. However, I only ask my workampers to work a reasonable amount of time based on the value of what they are getting. For example, the ones I have had only work for their site and utilities (about $400 per month at face value). Based on a near minimum wage of $8/hour, I should get about 12 hours per week of work from them to be fair. And I am just blown away that you had to purchase equipment for yard work at your own expense. I know you didn't start a thread to complain about your work situation, but it does seem that you are not being treated fairly by your employer. Nor is it really our place to judge you for what you are willing to tolerate. You probably have good reasons for wanting to stay where you are and in your current job. But if you ever decide to move on, I'm sure you can find a place easily.
As for freeloaders, I'm with kcmoedoe on this one. I just don't think there are many of them out there to worry about. And it's not your problem anyway. If the owner is not willing to install enough security measures to prevent it from happening, I wouldn't worry about it either.
puddleduck
dalsgal,
Another park owner chiming in here.
I think this just requires a conversation with the owner. It is ultimately their decision as to what gets done.
If they expect you to correct the problem they need to provide you with the tools to do so.
If they don't want to do anything than nothing should be done.
We have been in our park nearly 15 years now and have had a number of "drive offs" that I could count on one hand but maybe Texas is different.
Also, in our state an employee "must" be compensated at least minimum wage for each hour worked. The compensation may be in wages or goods and services but must be "valued" at minimum wage.
Tom
QUOTE(Texasrvers @ May 28 2013, 02:27 PM) *

Some of this is going to sound a bit harsh. But the way I see it, when someone doesn’t pay, they are not stealing from you—they are stealing from the owner. ....

... If he can’t see the problem and help out in some way, I’m not sure I would worry if someone doesn’t pay.


I'm with Texasrvers on this one. Dals, you sound like a fantastic worker, but this situation is not your fault.
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