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WORKING: A day on the job in south Pinellas County

By Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 20, 2002

Rick Therrien, 49, Owner, Rick's Lawn Care; Seminole resident

* * *

How long have you been doing this?

Nineteen years.

* * *

How did you get into it?

I used to sell real estate, and I started cleaning up some properties that needed it before they were sold.

* * *

What do you charge for the average yard?

About $80 a month.

* * *

How many employees do you have?

Just me. I had employees for many years, but it got to be too much trouble. Too many transient people: here today, gone tomorrow. I just depend on myself now; it's less stressful that way.

* * *

How do you market your business?

It's all word of mouth. I just take neighbors of accounts I already have. I turn down about 90 percent of potential new clients.

* * *

What's your favorite part of the job?

I love working outside.

* * *

What's the worst part of the job?

It's very demanding. I can't take two weeks off; I've never taken off more than one week at a time, and I've never taken a sick day. This stuff doesn't go away.

* * *

What's a good customer?

One that doesn't follow you around and pays on time.

* * *

What's a bad customer?

Exactly the opposite.

* * *

What's the best day you've ever had on this job?

That's a tough one. They're all pretty good. I get along with all my accounts.

* * *

What's the worst day you've had?

When the equipment breaks down -- that's the worst.

* * *

Do you have a favorite piece of equipment?

I'd have to say the extended pole trimmer. That thing saves me an awful lot of work.

* * *

What happens to all those leaves you blow?

Oh, you've got to rake it up. It goes in the Dumpster or the trash can. I don't just blow them into the street.

* * *

What was the first job you ever had?

Cutting meat at a supermarket. I did that for 14 years.

* * *

What other job do you dream of having?

I enjoy what I do, so it's nothing I've thought of.

* * *

If someone wanted advice about taking on this job, what would you tell them?

Be willing to put in a lot of hours, rain or shine, Saturdays and Sundays.

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