Looking for Work. Salary: $10,000 or less
You stand out in front of the local gardening store hoping to get picked up for some work that day. Standing in the hot sun, you watch as both the day and the cars pass you by. Finally, towards the end of the day, a nice old lady drives up and says she'll give you two bits if you help her plant an herb garden. You realize too late that two bits equals a whole quarter.
Part-Time Gardener. Salary: $20,000
You've been hired to do some yard work for a wealthy couple. Your favorite aspect of the job is being able to trim the hedges into interesting shapes. Your life-sized trimming of Elvis certainly makes the neighbors slow down to take a look. Unfortunately, it turns out your clients just wanted you to take off an inch or two.
Professional Landscaper. Salary: $30,000
You take pride in your work for all of your clients. Lawns are walkable, hedges are shorn as they should be, and there's not a dry patch of dead grass on any property for which you're responsible. Customers are reasonably happy with your work and rates, and most of them are fine with the extra hundred bucks you add for the "complete horticultural experience"—whatever that means.
Lawn Care Specialist. Salary: $40,000
Taking both your knowledge of plants and your ability to make them look pretty to the next level, you've started offering your services as a Zen contractor. Because of you, every garden you work on feels like an improved space, and the extra oxygen in the air really opens the lungs (not to mention the wallets).
Lawn Company Owner. Salary: $50,000
Ever since becoming one of the more respected gardeners in town, you've had to hire extra help just to deal with all the business. You sort of miss getting dirty throughout the day, but the increased revenue more than makes up for it. If you ever feel the need, you can always roll around in some mud.