If you want to work with your hands, make good money and see tangible results of your hard work, head for a job in landscaping or construction.
But which field is right for you?
Paul Weaver, construction branch manager at Level Green Landscaping, talks about the pros and cons of each.
Construction Jobs: The Advantages
Plenty Of Work
The construction industry is booming in the Washington DC and surrounding areas right now, Weaver says.
“You can get a job any day of the week,” Weaver says. “If I wanted to install drywall tomorrow, I could. If I didn’t like it, I could quit and find a job the next day siding, painting or roofing.”
“Good labor is hard to find, so the pay is going up,” Weaver says. “You can sometimes negotiate your pay, if they really need people, and some jobs offer benefits.”
Some construction jobs offer day and night shifts, so there’s flexibility in the hours you work.
Construction Jobs: The Disadvantages
“Construction work can be dangerous, and workers are often using tools and chemicals they don’t understand,” Weaver says. “There’s not always safety training or a lot of orientation.”
You Need Your Own Tools
“If you’re a carpenter, they expect you to show up with your own tools, and they’re expensive,” Weaver says.
Many construction jobs work crews day and night, Weaver says. If you want your evenings free to spend with your family, there’s no guarantee you won’t get a night shift.
Landscaping Jobs: The Advantages
“When you work construction, you usually have to take a couple months off, due to bad weather, so you’re not earning money during that time,” Weaver says.
“We don’t mow grass in the winter, but we do snow removal, and that means year-round paychecks.
“We work in all kinds of weather, so we’re always out there earning money,” he says. “Short of a hurricane, we’re out working. And, actually, there's clean up to do after a hurricane, so we’re out there then, too.”
Weaver says some guys leave landscaping for the lure of a dollar more an hour in construction, but come back when they realize bad weather takes them off the job too often.
Landscaping companies are always looking for quality workers, too, so the pay is competitive with construction work, Weaver says. And because the work is year-round, so is the pay.
“We can’t work without daylight,” Weaver says, “so you won’t be working nights.” That’s good news if you want to spend time with your family.
“At the end of a week on a job site you can look at it and see exactly where all your blood, sweat and tears went,” Weaver says.
“When you see the progress you made, you know your hard work paid off.”
The Great Outdoors
“You’re outside, in the fresh air, working with the earth,” Weaver says. “If you’re installing plumbing, you’re stuck inside all day.”
We Provide The Tools
“In landscaping, all you have to show up with is your lunch and water,” Weaver says. “At Level Green, we provide everything, from the tools to the safety equipment to the uniforms.”
“There’s science behind our industry that a lot of people enjoy,” Weaver says. “Plant biology, learning how things grow — if you’re interested in that, landscaping is a great job.”
Landscaping Jobs: The Disadvantages
It Gets Hot Out There
“It’s 100 degrees out there today and 90-plus percent humidity,’ Weaver says. “It’s a rough day to be working outside. The weather can work for us, but it can also work against us.”
“We work with a lot of heavy equipment and chemicals,” Weaver says. “There are safety issues beyond just working with a hammer and nails.”
The good news: Level Green provides comprehensive safety training that prepares crews to stay safe on the job.
Working long hours in the sun can take a toll on health, Weaver says, from sunburn and skin cancer to cataracts if you don’t protect your eyes from the UV rays. Good sunscreen and high-quality sunglasses are musts.
If You Choose Landscaping, Choose Level Green
Sure, we’re a bit biased, but we love the landscaping industry, and we think you’d love it, too.
We’re always looking for hard-working, talented people to join our team.
Contact us at 202-544-0968.
We’d love to meet you.