Lawn care giant TruGreen is putting down roots in Tampa, hiring up to 175 workers to staff a newly opened national call center inside the Netpark office complex.
The Memphis-based company started ramping up the center this month and anticipated topping out at about 225 employees after its hiring spree is completed. Most positions are seasonal sales associates, but there are a handful of permanent management jobs open as well.
TruGreen had operated a smaller, regional call center in Clearwater. The new operation will handle roughly half of all inbound calls nationally from customers seeking service plus 100 percent of all Web inquiries, center director Jeff Walter said.
Tampa's available pool of talent and its reputation as a call center hotbed both played to its favor in luring the operation, Walter said. "We had looked around different parts of the country and Tampa was very, very high on our list."
He indicated he was not aware of any tax-incentive package prior to the opening, but as the center grows "there may be something in the works."
Though Tampa Bay's unemployment rate is still an uncomfortably high 10.3 percent, the region has had a string of job creation successes tied to call centers. To name a few: OneTouch Direct is adding 700 jobs in the next two years at its Tampa headquarters; USAA is adding 160 jobs; and Humana has added 500 jobs at two area locations since July.
Hourly pay scales were not disclosed, but the company said wages are supplemented by commissions. During last year's peak season — between March and May — top sales associates earned an average $3,100 in commissions every month.
As the biggest lawn care company in the country, TruGreen handles lawn, tree and shrub care for more than 2.5 million commercial and residential customers. It has about 250 branches in the United States and Canada, including about 50 franchise locations.
The company is part of the ServiceMaster family of services, which includes such brands as Terminix, American Home Shield, ServiceMaster Clean, Merry Maids, Furniture Medic and AmeriSpec.
Jeff Harrington can be reached at (727) 893-8242 or [email protected]