How our lives changed 

Kimball Cleaners
308 SW 5th Ave
Aledo, IL 61231

Williams Studio
New Windsor, IL 61465

Andalusia, IL 61232

Hideaway Plastics
1801 17 St
PO Box 379
Viola, IL 61486

Deer & Co Credit Union
3950 38 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

2018 4 Ave
Rock Island, IL 61201

Walcott Trust & Savings Bank
101 W Bryant St
PO Box 108
Walcott, IA 52773

Mississippi Laser
7700 47 St
Milan, IL 61264

Longs Carpet
4200 11 St
Rock Island, IL 61201

Roth Pump
Box 4330
Rock Island, IL 61201

Hughes Telephone
1117 Blackhawk Rd
Rock Island, IL 61201

ASAP Equipment
4730 44 St

Taylor Garages
Airport Rd
Milan, IL 61264

Michael Warner, Attorney
1600 4th Ave, Suite 410
Rock Island, IL 61201

Kansas City Life
5019 34 Ave B
Moline, IL 61265

Service-industry salaries aren't limited to bottom rung

By Pam Berenger, Dispatch/Argus Staff writer

Wages in the service industry get a bad rap, according to Rob Lamb, vice president of the Quad City Development Group.

``Everyone assumes jobs in the service industry are very low-paying,'' he said. ``That isn't true. Of course, they include fast-food service workers, but the service industry also includes insurance and real-estate sales and back-office clerical, like MCI has.''

In short, generalizing the service industry does it an injustice, he said. Wages run the gamut, just as job titles do.

In 1998, according to a Bi-State Regional Commission survey, service workers earned hourly wages from $5.74 to $8.74 an hour as a restaurant baker, and $7.24 to more than $15 as a physical-therapy aide. Benefits for service workers were not included in the survey.

It can be assumed those who work in some service-industry jobs, such as insurance, would have higher wages and better benefits than those working at fast-food restaurants, Mr. Lamb said. The same can be said for self-employed entrepreneurs, he said.

Giving up company retirement plans, benefits, and a known income make a difficult decision for those looking at striking out on their own.

For some, like Cindy Ward, Darla Jackson and Lisa Frazelle, three of five sisters who started Maid Four You, medical insurance wasn't an issue. Their husbands had it. However, they did have to think about income.

For people like Connie and Joe Santarelli, who opened a Mail Boxes Etc. franchise in 1996, medical insurance was a weighty issue.

When the Santarellis began exploring their options, they learned benefits are something people must be prepared to pay $1,000 for or be without.

``People don't realize the cost of medical insurance,'' Mrs. Santarelli said. ``It's a real eye-opener what it costs for major medical insurance.''

Income is another eye-opener. At first, the Maid Four You sisters -- Mrs. Jackson, Mrs. Ward, Mrs. Frazelle, and their sisters, Kim Corwin and Tracy Corwin -- were working about 1 1/2 times the number of hours they had worked at their previous jobs. Gradually, they cut back. Today, Mrs. Frazelle works about half the hours she did when she was with the Rock Island Police Department.

`I basically cut my schedule in half,'' Mrs. Frazelle said. ``The income is not the same, but you can always add more clients. The freedom is what I want.''

Freedom to choose their work environment and schedule is a major factor in choosing a job in temporary services, another growing part of the service industry, according to Annette Snyder from Employment Source and Cindy Ginter of Kelly Services.

Temporary services are seeing tremendous growth, not because those people can't find a job, but because they're looking for flexibility, the opportunity to meet new people and to earn more income, according to Ms. Ginter.

Temporary workers generally earn just less than what the company would pay as a starting salary, although it depends on the worker's experience, Ms. Ginter said.

``Jobs in the $18 to $19 range aren't there,'' Ms. Snyder said. ``People will come in and say they want $12, and realistically they have to settle for $8 or $9.

Right now, I have tons of applicants ... The jobs are dwindling.''

Copyright 1999, Moline Dispatch Publishing Co.