The birth of A.I.R. Lawn Care started when Zack Kline was in the 6th grade, as he was instructed to cut the family’s grass. A task that most kids dread, Zack quite enjoyed. He continued to take care of the family’s lawn and in 2007, the summer he graduated from high school, he began working for a small landscaping company.
It was during this summer that the idea for A.I.R. Lawn Care was born. It was a scorching “Code Red” day in Darnestown, MD, and Zack was working on trimming a 2.5 acre property. He became irritated at the excessive amount of smog and the loud noise the string trimmer exerted. That, coupled with knowing the amount of gasoline the company was putting into their machines on a daily basis, had Zack thinking, “There’s got to be a better way!”
The better way? A.I.R. (Atmosphere Improvement and Renewal) Lawn Care. Zack developed a business plan and entered Salisbury University’s Bernstein Business Plan Competition in 2010, in which he took honorable mention. He honed his plan and came back in 2011, winning the $5,000 first place prize. With that grant, A.I.R. Lawn Care was born – he put a down payment on a truck, purchased electric lawn equipment, and began to get clients for the 2011 season.
In the summer of 2011 Zack attended a lunch seminar at Bethesda Green where Seth Goldman of Honest Tea was speaking. Shortly after attending the seminar A.I.R. Lawn Care became a part of Bethesda Green’s incubator. It helped as Zack was able to develop direct, personal relationships with his customers during the 2011 season. He got to know his clients, their children, their interests, and so on, because he realized it’s often the little things that matter most.
It was, indeed, little things and attention to detail that led Zack to a leading manufacturer of outdoor power equipment and connections to some of the green industry’s top professionals.
In early 2012 Zack was planning to purchase battery powered equipment and was in the midst of extensive research into the companies and products that would be the best fit for his business. He settled on STIHL battery-powered equipment and while doing research found out that the president of STIHL Inc., Fred Whyte, was an avid bagpipe player. So, along with a letter introducing himself, his company and his decision to purchase STIHL, he sent Mr. Whyte a pair of bagpipe cufflinks. Soon after, he received a personal phone call from Mr. Whyte to thank him for his gift, and the conversation turned to Zack’s business plan.
Mr. Whyte was so impressed with Zack’s commitment and attention to detail, he asked Roger Phelps, promotional communications manager for STIHL Inc., to meet with Zack personally. After a thorough review of Zack’s business plan, STIHL Inc. made the decision to help him start his business by providing several pieces of the Battery KombiSystem. Phelps, who is also a board member of PLANET, the Professional Landcare Network, made a personal introduction for him to PLANET staff who were also impressed and provided Zack a one-year complimentary membership.
Phelps also introduced Zack to Independent We Stand, a movement supporting locally owned businesses. Project Manager Bill Brunelle loved Zack’s story and provided A.I.R. Lawn Care a complimentary 1-year premium membership.
A.I.R. Lawn Care has begun forming relationships with other industry leaders since then. We are growing A.I.R. Lawn Care each year and need your help. Get a free estimate or work for A.I.R. Lawn Care today.