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Wednesday, Jan 06, 2021
Business Owner Spotlight: Groveland Resident Heads Eco-Friendly Lawn Care, Pest Control Business
Clean Air Lawn Care launched in Colorado in 2006, but in August, it partnered with Groveland resident Rob Hendricks to expand its environmentally friendly services in Florida.
Hendricks runs Bio Green, a family-owned Clermont-based operation that made a name for itself by using natural fertilizers and least-toxic pest control management systems.
The business prides itself on being a one-stop shop.
“Instead of having one guy who does the lawn, one who handles irrigation, another who takes care of pest control — we do it all,” Hendricks said. “We come by once a week and take care of whatever you need.”
Hendricks employs about five crew members, all Clermont residents.
He said about half his business comes from homes in the South Lake County area, including Minneola and Montverde. The service area extends to western Orange County, covering Windemere and Winter Garden.
Hendricks is proud of the eco-friendly way he runs his business. Bio Green uses propane-powered mowers and electric blowers to reduce pollution and noise.
“The equipment is getting better and better every day,” Hendricks said. “We can breathe around it, and it just runs better.”
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, gas-powered lawn and garden equipment is known to emit high levels of toxic and carcinogenic pollutants. The EPA even cracked down on these harmful emissions by passing new standards for small engines in 2011.
“I feel like we’ve gotten a head start on where the industry is already headed,” Hendricks said.
Hendricks became interested in natural fertilizers as a hazmat technician firefighter in California. Back then, he operated a side business with fellow firefighters building parks, sports fields and playgrounds.
“I learned a lot about chemical exposure,” Hendricks said. “I not only wanted to reduce exposure for our employees but for our customers as well.”
That knowledge motivated him to find greener alternatives and work with organic fertilizers.
After he retired as a firefighter, Hendricks and his family moved to Florida in 2006. He became CEO of the Coastal Conservation Association, a lobbying group for the recreational fishing industry. Later, he was appointed by the Commissioner of the Florida Department of Agriculture to serve as a voting member on Florida’s Ocean Council.
Hendricks and his Bio Green company recently attracted attention from Kelly Giard, CEO of Clean Air Lawn Care, which uses a franchisee business model. Giard launched Clean Air in 2006, using solar-powered electric lawn mowers designed by his father, an electrical engineer. Giard and Hendricks share a common belief — eco-friendly lawn care makes both environmental and economic sense.
“It isn’t a gimmick or fad for us,” Giard said. “It’s something we think is the future direction of the industry ... And our position in the industry is an example that this is possible.”
Hendricks said the new partnership will help him expand his local business. The goal is to hire another three-person crew in 2021. They’ll keep things local and stay in the South Lake County area.
“There’s so much growth in Clermont right now, that’s where our focus is,” Hendricks said.
The next step for Clean Air Lawn Care is educating people about the green alternatives they offer to traditional lawn care. Hendricks said many of his customers aren’t aware of the deliberate eco-friendly practices Bio Green and Clean Air Lawn Care use.
“They just like how accessible we are and the quality of our work,” he said.