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Zach Mckamey: up and coming

By ZOË WATKINS - zwatkins@t-g.com
Posted 4/29/23

Zach Mckamey, though only 20, runs a full-time landscaping business, Mckamey’s Lawncare. And with spring — and soon summer — in full swing, he’s hard at working mowing, …

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Zach Mckamey: up and coming


Zach Mckamey, though only 20, runs a full-time landscaping business, Mckamey’s Lawncare. And with spring — and soon summer — in full swing, he’s hard at working mowing, mulching, and trimming the many green yards of Bedford County.

He started in the lawncare business working for Jack Daniel’s during the summer when he was 16. When he was 18, he decided he wanted to be a self-made man and work for himself.

“So, I started mowing…and I’ve been doing it ever since then,” he said. “I’m kind of like the person that’s like ‘risk it.’ And I just ran with it.”

A 2020 graduate from Cascade High, Mckamey also worked on a different kind of green field as he was a pitcher and shortstop for the baseball team.

But the work today fits him well. “I’d rather be outside than inside. I can’t stand to be inside,” he said with a laugh.

Landscaping is more than just mowing. Mckamey is learning the world of business, too — that is, learning how to buy equipment then pay it off, deciding how many hours to work to make a profit, and down to how much gas to buy.

“The main thing — the hardest thing — is really trying to figure how much you need at a job and not over bidding it or under bidding it,” said Mckamey.

“Right now, I’ve been crazy busy all the time,” he said.

In this busy season, he front-loads his mowing at the beginning of the week. By the end of the week, even on Saturdays, he finishes landscaping, including putting gravel down, pulling bushes, and sodding.

Plus, Tennessee’s crazy up-and-down weather doesn’t help. That, and finding another business partner.

Since starting on his own, the once rather shy Mckamey has learned how to talk with people and advocate his business.

“I was like super-super quiet throughout school. I’ve really had to learn how to talk to people. Because there’s a big difference in regularly talking to people and talking to people about business,” said Mckamey.

“But I definitely love it. I wouldn’t go back,” he said. 

A lot of it is just trusting yourself and just getting out and doing it. “Most everything is pretty simple. It’s really just looking it up and teaching yourself,” Mckamey said.

It’s also worth it in the end. Mckamey said his favorite part of the job is seeing the before and after.

“I really look forward everyday to working outside and seeing the before and after. I like seeing and going to different places — and seeing what I can do,” he said.

One time, he recalled, a major mulch job that took him two days, in addition to pulling and planting bushes. But it was just another job that showed simply he could do it.

In the meantime, there’s been a lot to learn to get to where he is today.

For maintaining a good lawn, Mckamey said it’s good to over-seed — for fully-grown lawns — and fertilize in the fall and spring to let the grass you want to grow through. Outside of that, getting your lawn regularly mowed and cleaned helps in the long run.

“Last week, there were two yards that I did that half their yard was dead. So, I came in, seeded it, fertilized, and then put straw over it. And they’re already coming in very well,” he said.

With these yards, sawdust from old ground-up tree stumps is what caused the grass to die, according to Mckamey.

“I try to learn everything I possibly can,” Mckamey said. Especially if it’s something he doesn’t know.

“I think I kind of always knew I wanted to do my own thing…I think I have pretty good drive to get myself going.”

To contact Mckamey’s Lawncare, call 931-703-9861.