Network Talk: Bellantoni Landscape Goes Beyond Technology With LandOpt

Q&A with Michael Bellantoni, a second-generation owner of Bellantoni Landscape in White Plains, N.Y.

Founded in 1963, Bellantoni Landscape offers full landscaping services including design, grounds maintenance, lawn sprinkler systems, drainage, masonry, lighting and water features. The company grossed $6 million in 2015 and has 22 full-time employees and 45 to 55 seasonal employees. The business is a member of LandOpt, a national network of independently owned landscape contractors. LandOpt provides proven business systems to help its contractors improve profitability and growth.

Q: Why did you join LandOpt?
A: Accountability. The way it usually goes is that you start something new, but then you get tied up in the day-to-day mayhem of running a business, and so it gets put by the wayside. But LandOpt puts a coach behind you, giving you deadlines to get it done. Our success coach visits us for a day each quarter to go over our successes and challenges so we can stay on track.

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Q: What do you need from LandOpt?
A: I am intrigued by their procedures and processes. We are a well-established company, but we are working to get to the next level. We would like to move into additional markets, maybe add some locations, and expand revenue. But first we are working

on our financial plan and gross margins. LandOpt has systems that we are implementing to do that.

Q: What benefits have you seen with LandOpt so far?
A: When you run a business, everyone wears a lot of hats. LandOpt is helping us define our roles and develop procedures so we can start taking off some of those hats. When the hats start coming off, your life starts getting easier.

Q: How does technology play a role in your business?
A: There are always new apps, new software, new operating systems, new phone technology. We used to design using pen and paper, but now we use software. We have GPS in all our trucks now. For marketing, we used to take out an ad in the Yellow Pages, but now we pay monthly fees for search engine optimization. The challenge with technology is the cost. You have to figure out what your return on your investment is going to be before you decide what to go ahead with.

Q: What do you think is the most critical part of running a landscaping business?
A: Education. You have to continue to stay ahead of the wave, or you’re not going to advance. Maybe some people are happy with the status quo, but I’m not.

Q: What kind of education?
A: We need to stay on the cutting edge of technology and science. The way you do things needs to change as the products change. We’re very active on continuing education. Most people think it’s not much to push a lawnmower. But for instance, as grass seed changes, we need to change the way we cut
grass, along with our watering and feeding practices. We have to pass that information on to our teams. If someone has been doing something one way for 10 or 15 years and they don’t understand why we are changing that, then they aren’t going to change.

Q: Would you recommend LandOpt to other landscape contractors?
A: From what I’ve seen, joining LandOpt is a wise move. I’m 100 percent on-board.
LandOpt helps contractors upgrade their businesses, not just their technology. Its business operating system includes sales and marketing, human resources, operations management, and business management. Success coaches guide licensees through the process. Benefits include professional development, training, and sharing knowledge between network members.

LandOpt partners with qualified, independently owned landscape contractors across the U.S. who want to transform their organizations. They provide a proven business operating system including sales and marketing, human resources, operations management, and business management. Support is provided by coaches who guide contractors through the process.

Let LandOpt take your business beyond technology: www.landopt.com.

 

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Judy Immel-Blackburn
Judy Immel-Blackburn
fj3blackburn@verizon.net

Judy Immel-Blackburn is a free-lance writer based in Pittsburgh. She has worked as a reporter covering education, local government, businesses and communities at newspapers in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Ohio. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University.

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