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Network Talk: The Greathouse Company Goes Beyond The Budget with LandOpt

Lee Greathouse, 65, has been involved in the landscaping business for more than 40 years. However, he is not ready for retirement quite yet.

In 2014, after a split with his long-time business partner due to philosophical differences, Lee began building a new landscape company with his son, Will, 34, and the services of LandOpt.

“I was able to take my name and reputation with me,” Lee Greathouse said. “And in two and a half years, I’ve built my business back up to almost where I was before, even though I’m at retirement age. It’s been fun.”

The Greathouse Company serves clients in the Nashville, Tennessee, area. The company has 22 full-time employees and grossed $3.2 million in sales in 2015. Will Greathouse, who has a business degree from the University of Tennessee, is the general manager.

LandOpt, a national network of landscape contractors, provides a proven business operating system to its members. It was Will who first saw the potential in partnering with LandOpt, Lee said, but he also became convinced of its merits.

Picture1“Even though I’ve been doing this so long, I still felt like I didn’t know it all,” Lee Greathouse said. “I tried consultants. I was on the board of a professional business association. But it just seemed like everyone had bits and pieces of what we needed. LandOpt put it all together under one roof. It’s just amazing.”

Joining LandOpt at the same time as they started the new company allowed the Greathouses to “plug in” LandOpt systems for sales and marketing, human resources, operations management and business management. It also allowed them to choose employees who would embrace a new way of doing things.

LandOpt’s financial planning services, however, have proved to be the “heart and core” of the transformation of their business, Lee Greathouse said.

“I always tried to create annual budgets. But it never really worked because of things like calculating overhead and equipment costs. LandOpt was able to fill in the gaps in my knowledge. I was successful, but I could have been even better if I would have had LandOpt all along. Forty years of experience is great, but LandOpt still has a more efficient way to do things.”

Lee Greathouse said that both he and LandOpt serve as backup for his son, who has been in the industry for nine years and will eventually take ownership of The Greathouse Company.

“When we can look at our whole year in detail, that gives us the confidence to know we have true numbers so we can move forward and grow, whether the economy is good or bad,” Lee Greathouse said. “And it gives Will the confidence that he can move forward as I’m transitioning out. We can’t imagine being without LandOpt.”

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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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