Take The Journey – The Beginning

by | Apr 28, 2017 | Blog, Landscaping

When Hayden McLaughlin bought Belknap Nursery in 1988, he knew how to cut grass. He knew how to plant a tree. He had a horticulture degree and years of experience in the landscape industry, starting at the age of 12 when he kept the grounds for a dentist’s office.

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What McLaughlin didn’t know was how to really run a business.

“We didn’t have an organizational structure,” he recalled about earlier years. “When things came up, there was confusion about who would be handling what. We all wore a lot of different hats. And we had no career paths” which resulted in turnover in middle management.

Even so, the company he later renamed Belknap Landscape was profitable.

“We were a successful company with a large, tenured client base,” he said. “But then we experienced a downturn in 2010. Even though I saw it coming, I didn’t know how to respond to it. I just knew that we needed to change internally to improve.”

While he was searching for answers, McLaughlin encountered LandOpt representatives at a trade show. LandOpt is a national network of select landscape contractors that provides a proven business system to its members.

“What got me excited was that it was going to be a long-term relationship with them,” McLaughlin said. “I learned that LandOpt creates change in a company with a very solid business plan. The four pillars of LandOpt – human resources, business management, operations management and sales and marketing – were the areas that we needed to give attention to.”

After completing the qualification process, Belknap became powered by LandOpt in November 2012. In the past four years, Belknap has experienced a 20 percent growth in sales, McLaughlin said. Its 2015 sales revenue was $6.7 million.


Because of LandOpt, the company, which has 85 to 90 employees, is a very different one today, he added. For instance, Belknap used to have departments that kept to themselves. Now the company has two divisions – maintenance and projects – that allow for more cross-training. “We are more efficient and have more of a team effort,” he said.

In addition, employees can plan their career paths with Belknap, unlike before when job roles and responsibilities were undefined. “That has made a big difference in retention and engagement in work,” he added.

LandOpt guided Belknap in developing a financial plan as well. “It’s a lot of work to put it together, but now we have goals of where we are going to go,” he said. Cash flow challenges of the past also were addressed.

McLaughlin wishes he would have known about LandOpt years earlier.

“LandOpt provided us with a clear path of change,” he said. “It changed our culture, our financial performance and the service we provide our clients. LandOpt helps you build a better business and a stronger company.”

Taking the journey with LandOpt starts with a single step. Contact LandOpt at www.landopt.com for more information.


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Judy Immel-Blackburn





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