Meet the New Boss
Q&A with LandOpt President Jim Westover
Jim Westover was appointed President in December 2021. He succeeded Don Evans who served as President for five years and remains a LandOpt board member. Westover most recently was Vice President of Product Development and Sales for Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts, North America’s leading family camping franchise. Before that he was a Vice President at Bruster’s Real Ice Cream, a nationwide premium ice cream franchise.
Q: Why did you decide to join LandOpt?
A: I chose to join the LandOpt team because of the solid foundation in place. The employees are extremely knowledgeable about the industry, and they have a great rapport with our member contractors, who we call principals or licensees. They are extremely focused on improving the principals’ operations and financial performance.
With the green industry growing so rapidly, there is a great need for our product. LandOpt is here to help contractors grow the right way, which leads to long term success.
Lastly, LandOpt also has very knowledgeable board members with decades of industry experience. Their connections and relationships provide growth opportunities for licensees. They also have great insights that are very helpful to me and the members of the leadership team.
Q: What has surprised you the most in your first few months on the job?
A: The passion the principals and staff have for the green industry is amazing. The emotions and the stories everyone shared at our principal’s meeting was tremendous. I really got to see what this brand means to people and how hard they strive to be some of the best companies in the industry.
Q: How did the pandemic affect LandOpt and its contractors?
A: LandOpt worked hand in hand with the principals to develop strategies during the shutdown period, ranging from helping with PPP loans to financial planning. The pandemic also helped consumers realize the value of investing in their homes, so our industry really took off. We helped our licensees understand how to identify and select high margin, profitable contracts, and we advised them on pricing, as we knew inflation would occur.
Q: What are LandOpt’s greatest growth opportunities?
A: LandOpt’s greatest growth opportunities are with independent contractors whose sales are in the $1 to $5 million range and are looking to take their business to the next level. We can help these businesses expedite their sales with the vast tools and educational programs that we already have in place, not to mention new ones that will be developed.
Q: What is your vision for LandOpt? What will it look like in two years? Five years?
A: My vision is for LandOpt to become a one-stop shop for landscape contractors. We will have more relationships with experts who will guide them from start up through growth. When it is time for the licensee to sell his or her business, we will have resources to help them get the best possible price.
Over the next few years, we will continue to add to our bench of coaches that have a variety of skillsets, ranging from HR, financial planning and education. We will look to add experts in new areas, such as succession planning and mergers & acquisitions.
Q: Growing sales for LandOpt contractors is among your priorities. How will you achieve this?
A: Service is at the core of our principals’ and our success. We will help them make better use of LandOpt’s knowledgeable team and existing services. By providing structure, networking, technology, training and economies of scale, they will be more successful in reaching their financial goals.
Q: Expanding the LandOpt network also is a priority. How will this be accomplished?
A: Brand awareness is critical, with raising LandOpt’s profile our number one goal. We will do this through a new online search engine optimization (SEO) effort, a PR campaign, as well as a new website. We are refreshing all of our marketing assets to reflect what the brand will look like going forward. We also will be involved with industry shows like NALP.
We know that word of mouth is a powerful sales tool, and we may look to add a referral program in the future.
Q: What role will technology play in LandOpt’s growth?
A: We are currently working to integrate existing CRM systems with our financial planning tool. We also are making upgrades to the financial planning tool, which will be a huge asset to our licensees. And we are exploring development of a proprietary CRM solution that may be offered to licensees in the future.
Q: How about channel partners?
A: We are always looking to add more channel partners who bring value to the LandOpt system and brand. We are committed to seeking out relationships that will bring new services and economies of scale to our principals.
We also want to aid in their growth. They will benefit from increased traffic to our website, as well as gain exposure from our PR program. We also will provide channel partners with the ability to blog and share backlinks to our site.
Q: Why is this a good time for contractors to join LandOpt?
A: With the explosive growth and challenges the industry is experiencing, now is the time to seek out advice from an experienced company such as LandOpt. We have the tools, staff and resources in place to help contractors navigate increased demand, inflation and workforce issues. We also have a knowledgeable board and network that will share their ideas and experiences. In short, LandOpt offers a great value proposition to get contractors’ businesses to the next level.
Interested in joining LandOpt? Contact Jim at 412-418-7297 or email@example.com.