Growing and thriving: The secret sauce for culture-based success

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Updated Dec 27, 2019
Photo: Beth Hyatt/Total Landscape CarePhoto: Beth Hyatt/Total Landscape Care

When Lee Greathouse, CEO of The Greathouse Company in Nashville, Tennessee, and his son Will, president, first began the process of rebuilding their company in 2014, they knew they’d have to set themselves apart from their competition.

With so many landscaping companies in the Nashville area, the Greathouse guys knew it would take a lot more than just changing up advertising or using vibrant colors in their uniforms or company vans to really bring in and keep clientele.

Since the split, Lee and Will agree that the company has continued to grow and thrive, which makes you wonder just what is the secret to their success? 

Tlc Part Two Of ThreeTeaming up with LandOpt

After splitting off from their partners, Lee and Will decided it would be an excellent opportunity to start up a partnership with LandOpt.

Through this partnership, Will says they’ve been given very in-depth financial training and planning, as well as other role-specific training for each person in management.

Photo: Beth Hyatt/Total Landscape CarePhoto: Beth Hyatt/Total Landscape Care

Nick Cooper, business development manager, has been with the company for five years and believes that working with LandOpt has proven beneficial for numerous reasons. Cooper adds that one of the best benefits of the LandOpt partnership is that it gives Greathouse a network of people they can bounce ideas off of.

The company currently operates six maintenance crews, four commercial project crews, two residential crews, a one-man enhancement crew, a one-man turf care crew and a one-man irrigation tech crew.

With so many irons in the fire, organization and communication are key to operating efficiently.

To help keep crews on task, Greathouse showcases a color-coordinated whiteboard on the wall of their main meeting room to show upcoming projects, current status on jobs, schedules and more. On Fridays, a meeting is held for all managers so they can have a game plan set for the coming week, and on Monday mornings, crew leaders will come in for their meetings.

“Everyone’s gotten to where they realize it really helps make the week flow so much better,” says Lee. “They come in on Monday morning and they know what’s going on and what they’re going to be doing.”

Cooper says each day, they try to make sure crews are at the office by 6:30 a.m. and are heading out to projects by 7:30 a.m.

Company culture

Once the split occurred, Will says he knew they needed to take this opportunity to change the culture of Greathouse.

Photo: The Greathouse CompanyPhoto: The Greathouse Company

Now, he says it’s night and day from what it used to be, and he adds that the biggest reason why he believes they are successful is because of the amazing team they have.

“We’re really trying to create an employee-first company,” says Will. “We feel if we treat our employees the right way, they’re going to, in turn, treat our customers the right way. It has a trickle-down effect. Lee has always built relationships and done business based on what he felt was right, and ultimately that comes out positively.”

According to Cooper, Greathouse constantly strives to create a family-centered atmosphere amongst staff members, as well as customer-friendly service for all of their clients.

Another testament to the company’s inviting culture, according to Cooper, is the fact that about 95 percent of their new hires come from employee referrals. Current employees receive a bonus for bringing in a new employee that stays six months, and those same new employees will also receive a bonus after staying six months.

From day one, Cooper notes that employees get health insurance, and after 90 days, they get a matched 401(k) program. He also adds that there’s a profit share possibility at the end of the year based on what position you’re in and how long you’ve been with the company.

Photo: Beth Hyatt/Total Landscape CarePhoto: Beth Hyatt/Total Landscape Care

“That’s something we do that’s a little different; we try to give them a career path versus just a job,” says Cooper. “We want it to be one large family. We want everybody to have their voice heard and their opinion heard.”

Cooper adds that boosting morale through holiday celebrations, company meals, appreciation parties, milestone recognitions and more is also a great way to show your employees you care about their happiness and their ability to feel relaxed and comfortable in the work atmosphere.

Because Greathouse is a family-run business, Cooper says the company is also able to individualize the way they operate based on the needs of each employee.

“You just don’t find owners like Lee and Will that are willing to do what they do, but that’s why they’ve grown so much,” says Cooper. “People want to be there.”

Check back tomorrow for part three of this story, where we’ll talk about what pain points Greathouse has experienced, as well as where they see the green industry and the company heading. 

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