The Dunn family in front of their company vehicles

Laying the groundwork

Jeremiah Dunn prepares to take ownership of his family business, Greenscape Services

By Hannah Massen

There’s a lot of work that goes into maintaining an “effortlessly” lush lawn or yard, which is why Lowcountry homeowners call Jeremiah Dunn’s family business Greenscape Services. Since 1992 Jeremiah Dunn and his family have increased the curb appeal of many gated-community homes on Hilton Head and now in Bluffton as well. 

Greenscape Services is known for its ability to take landscaping projects from the initial installation of landscape elements all the way to the maintenance phase, but it specializes in custom LED lighting and hand-laid fountains and fishponds. Greenscape Services has a client roster of about 150 accounts, which speaks to the efficiency of the business’s small team. Dunn works with his wife, Pam, and his cousin, Mike, along with his aunt and uncle, Jeannie and Pat, who currently own Greenscape Services and manage a crew of about 15 employees. 

Dunn never felt pressured to join the family business but thought it was a clear next step after leaving the Air Force in 2008. His time attending the Citadel taught him that he did not want to work a traditional desk job and saw entering the family business as an opportunity to indulge his love for the outdoors while building a legacy for himself. Dunn says that getting to work with his family members is both his favorite and least-favorite part of his job. While disagreements happen rarely, he says they “openly discuss points of contention here more strongly at times,” but issues usually come down to a vote.

Dunn appreciates the transparency and autonomy that come with working with his family. He enjoys being able to write his own schedule but stays ready to fill in for his crew or family when needed. 

“We do have a division of duties here, but we have to stay flexible,” Dunn said. “An ability to switch gears and adjust is needed company-wide.”

But there is one decision that’s been set in stone: Dunn and Mike will take complete ownership of Greenscape Services when Mike’s father, Pat, retires. Dunn hopes that the business will continue to grow under his – then potentially his children’s – leadership. 

“I have felt like this has been primarily mine for years now,” Dunn said. “I have three girls ages 5, 7 and 14. Future involvement for them is up to them, and we will support them either way.”

The Dunn family of Greenscape Services
The Dunn family keeps it flexible at Greenscape Services and are always ready to fill in for each other when the need arises.

Jeremiah Dunn knew he didn’t want to work a traditional desk job after graduating from college, so joining the family landscaping business seemed like a natural fit. Now he’s preparing to take ownership of the business along with his cousin, Mike.

Key Takeaways

  1. Be prepared for lags in business. There is not a lot of downtime while building, working and, ultimately, growing. 
  2. Learn every role. I would advise you to stay interested and learn all of the facets as soon as you can. 
  3. Invest in your team. Starting a landscape company organically can be challenging. Ultimately it comes down to the right employees.

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