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Matt Masur: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the Growth Mode Conversations podcast. I’m your host, Matt Masur, the founder of Growth Mode Technologies, your local IT department. And in a few minutes, you’re about to hear me interview a very interesting member of the community. Could be a business owner, could be an influencer, could be some guy off the street.

You’re going to have to stick around to find out.

But first, let’s talk a little bit about our company, GrowthMode Technologies, your local IT department. We’re a business to business technology services company that exists to make local businesses better using technology. We’re not your traditional break fix, only show up when something’s wrong type of IT services company.

We are a true technology partner that’s dedicated to making your business better, because we understand that our business only grows when yours does. If you’re interested in learning about how to make yourself better and potentially even save some money in the process, visit our website at localitdepartment.

com. And now, without further ado, let’s jump into the interview.

Hello [00:01:00] folks, and welcome back to the growth mode conversations podcast recorded here live at the local it department studios here in the growth mode technologies office, East Syracuse, New York. If anybody wants to stop by and visit one time, I had one. Stop in. It’s a random, and you know, we’re a business to business company.

We’ve got to sign up above, but I never really expected someone just to stop in and inquire about IT services. I had somebody do that last week. It was awesome, honestly. And who knows if it’ll turn into anything, but. That was pretty neat. Well, check, check one for that. Joining me today on the podcast is an awesome guy a gentleman that I’ve come to know from profound.

If you’ve paid attention to any of our other episodes you might’ve already met some other profound members, but as we always do on this podcast, I do this thing where I asked the guests to introduce themselves and, and say what they do. So without further ado, if you wouldn’t mind. Who are

Jim Barrett: you and what do you do?

My name is [00:02:00] Jim Barrett and I own Premier Lawn Services. And also Premier Mosquito Services. Oh. We provide we Premium mosquito Premier. Mosquitoes? For now so How do you get rid of the mosquitoes? How, where, it was Premier Lawn Services and we started by doing everything. Okay. Like, you know, But what set us apart from most other lawn care companies is we also did the chemical stuff, which takes a lot of licensing and stuff through the state.

As I got more and more of those clients and building the schedule, we slowly got rid of all the rest of this, you know, other stuff. It’s mowing, shrub trimming, things like that. The whole time we also did mosquito spraying. And in a way to brand the mosquito, like, cause people just saw lawn, they didn’t know mosquito.

We created DBA Premier Mosquito Services kind of underneath the lawn services, created another logo. And all that in a whole separate Google business listing, and it’s actually helped quite a bit.

Matt Masur: Wow, that’s incredible. Yeah. So, lawn and mosquito, what, give us kind of the [00:03:00] rundown, what’s the typical thing that you do for folks

Jim Barrett: most commonly?

Kill their weeds, and fertilize their lawns. Okay. You know, everybody wants that nice green lush lawn, and that’s what we do. We’ll come in, we’ll kill the weeds, we’ll feed it with some fertilizer, and if it’s still thin towards the end of the season, We always recommend an aeration and overseeding, which is basically just introducing new grass into the lawn, helping it make it thicker and fuller.

And you, you

Matt Masur: said, what time of year do you do

Jim Barrett: that? We start in April. Okay. Yeah. We start in April and we go through October, beginning of October, usually finishing up somewhere in there. Okay.

Matt Masur: Now, when you say you get rid of the weeds, are you down on your hands and knees, pulling them all or is there.

Jim Barrett: Is there an efficient way to do that? Yeah, no, we spray them. We use a granular fertilizer, it’s a slow release fertilizer, and we use liquid weed control. That’s interesting. It’s best practices. Some companies will do all liquid, you know, as far as money, they could save money on their rent, but it’s not necessarily the best way to do [00:04:00] it.

So, yeah, we have a Rite On machine that we use. Now, when I started with the push, you know, like a push spreader and a backpack sprayer, which we still have those, you know, needed for, for certain things, but we have right on machines now and we’ll spread out the granule fertilizer and spray where needed.

That’s that’s pretty neat. We do about five services a season. Come approximately every 45 days. Okay. And if you opt for like the grub preventative, which we highly recommend, that gets put down during our third visit, usually in the beginning of July. What does that do for you? It prevents grubs come fall time.

Okay. So the life cycle of a grub is you’ll notice around, I think it’s around June, they usually, they hatch, they’re out flying around, you see the Japanese beetles and stuff. Oh wow, okay. Yep, and they’ll decimate your, usually your flowers. Those things are nasty. Bushes and everything. And what they do is they mate and then when they mate, they lay their larva in the ground late summer, the larva goes under under the the soil.

It [00:05:00] hatches and as soon as it hatches, the eggs hatch into larva. As soon as the larva hatches, it eats the root system of your lawn. Oh, wow. And within days. You could have a nice green grass and all of a sudden just huge brown patches. And the best way to know is if it’s grub damage is peel up, just like a carpet, you just grab the brown grass, you pull back and it just like, it peels right back off the dirt.

Okay. There’s no roots left. See, this

Matt Masur: is, this is why we’re doing this. We’re learning things here. Cause I, all the time you see, you know, there’s patches here and there. And why the hell is that different than, you know, the rest of the lawn? You think you’re just not watering that spot,

Jim Barrett: right? Or something could be fungus.

You could have dropped gasoline. Sure. Anything with salt, high salt content. For example, right now, people, if you salt your driveways if that gets washed off into the lawn. You could have dead patches in the spring come springtime because it’s over salting. Wow. There’s, there’s so many different things.


Matt Masur: That’s it’s a lot to know and it’s, it’s [00:06:00] interesting. So you mentioned would you say five treatments a season? Yeah. So typically folks sign up and, and it’s not a one time thing, but they get arranged with you and, and do they have to like schedule that or do you get them pretty much set

Jim Barrett: and take care of it?

But yeah, we just say we do five visits, you know, here are the timeframes for each of those visits and we’ll notify you a day before we come. We always send out an email or a text message reminder, Hey, we’re going to service your property tomorrow, weather depending. And people seem to like that. A lot of the reviews that we get, people like that heads up the day before for sure, especially when you’re coming and putting, you know, potential chemicals on, on lawns and things.

Matt Masur: Now, do you do also, I guess what you’d call sort of landscaping as well? Do you cut the grass?

Jim Barrett: Nope. We don’t. We did when we first started. We, we don’t do any of that anymore. Gotcha. Usually refer that

Matt Masur: the treatment and let somebody else trim it and you make it look good.

Jim Barrett: Yep. I’d cut my own lawn.

Yeah. You know, I don’t want anybody to touch that. So I take care of my own lawn, but yeah, we don’t do that anymore.

Matt Masur: That’s great. What? How does somebody get into a [00:07:00] business like this? You just driving around and you see too many brown patches and you think I have

Jim Barrett: a solution or what? Usually it’s somebody working for someone else and say, I can do this.

Okay. You know, I want to start my own business, but that’s not what happened. A side note is I also own a bread distribution business. Okay. Thomas’s English muffins and gotcha. Arnold breads. It’s a major grocery store. Sure. In the area. So I was getting done with that early and I took a passion in my own lawn.

I actually hired somebody to treat my lawn and figured out what they were using, how they’re using it, what they’re doing. And I, I, they were doing part of my lawn. I practiced doing the other part of my lawn. That’s pretty neat. And so I was like, this is easy testing on himself. So I’ve been testing my own lawn for years, you know, I’ve back in 2020, I killed off areas of certain grass, tested things, replanted stuff, you know, get people walking by asking questions, what’s wrong with your lawn.

So I was getting done early with the bread business and I was like, let me, I’m gonna start a [00:08:00] lawn care business. This is the morning you drop off the fresh baked goods. I stocked the shelves too, but I was done by 10 the latest and I was getting done in the rest of the day. I was like, what am I going to do?

And so I thought, I’m going to do this. And I told my wife, she’s like, you’re nuts, but whatever floats your boat. Now it’s become more of a much larger scale thing that, that’s awesome, that I enjoy.

Matt Masur: That’s great. And the fact that you enjoy it is,

Jim Barrett: is a big thing. I, I, I found that through time. I enjoy building the business.

Yeah. That’s what’s really, you know, right. The fun part about, it’s like this was nothing and now it’s this. And you know, I get, people ask me all the time, are you a franchise? Yeah. I was like, no, I did that. That’s good. They’re like, you did good. You know, ,

Matt Masur: no, I, you know what it seems like, so many businesses sort of in your industry are all just this big name and you’ve got the local folks running a franchise and I’ve always, I don’t know, I’m, I’m always felt kind of weird about franchises because a lot of them, with the exception of like the biggest, most well known brands you’ve [00:09:00] ever heard.

It seems like You still got to build the business, you still got to do all the work and everything, and you know, maybe the advantage is a name somebody’s heard, but I’d love to see people kind of do it on their own

Jim Barrett: and build something. Usually with those you get the name and like the systems and stuff like that, so that’s tough.

That’s still stuff we’re working on now is getting our systems in place. But I, I mean, I’ve been asked, I’ve been asked about franchising and things and like, like, Becoming someone else’s franchises. Yeah, because of the bread business, the way that said that is set up like a franchise, I own a territory similar to like FedEx.

But I have a contract with them that’s, that’s an inch thick. I don’t have a lot of control over it. Sure. You know, and what I really love about the lawn business is I have 100 percent control over it. Right. So I make all the decisions. I, I can’t deviate from the contract. Sure. Of the bread business.

Yeah. It is what it is.

Matt Masur: Yeah, that’s like, like I was saying, that’s one of those things like with the franchise that it’s, you know, it’s your own business, but you’re [00:10:00] also very, very much kind of working for somebody else with just as many. Yeah, rules and restrictions. And for folks that really have that entrepreneurial itch, it’s almost like I don’t, I don’t know if that does it, you know, but that’s great.

So you love building the business. What’s next? How? How are you looking to continue

Jim Barrett: that? The business wise? Yeah. Yeah. Like the lawn care. So I plan on growing. Like I’ve told people, no pun intended. Yeah. Yeah. I do plan on growing. I need to get some staff at the moment. I had, I’ve had one guy that I’ve had for many years.

He’s worked out amazing. He was the greatest employee I probably ever could have. And he moved on to other things that he wanted to pursue, which Good for him. I’m trying to actually help him with that as well. So, but I guess the employees, I’m working on the systems and stuff and currently just. Got off some calls with some people working on the back end stuff.

That’s awesome. To help us grow and [00:11:00] kind of automate some things.

Matt Masur: And, and you need in your business, it’s not, I mean, obviously manpower is the big thing, but there’s also a little bit of equipment, right? Like you talked about the the ride on equipment and stuff like that. So is it? Can you take on a considerable amount before you have to do a big investment in that stuff?


Jim Barrett: is that something that you’re going to have to add? That’s not, that’s not so bad. The equipment’s not going to be the biggest hurdle. It’s probably going to be getting people, getting the clients in the door. You know, the equipment, you know, everyone else is right on machines, you know. Uh, high end would be about 15, 000.

Okay. And then you’re gonna need a truck. Sure. You’re gonna move it around. Maybe a trailer. Depending on how you’re set up. We, we’re, we’re set up with a couple different ways. I have a trailer where we could tow, there’s water in the back. And I also have a a carrier that goes in the back of a truck that we can drive the machine right along to the carrier and there’s a water tank in the back of the pickup truck and we can just hand load, you know, bags of fertilizer and pretty neat toolbox in there with all the chemicals that we would need for the day.

So that is what we use [00:12:00] mostly last year. My tech. Preferred that. Yeah. So whatever my Anytime don’t have to pull it trailer. Absolutely. Yeah. Whatever my tech prefers I’m, we’re gonna try to do. Sure. For the most part, I would, down the road, like to do the vans similar to some other companies. Okay. Where you can drive the machine right into the side door of the van.

Oh wow. And then you could like, pallet. So

Matt Masur: this thing I’m gonna envision kind of the size of like a, a big like one of those Ferris mowers or something that’s

Jim Barrett: real big. Is it kind of they’re narrower, little smaller? Yeah. They’ll fit through to 36 inch gates. Oh, cool. That’s neat. There’s a couple we just picked up.

I was actually probably the first one in the Northeast to take delivery of a new state of the art version of one. It’s got like a, it’s Bluetooth and you can set up a program at home on your computer and. With all the calculations and the mix rates and all this other stuff, so you could put anyone on it and just say, so long as you can drive and make, you know, certain types of terms, hit things.

Yeah, you pretty much can handle this. You can’t, you can’t over apply. You can’t under apply. The product, as you slow [00:13:00] down, it slows down the output of the product, which most machines don’t do. Which, so this, I’m excited to use it. I have, we literally, I picked it up at the end of the season. That’s great. I toyed with it on my own lawn for a minute and haven’t really have had to put it away for the winter.

And that’s,

Matt Masur: that’s one of those things that’s like a I don’t know, a dual benefit, I guess I’ll say to you and your clients, right? Because. First and foremost, you’re doing it right. You’re probably not wasting product if it’s slowing down. But also on the client side, you know, they’re not getting, I can imagine when I think about that thing moving and going at full bore, even though you stop, now there’s a puddle right there.

And yeah, you got

Jim Barrett: to make sure you shut it. Kill it. Yeah. It’ll kill it. You got to make sure that you shut off the lever. If you stop on certain machines and And then I’ve had clients like, Oh, he was going really fast. Well, the machine is set up to put out a rate at a certain speed. Sure. And it’s the fastest the machine goes, which isn’t that fast, but to a client when you’re on their lawn, it seems that way, you know, so I’ve had to explain that to a couple of people as well.


Matt Masur: can, I can just [00:14:00] imagine, you know, outside the window, somebody zooming back and forth, you

Jim Barrett: know, that’s pretty cool. And these machines, you know, they’re 36 inches wide or less. But they’ll do a swath of 10 to 12 feet. You know, so when you see us only do a couple passes in your backyard, we’re covering the whole thing.

It may not look like it, but we are.

Matt Masur: No, that’s great. Is it do you typically do? Like front and backyard people want the whole

Jim Barrett: thing or be usually about what you it’s usually that Occasionally you get the people that are concerned about pets But like I tell everybody according to all the products that we use once it’s dry.

It’s it’s safe to enter Yeah for people pets kids anything that could be anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour depending on the weather sure And it’s only the liquid herbicides that you would need to worry about. Fertilizer, dry, put it down, doesn’t matter. That works its way into the soil as well.


Matt Masur: Yep. So, let’s give folks just a little bit about some details. So, if they are interested in the service. So, first and foremost, where [00:15:00] geographically,

Jim Barrett: where do you service? Yep. So, we’re Liverpool, Cicero Parsons, Central Square, East Syracuse, DeWitt, Manley, Fayetteville, Chitango all the northern.

Eastern suburbs of the city of Syracuse for the most part. Currently, you can go to our website at PremierLawAndServices. com and when, currently, when you click on, on request an estimate, it’ll ask you to put in your address to see if you’re in our area, our service area. And yeah, we have the Mosquito and we have the Lawn.

The Mosquito, we actually do 8 applications. It’s a little different. We come around with a backpack sprayer with like a blower. It’s like a leaf blower with water on the back. Distributed that we don’t spread along. We spray trees, shrubs, ornamentals, wood lines anywhere like mosquitoes and ticks may harbor because it works for ticks as well.

Oh, that’s, that’s the big one, right? Yes, it is. And that’s the issue with ticks is they overwinter. So I actually had a [00:16:00] call the other day. It’s a client, an older client. I don’t think she used this last year, but she’s just the year before. And my son goes to daycare with, with their child after school and she’s having an issue with ticks.

They’d recently moved into a new home and it’s like, it’s wintertime. Yeah. And I said, well, as soon as the snow melts, let me, you know, I’ll try to get out there and we can spray everything. But with the ticks, we’d want to focus on the lawn as well. Right. Yeah. You know, at least a couple of times throughout the season.

Okay. Yeah. In regular growing season. But for the most part, we do like perimeter and stuff. That’s,

Matt Masur: that’s great to know. That’s so incredible. I never realized that until a few years ago when we started doing that and the difference that you see in terms of all those things. And then we keep hearing about every, you know, kind of scary thing that these bugs can give us and diseases and, and

Jim Barrett: and all that stuff.

So deadliest animal in the world. That’s the mosquito. That’s wild. Yep. Yep. It’s killed more people in the world than anything else. Mostly, you know, third world countries, [00:17:00] but

Matt Masur: it’s true. Cicero in particular is kind of known for being kind of a damp, extra mosquito full

Jim Barrett: area, right? Because of the swamp.

Yeah, the Cicero swamp. I guess

Matt Masur: it’s a good place for you to be based. That’s great. Yeah. I love that. What do you do for fun when you’re not making people’s lawns greener and less buggier?

Jim Barrett: You know, I think about that all the time and I don’t do a lot of fun things. I’m like, I don’t know, but I have a, I have a five year old son and a beautiful wife and they’re the most important thing to me.

They’re the reason I do what I do. And I like spending as much time with them as I to say, you’re probably


Matt Masur: most of us, but that’s, that is the majority. You don’t think about that as your, your other regular activity, but it

Jim Barrett: really is. Yeah, well we, yeah, well, I try to do a lot of family things. I mean, I try to we do like skiing.

We, we do, we all ski now hasn’t been a good couple of winters as of now we went all in last year, but a brand new, a little one skis and everything. I, yeah, we [00:18:00] got him skiing. That’s awesome. Five years old. It’ll be six in March, March 1st, but last year we had him. Doing wonderful, like probably a little better than my wife, actually.

Matt Masur: I’ll tell you what, I I learned to ski as a teenager in Boy Scouts and and I don’t know that I’ve skied much since then, but even then I remember you’d be out there on the hill and struggling, trying to figure it out and all this stuff. And here comes this little kid zooming around like nothing.

And I think they just, you know, they kind of figure it out a little, a little easier. And they’re a lot more durable when they fall over less. Shorter distance to tumble. So that’s awesome. I’d love to hear about that. It’s so cool.

Jim Barrett: Yeah. I learned in high school. Ski club. I think it was. And I caught on quick and soon after that I was teaching skiing.

Usually the little kids on the weekends. And then some adults during the weekdays. And then I moved on and I didn’t ski for many, many years. I could do it. It’s like riding a bike. You get back on them and you’re like, ah, I got this. And so, last year, actually it was two years ago. It was the end of the [00:19:00] season.

I was going to teach my son how to ski. I can’t teach him. I can’t teach him to do anything. I’d rather hire somebody else. Especially, I’m getting older too. Bending over and all that stuff, you know. But He listens better to other people. It’s like, here’s your teacher, we’re leaving. You know, and it works so much better.

Because they listen to others better than they do their own parents, you know, for sure. I think I probably did

Matt Masur: too, so I can’t say much.

Jim Barrett: Yeah, and I’ve realized that that works best if he’s got to learn something, and there’s somebody that can show him, other than me, it usually works better. That’s great.

He doesn’t like listening to his parents. Ha ha ha ha. That’s a

Matt Masur: whole other podcast right there. And we could use that.

Jim Barrett: We should think about that. We have a family lake house that we grew up the whole, you know, our whole life. And we actually, my wife and I just took ownership of that last, two weeks ago.

Nice. I think now, and so we have a jet ski, so we have fun out there. We go out there in the summertime. I love that. It’s nearby Antisco Lake. Outside,

Matt Masur: enjoying nature, especially here in Central. [00:20:00] I love hearing that. That’s, that’s where it’s at. As, as nerdy as I am. You know, I’m, I’m still that. Old Boy Scout who loved going to camp in the Adirondacks, and enjoy some time by the lakes, and

Jim Barrett: that’s where it’s at.

And I do get to do some hunting. Oh, nice. I do like hunting. Yeah. Those are my hobbies, I would say. Yeah, see? The guy’s like,

Matt Masur: ah, I don’t really have any hobbies, and then,

Jim Barrett: no. Then you start thinking about it, and you’re like, actually, I do have a couple. That’s,

Matt Masur: you know, business owner’s life. So many people that we talk to and, and that’s it, you know, you’re like, well, I do that and then I spend time with the family and there’s not much else that you have mental capacity for, you know, but it’s nice to, to get a break and do those different things and, and I, I enjoy.

So many of these different activities that so many other people in the community are a part of, because then I can feel like, well, I’m, I’m still making connections and I can feel like I’m, I’m sort of productive for business, but also you know, taking a break a little bit from it.

Jim Barrett: So that’s,

Matt Masur: that’s how all those things go.

Jim, you gave us the [00:21:00] website one more time before we dip out again, where, where folks can find you if

Jim Barrett: they want their lawn done. PremierLawnServices. com or PremierMosquitoServices. com Both websites are linked together. So if you do one. The tab is, you know, right there for the other. Gotcha. I’m guessing

Matt Masur: maybe you’re probably on Facebook and things like that as

Jim Barrett: well as folks going through Yep.

Facebook. We have Facebook and Instagram. I don’t use Instagram as much as I probably should, but Sure. We’re on Facebook at at Premier Law, CY. That’s great.

Matt Masur: Make your, make your grass look greener. Make the bugs less bity for sure, I guess. Absolutely. I don’t know. Don’t, that’s a horrible slogan. Don’t use that , but, that’s awesome. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast. We really enjoyed it. And we hope to have you back maybe as the the year gets closer to your regular season, we’ll go and throw people some reminders and the latest tips. And I’m interested to hear about this this equipment. See, I, I just, I want to be the guy on the ride on thing.


Jim Barrett: let you take it for

Matt Masur: fun, man. That’s, that’s where it’s at. You have a choice. That’s what you got to do. You’re trying to recruit, like, listen, you get to go on a ride all day long. You sell it [00:22:00] like a carnival and you

Jim Barrett: might, You see some of those companies that, you know, you gotta drag a hose all over the place.

From what I’ve heard, I’ve never done it. You know, cause if I’m gonna be doing the work, I’m gonna make it easy. That’s how it started out, and I’m gonna buy the machine to make it easy for me. And so that is a perk, that, you know, you don’t have to drag a hose with us. You know, you get to ride on the machine.

Oh yeah. Definitely worth it. I mean, yeah.

Matt Masur: Less work. Good guy to work for. Get outside, get some fresh air. Maybe I should just wrap this up. I don’t know. Anyway. This has been the Growth Modes Conversation Podcast. You can check out all our Past and future episodes, probably the same place you found this one.

So that would be cool if you did that and, and share the clip for all of our guests, because that’s really what helps them the most is getting their name out there and, and being out in the community. And that’s, that’s why we do this whole thing. So, I’m Matt major and I will see you on the next one.