Choosing the Right Spray Equipment Engines, Backpacks, Pumps and Trailers

Choosing the Right Spray Equipment Engines, Backpacks, Pumps and Trailers

Posted by Andrew Greess on Aug 28, 2018

Sadly, most companies try to save money by buying the cheapest commercial lawn spray equipment. Now that’s okay if your overall plan is to use, abuse and toss it out! If your plan is to keep the equipment and rebuildparts when needed, then you need to invest first in quality equipment. It may hurt the budget a bit when you are purchasing the equipment initially but, when you aren't paying for constant repairs, downtime and time spent looking for replacement parts, you end up far ahead in the long run. Our top pick for engines is Honda; and for backpack sprayers we like Birchmeier - Parts for both are easy to find when they do need fixing.

Don't always assume others have your best interest in mind either. If you pick the lowest bid and assume that you will be getting the top of the line equipment then that is your poor assumption. You may get decent sprayer equipment but it's not always right for the job you are giving it. 

A municipality called us once and said they were burning through pumps every 60 days and they didn't know why? Cut to us viewing the commercial spray equipment setup and immediately could tell they chose the lowest bid because they didn't have the right pump for their 3 – 200 gallon herbicide tanks. They had okay pumps, if they were pumping water, but they were pumping herbicide and their pumps weren't built to handle that kind of job. For all appearances the system was good, but it just wasn't the right pumps for the job they were making them to.

I used to be with American Express. The executive vice‑president of marketing used to say, "You can't make chicken salad out of chicken sh**." If you don’t start with quality quality spray equipment then you can't expect quality performance. 

The next video in our series talk more about components, but this time, the small yet important sprayer fittings.

Andrew Greess: The first point is start with the right components. I used to be with American Express. The executive vice‑president of marketing used to say, "You can't make chicken salad out of chicken sh**."

That's one of the things we see all the time, companies selecting the wrong equipment or the wrong components. I've got some examples, here. Some are obvious, and some are not so obvious.

Clearly, a Briggs & Stratton engine versus a Honda engine, or one of these Chinese knockoff engines versus a Honda engine. Honda engine's going to cost you more, but it's always going to start. If you put oil and gas in it, it's always going to start. You can always find parts.

Whereas, if you buy a knockoff engine, you might save a hundred or 200 bucks up front, but you're going to spend three days looking for parts for the thing. That's an easy one. That's obvious and that's something everyone looks for, but there are other ones that aren't so obvious.

We see lots of guys going and buying cheapo backpacks that wear out in 90 days. You can't fix them. You just got to throw them away, versus the quality one. We like the Birchmeier. Use whatever one you want, but my suggestion is get a good one.

Here's a close‑up. You can see the spray wand on a cheaper one is just a cheap piece of plastic junk whereas the Birchmeier is brass. It's completely rebuildable. My suggestion is buy equipment that you can service so that you're not down or you're not having to go buy it again.

Now, there is one exception. If your company and your technicians don't take care of your stuff and you are going to trash it anyway, then use a cheap one because you are better off trashing a cheap one, throwing it away and buying another one in 90 days than trashing a good one.

Clearly, starting with quality equipment will reduce your downtime, reduce your problems, and will be cheaper in the long run.

Let's get into some really cool examples.

This is a 200‑gallon weed control spray trailer. A large city in Arizona called us and said, "Hey, we are having a problem. We bought three of these 200‑gallon weed spray trailers and we're getting 60 or 90 days out of the pump. What's wrong? Can you come look at it for us?" It took me about five seconds to realize they had bought the wrong pump.

This is a roller pump and there's three grades of roller pump. This is the lowest grade of roller pump that can only handle water. You start pumping herbicides through this thing, it's going to wear out in 60 days and that's what was happening. What happened here was this municipality went low bid.

They got 20 bids, picked the cheapest one, and the company that won put this...I'll say it's the wrong pump, I won't say it's a junkie pump. For water its fine, but for herbicides it's terrible. In order to save money, they bought the wrong pump and it cost them a ton of money because, A, they were down all the time and, B, they had to keep buying pumps.

The other thing, and this is hard to see, but if you look at this trailer you see this reinforcing component here on the nose of this trailer. I wish I had a bigger picture here. You can see it's underneath. It's welded on the bottom of this triangle. That means it's only welded on the top side.

If it was at the same level and welded all the way around it on both sides it would be much stronger. If this thing gets in an accident or hits a bad bump that's just not going to hold. It's a cheap way to do it and that's what happens when you go low bid, but I got some even better examples.

If you missed any of the videos in this series, catch up on them here:

Experience Pays: Top 10 Avoidable Spray Equipment Problems And Ways To Avoid Them

For more information on Andrew Greess, visit