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Don't Make This Pest Control Equipment Mistake

Posted by Andrew Greess on

When Buying New Equipment, Seek Advice to Make Better Decisions

This article applies to pest/landscape spray equipment but the same principles will apply to any major piece of equipment you purchase for your business.

Too many managers/owners think they know everything about pest control equipment and tell vendors what they want, instead of asking for advice. Don’t assume you know everything. Get advice on designing or selecting equipment from employees, colleagues & vendors. Another common problem is the company buys a truck then assumes the equipment will fit. Equipment doesn’t always fit as desired. Ask for help early and often.

In order to design the best power spray equipment, it is important to take the time to get input from everyone involved. Here is partial list of stakeholders and some possible questions to ask:

Spray technicians

§ What do you like/dislike about the existing equipment?

§ What would you change?

§ What would you like to see in the equipment?

Management

§ Will the size or type of spray projects change?

§ Will the products (chemicals) change?

§ What vehicle(s) will the equipment go in?

§ Will one tech or multiple techs be using the equipment?

Maintenance Department

§ What do you like/dislike about the existing equipment?

§ What would you change?

§ Are there any components/design issues that are particularly a problem for you?

§ How will you do maintenance on the new equipment?

§ Do you have the parts/tools you need to do maintenance?

Purchasing Department

§ Will this work be multiple bid or directed to a specific vendor under contract?

§ Can we include the first year’s maintenance parts in the purchase?

§ What would you like to see in the equipment?

Spray equipment vendor (if not a multiple bid situation)

§ What recommendations do you have based upon our application?

§ Here are some of the problems we have with our existing equipment. How can you help us?

§ Are spare parts readily available?

§ What maintenance is likely to be required year 1?

§ Will this sprayer be easy for our users to operate?

§ Will you come and train our users?

Another problem we see is bad or incomplete specifications.

When the department does not take the time to write good, clear, specific, detailed specifications for the new sprayer, then what you get may not be what you want or what you need.

Here are some examples we’ve seen:

A municipality ordered a 300-gallon spray trailer with a 20’ boom to do weed control on large fields. They stated that aside from occasional weed spot spraying with the hose this was the only application for this sprayer. A couple of months later, they complained the sprayer was not working. When we went to see what was wrong, it turned out one tech was trying to spray 40’ tall trees, something the sprayer was never designed to do. They had us switch out the pump at significant expense.

Another government agency went out to bid for three 200-gallon spray trailers, and accepted the low bid. After 3 months, the pumps started failing. The pumps were replaced numerous times before they called and asked us to take a look. It turns out the specification stated ‘roller pump’; but did not specify a model number. The vendor used the lowest grade of pump, which could not stand up to herbicides.

Those same spray trailers used low cost, low quality plastic fittings in key places (see photo). A plastic fitting in the wrong place can fail, resulting in a chemical spill and lost productivity.

Be sure you know everything you are getting when you order a sprayer. If you are going out to bid, specify all components, not just the big ones. Your power sprayer specs should be very detailed and very specific. MEASURE TWICE. CUT ONCE.