Power Sprayer Design - How to Kill Productivity in 1 Easy Step

Posted by Andrew Greess on Mar 27, 2013

This weed sprayer stopped by our shop today. The power sprayer didn't require service but it was so interesting I had to take a photo:

Power Sprayer Design Problem Gas Tank Access

Look at the blue arrow. It is pointing to the gas cap for the engine. The cap is buried tight under the hose reel. I asked the techncian, "How do you put gas in it?".

His answer, "We have to unroll all the hose."

I couldn't believe it. Putting gas in the engine, a common practice that is probably done at least once a day, should take about one minute. On this sprayer, it probably takes 15 minutes to unroll then rollup all the hose. Ridiculous.

Why would anyone build a sprayer with this design? The only reason I can think of is to make is space efficient for shipping. The more box-like the sprayer, the more sprayers they can fit on a truck. This keeps the shipping cost down, which helps keep the sprayer's final price down a bit.

The real question isn't why would someone build it this way. The real question is why would someone buy it? We see this sub-optimal decision making all the time. Someone thinks they are saving money by purchasing a cheap power sprayer. The purchase price is low, but the costs of ownership, in this case, productivity, is higher. The lost productivity is much greater than the upfront cost savings.

The tech also added that because it was an unusual engine, they spent 2 weeks looking for an air filter.

Here are some key points to consider when purchasing a pest control spray rig or any power sprayer:

1. Know exactly what you are getting.

2. Be sure to understand: components, design, layout. How will I use the sprayer? How will I service the sprayer.

3. When the sprayer is in my truck, where will my other equipment fit/go?

4. Are spare parts, repair kits, etc. readily available?

5. Know the power sprayer company you are dealing with. Work with someone you trust. Check references.

6. Be sure to consider all the costs, not just the purchase price. Here are some other costs to think about: sales tax, shipping, installation, impact on daily productivity, is maintenance easy, what are the warranties, how long do I expect the components to last, etc.

Hope this helps. Comments appreciated.