Pre-flight Checklist - Preventing Problems in the Field

Posted by Andrew Greess on Aug 20, 2007

Every pilot has a checklist and goes through a pre-flight routine BEFORE taking his or her plane into the air.

I believe Pest Control (or weed, landscape, golf, etc.) technicians should do the same thing.  Before getting into the truck and heading to the first stop, a few minutes spent checking pest control equipment can save time and money, as well as preventing downtime that hinders your ability to provide timely service to Clients.

Here's the key point.  If you are going to have a power sprayer problem, you are probably better off knowing about it at your office than in the field, when it will most likely take longer and cost more to fix.

Here are some examples of items for your "pre-flight" checklist:

  • Start your rig.
  • Test volume & pressure by spraying back into the tank.
  • Do you see any leaks?
  • Does pump or motor sound funny or unusual?
  • What does the pressure gauge show?  Is this normal?
  • Check the first 30 feet of hose for potential problems (most hose leaks occur here).
  • Check belts for wear.
  • Check engine for gas and oil (and gas can for extra gas for the day's stops).
  • Check that all equipment & supplies needed for the day are on the truck.
  • Check the filter for debris.
  • Check the filter o-ring for swelling.
  • Test any electrical components for proper operation (e.g., electric rewind hose reel)
  • Check all fittings for leaks (be sure to check key areas such as tank fittings & reel swivel)
  • Add items to the checklist that are appropriate for your company.

Technicians should report any problems or exceptions to their supervisor.

Supervisors should have a vehicle inspection checklist that includes all the items on the technician checklist plus additional items that are critical to your company's success.

I hope this helps.  Please share any comments about successes or failures you have had with checklists.