For most small contractors looking at liquids, initial startup cost is a huge hurdle. There is the spray system to get. Then there is some kind of storage tank unless you have a depot open extended hours. This is fairly unusual but a great service and value if available. Some systems need an auxiliary pump to fill from a storage tank. Others will use the pump to fill themselves. After 12 years in the business, I like the self-filling spray system better. That way I do not have to run a power cord or fuss with an extra pump. Quick caveat- most self filling systems struggle to get the last 100-200 gallons out of a large storage tank. (depending on fitting size & direction in the tank) So they are not perfect.
Other things to consider-
** electric motors are fine for ATV spray units and perhaps low-flow spray systems. If you have large lots to do or need to spray at a higher speed (like a private road) go for the gas engine at least 5 hp with a centrifugal pump. If you stay up on the maintenance they will last 7-8 years in even heavy use. Mine went 9.
**Easily changeable spray heads (nozzles) are important if you do any after-storm treatment or work to cut existing hard pack. Fan spray heads are best for covering area evenly. Pencil stream or drill type spray heads are needed for cutting hard pack and some post treat uses. You need both kinds of heads to get the most out of your system.
** All pickup/small truck spray systems are on a steel or aluminum skid. Many of these have to be loaded into the truck with a forklift or crane. Others have fold-up legs and require only 2 people. That is a great bonus for small companies that do not have a forklift. No special equipment required.
** there is great debate in the industry- Steel skid or aluminum skid. Here is my take. Steel is generally better. Mag chloride and aluminum do not play nicely together. The anti-corrosion additive in most manufactured liquids reduces the steel corrosion dramatically. So, unless you are using home-made salt brine with no addditives, the steel is generally better. Rinse it off after every storm and touch up the paint every year at the end of the year.
** Sometimes a spray system that uses 200 gallon refillable “totes” looks pretty good until you consider that the totes have to be moved with a forklift. And you may have to keep several totes around to make sure you can finish a job. 200 gallons only goes so far. So be aware of the shortcomings of totes.
These things are the reason HighCountry exists. There was not one system on the market that met all the things I thought were needed. So we created 325 gallon and 200 gallon systems. I realize that there are a million ways to piecemeal together a spray system, and that is OK if you are dabbling in the liquid arena before jumping in. But realize that things like wooden skids, electric pumps, hand made booms etc will not make good long term solutions and can turn into hassle magnets.
For further info check out blog section for an article called “when in doubt, do it yourself” Then wander over to to see the results.
Next time we will talk about selling liquid services.
Thanks for reading.