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View Full Version : skidsprayer vs ride on sprayer


big valley
06-20-2004, 10:42 PM
I am also considering the pros and cons of skid sprayers in my pickup truck or a ride on sprayer. I m undecided which way to go. I think I can get into a skidsprayer a lot cheaper than the ride on. any input would be appreciated....

jajwrigh
06-21-2004, 02:03 AM
I am actually debating the very same thing right now...

Pilgrims' Pride
06-21-2004, 07:03 AM
I think you need to decide exactly what services you are/going to offer and go from there.
I've used it all over the years and have finally decided to come out of the dark ages this year.

I bought a Perma-green and a lesco ride-on this past spring and it was certainly money well spent.
The perma-green when it is running properly makes life much easier.
It allows me to spread granular fert much faster than this aging frame can and at the same time it also has the capacity to spot spray whatever broadleaf is out there as well.

I have always believed that granular and spot spraying gave better customer perception as well.
It doesnt matter if you spray straight water out of a hose, People always think it's some deadly chemical.
I remember some neighborhoods I've worked in in the paast.
Whenever I'd pull into the area moms would grab the kids and head inside and close all the windows!
Not any more.

I do still have my spray tanks.
I use them for tree & shrub and other specialty applications.

One thought though.
Consider the total amount of square footage you are doing.
Then think about where you want to head with this endeaver.
If you are considering growing your fert division I'd suggest you guve serious consideration to the z-spray.
While it is a bit more expensive, they seem to be much more user friendly and also they will apply a little fasrer as well.
That's nice on the big open commercial propoerties.

Good Luck

vegomatic40
06-21-2004, 07:42 PM
Also consider the efficiency of each method. There will be times when one is much better than the other. A ride-on will certainly be more productive in a fertilizer only program and fatigue does become a big factor when you get "long in the tooth" like some of us. Are the properties treated relatively large, medium or small? Some other big considerations are ease of use, reliability and cost of maintenance/repairs. A skid spray is hands down the more economical solution. With simple maintenance, a good quality skid sprayer can last a dozen years if not more. Ride-ons are fairly new technology and can be very expensive to repair. Flexiblility of the needed product comes into question as well. Many herbicides, fungicides and insecticides have minimum volumes of a given carrier (water) to provide adequate coverage and control. Try spraying a fungicide that requires 2 gal/1000 rate and you will soon see the logistics nightmare this can create. In the end you may decide that you need both to do a good job.

specialtylc
06-21-2004, 10:03 PM
The skid sprayer should be tour FIRST purchase. The ride on types are for larger areas. You can do your average home lawn in 5 minutes with a hose and gun on a skid sprayer.

LwnmwrMan22
06-21-2004, 11:02 PM
I agree with the consensus here, buy the skid first, then when you decide you're too old / tired to be dragging that 3-400' hose around all the time, buy a ride on, and keep the skid as back-up.

I bought a PG this year, mostly because I don't have to worry about walking in the spray all the time, even with "boots" on. Plus, I don't have to haul around 1000 gallons of water at a time either. I suppose I still could, but then I'd never have an excuse for break time. :)

James Cormier
06-22-2004, 03:09 PM
I disagree with specialtylc & LwnmwrMan22, Although I respect there knowledge in this business. Here's why I disagree

I Really think the future of lawn care ( fert & squirt ) is in these ride on machines. The beauty of these things goes far beyond ease of doing the job. If you start out with the machine your better off
Ipm is very easy with this machines, tanks.... well every
lawn gets sprayed so they all get whatever you mixed that day. My weed control chemical costs are reduced ALOT since I dropped my spray systems. And along with that my chemical use, isn't that a good thing? Also I use to do a blanket of dursban or talstar come rd 2, cause I mixed it in my tank mix. Now I carry tip 'n' pours with talstar, so if I see a lawn that needs it I just mix up a batch and spray.

Also the liability of driving around with a spray tank full of 100 or so gallons of juice is much higher than driving around with a Ride on. And 100 gallon tank is really too small for a full day of prodo.

Now if you gonna spray fert , you need a fill station, time to fill the truck.

My business has never been more profitable and better for our enviorment since I dropped the spray tank way of doing lawn care.

Now I do agree you need a tank for several things, Fungicides, tree & shrub spraying are one. But for lawn care, I think your much better off starting with a ride on unit.

now Which one....well thats for a whole new thread

RasterBlaster
06-22-2004, 08:59 PM
I faced the same dilemma, and went with the Permagreen. I was picking up these 30,000 sf properties which were loaded with weeds. I dreaded walking and filling my backpack so I was looking at skid sprayers. After I looked at where I was with the business and what was important right then, I decided that the permagreen was going to have to be first. It was the best decision I made.

ChicagoLawn
06-22-2004, 09:36 PM
I also went with the Perma Green, it has served me well!

I must admit that I ONLY use the PG on a few large acreage properties.......... right now. Otherwise I push the ole' Lesco spreaders and pull the chem. hose to do the job.

I guess I feel comfortable knowing that the PG has already paid for itself with the "very large" amount of work that we have aquired ........entirely due in part to the PG.

ChicagoLawn

LwnmwrMan22
06-22-2004, 10:48 PM
I do agree with James and the others with their opinions as well, guess it comes down to if you're going to be in the business for the long haul, or if you're going to be just "wetting your feet" to see if you like it.

If you're just testing the waters, the skid will be a cheaper investment. If you want cheaper costs, the PG will be more in the beginning, but you'll save after the first year in the costs of not having to run liquid fert in the tank.

Grassmechanic
06-23-2004, 08:29 AM
James - one quick question - Is it legal in your state to mix chemicals on your customers property? In my state it is a no-no, everything has to be mixed previously on a site that provides a rinse pad and spill containment. That is the main reason for me not going to a ride-on.

James Cormier
06-23-2004, 04:32 PM
So in MI you cant carry tip'n'pours and fill hand cans or back pack sprayers out side of your shop or that controled site?

In MA you can fill hand cans, and low volume machines ( PG's ) outside of your shop.

It seems like your state is making it hard to pratice IPM, if you have to mix everything at your shop and not be able to adjust your day goes, Im sure its easier to spray every lawn with your tank mix.

Hamons
06-23-2004, 05:44 PM
In my view, I don't think it should be either or. I think you need both. However, which one to buy first is the tough question. It would see to me that you need the skidsprayer first until you get too large to use just that efficiently and then add a ride-on unit.

There are several things tghat you can use a skid sprayer for that aperma green cannot do -- but nothing a skidsprayer can't do that a permagreen can --- except the very importanty task of saving you money.

That is why right now all I have is a skid sprayer. Lookign forward to someday ownign a permagreen or simialr unit.

James Cormier
06-23-2004, 06:03 PM
n sept of 89 I broke my back, didnt work for 8 months, as I got back into lawncare every few years I would hurt my back and miss some time at work, it wasnt until summer of 98 when I dislocated my ribs from my back and really screwed things up, well at the time I couldnt even think of pulling out a hose or pushing a spreader.

Thats when I bought my first permagreen, I havent had any back problems until this spring, ( not work related injury ) So the one most important thing my pg can do that a skid sprayer cant do is allow me to keep my business going.

Of course thats my case, everyone is different.

I agree that if your talking tree & shrub apps then you need the skid sprayer,

but there is no reason at all a lawn company needs a skid sprayer at all. Fungi treatments can be done in a granular form, and really Ive been doing lawn care for 18 years now I can count on my 2 hands the amount of times I HAD to do a fungi treatment. lable rates will change to adust for the lower water volumes as these things get more popular.

teeca
06-23-2004, 06:31 PM
i would say both units have there own good points. draging a hose on a 3k - 4k is easier and more controlable then that of a riding unit going around them stupid / misplaced flower beds and yard trinkits with no clearence to drive thru, or the older homes with a gate opening of 32". and you can fill your ride on from your truck. but also keep in mind that you may have to carry the unconcentrated chemical with you as you fill your ride on. i use 1 gal/1k in the tank when walking (trimec) and the perma green is set for 1/3 gal per 1k, so you would need to add more chemical to the ride on to boost it up. just my opinion

cantoo
06-23-2004, 11:20 PM
I have a spray wand on my ZTR so tight spots aren't really a problem.

teeca
06-24-2004, 06:55 AM
how many feet of hose do you have on your ztr? enough to do an entire back yard? i think you need both units. that way you can accept more diverse jobs. unless you do all comercial, then the ride on will work on 99% of the lawns.

Grassmechanic
06-24-2004, 04:47 PM
Originally posted by James Cormier
So in MI you cant carry tip'n'pours and fill hand cans or back pack sprayers out side of your shop or that controled site?

In MA you can fill hand cans, and low volume machines ( PG's ) outside of your shop.

It seems like your state is making it hard to pratice IPM, if you have to mix everything at your shop and not be able to adjust your day goes, Im sure its easier to spray every lawn with your tank mix. You can IF you have a portable containment device capable of handling 110% of your biggest sprayer tank + a 6" rainfall. Carrying a device this size wouldn't be worth the hassle - at least to me. As far as IPM, pesticide use would be the last step in control of pests. My furthest customer is 10 minutes away, no big deal to run back to get whatever pesticide would be needed. Michigan does have some of the toughest laws, thanks to a dioxin screwup in animal feeds in the early 70's.

James Cormier
06-24-2004, 09:25 PM
I guess this is a little off the orginal topic, but that dosent make too much sense to me. Are there far more spills from spray systems on the road than from people filling hand cans?

I can see not allowing someone to fill their 400 gallon tank on the side of the road but that rule seems a little silly.

turfsurfer
06-24-2004, 10:01 PM
My 2 cents, I think that although the future lies in the ride on units, you can't go wrong starting with a skid sprayer. If your business gets to the point of justifying a ride on unit you will be able to afford it. You can also still use the skid rig for other type applications, small lawns and as a nurse tank for the ride-on. I recently bought a z-spray and am loving life but have no plans on parting with my skid sprayer. I would get at least a 200 gal. unit. I have a 100 gal. that I outgrew almost immediately and wish I had spent the couple hundred more for the 200.

Grassmechanic
06-25-2004, 08:12 AM
Originally posted by James Cormier
I guess this is a little off the orginal topic, but that dosent make too much sense to me. Are there far more spills from spray systems on the road than from people filling hand cans?

I can see not allowing someone to fill their 400 gallon tank on the side of the road but that rule seems a little silly. It's to keep folks from carrying 2 1/2 gallon jugs of this, that and the next thing in concentrate form. I guess the higher ups believe that there is less pollution potential from a 200 gal spray rig, than from a pickup full of concentrated chemicals. There are over 10,000 lakes in MI and the concern is for an accidental spill into them.

cantoo
06-25-2004, 11:15 PM
I have 50' of flex hose on my ZTR sprayer. We don't have any customers with fences or back yards that we can't get into. We pick our customers to make money.

Tscape
06-27-2004, 09:02 AM
Sory I couldn't read the whole thread, but I wanted to weigh in. I switched to the Z-spray this season from a 500 gallon/400ft. hose real. Yeah I work a lot less, but here is the main consideration: I save hundreds if not thousands on herbicide. As opposed to blanketing the whole property with weed killer, I am now able to spray only where the weeds are. The savings are massive! I bought a 55 gallon drum of herbicide that would have gotten me through 2 rounds. It now looks like it may last 4 years!

cantoo
06-27-2004, 11:02 PM
Turfscape, we do the same thing we spot spray most lawns now. We do a complete spray on new lawns because they are usually loaded with weeds. Everything else gets spot sprayed.