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View Full Version : Growing pains and a recent quote from Ric


ThreeWide
01-05-2005, 09:35 PM
Most of you here know that I am new to this field having started last year. At this point in time, some growing pains have arrived.

Today I visited 5 properties that will very likely become new clients for me in terms of fert and weed control. This is obviously good news, but they are somewhat larger in size than my current client list. In addition, they have not been well maintained and will require a blanket weed control app to address current broadleafs as well as poa annua. Spot spraying just won't get it done. This is something I have managed to prevent with my current properties.

So now, a statement that Ric made recently comes back to my memory:

Most lawn mowing-pesticide operations really have no need for a large spray tank other than to look the part. A small 25 gallon spot sprayer is all that is needed and then only if you are treating large areas. Back packs can do most spot treatment jobs.

Oh how I wish this was true for me right now. Having a collection of pump sprayers will not address a 15,000 sq ft weed problem. My weapon of choice will be the old 30 gal skid sprayer with 150 feet of hose that I basically got at salvage a few months ago. This skid sprayer has no agitation, so I'm at a disadvantage there. It will however, spray at a 1gpm max.

Of course now I'm tempted to hit Lesco and pickup a 100-gal sprayer, but that comes with a huge debt. I own all of my equipment free and clear at this point, but it could be that eventually you have to bite the bullet.

I'm sure some of you folks have been in this position before, so any words of wisdom would be appreciated.

Ric
01-05-2005, 09:58 PM
Turf

15K of weeds to spray is nothing. 100 gallon is a real over kill.

Post Emerge Herbicide are most effective if Sprayed at ONE gallon per Thousands. Add food coloring if you want to be sure to it right.

Now I was in Tractor supply today and they have a 25 gallon electric tank for $ 124.00. Sure No agitation so just stick the wand in the tank and mix it once and a while depending on your poison of choice.

Ric
01-05-2005, 10:01 PM
Turf

Don't mean to make you feel dumb but place the 25 gallon tank on your mower and use its battery. 50 ft of hose will be plenty. In fact you could set up a boom sprayer for just a little more money.

turfsurfer
01-05-2005, 10:06 PM
If you're going to be doing this for awhile, skip the 100 gal. and go straight to the 200 gal tank. When I started, I bought a 100 gal skid unit and almost immediately wished I had spent the couple hundred more for 200 gal as I was filling up alot doing blanket applications to weed farms in the spring. Alot of time wasted versus filling up once for the day. I really like my ride on unit now but still wish I had a 200 gal tank that I could use as both a nurse tank and to spray back yards with small gates.

ThreeWide
01-05-2005, 10:13 PM
If you're going to be doing this for awhile, skip the 100 gal. and go straight to the 200 gal tank. When I started, I bought a 100 gal skid unit and almost immediately wished I had spent the couple hundred more for 200 gal as I was filling up alot doing blanket applications to weed farms in the spring. Alot of time wasted versus filling up once for the day. I really like my ride on unit now but still wish I had a 200 gal tank that I could use as both a nurse tank and to spray back yards with small gates.

I've already been through that logic on the 200-gal. Only problem is my truck is too small to handle that much weight. So the max I could comfortably deal with is 100-gal.

It's obvious that I already have the equipment to treat 30,000 sq ft from one tank, so maybe I should just be thankful for that and get busy.

GrazerZ
01-05-2005, 11:01 PM
Sounds like you answered your own question. For me, right after I got my lisence I went straight out and bought the lesco 200 that fits right in my truck with reel and motor on the side. Yes it was an investment, maybe a leap of faith so to speak.
But I hate to tell you this, if you are serious about spraying lawns its worth the money to buy a good pice of equiptment. I wouldn't even consider using "salvaged" equiptment to spray herbicides, but thats just me. You probably can get by for a while on the 100 Gallon. I would'nt recommend starting off spraying @ 1 gallon per 1000 without experience though. There is a good chance you will roast some turf IMO.

Ric
01-05-2005, 11:34 PM
Well Gang

I will add to my Dutch Uncle speech one last time and then you guys can go out and buy your Trojan Maxims.

First. Why are the Spread and spray machine selling like Hot Cakes.

Second. How long are Pesticides good for after being mixed in a tank.

Third. How much insect pressure do you have in the north to require a quick knock down.

Fourth. Besides Post Emerge Herbicide what can't you apply with a spreader.

Fifth. How many of you have 30 to 40 grand lying around to buy a piece of equipment you really don't need. After all once you put a spray tank on your truck you limit its use.

Sixth How many of you are in pesticides apps full time that you really need a big tank.

trying 2b organic
01-06-2005, 02:26 AM
Great great points, you will save some good listeners a lot of money Ric. :waving:

James Cormier
01-06-2005, 09:16 AM
It's obvious that I already have the equipment to treat 30,000 sq ft from one tank, so maybe I should just be thankful for that and get busy.

This statement is true, However you must be planning for the future, I think your biggest issue will be the choice of truck you drive. Huge limits on what you can carry, and pull. I shake my head when I read something like " I could use the 200 gallon tank, but it will not fit in my truck "

If fert & squirt is where your planning on going then for little money you could get a 1-ton van and keep the TOY for mowing.

SodKing
01-06-2005, 09:23 AM
Well Gang

I will add to my Dutch Uncle speech one last time and then you guys can go out and buy your Trojan Maxims.

First. Why are the Spread and spray machine selling like Hot Cakes.

Second. How long are Pesticides good for after being mixed in a tank.

Third. How much insect pressure do you have in the north to require a quick knock down.

Fourth. Besides Post Emerge Herbicide what can't you apply with a spreader.

Fifth. How many of you have 30 to 40 grand lying around to buy a piece of equipment you really don't need. After all once you put a spray tank on your truck you limit its use.

Sixth How many of you are in pesticides apps full time that you really need a big tank.

My company moved away from the large tanks 2 years ago and I will never look back. We can treat every lawn quicker with the spread/spray machine. I do load the 300gal tank on a pick up truck to spray some of the lawns (2000' or less) that the machine doesn't fit on. I think our public image has improved as we don't drive around the big trucks with those nasty "killer pesticides" anymore. Everything is housed in the van , which aslo has more billboard space.

grass_cuttin_fool
01-06-2005, 09:28 AM
I am a dummy in the hebicide field and I am not liscensed. Are theese properties going to be a multi year contract or a year by year? If I wasnt going to sign a multi year contract I think I would just use the spray you have now. Sure it may take longer and not be as efficent. But on the other hand you dont have the investment of a larger rig and then they dont sign up in 2006. My opinion is to wait and use what you have now and make the extra money and if they are around in 2006 take the extra money you made from them in 2005 and purchase a larger spray. In that time it gives you more time to figure out what works best and who knows maybe even find a good used one at a good price

Ric
01-06-2005, 11:04 AM
My company moved away from the large tanks 2 years ago and I will never look back. We can treat every lawn quicker with the spread/spray machine. I do load the 300gal tank on a pick up truck to spray some of the lawns (2000' or less) that the machine doesn't fit on. I think our public image has improved as we don't drive around the big trucks with those nasty "killer pesticides" anymore. Everything is housed in the van , which aslo has more billboard space.


SodKing

Glad to have some back up, Thank you. Yes one ton vans or even a 12 ft enclosed trailer can be a very effective Pesticide set up. Use the IPM principle (I PAY for MATERIAL). Now while you can make a case on cost for spray only operations, actual value to the plant of material applied is in favor of granules.

Are there exceptions to granular applications? Sure, try to put granules on shrubs with spider mites. However a garden hose end sprayer filled with insecticidal soap would do the trick.

Yes I still run Spray trucks because of Florida's high insect pressure. However I also use granule. Shrub and tree work demands a Sprayer here in Florida.

DUSTYCEDAR
01-06-2005, 11:44 AM
if u r serious about being a fert man get the damm sprayer its on 3k they have credit if u need it
i have both the tanks and the pg i use both in my biz
or u can find a spray biz in the area and sub the weed app to them
i do it for people all the time to make some quick $ and it helps them out
then u can get by with the current setup u have.

GrazerZ
01-06-2005, 02:46 PM
I was not sugessting he use liquid fert Ric. I only use granular for my fert and grub control. I use the sprayer for post emergent herb and insect sprays only.
The ride on spreader is my next spraying purchase. I think they are awesome. you may not, whatever works for you. I do use smaller app equiptment for alot of things. Back packs for example are graet to have on hand for a shrub app. or for drive 75 spot treats. I even use Triamine in spray cans from Lesco these are great for when you are spreading fert and you see the ocasional broadleaf pop up. so I'm not a "you have to do this " kinda guy. Just what I use and works well for me. :)

timturf
01-06-2005, 03:54 PM
Well Gang

I will add to my Dutch Uncle speech one last time and then you guys can go out and buy your Trojan Maxims.

First. Why are the Spread and spray machine selling like Hot Cakes.

Second. How long are Pesticides good for after being mixed in a tank.

Third. How much insect pressure do you have in the north to require a quick knock down.

Fourth. Besides Post Emerge Herbicide what can't you apply with a spreader.

Fifth. How many of you have 30 to 40 grand lying around to buy a piece of equipment you really don't need. After all once you put a spray tank on your truck you limit its use.

Sixth How many of you are in pesticides apps full time that you really need a big tank.

I also agree!!!

ThreeWide
01-06-2005, 04:08 PM
This statement is true, However you must be planning for the future, I think your biggest issue will be the choice of truck you drive. Huge limits on what you can carry, and pull. I shake my head when I read something like " I could use the 200 gallon tank, but it will not fit in my truck "

If fert & squirt is where your planning on going then for little money you could get a 1-ton van and keep the TOY for mowing.

If considering a new sprayer is a financial strain, buying another vechicle is also.

Fact is, I bought the truck long before the business was started. I didn't choose this truck for the biz, just trying to make what I have work as long as possible.

Growth will eventually force me into upgrading the vehicle(s), but I'd hate to make a quick hasty decision before the revenue is significant enough to support it.

My reason for opening this thread was to get different perspectives on what roads to consider going forward. So far the responses have provided exactly what I was looking for.

Tom Gs
01-06-2005, 07:00 PM
I have just purchase a Savana 1-ton, just right for all my business needs!

Dman1214
01-06-2005, 09:18 PM
Why don't you get a marketing plan together, grow your business, and buy the equipment. I think you must look at the underlying concern here - it is not the equipment - it is your plan (or better said - lack thereof) Firm but fair if you honestly assess the situation I'll bet

Enviro Green
01-06-2005, 09:52 PM
Turf U--

Everyone has valid point here, there is no doubt, and obviously what is best for you is also personal.

Ask Ric mentioned (along with his many good points), what type of turf are you treating and what type of insects and diseases do you have to manage?

Also, how big are your lawns and how many do you ahve to treat? There is a big equipment diffence in 20 6,000 M lawns and 5 25,000 M in the type of equipment that you can use. If weed control only is your big conern, then you can get by much cheaper than buying a skid sprayer by using other types of sprayers.

Also, you will need a bigger truck.

EG

ThreeWide
01-07-2005, 11:55 PM
Turf U--

Everyone has valid point here, there is no doubt, and obviously what is best for you is also personal.

Ask Ric mentioned (along with his many good points), what type of turf are you treating and what type of insects and diseases do you have to manage?

Also, how big are your lawns and how many do you ahve to treat? There is a big equipment diffence in 20 6,000 M lawns and 5 25,000 M in the type of equipment that you can use. If weed control only is your big conern, then you can get by much cheaper than buying a skid sprayer by using other types of sprayers.

Also, you will need a bigger truck.

EG


Most of the turf I deal with is Bermuda, with some Fescue and Zoysia here an there. When I take on a new account, this is the time when it is most likely to require a blanket post application. Previous program (if there was one) failed with pre-emergent or something to that effect. This is especially true in the Winter and early Spring. A neglected Bermuda lawn will look its worst during that time frame.

During the summer, there is less need for that since weed control is mostly just spot spraying for crab and nutsedge.

We have very few insect issues in this area other than fire ants. Dollar spot is a frequent problem during the Summer months.

Most lawns fall in the 5k-10k range, with the exception being neighborhood entrances, etc.

James Cormier
01-08-2005, 10:32 AM
Fact is, I bought the truck long before the business was started. I didn't choose this truck for the biz, just trying to make what I have work as long as possible.

Growth will eventually force me into upgrading the vehicle(s), but I'd hate to make a quick hasty decision before the revenue is significant enough to support it.
.

I think you reached this point already, you just dont want to admit it, the bad decision of having improper equipment will keep you down the longer you keep making excuses for not spending the money.

garydale
01-08-2005, 01:45 PM
To get those 30K's cleaned up enough to spot spray, I think you should use dry product with spreader.Timed right to catch most weeds,(just as Dandilions start to show color) an done in AM to take advantage of morning dew will give good results.

If you go with sprayer get 200 not 100 gal. it will pay.
However, we have 200 gal. sprayers on each truck and 80% of the time they are used as nurse tanks for PG jockeys.

Try to keep your debt down, there are ways to solve this problem.

Good luck.

Motown
01-10-2005, 09:24 PM
If you are going to be regularly spraying herbicide you should get a 150-200 gallon tank. You can spray 300-400 thousand sq. ft. of herbicide with that. We've been doing it for years and it works great. Sure the ride-ons work very well, we have 5 of those. But if you are working in residential neigborhoods and you don't want to make a big mess and do want a great job, this is the way to go. I am currently selling 7-reels, 7-150 gallon tanks and 5 links of 300+ft hose. I'm just upgrading to larger tanks and longer heavier hose. I can give you a great deal. Let me know if you're interested.

MoTown

marko
01-19-2005, 10:48 AM
Turf Unlim. I use to use a 200 gal tank @ 2 gal/1,000. It was a PITA to refill during the day as I had no access to a commercial water supply. I have been looking at the low volumn route now with the 4 gal backpack and maybe a 30 gal water supply on the truck. I am planning on not getting into the blanket apps where the whole lawn is covered anymore as this seems to not be a responsible way to apply (I started that way because thats how I was trained). If the yard is totally covered in weeds, you should be able to get a good knockdown with 1 app from your 100 gal tank, then back to the backpack. I even experimented with a micron (Herbie) unit that is ultra Low volumn and is almost straight herbicide. It worked great, but wind is a major concern on these since the droplet spray size is about 200 - 250 micron in size. Remember you dont have to take every job, and if you go w/ a 200 gallon tank, your looking at $2400 new (half used???), bigger truck, more insurance, etc, etc, etc. Might be better to concentrate on 2k - 8k lawns, and recommend a bigger company for the larger yards and have them give you some of their smaller ones. Just a thought

YardPro
01-20-2005, 09:12 AM
would'nt recommend starting off spraying @ 1 gallon per 1000 without experience though. There is a good chance you will roast some turf IMO.

why would say that??
that would be more dependant on the mix rate.

GrazerZ
01-20-2005, 09:52 AM
I said that because there is less margin for error when spraying. Your mix is more concentrated with lower volume. you really have to keep moving and be very aware of what your doing. It would be better in my opinion for a new guy to stay at higher GPM 2 or 3, get some experience then try other rates if you like.

SprayBandit
01-20-2005, 10:28 AM
I feel like the lone ranger here. I have over 800 gallons of usable tank on my truck. I got tired of refilling those smaller ones. I decided last year to just build a big rig that I can work out of all day no-stop.

Ric
01-20-2005, 10:58 AM
I feel like the lone ranger here. I have over 800 gallons of usable tank on my truck. I got tired of refilling those smaller ones. I decided last year to just build a big rig that I can work out of all day no-stop.


Spray Bandit

My hat is off to you sir. Anyone that can spray 800 gallon in a day, everyday is really working hard. How many gallon per thousand are you putting down??



GrazerZ

I must agree with you about the one Gallon per thousand is not for beginners. Even with a boom spray it takes some practice. I spray herbicides at a gallon per thousand, Everything else I go 5 gallons per thousand. But with the heavy thatch of St Augustine and high insect pressure I feel it is best. I can use a lower rate of insecticide and more water to achieve control and less impact on the environment. IPM I Pay for Materials. Water is cheaper that insecticide.

timturf
01-20-2005, 11:27 AM
Spray Bandit

My hat is off to you sir. Anyone that can spray 800 gallon in a day, everyday is really working hard. How many gallon per thousand are you putting down??



GrazerZ

I must agree with you about the one Gallon per thousand is not for beginners. Even with a boom spray it takes some practice. I spray herbicides at a gallon per thousand, Everything else I go 5 gallons per thousand. But with the heavy thatch of St Augustine and high insect pressure I feel it is best. I can use a lower rate of insecticide and more water to achieve control and less impact on the environment. IPM I Pay for Materials. Water is cheaper that insecticide.

I also agree, only the experience applicator should use low volume spraying!

James Cormier
01-20-2005, 11:57 AM
I feel like the lone ranger here. I have over 800 gallons of usable tank on my truck. I got tired of refilling those smaller ones. I decided last year to just build a big rig that I can work out of all day no-stop.

Wow, thats 6400lbs full on that 1 ton. Dot would have a field day with you up here in mass.

Ric
01-20-2005, 12:13 PM
Wow, thats 6400lbs full on that 1 ton. Dot would have a field day with you up here in mass.


James

That might be a 450 and just legal at 14,500 GVW. Most one tons have a 12,000 GVW and would be over weight. A guy in my town had a 200 in the back of a Ranger but only kept it haft full. He still had the back bumper dragging. One day he just dis-appeared. 26,001 is the magic number here in Florida between getting a ticket and being impounded. If you get a ve chicle impounded look to spend big bucks for off loading and towing plus fines.

SprayBandit
01-20-2005, 05:04 PM
[QUOTE=Ric]Spray Bandit

My hat is off to you sir. Anyone that can spray 800 gallon in a day, everyday is really working hard. How many gallon per thousand are you putting down??



I don't run with both tanks full. I use the front tank for Fert. and the back tank is for Insect/fungus and root feed.

I put down 3 per thousand

TSM
01-20-2005, 05:23 PM
IPM I Pay for Materials. .

I like that :)

Ric
01-20-2005, 05:24 PM
[QUOTE=Ric]Spray Bandit

My hat is off to you sir. Anyone that can spray 800 gallon in a day, everyday is really working hard. How many gallon per thousand are you putting down??



I don't run with both tanks full. I use the front tank for Fert. and the back tank is for Insect/fungus and root feed.

I put down 3 per thousand


Spray Bandit

I run 450 gallon between three tanks each with there own pump and hose all on a 14,500 GVW Cab over. The only difference between a Isuzu Cab Over 12,000 GVW and a 14,500 GVW is the brakes. The springs are the same. I am very happy with my stopping ability on the spray truck. However When I pull the skid steer behind my Isuzu Landscape dump with electric trailer brakes and I am close to 23,000 GVW I can really feel the difference in stopping power.

Now as a flat lander horse power is not that important but brakes are more important in the hill country than flat land not that I want any less braking power. Now Half full tanks can be bear to drive. Be careful with those half full tanks and check your front brakes often.

Ric
01-20-2005, 05:42 PM
I like that :)


TSM

Teaching some times requires presenting the material in a way that students will want to learn the subject material. IPM and BMP are hard concepts for some people to want to understand. Most just want to follow a routine. They see Integrated Pest Management as an unnecessary job. However add the Cost factor in and they are all ears.

Now do a real cost factor including the Equipment price of hauling large amounts of water and the above 5 gallons per thousand at half rate insecticide is not as big a saving. But then add in the sales value of a large shine truck pulling up to do your yard and you gain back that lost value. But if we are to spray poison for a living shouldn't we do it as safe as possible.

William J. L.
01-28-2005, 09:50 AM
I agree turf surfer. If you're going to be in business for a while, go to Lesco and invest $3200 for a 200 gallon tank and bolt it to a pick up truck. The pacakge is all set up for you with motor and hose and the whole bit.
Don't try to spot spray weeds all year....you'll go crazy. Blanket cover the lawn at 2 gallons per thousand. If you need to keep it cheap, turn it in to a weed and feed liquid application (not my favorite way to do it but its cheap).

qps
01-28-2005, 10:02 AM
Wow, thats 6400lbs full on that 1 ton. Dot would have a field day with you up here in mass.


Speaking of which, Indiana small operators beware DOT is after us now...if your combined weight of truck or truck and trailer is over 10,001 lbs you need a DOT number...or a 150.00 ticket (which I have in hand). FYI :realmad: