Spraying lawn pesticides, what kind of sprayer setup to use?

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by MowinginEureka, Nov 4, 2010.

  1. MowinginEureka

    MowinginEureka LawnSite Member
    Messages: 238

    I have been fertilizing my accounts using an earthway spreader for a few years now. I find its a good low cost and efficient method for my accounts, most of which being sub 2000 sq foot yards with narrow gates...being so small I sold my walker mower and found it faster to use my walkbehind hondas... Anyhow, I did pesticide applications for the first time using an earthway spritzer sprayer, went through by my estimates 240 gallons of pesticide mix, with my 5.5 gallon sprayer...thats refilling about 43 times...ugh. I charge about 4 cents per square foot to spray in my smaller accounts due to all of the time to turn my sprayer around for each lap every 10 seconds or so...but in my large accounts 6-12k sq foot, I charge closer to 2 cents per sq foot since its wide open and I dont have to turn around as much. Since I only apply Ortho weed b gone max once a year typically to the turf, to control lawn weeds. I'm having a hard time justifying spending my whole profit spraying all my applications on a three thousand dollar pesticide sprayer rig. Is there someway to assemble your own setup and run an electric motor off of a fuseable connection the my trucks motor? Maybe using a smaller 50 gallon setup. I have a dump bed setup on my other truck that's run that way. I don't see why you need a gas engine mounted to a sprayer tank unless you are running it for hours on end. Looking for some feedback on which direction to go here. Thanks.
  2. MowinginEureka

    MowinginEureka LawnSite Member
    Messages: 238

    By the way, my math turns out to be about this. I charge about 90.00 for a 2250 sq foot yard, so that is 4 cents per sq ft. So if I maintain an average pace of 3 mph on average, that is 3 feet per second. So if I multiply my speed of walking 3 feet per second times my rate of charging 4 cents per foot, I charge 12 cents per second. I therefore charge 12 cents per second times 360 seconds per hour, that means I charge roughly 43.20 an hour including materials. My normal labor rate is about 37.50 for mowing and other services. The going rate for a licensed, insured, legal lawn care guy going solo here is 32-35 dollars an hour since he has no employees = no workers comp. On the other hand, I know the large 10 employee full scale landscape/gardener businesses here charge 40-50 dollars an hour. So, I price myself in the middle for lawn service. I therefore figure that's a fair price... Maybe I could charge a bit extra? I know a licensed sprayer here who charges 43.00 an hour...plus materials...But, I think I'm pretty close on rate...
  3. JD2320

    JD2320 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 132

    Paying no workman's comp on your employee, and having no pesticide license = 10,000 dollar fine, or at 42,50 an hour that's 235.3 days in jail, or 5647 hours or 338,820 minutes and that equals 20,329,200 seconds.

    CHARLES CUE LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,314

    You could build your own. But if you buy all new stuff it would cost almost as much as one all ready made. Now if you go with used stuff you could save some money. But it may take you awhile to find the stuff. Pumptec had a nice electric pump and reg at the GIE show that would be sweet. Down fall is it cost 600 or so dollars might not fall in to your budget. Go with a bigger tank you still have to fill 5 times at yor current useage rate with a 50 gal tank.The odds are your going to use more water per th with a skid sprayer. Good luck

    Charles Cue
  5. humble1

    humble1 LawnSite Silver Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,519

    His Pesticide Q.A.L.#121767
    but funny post
  6. JD2320

    JD2320 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 132

    Well the way he kept on about "Legal" sprayers and guys that pay workman's comp and how he can do it cheaper than them made me think he had neither. I don't read sig lines.
  7. ted putnam

    ted putnam LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,654

    I didn't either. By the way, That was hilarious!

    Now, If you tried to charge me $90 for a 2250ft sq lawn, I would be chasing you off my property. Depending on the equipment, you can take all day or you can take five minutes. 2gpm output on a chemlawn gun from Lesco= 5 minute job. Using a "spritzer" = all day job. Watching you do it with a spritzer= priceless:laugh: TIME=MONEY=PROFIT All kidding aside, you have to decide how hard you want to work and your life to be and what it's worth to make it easier. A fifty gallon tank with a decent pump and hose reel with at least a wand and fan tip is going to be leaps and bounds better than a "spritzer". It will also create a much better image to your customers of your professional ability than wandering around a lawn with a spray bottle in your hand. Plan on spending $500-$1000 on a tank, electric pump with enough output to overcome the friction loss of 150 of hose. Not my choice but it would be "life altering" for you given what you just described. I bought my first sprayer 11 yrs ago. I just sprayed 3 acres with it today. I've changed the oil and the diaphrams more times than I can remember and that's all I've ever done to it. I could never have built my business without it and it's paid for itself at least 100 times over if not many more times than that. Your obviously a thinker from the numbers and figures you were spouting. Think long term instead of short term. Good Luck. By the way, My Mom lived in Eureka a few years while growing up. She's told me how beautiful it is in that area.
  8. JD2320

    JD2320 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 132

    What I forgot to mention is how expensive it gets if you drop the soap in the shower.

  9. fl-landscapes

    fl-landscapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,542

    News flash, theres 3600 seconds in an hour not 360 so .12 cents a second would be $432/hr I can see why ted would chase you off his property.
  10. MowinginEureka

    MowinginEureka LawnSite Member
    Messages: 238

    I have 2 million in liability insurance through hanover, I pay workers comp through CNA insurance, and I have full insurance on my two work trucks that covers my trailer, I pay state and federal taxes, I have three business licenses (two for the cities I work in, and one for the county since I operate my business 5 miles outside city limits). I'm legal, I was talking about bigger companies here with higher overhead due to many employees and brand new f150s etc... Large companies here charge about 50$ an hour to mow grass, the small uninsured guys charge about 30.

    Well, Im one of a few licensed guys here in my county. NO ONE here uses ride on sprayers. I'm actually the only one I know of or have ever seen that uses spray instead of weed and feed.

    And to Ted. Its obvious you know nothing about Earthway products. I use an Earthway Spritzer Sprayer, it is a walkbehind unit with a 5 foot spray swath. Look at this link http://www.earthway.com/product/sprayer/.

    My 2250 sq foot yards are not big rectangles. They are highly complex yards with many plants, most have many, many small twisty areas that you would NEVER get a large spray rig in. my 90$ spray jobs take me about half an hour. I forgot to put a decimal inbetween 12 cents. Should have been 1.2.
    It takes 20 minutes to mow my typical 2250 sq ft yard, plus another 10 minutes of stringing and edging, with 5 minutes of loading/unloading equipment and blowing. I doubt you could spray a yard that takes 20 minutes just to mow at full speed in 5 minutes.

    My 90$ charge for spraying includes my pesticide, time to load, unload, and mix pesticides. The particular property in my mind takes me half an hour to spray, not including time to mix, clean my tank at the end of the day, loading, unloading, driving to and from property, etc... Not to mention my cost for my licenses that are good for two years as a pest control business is about 800$, I spend another 150$ in classes maintaining my spray license, I have to drive 5 hours one way to the nearest location to take my continuing education classes, and I have to take time off to take these classes as well, 20 hours of classes is another 750$ of gross lost. So, if to spray your yard, I have 1650$ of overhead, I spend 150 in pesticides, and it takes approx 24 hours of labor to spray my yards...and I gross 3000$ approx. That leaves me with 1350 of profit...then I have to take out my additonal insurance costs, labor costs for my employees who applied said chemicals, and still make some profit. If I walked 2 ft per second, thats 120 feet per minute, my sprayer has a 5 foot swath. So in 1 minute, I can theoretically cover 600 sq feet. But show me a yard thats 5 ft wide by 120 foot long rectangle without obstacles, and I will laugh. Most yards involve turning around and whatnot. My typical yard has multiple areas of turf that are about 20 foot wide by 30 up to about 30 foot by 100 foot...thats a lot of turning and etc... Combine that with the fact 90% of my clients have very very small picket fence gates that are 24 inches wide...my walk behind mowers barely fit. Theres not much sprayer wise that will fit through these gates. Most of my yards that I spray, I don't charge by the hour, I bid them by the way. So, If a customer wants me to spray by the hour. I will charge them 50.00 an hour plus my pesticides.

    Thanks to Charles Cue for being the only one actually providing an answer to my question... now does anyone have any recommendations for spray rig setups that are not ride on?
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2010

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