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What is the etiquette on filling spray tank with customer's water?

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by PamlicoLawnCare, Apr 1, 2014.

  1. PamlicoLawnCare

    PamlicoLawnCare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 80

    I've been spraying for a few years now and every once in a while I'll get in a bind for water for my spray tank. I only spray pesticides...no fertilizers.

    I have a 25 gallon spray tank with a 12' boom mounted on a garden tractor.

    I don't have a water tank in my pickup or trailer for additional water.

    I usually just fill up as needed using the customers' garden hose.

    Last week I ran into a situation where I sprayed four homes on a street. One of the homes was a vacation home and the water was cut off. One of the homes the customer was away on a cruise and the water was cut off. The other two homes had the homeowner's present.

    I know one of the homeowners that was home well and actually play a lot of golf with him. He also knew the two homeowners with no water and didn't at all mind me using his water for those lawns.

    They are all 1/2 acre to 1 acre lawns so I filled up the tank quite a few times.

    It was all good but I left scratching my head that I might need to get at least a cheap 200 gallon tank to throw in the truck bed for situations like this in the future.

    It probably wouldn't look very professional to someone I didn't know very well asking to fill up for someone else's lawn...or someone I did know well for that matter.

    What does everyone else do?

    Thank You,

    Pamlico Lawn Care, LLC
    Oriental, NC
  2. Nate'sLawnCare

    Nate'sLawnCare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,001

    I also have a 25 gallon tank and don't really worry about refilling from a customer's faucet if needed. I usually mix the first tank before I hit the road, but I sometimes need to refill for larger properties. I equate this to someone having their house pressure washed and the company uses their faucet. It would be nice to have a 200 gallon tank for refills, but that is 1600 pounds of water to haul around!
  3. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,766

    When I fill a tank. I ask first. My own hose is used(3/4" heavy duty). That hose is connected to a legal air gap fitting mounted on the tank. Please do not drop any hose into a spray tank. It contaminates the hose and risks backflow into the water supply. Lastly, when I fill, that mix gets used on that property. How would you like someone driving off with 100-200 gallons of water. Would matter to me. In my state, people pay an escalating fee for every 1000 gallons consumed and waste water fees are calculated accordingly with no exceptions for outdoor use.
  4. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,562

    Retired now, but I used to put a paragraph in my newsletter. "Sometimes we may need to refill our tank with your hose--8 gallon tank. Takes about half a minute. Let us know if you have concerns."
    One tank covered about 40,000 sqft. I also could fill with the solution from my spray tank--in this case we had to deduct about 8 percent from the herbicide fill dosage in the Permagreen (Ultra) tank, (or do the simple thing and estimate). It is easy to use Excel and print a special fill chart for when you must fill using the skid sprayer solution. If you are smart phone literate--I am sure there is a way to let the phone calculate the ratio exactly.
  5. cmo

    cmo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 203

    Look I'm sorry but I'm going to sound like a jerk. I've done pest control for 6 years and have never filled up at a customers house. I think it is insanely unprofessional not to mention they don't know if you are smart enough or not to use your own hose or a backflow attachment. Almost every gas station where I live has a water faucet coming out of the ground near the pumps to fill up, use one of those.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  6. ted putnam

    ted putnam LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,671

    You're absolutely right!

    You do sound like a jerk...just kidding. I have many rural accounts. Sometimes Have a mix in my large tank that is not safe for certain types of turf. So, I'll have to use a customers hose to fill a back pack or top off the Z spray. It's not as simple as going to the corner gas station. I never fill a large capacity tank at a customers house. IMO, that WOULD be completely unprofessional.

    Only a complete dummy would drop someone else's garden hose down in a spray tank of any kind!
  7. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,766

    The DOA and DOT really, seriously frown on people rolling down the road with a tank full of anything. Even the structural pest guys doing ground termite treatments or preconstruction termite sprays fill on site and drive off with an empty tank. I do the same if the lawn is big enough to need my skid sprayer. Most of my lawns are covered with 7-14 gallons and no such thing as every lawn getting the same thing. Especially with there being 5 different grasses and each being intolerant of what is used on the other. All the way down to the fertilizer.
  8. cmo

    cmo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 203

    Just to let you know I worked for a pest company at one point that grossed 1.5 billion a year and all termite techs were required to fill up at the office and drive to their job. That was a company wide policy.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. cmo

    cmo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 203

    Yeah a backpack sprayer wouldn't be bad in a pinch if you had to .
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. Skipster

    Skipster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,075

    I've never filled up my water tanks at a customer's property. There are two main reasons:

    1) It's really unprofessional. Nothing screams "I'm a hack" or "I'm a hillbilly" louder than coming to a jobsite without the proper equipment and asking the customer to use theirs.

    2) In most states, it's illegal. I've owned, operated, or worked in several states over the years and each one of them required mixing and loading of pesticides or fertilizers into spray tanks (backpacks included) to be done over sealed concrete pads with the proper catchment and containment for spills 10% greater than the volume of the spray tank and inspected by the Dept of Ag. I've seen a lot of small-time operators fined big dollars for this and I've seen a lot of small-time operators shut down for this.

    If you can't carry all the water you need to do the job and do it safely, you don't need to be in business.

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