How to Choose the Right Spray Rig

Spray rigs cost a lot, and choosing the wrong one for your company can cost even more. Here's how to shop wisely.

Before deciding on a spray rig, companies should think about their current and future needs.
Before deciding on a spray rig, companies should think about their current and future needs.
Graham Spray Equipment

The biggest, most important investment anyone will make in their lawn spray business is their rig, so purchasing the right one is critical. Regardless of the reason, whether due to cost, inferior quality, insufficient capacity or a mismatch between your operation and the rig’s design, the wrong choice will inevitably handicap your efforts to keep customers happy and your business healthy.

At the same time, exploring and weighing the countless options available in the spray equipment market can be a daunting task, even for someone who has been in business for a while. To make the shopping process more manageable and protect yourself from buyer’s remorse, it pays to follow a few key guideposts.

Be realistic about what you can afford

Running your own business is hard but rewarding work. Doing it while managing more debt than necessary makes it harder and a lot less rewarding, especially if you’re just starting out.  On the other hand, wanting to keep debt as low as possible could lead you to buy a spray rig that doesn’t serve your business well.

Before you begin shopping around, assess your financial situation and figure out a ballpark monthly payment that you can realistically afford. Having that number (or range) is your buffer against overspending or—just as detrimental—underinvesting in your livelihood.

Take stock of your current and future business goals

It goes without saying that the spray rig you buy should be the right fit for your current operation, but what about a few years down the road? Do you want to increase accounts? Expand the services you offer?

Think about the ways you see your business changing over the next four or five years, and if you can afford it, get a spray rig that accommodates those changes. Otherwise, you will need to either purchase another rig very soon or scale back your goals for growth.

Focus on equipment known for quality

Always buy the best quality rig and spray equipment you can afford. Trying to save money by not springing for the best is very likely to end up costing you more in the long run.  Repair expenses, downtime, unhappy customers and hits to your reputation all eat into your revenue and profits. High-quality equipment is more likely to stay in service longer, giving you a better return on your investment.

Factor rig maintenance into your decision

Even the highest-quality, most dependable spray rig will have a shortened lifespan if it’s not properly and consistently maintained. And we all know that when the busy season is in full swing and time is short, routine maintenance can fall by the wayside, especially if it’s difficult or time-consuming.

That’s why it’s important to factor a rig’s maintenance requirements and processes into your purchase decision. The easier it is to perform daily and weekly maintenance, the better.

Don’t Assume Customized Features and Designs Cost Too Much

You’ve seen certain standard spray rigs over and over again in lawn care operations of all sizes. These setups may be perfectly fine to get the job done for some operations, but they’re not necessarily the best fit for every business.

For example, the configuration of a rig can have significant effects on its efficiency and therefore, its profitability. Think about the tasks you and your crew wish you could do more quickly and easily in the course of daily operations: Maybe it’s loading and offloading equipment or servicing multiple types of turf on a single route.

Customizing a rig’s layout or features can be a cost-effective way of achieving the efficiencies you’re looking for. The right design could even allow you to do more with a smaller rig and avoid the cost of purchasing a larger one.

Look for robust services from the spray rig dealer

The quality and range of services you get from a rig provider before, during and after the sale are just as important as the quality and service you get from the rig itself. Any provider you work with should be willing and able to guide you to a spray rig that works for you and your business, not simply show you a good-enough rig in your price range.

A good dealer will ask questions to understand what is and isn’t working for you now and where you want to be in the near future. He or she should then be able to suggest equipment, features and designs that help solve your current problems and meet your future goals.

You should ask plenty of questions as well. Find out about warranties, the financing they offer and how they handle rig delivery. These might not be major selling features or deal breakers, but it’s best to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Finally, ask what might be the most important question of all: What kind of service and support do they offer after the sale? At a minimum, you’ll want to know that they stock the replacement parts and repair kits you’ll need and that they can ship them to you quickly.

A good dealer should also be an expert in the maintenance of the equipment they sell and the way that a rig’s components work together. You will get the best possible service and the most out of your spray rig from a provider who is willing to support you by sharing that knowledge and expertise.