Whether you’re an experienced applicator or are just getting into the lawn care field, understanding which stand-on spreader-sprayer is best for your business can be a challenge. There are a lot of options and machine types on the market today, and there’s not one "best" option for every operator or business. That’s why it’s important to consider the following advice as you ponder your next spreader-sprayer purchase.
Here are attributes to consider when looking for a new machine.
Productivity is one of the primary benefits of a stand-on spreader-sprayer, but the most productive machine depends on the size and type of properties being maintained. If the properties have 36-inch gates, for example, you’ll want to make sure the spreader sprayer you’re using can fit through those gates, or you’ll be left to less efficient application methods in those places.
Experienced turf care professionals that maintain a wide variety of properties often either have spreader sprayers of multiple sizes available, or they’ll buy the most productive machine for their largest properties and use other application methods when necessary.
Accessories make the machine
While the ability to simultaneously apply both granular and liquid materials is one of the primary selling points of a stand-on spreader-sprayer, experienced users are taking the machines’ ability to multitask to new levels. How? They’re choosing models that offer the right mix of accessories to meet their specific needs, such as foam markers.
Other productivity enhancing accessories include LED light kits, which can extend the hours of application, vibratory motors to maintain application consistency, and high-volume spray pumps and nozzles, which allow for quicker application and reduced pump pressures.
Lawn care operators can also look for high-volume spray pumps and tips for the larger properties.
One aspect of a spreader-sprayer’s performance that is often overlooked but shouldn’t be, is operator comfort. If a spreader-sprayer is comfortable, he’s able to use it day after day without compromising his family time after the work is done.
Ergonomics of the dashboard and controls are critical to operator comfort, as are large, stable tires to soak up bumps and provide enhanced traction on uneven terrain.
Because the operating dynamics of each spreader-sprayer are different, it makes sense to test drive the machines you’re considering, if possible. A test drive will help you better understand the comfort and function of different control systems. And, particularly in the case of new applicators, it’s important to find a machine that’s not too intimidating for them to operate.
Service and maintenance considerations
Without a doubt, stand-on spreader-sprayers are some of the more mechanically complex machines in a lawn care professional’s arsenal. It helps to have the support of a local dealership.
It's also important that any spreader-sprayer be designed to be easy to service and maintain. Features such as magnetic operator pads that are easily removable without tools provide easier access to the engine and drive system components. Look for machines that are easy to calibrate, with on-board calibration charges.
It also makes sense to look for a spreader-sprayer designed to go most of, if not all the season without major maintenance. This will help ensure it’s ready to go when needed, minimizing productivity-killing downtime.
Look to the future
Over time, as your business grows and evolves, your needs in a stand-on spreader-sprayer will likely change. Growth of a company can allow lawn care operators to upgrade to larger, more comfortable spreader-sprayers, and the profitability by becoming an applicator can allow companies to rely less on landscape maintenance operations to pay the bills.