Shop Smart

It’s amazing how much money parks and recreation departments waste buying the wrong spray equipment.

Do your homework before buying a sprayer.

What actually causes this, and what can be done to minimize purchasing mistakes?

Here are some ideas:

Backpack Sprayers

Quality–Select a quality product that can stand up to long hours, harsh chemicals, and rough treatment. Pay particular attention to the two key components–the pump mechanism and spray wand. Most industrial-grade sprayer pumps and spray valves contain at least some metal (usually brass), so they can stand up to hard use. Check the warranty. Most quality backpacks provide a 1-year warranty; the best carry a 2-year warranty.

Replacement parts–Are they readily available? If not, don’t buy the equipment.

Service–If the unit is not easy to service, it will end up in a corner gathering dust. The spray valve (gun) must unscrew easily for service. The pump mechanism should be easily accessible, preferably a backpack with an external pump. Where is the filter? Is it easy to check and clean, or does the technician have to stick his or her hand in a tank full of chemicals to find it?

Power Sprayers

Because power sprayers are more complex and are sold in many varieties and with options, buying the correct one is even more difficult.

Some common issues include:

• Not collecting enough input on the requirements

• Attempting to buy a sprayer for every possible application

• Lacking poor or incomplete specifications

• Buying solely on purchase price.

Not Collecting Enough Input On The Requirements

It is important to take the time to obtain input from everyone involved in order to design the right sprayer.

Here is a partial list of stakeholders and some possible questions to ask:

Spray technicians

• What do you like/dislike about the existing equipment?

• What would you change?

• What would you like to see in the equipment?


• Will the size or type of spray projects change?

• Will the products (chemicals) change?

• What vehicle(s) will the equipment go in?

• Will one tech or multiple techs be using the equipment?

Maintenance department

• What do you like/dislike about the existing equipment?

• What would you change?

• Are there any components/design issues that are a problem?

Make sure you understand the maintenance of your sprayers.

Purchasing department

• Will this work be multiple-bid or directed to a specific vendor under contract?

• Can the first year’s maintenance parts be included in the purchase?

Spray equipment vendor (if not a multiple-bid situation)

• What recommendations do you have based upon our application?

• How can you help with some of the problems in the existing equipment?

• Are spare parts readily available?

• What maintenance is likely to be required in the first year?

• Will this sprayer be easy for users to operate?

• Will you train our users?

Poor Or Incomplete Specifications

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