Most people will agree that while its the skills of the NASCAR driver that wins the race, that if we take away that well oiled racing machine and replace it with a pest control truck it doesn’t matter who is behind the wheel, he/Danica Patrick would have no chance at winning. No matter how great of a technician you hire, crappy abused and broken equipment will cause your pest control company to fail. So let’s show a little more love for our pest control trucks and equipment.
Top 10 Pest Control Equipment Productivity Tips
By Andrew Greess
#10 – Good Filtration
Design good filtration to prevent debris from getting into your system. Debris will clog or damage pump, plumbing, fittings, hose and spray guns. It will cost you money and productivity by bringing your system to its knees and causing expensive repair bills. Design your filtration based on your water source, type of application, sensitivity of your pump, technician skill. For example, bad water in new housing developments may require more than one strainer. Place filtration so it is easily accessible for technicians to check and clean.
#9 – Clean your filter
The biggest secret in spray equipment is “check your filter”. There is nothing you can do with your spray equipment that will save you more money than this simple activity. We repair and replace more pest control spray equipment (and weed control spray equipment) because of clogged filters than for any other reason.
#8 – Release the pressure
Take the pressure off. When you are done spraying, release the pressure. Squeeze the handle of your spray equipment so that the system is not under pressure. If you don’t want to waste the material, spray it back into the tank. Your equipment will have fewer breakdowns and will last longer if you remove the stress of constant pressure from the spray components. Never store equipment overnight under pressure.
#7 – Don’t run it too fast
Don’t push your equipment to its limits. Our experience is that techs run power spray rigs at high speeds to get done quickly, and tend to overpressurize B&Gs and backpacks. All of these actions will reduce sprayer life. Your power spray rig can run at extremes for short periods but it is not designed to be run full out all the time. Running “in the red” for extended periods will shorten engine and pump life. Make sure your techs know proper operating ranges.
#6 – Clean it out
Rinse your system with clean water periodically to remove old chemical buildup, debris, etc. Chemical buildup & debris can clog your filter, starve your pump, damage spray tips, and play havoc with other components as well. All of these items fall into the category of “not good”. When in doubt, rinse it out. Be sure to follow all labels and laws when cleaning out spray tanks.
#5 – Don’t wait for failure – do your Preventative Maintenance (PM)
PM will save you time, money, equipment breakdowns, unhappy customers, etc. You are running your equipment hard and pumping strong chemicals through it. It will need service. This service will be much cheaper and less painful if you do it before you need it. Read manufacturer’s recommendations then customize for your use and application. A good preventative maintenance program is your best friend for reducing equipment down time and improving productivity.
#4 – Train Employees to Report Problems
We are constantly amazed at the equipment problems employees will tolerate. They will continue to use leaking pumps, hose, backpacks, etc. Ignoring these problems inevitably leads to higher repair expenses and increased down time. Encourage your employees to report problems so that you can take the appropriate action.
#3 – Emergency repair kit
Many simple repairs can be performed in the field. Field repairs can allow the technician to finish their work before heading to the service site for more thorough repairs. You’ll want to assess technicians’ skill and training to determine which parts you are comfortable with technicians changing in the field. A little tracking can go a long way toward understanding the causes of your breakdowns. Track equipment failures by part to determine which items you should consider stocking on your trucks. Also track equipment failures for each technician to identify training opportunities, and track failures by truck to set time frames for preventative maintenance and replacement.
#2 – Pre-flight Checklist
Every pilot has a checklist and goes through a pre-flight routine BEFORE taking his or her plane into the air. Spray techs should do the same thing. Before getting into the truck and heading to the first stop, a few minutes spent checking equipment can save time and money, as well as preventing downtime that hinders your ability to provide timely service to Clients. Here’s the key point. If you are going to have an equipment problem, you are probably better off knowing about it at your office than in the field, when it will most likely take longer and cost more to fix. Technicians should report any problems or exceptions to their supervisor.
#1 – Don’t Over-pressurize Manual Sprayers
If your backpack isn’t spraying, don’t pump it up more. You will break it. It is easy to turn a $3.00 o-ring replacement into a $50 repair. I like the following analogy for this situation. I went to France. The waiter didn’t understand English, so I yelled louder. Don’t overpressure your manual sprayers!
Andrew Greess is the President of Quality Equipment & Spray, which designs, builds and sells pest control equipment. Follow Greess on Facebook & Twitter. For more information or to share comments, check out www.SprayEquipmentBlog.com
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