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Sprayer Depot Blog

The Best Timesaving Apps for Pest Control & Landscaping Companies

Posted by Sprayer Depot on Fri, May 12, 2017

In today’s technology filled world the only way to get ahead is to jump on the techno band wagon. As a landscaper perhaps advanced technology doesn’t seem like an everyday tool. itimesheet.jpgYou may ask; Who needs a smart phone to mow a lawn? However, there are some really great business apps out there that may save you a lot of time! Check these out a few of our favorites:

Evernote:

What it does: With this app, you can easily take photos, create text and record audio files and upload them to the Evernote servers so you can access them from your smartphone, tablet or any other computer. Further, you can add tags and descriptions to these items. For instance, if you attend a trade show and see a piece of equipment you like, you can take a photo of it, name it and tag it with “equipment I want to buy” for access at a later date.

iTimesheet:

What it does: Contractors can easily keep track of hours spent on a jobsite with this mobile timesheet. Data can be exported via email as an Excel file attachment or in a table inserted directly within the body of an email. There is also an analytic module that includes charts to analyze the time spent for a specific client, project or task to help you take a closer look at how you or a field crewmember spends their time.

Invoice2Go:

What it does: This app allows contractors to invoice directly from their smart device and email it to the customer. A PayPal button can be included in the email in order to encourage even faster payment. The app includes more than 20 invoice templates to choose from, all of which can be customized with a company logo. In addition, the app includes 12 different reports, such as dashboard and sales reports.

GasBuddy:

What it does: This free app helps you find the cheapest gas prices wherever they are—or via a search by city or zip code. GasBuddy keeps an up-to-date record of gas prices by asking users to help out. You earn points and also a daily chance to win $100 of gas by reporting gas prices in your area.

Got a favorite app to recommend? Share it in the comment box below.

 

 

Topics: landscaper, pest control, pest control app, landscaping

4 of the Best Apps for Landscapers

Posted by Sprayer Depot on Fri, Apr 21, 2017

Landscaping is hard work - there are so many aspects to the job that center on the ability to create someone else's perfect greenery. TurfPath-App.jpgHere are four of the best apps that landscapers can use to "work smarter, not harder". 

  • Landscaper's Companion App - user friendly, this app contains a massive database of local plants, consisting of over 26,000 plants in their database. 21,000 photos of plants will help you identify on the go with the mobile app. Possesses neat tools for landscapers to make plant lists and share with clients in just minutes.
  • TurfPath App - a mobile app designed to help landscapers and enthusiasts alike determine turfgrass pests with visual identification. A necessity for any landscaper to get the job done right, with a constantly expanding database and an open network - communicate with other experts for advice and opinions. No pests, no problem.
  • PRO Landscape Companion App - the first of its kind, this app is designed specifically for iPads and tablets. Create and design your landscaping ideas within minutes to give clients a visual and a quote. With the ability to move your designs to your computer and over 12,000 images to use in the expansive image library, this is a definite must have for landscapers.
  • Weather Underground App - any landscaper worth their weight in salt knows how important the weather can be when trying to work. This app gives current microclimate conditions around the globe from over 200,000 weather stations around the world. Features also include crowd reports and webcams concerning weather - don't ever sweat the weather again.

Topics: landscaper, pest control, landscapping

Landscaper's Corner: Insights and Updates for Landscape Professionals

Posted by Sprayer Depot on Fri, Mar 24, 2017

Killer Marketing Strategies You Can Implement Now
Contributed by Guest Blogger: Martin McGuane, owner and operator of McGuanes Landscaping and Tree Service, Enfield CT

One of the most important projects we do over the winter islandscapers corner.jpg put together our marketing strategy for the upcoming spring season. As we have mentioned in previous posts, timing in the landscaping business is very important. Many marketing projects require a fair amount of time to prepare. This winter we focused on eight marketing initiatives:

  1. Direct mail
  2. Landscaper network
  3. Our website
  4. Letters to existing customers
  5. Truck signs
  6. Leave behinds
  7. Church bulletins/Community news
  8. Social media

Direct Mail

We have using direct mail advertising as long as we have been in business. When we started, we worked with our local printer to create a nice advertising piece which we hand delivered door-to-door. It wasn't long before we realized that we could reach more households and target our potential customers with a company that specializes in direct mail. This is one of the more expensive approaches we have taken, but it is a good way to reach a large amount of potential customers that meet certain key demographics. We have been able to rely on this approach to bring in a predictable number of new customers year after year.

Landscaper Network

You can’t be in the landscaping business very long without getting to know other people in the industry. Everyone knows one company simply can’t "do it all". Some of us offer hardscaping, some chemical controls, while some businesses are strictly mowing. What we have done over the years is  build relationships with other landscapers so that we can refer clients to each other. We take advantage of the slower winter months to reach out to our network of landscapers to remind them of the services we offer and to see what they can do for us.

Website

Take the time to update your website and keep it current. You may have to update the crew page to include any new hires, and make sure all your services/products/plans are clearly explained. This is the time to consider any enhancements to your site, such as additional photos of your work or “explainer videos.”

Letters to Existing Customers

Send letters to existing customers to promote additional services that thy may need (yet have not signed up for). For example, longtime clients may not be aware of recently added or other services that may help them reach their maintenance goals.

Truck Signs

We have always made sure that all of our trucks have nice looking magnetic signs with large, easy to read print with our name and number on them. Some of our newer trucks have been professionally lettered on all four sides; they are truly rolling billboards.

Leave Behinds

Whenever we apply a treatment to our customer's property we will leave a written explanation of what was we did. This is a leave behind, a great advertising piece. When we spray Dormant Oil we remind our customers that we can also fertilize their trees. When we fertilize the lawn in the fall, our leave behind will offer aeration and slicer seeding. When we winterize the lawn we sell winter tree work. Over the years our leave behinds have generated a tremendous amount of revenue. One our recent projects involved consulting with an outside vendor to redesign all of our leave behinds.

Community Newspapers  & Church Bulletins

We do a small amount of advertising in the local community newspaper and church bulletins. Although we're not reaching large amounts of people, those that we do reach are very loyal.

Social Media

We have only recently started to build our social media presence in the last year or so. While maintaining our presence across our various social media channels like Facebook is a daily activity, we use the winter months to build out our communication plan. We use this down time to think about key communications we would like to send out next season: What services do we want to push next season and when? Do we want to attract a new type of customer? Are there certain channels (such as Instagram) that we should put a greater focus on?

Finding and building relationships is a main goal of our social media strategy. This effort expands beyond reaching potential customers to other landscaping companies and even vendors that we use and recommend, like Sprayer Depot. By creating networking opportunities with others in the landscaping industry we’re positioning ourselves as experts within our industry.

I hope that you found these eight strategies helpful and that you take away a few ideas to help you prepare for the coming season.

 

About the Author:

Martin McGuane is the owner and operator of McGuanes Landscaping and Tree Service Inc, www.mcguanes.com which has been servicing Central Connecticut and Western Massachusetts since 1987. Martin is a 1981 graduate of the University of Connecticut's School of Agriculture. He is a Connecticut licensed arborist and has a Custom Ground Supervisor license in both Connecticut and Massachusetts. He also holds a CT Irrigation License.

 

Topics: Sprayer Depot, landscaper, Landscaper's Corner

Landscaper's Corner: Insights and Updates for Landscape Professionals

Posted by Sprayer Depot on Fri, Oct 28, 2016

 How to Calibrate Your Spreader Sprayer                                                                  Contributed by Guest Blogger: Martin McGuane, owner and operator of McGuanes Landscaping and Tree Service, Enfield CT

There are few things more important in the chemical lawn care business than ensuring that your spreader sprayer is calibrated. Calibration is the process used to make sure that the spray equipment properly disperses the pesticide at the proper rate.spreader_sprayer.jpg

Why Calibrate Your Spreader Sprayer?

Key reasons why calibration is so important include:

  • Applying a mixture too heavy wastes material and money.
  • Applying a mixture too light will not effectively control your target pests.
  • Operating an uncalibrated sprayer is environmentally irresponsible.

A Brief Overview

There are many factors involved in calibrating a sprayer. You could spend weeks learning about calibration. However, our purpose in this blog post is to provide a simple, yet effective and accurate way to ensure you’re delivering the correct amount of solution.

Steps to Calibrate a Spreader Sprayer

Let’s walk through the quick and easy steps to calibrate a spreader sprayer:

  • Make sure your screen is clean.
  • Set your sprayer to the desired PSI.
  • Set your ground speed.
  • Measure the width of your sprayer bar. For this example, we will assume the sprayer bar measures 7 feet.
  • Determine the amount of feet you will need to spray to get 1,000 square feet of coverage (1000/7 (length of sprayer bar) = 143ft).
  • Add a known quantity of water to your sprayer.
  • Blanket spray the determined length from above (In this case, 143 feet).
  • Once you finish spraying, determine how much water you used.

Determine the Rate

Let’s assume we used 1 gallon on our 1,000 square feet. Let’s also assume that the manufacturer’s recommend rate for your weed killer is 1oz. per 1,000 square feet. Based on this, we know that we will need to mix 1oz. of weed killer per gallon.

determing_mix_rate.png

Keep an Eye on Your Calibration

Once your sprayer has been calibrated you should confirm the calibration regularly throughout the day. Using the example from the previous paragraph, if we are applying a blanket application to a 10,000 sq. ft. lawn, we should be using 10 gallons of dilute. If not, we need to adjust our mix, our speed or possibly our pressure.

Get More Information

Want to learn more about calibration? Check out Sprayer Depot’s previous blog post, How to Calibrate a Boom Sprayer.

Topics: sprayers, landscaper, Sprayer Calibration, spreadersprayer, Landscaper's Corner

2015 Sprayer Related Industry Trends

Posted by Sprayer Depot on Wed, Jan 07, 2015

designed by Freepik.comAs we close the books on 2014, let’s take a look at what’s in store for sprayer-related industries in 2015. The US economy continues to rebound and so do many of the sprayer-related industries we’ll cover here. Using industry reports and news as a source, we’ve provided a top-line view of the 2015 outlook for the lawn and landscape, pest control, golf and recreation, agriculture, and horticulture industries.

Lawn & Landscape 2015 Outlook

As the industry rebounds, reports here and here show that the improving housing market, commercial construction and property occupancy rates are among positive factors that boosted the industry last year and project an even stronger 2015. Not only are landscape companies anticipating increases in installation and maintenance, but equipment dealers are also seeing solid gains. 

Pest Control 2015 Outlook

IBIS World, a market research company, reports that the pest control industry is in the growth phase of its life cycle citing rising demand for industry services due to increased number of pests and use of extermination services. It’s interesting to note that Forbes.com recently reported on a Sageworks study that lists Services to Building and Dwellings, including pest control, as a top five industry to start a business.

Golf & Recreation 2015 Outlook

Mike Zawacki, editor of the Golf Course Industry magazine, said it best in that “we’re constantly discussing the state of the industry … as we see it.” His recap shares that being good stewards of existing resources, such as water, will continue to be a focus for the industry as we all seek to create a more sustainable and environmentally responsible golf course. This is a theme not just for golf, but also for many industries in this post.

Agriculture 2015 Outlook

The Agriculture industry outlook is up and down. According to recent reports from BusinessWeek and Farm Equipment, farm machinery sales are projected to continue to slump in 2015 as a result of falling crop prices, though other factors also appear to be contributing to an overall slowdown. To that end, the Des Moines Register reported the Department of Agriculture said farmers predicted plantings of the eight major field crops – corn soybeans, wheat, cotton, sorghum, barley, oats and rice – will amount to 3.8 million acres less than 2014 calculations. It’s not all bad though; long-term industry outlooks remain unchanged from current levels and show slow, steady gains.

Horticulture 2015 Outlook

In the Horticulture Industry, the Garden Media Group 2015 Garden Trends Report shows an interesting consumer focus towards products that are environmentally friendly and safe. While there’s still debate according to Horticulture Week about the flower of the year, one thing these reports all shed light on is a focus for consumers to spend more time outdoors. That great news extends to lawn and landscape industry vendors as well.

Of course, what these reports convey can only be taken with a grain of salt as each business and region within a given sector may experience varied results than the industry projection. To that end, no one can truly project what’s in store. For the most part, the overall economy continues to rebound creating a trickle effect that bolsters each industry outlook as well.

Here’s to getting into the habit of writing 2015 on everything.

Happy Spraying!

 

Image Source: designed by Freepik

Topics: Sprayer Depot, sprayers, landscaper, pest control, golf course maintenance, golf course sprayers, lawn sprayers, Ag Sprayers, sprayer tips and tricks, horticulture, industry outlook

Water Use Peaks in July: 5 Tips to Smart Spraying

Posted by Sprayer Depot on Tue, Jul 08, 2014

July is Smart Irrigation MonthWhether you manage a farm, run Public Works or maintain a golf course, managing and conserving resources to improve water availability is key. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, of the 26 billion gallons of water consumed daily in the United States, approximately 7.8 billion gallons (30%), is devoted to outdoor expenditures with the majority used for irrigation. As you might have assumed, the amount of water used outdoors
peaks during the summer, particularly during the month of July.

Kings Sprayers Skid Sprayer with Manual Hose Reel

We all need to do our part to conserve and given that it is Smart Irrigation Month, an initiative dedicated to promoting efficient irrigation empowering professionals with knowledge to help save water, we at Sprayer Depot thought it was only fitting to provide a refresher with a few strategies to help you do your part to conserve this natural resource. Here’s to spraying smarter.

Off the top of your head, you might be thinking of water conservation tips like determining the amount and timing of irrigation for efficient water use. You’re right on track. Another tactic to consider is monitoring water application for crop needs and soil moisture content. Take a look at the five tips below to ensure you spray smarter during Smart Irrigation Month: 

  • Consider soil type. Type of soil determines how quickly water can be absorbed without runoff. Watering more than soil can absorb causes runoff and waste. Light sandy soils hold less water than heavy clay soils.
  • Water only when needed. Saturate root zones and let the soil dry. Watering too much and too frequently results in shallow roots, weed growth, disease and fungus. Learn your crop’s water requirements by determining how much water the crop has used, then on the next irrigation only water long enough to replace that amount of moisture.
  • Water at the best time. Watering during the heat of the day may cause losses of up to 30 percent due to evaporation. Prevent water loss by watering when the sun is low or down, winds are calm and temperatures are cool – typically between the evening and early morning.
  • Water more often for shorter periods. For example, watering for three, 5-minute intervals let soil absorb more water than watering for 15 minutes at one time, reducing runoff.
  • Adapt watering to the season. Adjust the watering schedule regularly based on seasonal weather conditions. These vary by state and region. For example, many utilities rely on stored water from winter snowpack that gradually releases water from the melting snow during spring and summer. And the monsoon season in the Southwestern United States causes flash flooding during the summer season, effecting crops and landscapes alike.

In addition to these strategies to conserve water, you should also inspect your sprayer equipment to ensure it is in proper working order, free of leaks. Read our recent post on sprayer pump repair kits and routine maintenance if you haven’t already conducted your seasonal sprayer inspection.

Smart Irrigation Month is an initiative of the Irrigation Association, a non-profit industry organization dedicated to promoting efficient irrigation.

Topics: Sprayer Depot, custom build sprayer, lawn sprayer, public works, sprayers, sprayer, landscaper, golf course maintenance, golf course sprayers, Athletic Field Sprayers, spray tips, Ag Sprayers, Golf course equipment, fairway sprayer, sprayer checklist, smart irrigation, sprayer equipment, water conservation tips, Smart Irrigation Month, conservation, spray smarter

Hose Reels: Used and Abused

Posted by Matt Drndak on Wed, Jul 20, 2011

 

Click HERE to Download "9 Great Tips to Help  Your Equipment Last Longer"

Be Kind to Your Hose Reel

Hose Reels can take a lot of abuse.   Whether you’re a professional landscaper, pest control technician or golf course superintendent (or other professional that uses a hose reel on a regular basis), you’re most likely using your Hose Reel every day, all day long.  As a result of this constant use, you may find yourself replacing the Hose Reel Swivels several times during the life of the Hose Reel.

Hose Reel Swivels:  Tips and Tricks

Got a leaking Hose Reel Swivel?  The quickest and easiest repair is to simply replace the Swivel.  A less expensive option may be to repair the Swivel with a Repair Kit of seals and ball bearings.  

To replace the seals and ball bearings on the Swivel, follow these steps:Super Swivel Repair Kit

  1. Remove the grease fitting

  2. Rotate the swivel to remove the ball bearings

  3. Pull the two halves apart and clean the swivel thoroughly

  4. Install the replacement seals and ball bearings

Choose a Hose Reel that’s Right for You

Manual Hose Reelmanual hose reel resized 600

When you want a Hose Reel that just gets the job done, a Manual Hose Reel is the hose reel of choice. Its basic design is easy to use:  Simply turn the crank handle to rewind the hose, and using your other hand, guide the hose back onto the reel.

Electric Hose Reel

Fast and easy, an Electric Hose Reel can make your day a little brighter.  By coiling the hose quickly and efficiently, you not only save your arm muscles from a workout, you may even extend the life of your hose.

electric hose reel resized 600

Topics: Hose Reels, landscaper, pest control, golf course maintenance, hose reel swivels

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