Things to consider when choosing a truck for your spray business

June 5, 2014

One of the most significant investments in your spray business is your truck.  Make sure you choose an experienced brand for a long lasting, dependable and easy to maintain truck. The last thing you want is your truck down – that means technicians not working and lost revenue.  Buying a truck doesn’t have to be a difficult experience if you follow these easy guidelines:

Determine how big you want your business to be:

  • Set realistic, specific and measurable revenue goals for your first five years in business, then you can build your truck inventory accordingly. For example, a pickup unit can handle from 400-600 customers. Anything over that and you’ll need to upgrade to a truck unit to handle the increase in accounts. Make sure you plan for growth from the beginning or you’ll spend more money in the long run “catching up” with your increased business.

Select a Reputable Brand:

  • Selecting a reliable and trustworthy truck brand from the beginning will help you get the most out of your investment. Isuzu, Ford and Chevrolet are the most popular. Make sure you find out reliability ratings before you buy. For example, Isuzu has a rating of B10 (10% failure at 250,000 miles) which is excellent.

Gas vs. Diesel:

  • A good rule of thumb if you drive over 20,000 miles per year is to go diesel.  Less than that and gas will end up being more economical.

Truck Weight and Length:

  • Is your truck heavy enough to carry what you need it to? Choose a truck that is heavy enough and long enough for your payload distribution to ensure longevity of your vehicle. If it’s too long, you can always shorten it by unbolting the rear axel, rolling it forward and bolting it down. (but that will cost you approximately $1000.) If it’s too short, you’re stuck. Many owner/operators make the mistake of getting something too small so be sure to plan right from the start.


  • Make sure you have wheels that will support your payload weight. For example, a 12,000 pound truck should have a 16” wheel and a 14,500 pound GVW truck should have a 17.5” wheel.

Frame rail:

  • Make sure your rail strength (psi) will support your payload and that you have clearance on both sides of the frame to install your equipment properly. Also, you need to choose between a straight frame or drop frame. Straight frames are best because they equalize the pressure between the front and rear axels.


  • Look for a company that has a wide availability of parts- the last thing you want is to have a truck down for weeks waiting on a part.  Besides being a headache, this means lost time and revenue.


  • Make sure make sure your warranty is at least five years and 200,000 miles for diesel trucks and five years and up to 125,000 miles for gas trucks.

If you need help determining the right truck for your business, a good source of information is a reputable spray rig manufacturer.