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Liquid treatment Apps, why?

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by PerfiCut Inc., Dec 21, 2008.

  1. PerfiCut Inc.

    PerfiCut Inc. Senior Member
    from Eastern
    Messages: 161

    As I stated in one of my other threads we are going to do some of our own testing on a liquid treatment system. However, the more I think about it, the more I wonder.... why?

    What is it that has everony else wanting to offer liquid treatments? Basically, your replacing one product with another. For sake of being blunt... Why would anyone want to apply liquid instead of the appropriate medium? On one hand, your cutting your own throat to spite your face. We make a great deal of money on our salt applications, and the need for multiple applications on high priority, zero tolerance properties. Why would I want to cut any of those out by offering a less expensive medium, which services basicaly the same purpose? (Just a thought)

    Granted, the liquid treatment does have a few benefits. Lower working temeratures, lower cost, increased performance time.... but honestly, Im not sure its worth the thousands I'd be losing by not applying my normal product.
  2. Dailylc

    Dailylc Senior Member
    Messages: 226

    Who says you have to charge less? The question you should be asking is what is it worth to the customer to have a clean lot? This is just another tool in the bag.
  3. Superior L & L

    Superior L & L PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,035

    Dont know were you are from but in the mid west there has been talk of salt shortages all season. Add to that we have been "busy" almost every other day. If there is not a shortage then there very well could be soon. We added liquid so that if a shortage comes though, we have other options
  4. PerfiCut Inc.

    PerfiCut Inc. Senior Member
    from Eastern
    Messages: 161

    I forsee a huge downfall in salt application rates over the next 5 - 7 years because of liquid apps.

    People are not going to charge the same for liquid apps as they would for salt apps. In fact, they are going to offer for a significantly lower rate, thus forcing the price of salt apps down. Not to mention, this is going to give the low baller a great tool of his own, to come in on a contract with a liquid treatment rate of, say, $500 per applicaiton, where normally, you would apply 3,000# or 4,000# of salt. My math says thats a diferrence of roughly 50%. Needless to say the customer is likely to consider that offer vs the alternative.

    Bottom line. Liquid treatments cost less. Therefore human nature and history show, it will be sold for less. Forcing the cost for alternative means that much lower. And with the price of salt increasing, this only cuts everyones salt application margin that much more.

    Just my opinion. I hope Im wrong, but its a commodity like any other. Sure at first, you may be able to profit greatly on it, while also profiting on salt apps. But sooner or later the price of one or the other, or both will come down.

    Does that mean we (the undustry) shouldnt pursue it? of course not. This is just how I see it playing out over the years to come and liquid treatments become more and more popular.
  5. Superior L & L

    Superior L & L PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,035

    I do agree with you except on the low baller comment. I just wrapped up a deicer and it was not cheap to do it right. We have about $2500 into the unit. then you have $2000 in to storage tanks and you have to have somewhere to hold the tanks. Most low ballers to me run out of there house, it would look silly to have 3000 gallons of liquid chloride sitting in your side yard. I guess they could build a cheap electric one but the cost savings over salt are erased by the super long time it would take you to apply
  6. PerfiCut Inc.

    PerfiCut Inc. Senior Member
    from Eastern
    Messages: 161

    I know one or two people who are making their own slurry out of their garage. They use a small storage tank < 150 gallons with a high concentrated mixture. This way, when they fill their truck they can dilute it to the right concentration by using city water. This way they dont have to have a large storage tank.

    Granted, this would not work efficiently if you needed thousands of gallons. But none the less it works. Low ballers, always lookinf for ways around things.
  7. Triple L

    Triple L PlowSite Fanatic
    from Canada
    Messages: 5,974

    Are there really any benefits? I just tried salt brine for the first time last week.... mcgivored something together to apply it, to see how it works before we invest big $$$ into a professional unit.... my findings..... ya it helped prevent the snow from bonding to the pavement a little bit, im sure my concentration wasnt exactly 23.3 % but still.... I sure wasnt too impressed with it, it didnt melt any snow, this was a pre treatment tho.... I think for the time to go and apply it vs. just applying straight salt.... I think salt wins, were going to try it again next week, making sure our concentration is 23.3 % and might thro in a little bit of calcium chloride......

    Can you guys explain what your running in your sprayers and when you spray?
  8. forestfireguy

    forestfireguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,276


    It's another tool thats all. It will never replace salt completely. There are situations where it is a better choice, for whatever reason, environmental, tracking, and as far as charging for it, think of it like this.

    There aren't (generally) shortages, you can charge a premium because lets face we here on plowsite are people who take this business seriously, some of us it's the main focus of their business. And as such being a limited market and small group who actually do it you can charge high prices. The guy I worked for learning about liquids was getting his product for under 2 buck a gallon and was charging 9 applied. Using a minimum of 1000 gals per event, to me thats damn good money, stored onsite, no drive time to load, no loader, no salt bin, and it was the only legal option for the location. We have all gone out of our way to be here on plowsite, yet what percentage of the "plowing public" even give liquids a second thought?? My point is we talk alot about it here, but others outside the plowsite circle aren't as likely to be looking as hard at it as us.......I may be way off on this seems to make sense. I don't think it will see a huge market share taken from salting, but if it does isn't better to be prepared than to have to run to catch up, besides if you run out of salt or you break a conveyor chain or god forbid wreck your salt truck, if you have a liquid rig at least you can do something if its not a frontline piece. And I still use liquid, not nearly the same volume but it has its place for sure....
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2008
  9. PerfiCut Inc.

    PerfiCut Inc. Senior Member
    from Eastern
    Messages: 161

    I agree, we here at PS always tend to analyze things, much more than the majority of the public would or does. But from a business standpoint, its necessary to analyze the cost benefit of such a project. This is no different than any other type of equipment someone would purchase. If you have a 10k to spend on something and there are 5 pieces of equipment you "really" could use to make your operation smoother, easier, or faster, how do you decide which one you will buy now and which ones wait.

    Personaly, I look at which one is going to return my investment to me the soonest. A liquid rig wont necessarily make any one task that much easier to be considered a significant profitable return. Its more or a less a substitute for a service that we're already performing and makeing a decent profit on as it is.

    Of course... as its been stated before... salt shortages, equipment breakdowns, failures and such, could set you back during an event. But hardly a reason to spend 5k-10k on a setup for the purpose of being a backup. I could spend 10k on a truck/plow/v-box and make more money buy pikcing up more work.

    I'm not trying to bash anyones ideas, but rather educate myself on the benefits of such a service. And how we could use it in "addition to" and not "instead of" our current operation. If I had the money lying around then sure, I'd throw one together for the heck of it. Or if I could identify certain aspects or times during an event that using a liquid application would somehow save me time or money later then I would consider it. As it is now, we are talking about it here seriously, and trying to find a way to put something together on a small scale for testing sakes, so we can test it this season, to deterimine if we want to persue it for the next.
  10. forestfireguy

    forestfireguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,276


    You put it well. There really isn't much point to doing something in business unless you can either definitely or at least potentially profit from it. I would not have dome anything with liquids if we hadn't been a magic dealer for a time, thus we had a liquid unit for spraying piles, we got out of doing magic, still had the spray unit and then had a demand for a service. We were happy to provide the service, though slightly different than magic spraying liquid is sprayinjg liquid whether its mag cl, magic, brine or potassium acetate the principles are the same you really only have to adapt application rates, same equipment, pumps, tanks.........
  11. Salisbury1975

    Salisbury1975 Junior Member
    from Detroit
    Messages: 26

    Liquid apps, why? For us who's bank would not extend credit line by $200K to prepay for salt for entire season we really didnt have a choice but to try something to minimize the amount of salt we use. To be real honest to you it has been a blessing in disguise. We are realizing more benefits everytime we apply liquids. From material cost savings, to not washing out salt trucks as often, to not re loading trucks as often,to fuel savings, to be able to have trucks loaded and ready, to be able to pre-treat, to not having to build a larger salt shed to house salt for entire season since suppliers were trying to force full delivery and payment in Oct, to more accurate applications and in April when our crews are mowing and planting instead of replacing sod and plants along walks, to having clients happy about not tracking granular material into offices/homes just to name a few.

    Don't get me wrong there is definatly a learning curve and we'll never do away with salt totally , liquids are another weapon in our arsenal. I 100% recommend giving it a try especially if the salt "shortage" is anything like it is in our area.

    We've cut bulk salt usage by an estimated 60% including using salt to make our brine.
    We've cut bagged icemelters by 85%. The higher percent on walks is due to more shoveling of less amounts of snow on walks vs. lots/drives.

    Good Luck