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Picking the Right Truck-Mounted Salt Spreader for Your Snow Removal Business

 Posted on: January 12th, 2021

Picking the Right Truck-Mounted Salt Spreader
for Your Snow Removal Business
Salt Dogg Salt-Spreader mounted on the truck

Before you invest serious money into your snow removal business, selecting the appropriate truck-mounted salt spreader will help you operate as efficiently as possible. You’ll save time on routes, and money on material by taking a few moments to determine which spreader makes sense for you.

Know the capacity you need

From small to midsize tailgate salt spreaders, under tailgate salt spreaders for dump trucks, large V-box or hopper salt spreaders, there are plenty of spreader options to suit your application. So how do you determine what capacity you need? Start by calculating the total capacity of material based on your clients and route. Group clients together by job size and materials so that you can plan out the most efficient route.

Take into account whether you plan on also transporting extra material in the truck bed to refill the spreader, or if you plan on operating a large hopper or V-box spreader that won’t leave enough room to transport extra material. If you aren’t able to transport extra material, make a note that your vehicles will have to return to home base for every refill.

Salt spreaders can go from 75 pounds all the way up to 4 cubic yard truck-mounted units for up to 8,000 pounds of material.

Choose your deicing material based on surface

Although standard rock salt might be your go-to, not all surfaces are equal. Parking garages are treated with magnesium chloride to reduce the corrosion of the rebar used in the pre-case concreate panels, or plain salt might not be ideal. Sensitive concrete or pavers require calcium chloride instead of rock salt.

Understand the capacity required for your clients

Contractors handling smaller jobs like a few residential driveways or walkways might use walk-behind spreaders or small to midsize tailgate spreaders. For larger areas like parking lots, multiple driveways, roadways or similar, a tailgate or hopper salt spreader is best. They are better calibrated to handle larger areas, but note that they are still undersized for really large areas like malls or entire subdivisions. If you attempt to work on a large areas with an undersized salt spreader, you’ll cost yourself more time and money as you double back for refills.

Decide on hopper material

Hoppers are usually made of either polyethylene or steel. Polyethylene is smoother, which allows the deicing material to slide down and flow through the spreader with ease. It’s also lighter, which allows you to maximize your GVW. Steel tends to be coarser and is more likely to have material stick to the sides and create build-up. It’s also heavier, and can corrode, which might further hinder material flow.

Calculate the total weight

Make sure any spreader you’re looking at won’t exceed your vehicle’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), especially if you plan on transporting other pieces of equipment or extra material for refills. Polyethylene salt spreaders are lighter than steel, and a lighter load means a better fuel cost.

A few of our spreader products that target a specific agitation system

Pick an agitation system

There are several choices of agitation systems that keep de-icing materials from clumping or blocking up the exit hole. If you plan on using very fine, processed de-icer, a gravity-fed spreader might be the way to go. It doesn’t come with an agitation system, but rather allows gravity to pull the material down towards the hole. Conveyor chain systems deliver constant, steady feed; however sometimes they run the risk of dumping too much material outpull material back into the truck bed. An auger-driven system has a metal piece that breaks apart chunks of bulk material to help the material keep moving towards the discharge chute, and finally, vibration systems create vibrations on the side of the hopper to shake material down and out.

Think about vehicle mount locations

Although hopper size might determine where your salt spreader can be mounted, there is some variety that might influence the type of spreader you want for your vehicle.

Hitch-Mounted Spreaders

Hitch-Mounted Spreaders

Best suited for personal or light use, they install quickly and fit 2” hitches (some are also compatible with 1.25” hitches).

Tailgate-Mounted Spreaders

Tailgate-Mounted Spreaders

Used with medium-sized quantities of material, the downside to this mount location is that is requires drilling into your tailgate to ensure a safe and stable connection. However, it leaves your truck bed free to transport other equipment like snow blowers or shovels.

Bed-Mounted Spreaders

Bed-Mounted Spreaders

Used for large quantities of material, they come with tie-down points so you can fully secure them to your truck bed.

By taking the time to fully flesh out the criteria you’ll need for your client base, vehicle, and locations, you’ll be able to pick the best salt spreader for your budget and your business.