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Walk Behind Trowel vs. Ride on Trowel - Which is Right for you?

Power Trowels are one of the key pieces of equipment for many businesses in concrete finishing. There are two main kinds of trowels in the market. Walk Behind or Ride on Trowels. Depending on the type of jobs that you are working on, or the market you are trying to reach, you may need to have just one of these options or both.

 

In this short blog, we will go over a few points to help you figure out whether a Ride on Trowel or a Walk Behind Trowel would be best for your needs.

 

SIZE OF JOB / CUSTOMER’S JOBS

One of the biggest factors to consider when buying a power trowel is how big your jobs are. This can easily help you decide which is best for you. If your company or customers tend to be doing warehouses and other large floors, you would need to go with a Ride on Trowel, as well as a walk behind. The reason for this is because you need a ride on in order to cover enough ground when finishing, but you also need a way to get into potentially smaller areas or around objects like support beams. Because of the larger investment that a Ride on Trowel is, larger jobs will also help to pay it off quickly. Generally speaking, a ride on will do the same amount of work as 3 walks of the same diameter I/E a 6’ rider with one operator will do the work of three 3’ walks.

 

On the other hand, if the jobs you or your customers are seeing are smaller slabs, such as basements or more residential focused, you don’t really have a need for a Ride on Trowel. The first reason is because of the size of the unit. Getting it in and out of smaller spaces can be difficult because of the weight and size. The second reason is that you don’t need the production. Operating a Walk Behind Trowel on smaller slabs will complete the job in an acceptable time-frame.

 

PRICE RANGE

How much money can you afford to through down on a Power Trowel? There is a massive price difference between these two options. If you are comparing a Walk Behind to a mechanical Ride On Trowel, you’re looking to pay about 4x the price.

 

If you don’t have the capital to make that kind of investment, a few options are:

  • Buy a Walk Behind Trowel and do a bunch of smaller jobs to make the capitol

  • Rent

  • Use your company line of credit (Pay off a little every job)

  • Finance through manufacturer program

    • Pay attention to the interest rates you may be paying here. A line of credit will most likely have better rates. 

At the end of the day you can get away with a Walk Behind for many types of jobs. A Ride on unit may be something that you want to work up to as your business or customers really need it.

 

PRODUCTION RATES

If your jobs are big enough to support a Ride on Trowel and you have the capitol to make the investment, then it’s a no brainer. With a Rider you will get extremely higher production rates and will be able to complete jobs faster and more effectively. This means you will be able to increase your profits with less man power to complete jobs.

 

If you are a rental / hire depot or a distributor, why would you care about production? The answer is because your customer might. Depending on the market you serve, they will have different needs in their equipment. If you mainly deal with general contractors who are doing small slabs, production is not a huge issue. If you’re dealing with large concrete contractors, it is the number on issue for them. Riders are a must have when it comes to this market.

 

Next time you’re looking into a new Power Trowel, make sure you evaluate what your business really needs based on these factors we touched on. This will result in the best buying decision to continue making your company more successful.

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