Typical Rig Setup

BUILDING YOUR Spray Foam Business

There are some very important consideration when starting out new in Spray Foam Business.  The below information will help to prepare and equip you for operating a successful spray foam business.

Training

Proper training is crucial to an effective and long lasting spray foam business.  There are many great resources and training programs available in the industry.  We recommend connecting with the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance.  They have a wide variety of classes and certifications to get you up and running.

Technology

Estimate your job costs, generate professional proposals, schedule work, track profitability, and invoice your clients, all from a single technology solution. JobPro Technology is the leading and established Job Management software system specifically developed for companies that install spray foam and all other types of insulation.  Watch the short video.

Insurance

Proper insurance is licensing is a must when it comes to operating a contracting business.  This is also a requirement for working for in certain municipalities and working for general contractors.  There are many things to consider when setting up your general liability and workers compensation.  Seek out wise council and try to connect with an insurer that specializes on businesses in the construction industry.

sales and marketing

Whether your focus is on retrofitting existing homes or working with general contractors on new construction projects, knowing about the opportunities in your market are the most crucial part to getting your business off the ground.  If you are looking to get off the ground with a new business or take your existing company to the stratosphere, BUILD-Marketing can add the rocket fuel you need to grow your marketshare.

BUILDING YOUR Spray Foam Rig

To become a spray foam contractor, you’ll need a trailer or box truck to house your equipment, and the following basic equipment (exact equipment will depend on what types of jobs you want to accomplish).  Most of your equipment will be built around the type of proportioner/reactor you need, from heater size to the compressor and power required. All of these will impact your trailer/truck strength and specs. Additional options are available, depending on your wants and needs.  Following is some basic information that will help get you started.

The spray foam proportioner is the center of a spray foam rig, and where designing your se-up begins.  Key initial considerations are the size and scope of projects you  plan to go after, along with the budget you have to build your rig.  Electric proportioners are going to be less expensive and require less power to operate.  This makes them a good fit for rigs set up to operate from shore or a smaller generator.  However, hydraulic machines will often give you higher flow rates and can be equipped with the heaters needed to manage projects with longer hose length requirement or more extreme operating conditions.  


Technology vs simplicity is also a big consideration today in selecting your machine.  Some systems are equipped with digital monitoring devices that can track, record, and even send data to your mobile device.  While some manufacturers focus on high tech, others focus on simplicity and ease of use.  Graco machines will offer more options to integrate technology, while PMC machines harken back to the earlier days of foam and focus on fewer parts that are often easier to repair. or replace.

Trailer or Box Truck

The trailer/truck will be insulated (with closed cell spray foam in the floor, walls, and ceiling), and include safety equipment for everything from first aid to fire extinguishers, and chemical eye wash. Trailer and tool configuration options will depend on what type of work you want to do, how much equipment, what type of foam, and other factors. We meet with you to determine your needs, and will help you configure your full tool-set, and proper trailer/truck size and rating—for your work. We make sure your trailer meets or exceeds all the needs of a successful spray foam rig, including special considerations for height and width, structural reinforcement, axle strength, and more.

Power Source

When selecting your power source, look at the requirements for all the equipment that will be running off electric power on your rig.  This includes and is not limited to you Proportioner, Air Compressor, Heater/Air Conditioner, Air Dryer, Lights, and any other Power Tools you will be operating.  There are a few routes you can go for powering your rig.


SHORE POWER:  Some rigs are equipped with a long power cable that is connected to a power source on site.  The greatest benefit to shore power is the cost.  You can avoid the cost of adding a generator to your rig.  However, the obvious drawback to this is method is your limited availability of a power source to connect to.  This method is often used by smaller outfits or part-time installers who coordinate this with their contractors.


GENERATOR:  Most professional spray foam installers run a generator on their rig.  This significantly reduces the job restrictions that come with operating a shore powered rig.  Diesel powered generators are going to be your most reliable solution and a great long term solution for setting up a rig that is capable of being extremely effective and efficient.

Compressor

Consider what will be powered by air when selecting the proper compressor.  Consider the requirements of your machine and the drum pumps, along with other equipment like air powered mixers and/or foam planing tools.  If you plan to run a fresh air system off the same compressor, this also must be considered.  Look at the CFM requirements of all air powered equipment and consider which items will be running at the same time.  You will need to meet the sum total CFM requirements.

Transfer pumps (aka stick pumps) are inserted into the drums to push foam chemical to the proportioner.  Most equipment can operate effectively off a Graco T-1 or PMC GHO pump, however check the requirements of your proportioner when determining which pump is best for your set-up.  Consider also the hydraulic hoses that will need to be purchased separately for connecting your pumps to the proportioner.

A mixer will be required if you plan to apply open cell (half pound) foam formulations.  The type of mixer and requirement for mixing vary between brands of foam.  Consulting with your foam chemical provider and checking the product application guidelines is important to make sure you properly agitate the open cell resin prior to spraying.

Air Dryer

Humidity it not a friend of spray foam insulation when it comes to the installation process.  It is important to have your air system connected to an air drier to reduce humidity in the system.  If you are using an air purge spray gun, the importance of dry air is amplified.  

Your spray gun selection is based on several factors.  If you are looking for an all around good gun for various product applications, a Graco or PMC air purge gun is a good choice.  The air purge guns are very popular for their versatility and ease of use.  No gun is without flaws and you will need to be prepared for constant cleaning and maintenance.  In fact, the ease of disassembly should be a serious consideration when selecting your foam gun.

The hoses are all sold separately from the proportioner.  The main heated hose needs to be sized in length to the type of work you will be doing, and the job site requirements.  Longer hoses will require larger heaters on the proportioner as well.  A whip is used at the end of the hose assembly to connect the main hose to the gun.  The whip service a few functions, not the least of which is providing a safety section of hose that can be easily replaced if your gun crosses over and the wrong chemical gets back into the hose.  A properly sized hose reel and scuff jacket protection around the hose assembly are also must have.  

It is good practice to always have at least 1 spare part for every fluid contact component in your gun.  Multiple replacement o-rings are also essential.  Graco and PMC both offer gun parts kits, or you can piece together the parts individually as you see fit.

The most commonly required tools and supplies are all listed in that section of our website.  From the required nut driver and picks required to disassemble and clean your gun, to shop towels and work lights.  A good survey of this section on our website will well prepare you for what to expect.

Foam chemicals should not come in contact with your skin, nor should you ever lack respiratory protection when in a spray foam environment.  The American Chemistry Council offers a good introduction to spray foam safety and proper handling of chemicals and high pressure equipment.  This course is offered free online.  Make certain your rig and crew is properly equipped to protect against these hazards.