Sit-down ride-on floor machines have greater tank capacity and longer battery life than their stand-up counterparts, making them ideal for cleaning large, open spaces. And with the advent of 20-inch micro riders, BSCs can access smaller spaces and maneuver more easily. 

“There’s a wider variety of sit-down equipment,” says Young, “and I do believe there’s a point in size — a 32-inch-wide cleaning path and larger — where sit-down is superior to stand-on. For instance, if you have a large distribution area to clean, bigger is better, and sitting down makes a lot of sense.”

BSCs need to consider not only the size but the density of the space to determine what type of floor machine is best for business. 

“If you have 100,000 square feet you may automatically assume you need a sit-down rider,” says Bodo, “but if you have 100,000 square feet of a cubicle farm, a rider might not be the right solution.”

When choosing between a sit-down and stand-up machine, manufacturers urge BSCs to not only test the equipment, but calculate which machine will get the job done in the least amount of time. 

“If you have a machine that can go further on one tank, and you can save one dump and refill a day, you can save half an hour a day of unproductive labor,” says Ryan Greenawald, director of marketing - North America, Diversey. “Over several years, that half hour of labor savings is enough to pay off the machine. So look at the total cost of ownership, not just the initial purchase price.” 

Steering Wheel Or Joystick

Like cars, most ride-on floor machines are controlled via a steering wheel — a “universally understood operator input device,” says Michael Beutler, senior global category manager, commercial equipment, Tennant.

“There’s a high turnover rate in the industry, so the best thing you can do is make sure the equipment is easy to understand with as little training as possible,” he says. 

Although steering wheels are the accepted norm for both sit-down and stand-up floor machines, one company has introduced a joystick controller on its sit-down riders. The idea came about when an engineer adapted a wheelchair controller to operate a traditional ride-on floor machine.

“We had people ride the joystick-controlled machine, and what we were struck by was the fact that it was even less fatiguing than the steering wheel,” says Dale Krausnick, vice president of marketing for NSS Enterprises. “With a joystick machine, you can sit comfortably and naturally with your arm on an armrest and control this 1,200-pound machine with two fingers.”

Some operators are resistant to change and are initially skeptical about a joystick controller, but once they test drive the machine they are sold. 

“People say it’s fun, which is a weird word to use around an automatic scrubber,” says Krausnick.

Kassandra Kania is a freelancer based in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is a frequent contributor to Contracting Profits.


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Riding Commercial Floor Cleaners Superior To Walk-Behind Machines