Ladder and ladder rack question from the new guy

OK, well…so far I am about 3 weeks into this deal. I feel like I am doing pretty well. I have signed 8 deals…although 2 of them were with the owner…6 are all my own.

Anyways, I got a truck. an ‘04 Ram…its nice enough, but has a short bed. I am picking up a 28’ ladder (that seemed to be the general consensus from everyone before), but I know that thing will stick out of my truck a mile. Does anyone do this? just strap it down and let it ride over the tailgait? I do that with the 16 foot…but I think the additional length might be bad…remember I drive 75 miles a day.

I am just getting started so all the money is not flowing in yet…so I dont have a ton to spend. I did see some of those 1/2 ladder racks at harbor freight. I know there stuff is cheep, but I wonder if I could get through the summer with them?

Thoughts? Thanks…

Find yourself a used full sized ladder rack, you will need it.

A 1/2 rack will work.Not too sure about Harbor Freight though.But as Axiom said a full ladder rack will come in handy.I have weekenders but my crews have racks.

Are you experienced with moving/extending a 28’ ladder?

I been looking at Craigslist already, and so far, locally at least I am just finding ones made for an 8’ bed, or for a van. The problem is I need to drive to Hastings (2 hours) to run some appointments i set up on a couple of 2 stories on Saturday…so I need to figure out something.

The other question you asked. NO. To be honest, so far I have managed with just a little 16foot ladder…if you have some tips, tricks etc for handling a 28 foot, I would appreciate it. I am not too proud to learn or take advice! I can ask the guys I work with…I didnt really think about it much…just figured same as a 16 foot but more awkward. lol.

The other question you asked. NO. To be honest, so far I have managed with just a little 16foot ladder…if you have some tips, tricks etc for handling a 28 foot, I would appreciate it. I am not too proud to learn or take advice! I can ask the guys I work with…I didnt really think about it much…just figured same as a 16 foot but more awkward. lol.[/quote]

its all in the balance…

A weekender will be fine for now but invest in a real ladder rack when you can. A 28’ will be a bit shaky with a short bed stick it out about 2-3 rungs off the back that should help out with balance. A normal ladder rack will have a bar over the front windshield. Keep looking there are ladder racks all over the place. Normally we make our own or modify cheaply bought ones. Are you out of Lincoln or Omaha?

balance i’m talking about is walking with ladder, get it standing straight up and grab hold of lower and upper rungs ,whatever your arms can strech out to,using your shoulder to keep straight and balance it straight up and down and start walkin…

Company is out of Omaha, I live about 1/2 way between the two.

Nobody says that you cannot just pull your ladder out and practice carrying it in your driveway.Believe it or not but that is how I practiced luggin my 32’ and 40’ the first times.

Just make sure your away from your vehicles,windows and children and pets.You want to get a feel for the weight before appointments.Last thing you want is to put it thru your customers stained glass windows or the windshield of his S550.

Alot of people remove the rope on a ladder put I feel its very important to leave and actually use.In no time you will be able to walk the ladder up and fully extend it using the rope without even moving.

I feel its important to know your equipments intentions,capabilities and limitations.Don’t forget to tie off if you use the gutter.I use rakes since it won’t damage the gutter.For hip roofs I use a ladder brace or they are called stand offs.They rest against the roof and keep the ladder from touching the gutters.I paid $90 for mine.Well worth the cost.Compared to damaging gutters and losing customer faith right from the start.

I have had appointments and the first thing they would say is,"Oh,thank you,the last guy slammed the ladder against my gutters and smashed my flowers.

What RM said. Question though. Do you know how to park? That’s important. You must back into client’s driveways. You want to snap the ladder off the rack and straight to the house. Some roofers haven’t figured that out yet and I see them struggling to get a ladder around their own vehicle and other obstacles too.
It’s the same as when you go to a store. You also don’t want to be backing out into a traffic lane or roadway when you leave.
Don’t forget, you have the right of way when backing into the driveway and it gives one more appearance of professionalism.

There is a guy (roofing company) in town who has a short box Dodge, and he somehow wrestles a 28 footer into it, thing almost stands straight up lol.
I have a rack similar (in style only) to the “Weekender” from weatherguard, but my rear rack is only a few inches off the siderail of the pickup bed (Weekender racks are the same height). So when I pack a 28’+ ladder I stick it out 4’ (check your state laws on this) past the tailgate and red flag it.
That and fill the ladder rungs with plumbers foam, unless you like hearing the ladder whistle while you drive :slight_smile:

Company is out of Omaha, I live about 1/2 way between the two.[/quote]

Lincoln here.

Also as RM stated leave the ropes on. We have guys remove them from the 32’ and 40ers god only knows why. They just went from a 1 person set up to a 2 person set up.

Ok, so I installed a cheep version of a half rack. It is not perfect but I did drive it2 hours down the interstate and back home with no problems. I borrowed a 32’ ladder from my friend…but didnt end up using it. What it taught me was…I DONT WANT ONE THAT BIG. There was a small wind, and it was all that I could do to control that ladder.

I am really curious as to what size ladder people carry with them on the road? To me, the 16 is almost to small. I am extended all the way out, and its just barely reaching some of the roofs…but I cant see needing 32’ either.

Trying to think what would be small enough that it can truly be handled by one person…but still reach a higher percentage of houses. Seems like around here people are using 28’ ladders, but say they have never had it extended all the way…I have not handled one of them…do those 4 feet between 32’ and 28’ make much of a difference? To me that is really on 2’ in length closed. Would 24’ get me most places? I can say that 32’ is really uncomfortable for me…although i do like the back in to the drive and go from truck to house idea!


You will need a variety of ladders in different lengths.

My ladders are 16’, 20’, 24’, 32’, & 40’.

I have at least 2 of each size for ladder jacks.
My favorite ones are 20’, I have more than 2 of these, and more than 2 24’.
All my ladders are wood type 1A, treated & rodded.

An aluminum ladder may seem attractive but if I were using one daily I would have been electrocuted long ago.

It’s always something to behold when a newbie tries to carry a ladder 32’ or longer…

One of the nice things about wood ladders is that when you drop one it doesn’t get permanently tweaked like fiberglass & aluminum.
Wood ladders don’t slide around as much either.

I would recommend fiberglass for ladders up to & longer than 32’, especially if they are going to be used for ladder jacks.
Buy only type 1A or better, all your roofing crap needs to be heavy duty none of this lightweight homeowner stuff.

You will need to buy at least 60 roof jacks also, figure out what you like and buy all the same stuff.

As soon as you see a used full size rack that will fit your truck buy it and get rid of that stupid 1/2 rack, those are for salesmen.
A roofer needs more than 1 ladder on site, unless all you do is walkable roofs.
Cargo master makes a nice ladder rack, the last time I bought one it was $650.00.

I’m not sure why you want a 28’ ladder to start with. Yes, there are situations where it is “perfect” but unless there is something unique to your area, not that many where a 24’ ladder wouldn’t have performed equally well. That additional 4’ in length makes a significant difference in ease of handling.

In general, I think roofs requiring 32’ and 40’ ladders to access also should be a 2 man inspection team. I happen to think Sales Reps should have a single story ladder and a 24’ ladder. You put someone inexperienced in the position of handling a 28’ to 40’ ladder very many times, you’re likely to tear something up or have an injury.

Geeeez.You don’t go easy.You added 4 more feet to your ladder since your last post. :lol:

IMO you can never have too many ladders.

As a rule I run with a fiberglass 24 footer.But there really isn’t a certain footage anyone can say you will use daily.It maybe a 16’ on Monday,40’ on Tuesday and a 24’ on Wednesday.

I like weekenders because I hate full racks.But thats just me.Anymore I do more sales than roofing.I prefer fiberglass.They are a little heavier but I have never been zapped so that to me is worth the added weight.

People can say what they want but under NO circumstances would I recommend buying a ladder from a pawn shop.I know how to look for splits in the fiberglass around the rungs and know the early signs of stress damage.But that is not something I want to be thinking about 32’ to 40’ in the air.You buy tools and nailguns used if need be but buy your ladders new.

I recommend buying a couple ladders per month.

About 95% of the time I use my telescopic multi use ladder that is 23 feet. Salesmen get by most of the time with the 13 foot version. Almost all 2 story roofs have a lower part somewhere. (Not always). You can always call and ask HO. Just ask them if you need a big ladder. I always try to get their help as much as possible. It builds a relationship and gives them skin in the game.

I will frequently show up and they have a ladder right next to the house. Ask them if they mind using theirs since yours is in the truck.

I have salesmen that never get on the roof believe it or not. I have one guy in his 70’s and I am quite clear about not letting him up there. If insurance has already paid, there’s no need. A lot on this board will disagree but they have “roofer’s” mentality. Especially if it is an insurance job! Go inside and talk with the homeowners and tell lots of jokes. If they like you, they will go with you if all else is equal. In my experience, the more “professional” I sell the more likely I am to lose the job. Every client is different though…

You can stack 2 ladders on a 1/2 rack can’t ya?

If so a 24’ & a 32" should do almost anything you need to.

I will probably continue to carry the little 16’ with me…and I think that I will get a 24’ to be my primary ladder. I would have to imagine that a 24’ would be SOOOO much easier to maneuver than that 32’ is. I pretty much need help with that one right now, although I have not had a chance to do the back into the drive, and set it down against a house like was suggested…that should help.

24’ and 32’ on everyone of our trucks. Half a dozen or so of each as spares. Also have 36’ and a handful of 40’s as needed.