Work (sales) vehicle for new guy...fuel efficient?

So I started with a company a couple of weeks ago as a salesman in Nebraska. Local company, and I will stay local. He is giving me the 5/50/50 pay plan with a 6% draw, and giving me some training. So far I am really impressed with the company (i started with another company for all of 2 days before I realized they were NOT who I wanted to be working for.)

I am doing sales, around here we have few true 2 story homes, so 95% of the time I can get by with just a 16’ extension ladder but occasionally I will need a larger one. My wife has an F150 that I can use from time to time…I drive a little Ford Taurus. I am wanting to get something that will be “mine” to use for work. I am thinking if I find something that I can easily carry the 16’ ladder, then if I HAVE to bring out the larger one I can use her truck.

My initial thought is since I will be in sales, I wont be hauling a lot, but I will be putting on a few miles, I DONT want a truck…I would like something that will get better mpg’s but still carry a ladder. When I am making better money I will go ahead and get a truck because I will be able to afford the gas. Owner has a lifter F250 and the other sales guys have a lifted Chevy 2500 diesel and a Lifted GMC Denalli truck.

For now I was thinking maybe a mini van might have enough room for a ladder? Or a Jeep Grand Cherokee I could put a ladder on top maybe (although I dont know how much of a pain to take off and on a roof rack like that)? I dont know. Does everyone pretty much have trucks or are there some folks that have something different that would be a little better on fuel? and not be STRICTLY the work truck?

Any opinions would be welcome. Thanks.

You’re going to be working local you say. So just how many miles do you think you’ll be driving? Do the math, the fuel cost difference in driving a vehicle that gets 15 mpg and one that gets 25 mpg isn’t near as much as you think. You mention Jeep Grand Cherokee. Those are known gas hogs.

Why not pick up a smaller truck then such as a Ford Ranger or something equivalent? Put a ladder rack on it. You’ll get a little better gas mileage but still have the utility.

If you’re really into the eco thing, just buy a Toyota Prius and weld some racks on the roof to hold you ladder. You can show up at the prospective Customer’s house driving that and sipping on a latte. That should present the image any professional roof sales person is looking for. :shock:

I live out in the country so its about 30 -40 miles each way to where we are working primarily. I really am NOT an Eco guy…I am a guy that is broke enough right now that mpgs make a difference. The other thing I am looking at is 4x4 trucks out here are a lot more than similar age and condition other type of vehicle.

One thing you mentioned that makes some since to me…people kind of expect a roofer to drive a truck…something that is not a truck might not have the same image…like I am not serious about the industry maybe? I wonder if a clean mini-van would not give off the same professional image as a truck…even if the truck is a little older and not as sharp?

I am going to drive maybe 100 miles a day? So 25mpg is 4 gallons a day. 13 mpgs(that is about what my F150 seems to average) would be almost 8 gallons. So about 15 bucks a day more…in the grand scheme of things you might be right…not the biggest thing in the world…especially if I am selling and making money!

As A.D said go for a Ranger or S-10.I would choose an extend cab for extra room for sample boards etc.

I would purchase a weekender ladder rack.(Half rack) I would also choose a 24’ ladder.I know your thinking of a 16’ ladder but with my luck if I did that I would be called to every 20’+ roof in the city.

Last thing you want is to have to reschedule an appointment so you have access to a bigger truck to haul a ladder.By that time someone else with a proper ladder will take your contract.

A weekender will hold a 40’ fiberglass extension ladder with no problems.Then on the weekends you can remove the posts and haul new bedroom furniture or the other things your wife dream up to buy with your new found wealth.

I know contractors that drive Escalades and Hummers and seem to do very well.I prefer a truck because that IMO shows your in construction.I guess it might be one of those sterotype things.

I would enjoy seeing a Prius with racks on it though.Hahahaha

I could not feel confident on the very first impression driving a car, or a beater asking for jobs in this price bracket- I drove 65,000 miles last year (mostly on dirt roads) with a thirsty Tundra CrewMax 5.7 and not once did I think about a smaller ride. My wife’s car gets 30+ MPG and it sits there idle, most days we take the truck even out and about.

I mentioned the dirt roads as my truck is rarely clean but under the road dust is a very nice truck and it impresses many people- not carpenters, plumbers and the like- jealousy probably, but HO’s for sure.

The point of the missing an estimate because you couldn’t get on the roof is VERY important factor.

I have a Chevy 2500 HD. Gas blows but I originally got it because I was the only one who could pull trailers. Since then, I have got a few more vehicles, etc.

If I were you, I would at least look into a smaller pick up. As a homeowner, I don’t know if I could take a contractor serious if he showed up in a car for an initial meeting.

http://www.industrialladder.com/userImages/productImages/vphhr-1.jpg

Always thought these would be nice. Decent mileage, dry cargo area, nice price, stylish. And lots of room for graphics

OK, I will definitively go ahead and hold out for a truck.

Thanks…
and thanks for all the advice on this board…I have been lurking for a couple of weeks…it helped me to know what was a good pay plan, what to expect on the job, etc.

I am excited about the opportunity…and I am sure I will have more questions soon.

Thanks again

Good luck and stay honest you will go far.

I think you mostly already have everything you need.
Switch vehicles with your wife and be happy.
It also sounds like you have the 8ft ladder.
Thats not gonna work.
You need the 12 footer to reach 21ft which will reach most 2storys if your brave and find the highest ground point.
you really need that 12footer for a lot of one story roofs too!
I use it for everything.
I use an f150 with a 6 foot bed.
And I dont use a ladder rack for my 12footer. I dont need it.
A lil weight at the base and a bungee cord is all i need.
Good luck!

Look if you buy one with a 3.0 motor as long as you change oil and do some maintenance heck i have a 2001 i use every day and runs perfect and does not leak oil its still worth 4000. I got mine thru a friend.

Ladder rack i do not have with my back i have to rely on a folder style. i think i get 17 mpg or better i have a stick so i have to watch my right foot and then well a tank full is around 280 miles. according to the 19.5 fuel tank i get around 15 mpg.

amazon.com/Little-Giant-1012 … B000FK09ME

this 26 foot ladder fits in the trunk of my Audi A4 when i want to take a car instead of my diesel f350.

I mentioned the dirt roads as my truck is rarely clean but under the road dust is a very nice truck and it impresses many people- not carpenters, plumbers and the like- jealousy probably, but HO’s for sure.

I did sales in a little hatchback Hyundai accent for more than a year, had the Werner collapsible ladders one 12’ one 22’. I loved the MPGs, but every now and then knew that me driving a car was an issue to the homeowner. Some times it was great ice breaker, I pull up homeowner looks up “what do you have a ladder in your pocket?” yes sir I sure do and got 30mpgs on the way here. But in the long run with the new trucks they are very fuel efficient. I upgraded to 2012 f150 ecoboost and am just over 20 combined MPG. I drive a crazy amount of miles a week but not a huge difference in overall gas bills. Plus the fact that I have a truck and ladder rack has not only made my job wayyy easier but had increased my confidence and my closing % have only improved.
Think of it this way, if having the truck gets you 1 or 2 more sales than you would have had in the car, you’ve already made up the difference in fuel cost.

I drive a lifted Titan with a 5.6 liter V8. The thing sucks gas but its a beautiful truck and I know my clients are always looking at it. It never lets me down anywhere I go, and I can always expect to get 14-15 mpg no matter where I drive it. I feel bad abusing it like that and burning all that gas, but hey its a truck! I also use it to pull a camper and haul lawn care equipment, a side gig I started only because I had a truck. You will find reasons to have a truck once you have one. Get a full size… the gas savings isn’t that much different and you have a lot more towing capacity.

My current issue is that I put a camper shell on there and I dont have a ladder rack anymore! I’ve been getting by just fine with a pocket ladder 16’. Most hail damage is evident on the first level as well as above, so you can do at least an initial inspection. I can see most wind damage from the street which has been my focus lately, I really don’t need to even get up there a lot of times until the adjuster gets there, and he usually has a big ladder which you can piggyback on. Then your contractor should have a big ladder on his truck too. You could probably snake by without a big ladder for a while actually.

Some of the pickup trucks now have better gas mileage then you would expect. I believe anyone doing roofing sales should look and act the part of a roofer. Having a minivan makes you look like a salesperson. I worked at a company years ago where there were 3 salespeople including myself. I had a Dodge pickup with a ladder rack and a 28’ ladder. Another guy had a minivan with a fold up ladder and the 3rd a car. I did more in sales then the other 2 guys combined. I think a homeowner wants someone that gets up on every roof and looks like they have done roofing before.