What length of ladder?

I did a search and found a ton of discussion about ladders but the answer to one question eludes me…what’s the shortest length ladder I can get away with for 2-story work?

Since I’m kicking off my window cleaning career with an Elantra sedan, space is a huge issue. I also want to keep my start-up costs to a bare minimum. So here are the options I’ve found:

Roof rack $199 + 20’ extension ladder $129
17’ multi-ladder $159 on sale (should fit in the back seat)
21’ multi-ladder $179 on sale (MIGHT fit in the trunk with the back seats down)

Any thoughts?

I have wondered the same thing. From what I have read on the WCR forums it seems a 20’ is ideal for most applications. I just purchased one myself yesterday at Lowes. They have one on sale that ends today. It is listed for $99.00 plus tax. You can go to your local Post Office and ask for a moving kit. In there you will find a 10% off Lowes coupon. I picked up the ladder for $95.00 out the door. I posted a link of the ladder osn sale below. Good Luck.

Shop Werner 20’ Type II Aluminum Extension Ladder (225 lb. Capacity) at Lowes.com

The Little Giant Multi Ladder is lighter than the knock offs. It uses a higher grade of aluminum to accomplish this. They are way more expensive but also better made, safer and much easier to work with and will last a long long time. As one of my friends says." I am to0 poor to buy junk". Get something that will last and you will be better off in the long run

If you paid $99 for a 20 footer then you got non-professional ladder and I would not trust myself or anyone else on it for everyday use. Think safety not savings!

20’ extension or the 21’ multi-ladder should both do the trick. Most of the ladders I own, I bought on Craigslist. Most of them were from painters who were on hard times.

Moral of the story?

Save your money, so you don’t have to sell your ladders in the winter to buy beer.

(and don’t become a painter.)

Click on the link and tell me what you think. It says its a medium duty ladder rated for 225lbs. Plenty for me. Are you saying I should not use this?

I have 1/2 of a 32 ftr that is on the truck. It can reach most 2nd floor windows but it does come up short sometimes. I train my employees to pull the top sash down when inside cleaning so when they hit the outside they can reach the glass. Of course this is if we are not using the WFP. I think 20 ft would be more then ok. But honestly if I had to do it all over again I would get either 1 32 ftr or 40 ftr. It’s easy to go shorter, but not easy to get longer.

Thanks guys. So if I can’t fit the 21’ into my car you think it would be better to go the roof rack and extension ladder route instead of the 17’ multi-ladder?

When I started I was carrying a 12’ LG knockoff in the trunk of my Benz, and it barely fit with the rest of my euip.

Now I have an Exploder XLT with a 24’ Werner Multi. With the back seat flipped down it fits just right. Only problem is, working it at full extension is a PITA because its inherently top heavy.

I would go with a roof rack and extension ladder personally. I’m actually planning to upgrade to a 30"+ extension because I’m going to be pushing gutters pretty hard this fall. I’m no weakling, but the Werner is just too heavy to be futzing around with at full extension all day.

Get a few section ladders… they’re only 6 feet long so they will stack right in the car.

As you make more money, add to the collection.

I have a 28 footer and wish I had the 32 or 40 sometimes, you never know when you will need it…Sometimes I rent a 40 footer for a half day jobs. I also got a good price on a ladder rack for my truck at discountramps.com shipped same day, nice friendly service and when I called asking about info, they knew what they was talking about. They may have a nice rack to fit your car. My rack was under 100 dollars.

Thanks for all of your suggestions. I ended up going with a 17’ multi-ladder. I know this is a bit on the short side but I figure it will get me to all of the windows on 90% of the houses in my neighborhood (as well as several other neighborhoods around the city with the same style of homes). Since most of my business for the time being will be coming from marketing, I can pick and choose the homes I target. As referrals increase (I’ve got a couple from friends so far) then I’ll have a few bucks to spend on some higher reach equipment, preferably a WFP set-up rather than longer ladders.