Posted in Ideas & Tips

DIY: At Home Must-Do Maintenance for Your Vehicle

Owning a Jeep or truck with suspension parts comes with a fair amount of responsibility. Far too many drivers overlook routine maintenance, which will wear down your vehicle over time. But you don’t have to take your vehicle into the shop every time you need to make a few repairs. A mechanic will overcharge you for some of these routine tasks when you’re better off doing them yourself at home. Save some money and keep your vehicle in tip-top shape with these DIY maintenance tips.

Replace the Cabin Air Filter

One of the best things you can do to improve your lifted truck ride is swapping out the cabin air filter. It won’t help your vehicle run better, but you’ll breathe easier behind the wheel. If the air inside your vehicle doesn’t feel as fresh as you remember, just buy a new set of cabin air filters at your local auto store. Check your owner’s manual, but the cabin air filter should be in the glove box. Open it and look for a compartment in the back. Slide out the old filter and put in a new one for some much-needed fresh air.

Replace the Engine Air Filter

Your engine needs access to fresh air as well, or your vehicle’s fuel efficiency will suffer as a result. To replace the engine air filter, check your owner’s manual for further instructions.

● Open the hood and look for a square black box with metal clips on the side. Engine air filters come in all shapes and sizes, and the airbox might be hard to find.

● You can also use a vacuum to remove any dust or debris from your airbox to help your new filter last longer.

● Remove the old filter and slide the new one into the same position. Your engine will run smoother and longer.

Change the Oil and Oil Filter

Changing the oil is routine for any car owner. You can use the old-fashioned dipstick method to check your oil levels or look at your vehicle’s electronic oil gauge. You should change the oil every 2,000 to 3,000 miles, especially if you’re a heavy driver or you like to take your vehicle off road, but you might be able to hold off changing your oil until 5,000 or 10,000 miles if you have a newer vehicle. Check your owner’s manual for more information. You’ll also need to change the oil filter from time to time as well, which protects your engine from trace contaminants in the oil.

Replace the Spark Plugs

Dirty or worn out spark plugs will sap your vehicle’s fuel efficiency and make it harder for your engine to do its job. Depending on the make and model, you should only have to do this every 3,000 miles or so. Check your owner’s manual for detailed instructions.

● Open the hood, and you should see your spark plugs connected to a series of electrical wires. There could be anywhere from four to eight plugs.

● Disconnect the wire to one plug at a time, so you don’t mix up which wire goes where.

● Use a socket wrench with a spark plug attachment to remove the old plug.

● Install a new one and reconnect the wires.

Clean Off the Battery

Having a dirty battery will decrease fuel efficiency and may even prevent your engine from starting. You should be able to open the hood and visually inspect your battery. If you see any rust, white residue, or other buildup, spend a few moments cleaning it off.

● Start by removing the battery terminals, starting with the negative cable.

● Use a wire brush with battery cleaning solution—usually just baking soda and water—to clean off the posts.

● Dry the posts with a rag before reconnecting the cables.

Flush Out the Radiator

You also need to keep your vehicle’s radiator and cooling system in tip-top shape if you want them to work efficiently. Over time, the system will fill up with all kinds of debris and dirt. To clean out the system, you’ll have to do what’s known as a radiator flush.

● Check your owner’s manual, but it’s best to do this every year or two. Don’t perform this task when the vehicle is hot. Let it cool down before unscrewing your vehicle’s radiator drain plug.

● Get an old container ready, unscrew the cap, and use the container to collect the old coolant instead of having it spill out all over your driveway or garage.

● Replace drain plug and remove the radiator cap. Pour radiator cleaning solution into the radiator, along with some water, and replace the cap.

● Start your vehicle and jack up the heat to the highest setting. Let this run for about 10 minutes. Turn off the engine and let it cool down.

● Drain the radiator again by undoing the cap, and then refill it with fresh coolant.

Switch Out the Brake Pads

Replacing the brake pads tends to be a little more complicated, but, with a little preparation, you should be able to do this yourself. You should swap these out every 20,000 miles or more often if you’re an experienced rock crawler or you sit in stop-and-go traffic all day long. Again, reference your owner’s manual before you get started.

● Jack up the car on a series of jack stands.

● Break the lugs on your tires and remove the wheel.

● Remove the brake caliper, which should be just above the lugs, remove the brake caliper clips, and slide the brake pads out through the top.

● Replace the old pads with new ones and reattach the brake caliper clips.

● Compress the brake piston and place brake caliper over the new pads.

● Reinstall the brake calipers and slide your wheels back on.

You Can Do It

These DIY tasks are a must for any car owner. If you don’t feel comfortable doing some of these tasks by yourself, call a friend or visit your local mechanic. You can extend the life of your truck or Jeep with suspension parts and improve the overall lifted truck ride. Become your own mechanic and get started today.

If you are thinking of buying yourself a refrigerated van, then make sure that you do your research. Firstly, you want to make sure that you get the right refrigerated van that suits your needs and then you need to make sure that you have the right insurance.

Posted in Ideas & Tips

5 Proven Business Ideas You Can Start With A Van Immediately With No Money

Business Ideas – Getting Your Van Business Started And Deciding What You Want To Do!

Starting a small business with a van is easy, earning a decent living wage with a van is something else – especially when you may have little to no money to help kick start your new venture in the beginning.

What’s comforting though, is knowing that there’s always somebody, somewhere looking to get something shifted or dumped – and that means money in your pocket  – so when looking for business ideas you can turn into cold hard cash with your van, there is couple of sure fire ways you can go about it.

And, as not everybody has money just lying around, we’ll assume for the purpose of this article that we’re all starting on a shoestring.

Now having little or no money to get your van business started doesn’t mean you’re at a real disadvantage either. All it means is that instead of a fancy website and paid advertising, you’ll have to opt for a free Facebook Page for Business, old fashioned leg work and direct customer contact in the beginning.

Instead of customers finding you, you’ll have to find them initially, but the beauty of this well neglected technique is that your customers might not even know they’re your customers till the moment of contact.

And in this digital age, not many people are opting for legwork so you’re already in a good position and this is your chance to monopolise locally.

The money is always out there, all you have to do is find it. Here’s how 🙂

So, what business can you start with a van?

1) Starting A Rubbish Removal & Recycling Business!

Rubbish Removal Business

This is by far the easiest of them all so it get’s the top spot in our list of ways to start a business with a van. As long as you have a van of course, you need little to no money other than the cost of fuel.

Door Knocking

I’m sorry but there really isn’t any other way round this, but it’s not all bad.

In this niche, door knocking is by far the best way to get the attention of a potential customer simply because you’re there, they’re there and if they do have something they want shifted to the local tip, there’s an 80% chance they’ll do a deal before having to lug it to the skip it themselves.

If you sat outside you’re local recycling centre on a Saturday morning, you would see exactly how many people grudgingly take a few hours out of their weekend to visit the local tip.

After a long working week, nobody want’s to be at the local dump on a Saturday or Sunday morning and is why it is just the money generator you should be considering when thinking about the type of business you too can start with a van.

You should target:

Private & New Build Estates.

Private Housing Estate

Private and new build estates have people buying, selling, moving in and moving out more often than any other type of tenant.

Some people are down sizing and have more stuff than space, some are renovating or having new bathrooms or kitchens put in and want rid of the excess, replacing decking or some just want to make extra garage space.

Whatever their requirements, private estates is where a lot of business is so, when when thinking how best to start a business with a van and little else,  you should spend time and effort thinking about how to turn those ideas into paying work.

Council Estates

Average Council Street

Funnily Enough, starting a small van based business if you live in or near a large council estate is as good a money in the bank and random door knocking works exceptionally well as in these types of areas.

White goods, junk and other things that are better off at the tip tend to be left in the back garden and placed on a “list of things to get round to” by the tenant.

If you knock the door and offer to uplift anything there and then, the chances are high that you’re talking to a paying customer.

Even a short drive round the local streets you’ll probably spot things that should be uplifted. Don’t be shy, chap the door.

Waste Disposal For Local Businesses

Industrial Bins Falkirk

Local business do not get free waste disposal – this is something they pay for as a business expense and this applies to them all – and so is another way to earn a substantial income.

Call round local businesses to see how much they are paying and offer them a better quote for a regular service. Smaller businesses are more likely to take you up on the offer to keep their overheads down.

You shouldn’t really waste your time with larger companies such as Burger King or Argos. A) Your van is probably not capable of lifting large industrial bins and B) You should be aware of your limits and conduct yourself appropriately.

You don’t have to cold call local businesses in person, they actually prefer phone calls followed by a visit if they’re interested.

What To Say?

Chapping someone’s door then just standing there with a blank stare will only frighten them so you’ll need something to say. Script a short sentence or two, practice it and before long, speaking to a potential customer at their front door will come natural and easy.

Something like…

“Hi, my name is <your name> from <your company> and we offer affordable  recycling, junk removal and special uplift services.

Just to let you know we have a van collecting in the area today and we’re wondering if you have anything at all you would like taken to the recycling centre?”

This is more than enough. It tells them who you are, what you do and get’s them to think what they want rid of.

Always meet and greet with a smile.

I strongly suggest you do spend a few quid on an ID badge with your name and company logo and a sign written t-shirt. These can be had on Ebay for about £15 and will instantly crank your trust factor up to 10.

It will most likely be the difference between a warm welcome at the door and being suspected of a burglary waiting to happen.

Things To Be Very Aware Of!

Regardless of anything, you should NEVER handle or transport hazardous goods, chemicals or waste. If it doesn’t come out of a house or place of business, don’t touch it.

Scottish Environmental Protection Agency is pretty much a comprehensive “how to” or even more so a “how to not” guide on this.

Getting Into The Recycling Centre

As you’re a business, your local recycling centre will also charge you a fee to dispose of your van contents. In Falkirk it’s £60 but you should check with your own local authority for their entry prices.

You won’t have to pay this till you’re ready to dump your junk though so sometimes it’s just good practice just to carry the junk around with you till your van is full – that way you’ll only be paying for entry into the tip once.

If the customer is willing to accompany you to the recycling centre with ID to confirm that he is a local resident, the junk belongs to him and your van is merely transporting it , then you’ll get in for free.

You can quote less and the customer will save money.

How Much To Charge Customers!

The prices you charge your customers will reflect this cost of recycling so offer them a good deal but not so good that you’re not making a realistic profit.

Getting into the recycling centre is by visit, not by volume so be aware of how much space you have available in your van, how much you’re charging to fill that space with items and how much it’ll cost you to dispose of it in the proper way.

Investing in van ladder racks is wise business investment. Always buy the best ladder rack you can afford, as it will perform better and last longer than a budget version of this work essential.

Posted in Ideas & Tips


If you own a van, there’s a whole range of jobs you can do to make money. This can either be as your main source of income, or just something that you do on the side in your spare time.

All of the van business ideas in this list can be done without needing any specific qualifications other than a driving licence. Here’s 13 ways you can make money with a van:

1. Delivery Business

Vans offer a lot more space than cars which means you can either transport a higher volume of items, or you can carry bigger and heavier objects (e.g. white goods or furniture).

Focusing on the larger items that people won’t be able to get in their car will be the easiest way to get business for your van. One tactic you could try is offering a ‘same day delivery service’ outside retail stores such as CurrysIKEA or DFS.

You don’t necessarily have to beat the store delivery price – being able to deliver items as soon as they’ve been purchased should be enough to generate interest in your service.


2. Courier Service

The amount of money spent shopping online every year in the UK is in the billions with more and more packages needing to be delivered every day.

Although you can’t directly compete with online giants like Amazon, you could build up partnerships with independent sellers that use eBayGumtreeFacebook Marketplace and other similar services to make money.

Similarly, you could offer a ‘last mile’ delivery service to local businesses – often this is the most challenging and expensive part of the logistics journey. If you can prove yourself to be a reliable and professional courier, companies are likely to use your service again.

3. Removals

If you’re in good physical shape and are happy to do a lot of heavy lifting and manual labour, using your van for a removals business is a viable option.

People are always moving house so there will never be a shortage of opportunities. However, what you have to consider is that you will need at least one other person to help you.

Alternatively, you can brand your business as a stereotypical ‘man and van’ operation where you offer your van and an extra set of hands to help a customer shift things.


4. Waste Haulage

If you’re going to transport and dispose of waste as a service, you will need to register for a waste carriers licence which can be completed online using the government website.

The best way to make money from this van business idea is to target local businesses because they don’t get free waste disposal – they have to pay for it as a business expense.

Try calling round businesses in your area to see how much they’re paying for their waste disposal service and offer them a better quote. You can help them save money and earn a tidy profit yourself.

In addition, you can offer a rubbish removal and recycling service to domestic customers. Instead of taking several trips to the dump in their car, some people would rather pay for someone else to take their unwanted items away for a small charge.

5. Collect & Sell Scrap Metal

Collecting and selling scrap metal can be a good little side business that you can do in your spare time. It largely relies on being opportunistic by finding skips or piles of rubbish outside people’s homes.

The biggest advantages of collecting scrap metal is that most people are happy for you to take it off their hands for free which means 100% profit when you come to sell it. However, it’s not always easy to find and some metals are worth more than others.


6. Van Rental

If your van is sitting idle and you don’t have the spare time to complete any additional jobs, you could rent it out for other people to use.

This is a risky business idea because you’re trusting people to bring the van back and keep it in good condition. You might need to invest in a tracking device and some legal protection. In addition, any customers you manage to get will need to arrange their own insurance.

Alternatively, you can offer your services as a van and driver business. This works in a similar way to a traditional ‘man and van’ business, but instead of having to do any of the leg work, you’re only being employed as a driver. Primarily, this type of service is used by people who don’t have a driving licence.

7. Taxi / Transportation

Crew vans and double cab pick-up trucks offer five passenger seats with enough space to transport everyone in comfort. Before using your vehicle as a taxi you need to get a PSV (Public Service Vehicle) operators licence.

If you live near an airport, a van is the perfect vehicle to carry out an airport shuttle service. There’s lots of room in the back for suitcases and additional luggage without compromising on passenger space.

Similarly, you could offer a service that takes people to their medical appointments. This would be particularly useful for elderly and disabled people that can’t drive and don’t have anyone else available to take them.

8. Towing Service

Thanks to their weight and size, vans make perfect towing vehicles. If you’re comfortable towing a trailer or caravan you can provide a towing service to help people move boats or other large objects.

In addition, if there’s a local caravan dealership, you could partner with them to offer a delivery service to their customers. All you need is tow bar and money for fuel which you can incorporate into the cost of the job.


9. Transport Event Materials

Promotional events require of a lot of marketing materials to be transported and set up. You could use your van to act like a ‘roadie’, moving the material to different locations, setting it up and dismantling it once the event has finished.

Once you know the set-up process, this becomes a very easy way to make money with your van because it’s essentially a delivery job with only one drop-off.

10. Cleaning Business

While there are many different businesses you can start with a van, most of them require some level of skill (e.g. mobile hairdresser or painter/decorator). A cleaning business only needs minimal funds to get started and no previous experience.

Depending on the amount of time you have available, you can choose to have residential clients or you could target offices and retail spaces. Many companies will outsource their office cleaning to small agencies.

A van will provide plenty of space to store all your cleaning products. If you’re planning for the business to be your main source of income, you could even consider specialising in a certain type of cleaning – for example, construction clean-up or carpet cleaning.


11. Mobile Coffee or Juice Bar

Buying fresh drinks on the go has become a major trend in the UK and something that you can take advantage of with your van. The two most popular beverages are coffee and juice.

You can either choose to convert your van into a self-contained service area, or you can invest in a cart or trailer that you can tow around using your van.

12. Mobile Valet

Typically a valet service is static and involves people bringing their vehicles to you. However, with a van, you’ll have enough space to carry all the equipment and set up a mobile valet business.

The main advantage of this is that people can get their cars washed when it’s convenient for them – they don’t even need to take any time out of their day. Setting up your service in a busy industrial estate or retail park will provide you with a lot of footfall and opportunities.

13. Advertising Space

Your van is a blank canvas that you can sell to other businesses. Think about buses and cabs – they have designated areas which can be sold as advertising space for marketing campaigns.

If you drive around in your van a lot and don’t have signwriting to advertise your own business, you could be earning money without doing any extra work.

Thinking About Starting A Business With A Van?

If you’ve been inspired by any of our ideas above but don’t have a van yet, we’ve got a range of used vans that you could use to make some extra money.

If you live in the Las Vegas area, check out to get the best exterminator van for rent or purchase around. We have a selection of cutting edge, up to date refrigerated vans for rent and also for sale.

Posted in Ideas & Tips

Practical tips to save your business money on the latest model vans

FOR today’s businesses, buying a van is a big investment, which means you need to find a vehicle that gives you all the functions and features you need, at a price you’re happy with. 

With so many new commercial van being released every year, it can be a challenge to keep up and find the perfect solution for your organisation.

Here are some tips to help you find the vehicle you want, at a price your bank balance and business will love. 

List the features you need and the ones you’d like

Before you start your search for the perfect business van, you need to figure out what you want. Consider how much space you need, the type of fuel you’d like it to run on and every other basic function that you need from your van. 

You also need to think about the technological features you want your new van to have.

There are many trends in the commercial vehicle sector that are impacting on the vans on the market currently, so explore all the options and come up with a list of everything you need from your new vehicle, as well as everything you would like.

Being prepared will make your search for a new company van much easier and more efficient. 

Shop around

You might have a van supplier that you’ve worked with for years, but you could be getting a better deal if you looked elsewhere. 

As such, it’s important that you check out everything that the market has to offer. Online sales websites, free online adverts and even social media platforms such as Facebook can allow you to see a selection of the vehicles available in your local area. 

Consider leasing

One cost-effective way to use the latest model of van, without paying the high price to purchase it, is to lease it. This will allow you to use a new van for as long as you need it for, then pass it back to the leasing company once you’re done. 

Check out the range of Vantage Vans if you want to see the latest model vans and find the one that’s perfect for you. On the Vantage Leasing website you get to choose from a variety of vehicles and financing options, meaning that you can tailor everything to your business’ exact specifications. 

Don’t overlook ex-demo vans

Another great way to drive a premium quality vehicle for a budget price is to buy an ex-demo van. These are vans that were once used as test vehicles at showrooms. They often don’t have many miles on the clock and will give you all the functions of the latest model of van for a reduced price. 

The only downside to buying an ex-demo vehicle is that you often have less choice than if you were buying a new van. Make sure that you focus on finding the van that’s best for you, not just the cheapest option. If you choose a cheap ex-demo van that doesn’t have the functions or space your business needs, then it may be unfit for purpose and unusable. 

Posted in Ideas & Tips

Why Ladder Racks Are An Essential Tool Of The Trades

Ladder rack is an essential tool of the trade. It offers many benefits other than simply loading and transporting ladders. Proper selection of ladder rack for commercial vans is essential because it impacts the cargo capacity, initial cost, and work safety. The ladder racks are used for holding boards, long pipes, and tools, etc. 

Today, there are various types of ladder racks are available in the market, so it is very difficult to select the perfect ladder rack that perfectly suits your requirements and needs. Benefits of ladder racks are mentioned below;

Free up cargo space

The ladder racks do not take up the van’s floor space if you have a ladder rack. This space is useful for storing tools and other equipment. If you have enough space, you may be able to load faster at the job site. If you have made multiple trips because your van racks the storage capacity to get everything to the job site, this can save your second trip. Ladder rack will save your time and money.

Reduce Safety Risks

A ladder rack is the best way for securing a ladder for vehicles. It is easily and safely secured for transport. A secure ladder will not slip off the van or road and it also protects your vehicles and other drivers. It also protects your crew because they are not worried about the ladder shifting position or falling out of place and causing injury.

Protect your investment

Ladder racks are expensive and also good for vehicles. If you don’t have a ladder rack, the more chances of your ladder and vehicles prone to accidents. It damages both your vehicle and ladder when the ladder bangs the inside of the vehicles. You can protect your ladder from dings and dents and keep the vehicle dents and scratches free if you install a ladder rack.

How to pick a ladder rack

Your cargo needs play a crucial role when choosing the right ladder racks for your truck. Firstly, you understand why a ladder rack is important and what the benefits of installing a ladder rack in the vehicle. Then find the right rack for your vehicle according to your needs. You need to consider the size of your van, the size of your ladder which you need to transport and any additional features that are of value to you. Because ladder racks are available in different sizes. Van ladder racks are a great addition to safety, productivity, and performance of commercial vans.

Posted in Ideas & Tips

Tips To Select The Best Ladder Rack For Your Van

Outfitting your work van with a ladder rack is one of the best decisions you can make for your business. While most vans are factory made for cargo transportation, you can still optimize their capacity by outfitting them with the right equipment. Whether you are a construction contractor, plumbing contractor, landscaper or roofer, installing a ladder rack will revolutionize your trade. This is a game changer as a ladder rack not only maximizes available space but also enhances safety standards in your operations. A drop-down van ladder rack is just one of the many rack systems that you can select.

This article seeks to help you make the right choice when buying a van ladder racks for. If you are looking for the most efficient ladder rack for your van, keep reading.

There are many reasons to install a ladder rack on your van the most important ones being:

  • Increasing safety levels: A ladder rack secures bulky cargo safely and keeps everyone safe on the road. More importantly, loading and unloading your ladder and other bulky items are safer and you will not have to grapple with workplace injuries.
  • Enhancing capacity: A good ladder rack allows you to double your van’s cargo capacity. A ladder takes a lot of space inside the cargo area but when securely fastened on a rack system, you have more room to utilize inside the van.
  • Boosting productivity/ efficiency: A lot of time is normally wasted loading and unloading ladders but with an efficient ladder rack system, you can avoid this situation. Your crew does work that is more effective within a shorter time.

Buying a ladder rack system in today’s market is tough with so many brands building similar systems. To select the right ladder rack, consider the following:

Determine your transportation requirements

The best van ladder rack must suit your transportation need. Firstly, consider the size and number of ladders you will be transporting. If you normally transport other bulky items, consider whether they will comfortably fit on the rack system, you want to buy. To find the best ladder make sure you have a full understanding of your current and future business cargo transportation requirements.

Consider your van type

With so many van models in the market, truck and van equipment manufacturers are now building specialized outfitting accessories designed for specific models. The most common vans on the roads include Mercedes Sprinter, Ford Transit, RAM ProMaster, Ford E-Series, Dodge and Nissan NV Series among others. Ask your supplier whether they have a ladder rack specifically designed for your van model. These racks are easier to customize.

Check for safety features

When comparing different ladder racks, look at their safety features before making the final decision. One of the main reasons for outfitting your van with a ladder rack is to enhance safety and for this reason, the rack must come with features to facilitate this purpose. Look for a rack whose design and construction has passed necessary safety tests. The best racks come with easy-to-use operating systems and fasteners.

Durable and weather resistant material

The most efficient ladder systems fit on a van’s roof and are vulnerable to the elements. The material used to make your van ladder rack must be durable and weather resistant. Steel and aluminum are the most common materials used to make these racks. Aluminum ladder racks are now more popular as they are lightweight, corrosion resistant, easy to install and durable.

Eased of use

The best van ladder rack is easy to operate. Look for hydraulic rack systems, which require a minimal manual operation. This not only boosts productivity but also enhances safety standards in your operations. The best van ladder rack makes work easier for your crew, which in turn leads to higher productivity. In this regard, a drop down van ladder rack works perfectly because it is easy to operate and your crew will have an easy time loading and unloading ladders.

Compare different ladder systems

There are many ladder rack systems in the market and it is important to look at each before making your final choice. The most common are drop down, base racks, side access rotation racks, lockdown racks, aluminum cargo carrier, inside van racks among others. Each of these ladder systems comes with its own features and it is thus important to compare them before making your choice.

There are many van ladder racks on the market and finding the best is a daunting task. With these tips, however, you are good to go. Consider your transportation needs, choose an easy-to-use ladder, durable materials and of course buy the ladder rack from a reliable van and truck equipment supplier for the best product warranty.  

Posted in Ideas & Tips

Selecting the Right Ladder Rack for the Job

Proper ladder rack selection for commercial vans is important, because it impacts initial cost, cargo capacity, worker safety, and productivity.

But, with pricing that can range from $200 to $2,000 per rack, the process can get complicated and needlessly expensive. What are the factors to consider when selecting a rack?

Knowing the Options

The best starting point is to become familiar with the different types of racks and their strengths and limitations.

In a nutshell, ladder racks are segmented into three main categories — utility, lock-down, and drop-down — although each manufacturer may have its own branded name for each type.

Here’s a breakdown of the three main categories, including their pros and cons, to provide a framework for understanding the style that best fits specific applications.

Utiity Rack

Pros: Flexibility to haul multiple ladders and material types; lowest price point.

Cons: Difficult to access, depending on van height; potential for overloading.

Suitable Van Types: Compact and standard-roof full-size vans.

The most economical option, a utility rack can be as simple as two to three adjustable crossbars mounted separately on top of the van or a one-piece gridiron platform with a fixed perimeter and adjustable crossbars. The utility rack offers flexibility to carry materials beyond just ladders, such as pipe and lumber, secured onto the rack using bungee cords, straps, or tie downs.

“The utility rack creates a flat surface on the van and offers a lot of flexibility, where you can haul boards of wood or other material, like electrical conduit.

And, depending on the weight of the ladders and frequency of having to access the rack, the difficulty to load and unload ladders could increase the risk of injuries for workers, resulting in expensive claims and lost productivity.

The utility rack’s flexibility advantage also presents a potential downside: the possibility of being overloaded. “You’ll see fleets that misuse the three-bar utility rack, exceeding the parameters of ladders, in terms of weight and length of materials.

Another concern with utility racks is that the load is secured using bungee cords or straps, without a standard “foolproof” mechanism for locking down the cargo. This can cause headaches for fleet managers who are responsible for multiple vans in the field, having to hope that drivers will follow through on proper procedures.

Lock-Down Rack

Pros: Easy-to-use, dependable locking mechanism.

Cons: Cargo limitations; difficulty to access on high-roof vans.

Suitable Van Types: Compact and standard-roof full-size vans.

Available in single and double-sided configurations, with the capacity to carry one ladder per side, this style features an easy-to-use torsion system that “locks” the ladder into place. Although lock-down racks are designed exclusively for hauling ladders, some manufacturers offer accessories, such as conduit carriers, that are compatible with this style.

In terms of pricing, lock-down racks represent a mid-level option, ranging from $300 to $800, depending on single or double side installation and other factors.

Drop-Down Rack

Pros: Less strain on workers; increased safety; easy-to-use locking mechanism.

Cons: Cargo limitations; high price-point.

Suitable Van Types: High-roof and standard-roof full-size vans.

Similar to lock-down racks, the drop-downs are available in single- and double-sided configurations with a built-in locking mechanism to secure the load. The rack lowers to a level where the ladder can be easily loaded and unloaded, and then raises to its secure travel position with a mechanical, pneumatic, or electric assist, taking the strain completely off the worker’s back.

“The drop-down rack is better ergonomics — it’s more efficient,”

And, good ergonomics can be smart economics for some fleets — but it comes with a steep price tag, ranging from $1,000 to $2,000.

“For larger fleets that have liability concerns with ergonomic-related injuries, and not wanting to deal with workers’ compensation claims, the drop-down rack helps reduce risk of injury of loading and unloading ladders.
That’s why fleets need to analyze their claims’ spend rate versus the higher cost of the drop-down rack to see what makes the most financial sense, said Nelson with Wheels. “There are some customers who will go with the more expensive rack because they have had claims with drivers with back injuries,” he continued.

What applications benefit the most from drop-down racks? “The key question to ask is: How often are they going to load and unload cargo off the top of that van?” “In some telecom applications, extension ladders may weigh 70 pounds to 80 pounds, and technicians have to lift them off the van several times per day, which can cause a lot of fatigue and strain. In other applications, which may use a ladder once or twice per day, the utility rack or lock-down rack could be a good fit.”

Considering Accessories

Other rack options to consider that can enhance worker productivity and safety include:

  • Interior rack: Ceiling-mounted inside the van’s cargo area, the interior rack is ideal for stepladders that are to be used inside a home or business. The ladder is protected from the elements and prevents snow, dirt, or road grime (which might accumulate on ladders stored on exterior racks) from being tracked into a customer’s home or place of business.
  • Conduit carriers: These allow fleets to haul pipe and conduit in a container that protects the materials from the elements and can be easily locked for security.
  • Rollers: These are typically available for gridiron-style utility racks, installed on the outer bar at the rear of the rack. The technician leans the top end of the ladder onto the rollers and then is able to push the entire ladder up onto the rack with less strain and effort.
  • Light stand: These are mounted on the rack and designed to help improve visibility at night.
  • Auxiliary step: This step offers a larger slip resistant surface that’s mounted on the rear bumper to offer safer “step-up” access to the rack.

Putting It All Together

What style of rack and options best match the job? Here are four questions to help guide the choice of the right rack for the job:

1. What exactly will be stored on the racks? If more than just ladders are being stored, the utility rack may be the best match because of its flexibility to haul different types of materials.

2. How many ladders? If it’s just one or two ladders, then any of the available rack types will work fine. The utility rack allows for carrying more than two ladders.

3. What van height? High-roof full-size vans, such as Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Ford Transit, and Ram ProMaster, are driving greater demand for the drop-down racks because the roof heights put ladders out of reach for most workers without some sort of assistance to make the ladders more easily accessible.

4. How often will the ladders need to be accessed? If the ladders are heavy and need to be accessed several times per day, especially on high-roof vans, the drop-down rack is the most suitable from an ergonomic and productivity perspective. For standard roof heights and compact vans, where the ladders are within a worker’s reach, a lock-down rack would be appropriate for those high-use applications.

The Bottom Line

Frequency of use, type, number of ladders, van height, accessibility, and initial cost — these are all important factors to consider when selecting ladder racks and options that are optimal for the job and the fleet’s budget.