About Dock and Pontoon Ladders
Twenty years ago I was working a boat show and a competitor was offering a “free” pontoon ladder with every boat sale. The pontoon ladder we sold we bought from our boat manufacturer at a cost of $200. Our competitor bought a cheaper ladder from a dock manufacturer, at a cost of about $75. To compete at the show we had to give away a pontoon ladder that cost us an extra $125. After the show I contacted dock manufacturers and secured a supply of ladders. We bought dock ladders for about $75, and sold them to boat dealers as pontoon ladders for $100. Sales went well but we ran into supply problems. We were selling more ladders than we could get. The dock companies whom we bought from only wanted to build ladders in the winter. They could build more profitable items in the spring. We were buying from two suppliers but still we sold more dock/pontoon ladders than we could get. Our major supplier told us that the ladder business wasn’t profitable and they quit making dock ladders. A metal fabricator in Indiana built us pontoon/dock ladders, but we were never able to build adequate inventory. We were selling 800 pontoon or dock ladders but always ran out in August. We made the financial commitment to buy 1000 dock ladders from a company in Minnesota only to discover that the company went bankrupt. We lost our deposit and didn’t receive a single pontoon or dock ladder. To secure the kind of inventory we needed, we realized we have to build them ourselves or go offshore. We were leery about buying dock ladders made overseas, but If you're knowledgeable about the product you can develop specifications for a quality product. Our initial foreign supplier sent us a sample of a dock ladder they were selling to other companies in the states. It was junk and we rejected it. We wanted dock or pontoon ladders at a good price but demanded a quality product. We specified the aluminum tube strength, we specified the two bar top support, strong stainless steel J hooks, fluted aluminum to help hide scratches, satin finish anodizing, etc. Our foreign supplier told us that they could build quality pontoon ladders but that most USA companies just wanted the cheapest possible product. It sounds
almost funny to say, but we open the boxes and look inside. If we find bad welds or bad anodizing or hardware shortages, we reject the ladders. Because our supplier knows we know about dock ladders and inspect the product, they are a little extra careful with what they send us. Most of the ladders sold on the internet are drop shipped from a manufacturer or a distributor and the seller has never seen the product. Although most sellers wouldn’t know bad welds or anodizing if they saw it. We discovered that stainless hardware was almost 50% less overseas. Many of the dock ladders we had sold in the past (made in the USA) had cadmium plated hardware and mounting kits because it was cheaper. The USA companies knew cad plated wasn’t as good as stainless but it would take several years to rust. Imported dock and pontoon ladders built to our specifications have stainless and we discovered that the difference between a junk dock ladder and a quality product is only a few dollars. Our competitors still sell the cheapest dock ladders we rejected six years ago, with single bar top support and cad plated hardware. Today the retail price of a traditional pontoon or dock ladder has dropped almost 40%. We are now selling ladders to the dock manufacturers whom we used to buy from. With our ladders, you get a superior product with twenty years of ladder design and engineering. Very simply put, we know dock ladders and for a few dollars difference, we only sell a quality product.
Pontoon Ladder Inventory Dock Ladder Inventory ladder inventory
We ship from stock. Fed Ex orders in by noon usually ship the same day.
Truck freight orders ship within two days (freight lines sometimes don’t come the same day).