Cutting back on expenses can help bolster the bottom line of any firm. And in today's volatile economic climate, conserving precious dollars could mean the difference between a company staying afloat or having to darken its lights for good. The LagMaster-Plus, an innovative telescoping pole tool from Simi Valley, Calif.-based Hook and Hanger Hardware, aims to not only save electrical contractors money, but also to speed installation time and improve worker safety.“When I started the company back in 1988, I mainly targeted the ceiling industry,” says Forrest Dockery, the product's designer and president of Hook and Hanger Hardware. “As I was trying to market the pole, however, I realized there were many aspects to it that I could put together to benefit other industries.”

Developed specifically for electricians, the LagMaster-Plus allows users to hang ceiling wire, jack chain, purlin clips, threaded rod, and smooth rod from the ground. Powered by any ⅜-inch or ½-inch battery-operated or corded drill, the tool also can be used for overhead screw installation. In addition, its thin profile allows access to tight spaces.

“The LagMaster-Plus provides a safe way to reach areas that previously were dangerous or inaccessible to ladders, scaffolding, and scissor lifts — including vaulted ceilings, over stairwells, and through ceiling grid,” Dockery says. “Furthermore, it increases efficiency, which translates into money.”

According to the company, a worker using the tool can install as many as 100 ceiling wires per hour. Al Meadows, training director and superintendent for AMS Electric, Dublin, Calif., has experienced firsthand how the product hastens installation.

“Labor is expensive these days,” he says. “So when a coworker brought this out to one of our job sites, we decided to give it a try. I was impressed with how many wires could be shot into a ceiling in a minimal amount of time. The tool also saves money because it helps eliminate some of the cost associated with scissor lift rentals.”

Made of seamless aluminum, the product is available in five adjustable length models: the LM-6 Double 3 for 11-foot ceilings, the LM-12 Double 6 for 18-foot ceilings, the LMG-12 Triple 4 for 18-foot ceilings, the LM-18 Triple 6 for 24-foot ceilings, and the LM-24 Triple 8 for 30-foot ceilings.

What makes the LagMaster-Plus most unique, Dockery says, are the plug-in heads that are specific to each application.

“For example, the wire plug-in head hangs 12- or 9-gauge wire, while the socket plug-in heads work with ⅜-inch or ¼-inch threaded rod up to 10 feet long,” he explains.

Additional product features include a ¼-inch hex head that transforms the pole into a long screwdriver, a twist-out element that prevents over-torquing and strip out, and a head that works with Ramset's Viper powder-actuated tool.

“If one of the tips wears out, you can simply replace it without having to buy a whole new pole,” Meadows notes.

He says he also likes the product's retainer clip because it prevents wires from whipping about and potentially injuring himself or another worker.

“This product will probably never replace a scissor lift or ladder, but for certain jobs, it's the only way,” Dockery adds.

Pricing for the LagMaster-Plus LM-18 Triple 6 — which the company says is its most popular model — runs approximately $200. For more information, visit www.hookandhanger.com.