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Playground Installation Business Idea

A playground installation business can be a profitable new venture. Like any other start-up, you should research the market in your area to determine if there is a demand for higher-end playground equipment. Any area that includes a large number of pre-school and grade-school aged children should require installations in both residential and commercial areas. Your local chamber of commerce or school board should be able to provide you with those figures.

Once you determine that there will be ample demand for your playground installation business, make sure that you have the appropriate insurance and licenses. Purchase a business insurance policy that covers general liability and personal injury claims in addition to a workman’s compensation policy to cover any on-the-job injuries for your employees.

Contact the licensing agency in each area that your company will provide installation services to obtain business licenses. The Contractor’s board will have information on what type of contractor’s license you will require. Because playground installation uses primarily carpentry skills, you will usually only need a general contractor’s license without any special certifications.

Your Playground Installation Business

A full-service playground installation business will not only sell premium-grade playground equipment, but it will also provide site preparation, installation services, and follow-up maintenance. In addition to selling pre-configured playground sets, you should also offer custom design options for your customers. To differentiate your playground installation business from any competitors, you will want to offer something that they can’t supply. Anyone can install a playground set right out of a box as long as they have the right equipment, but your design skills will be something that no one can offer.

Research several distributors of high-end playground equipment in your area and choose two that you want to use as suppliers. Visit their sales office to set up lines of credit and to obtain samples, catalogs, and their recommended installation guidelines. Make sure that they sell a variety of playground equipment that isn’t available at stores that cater to home owners who do their own installation project.

Depending on the area in which you live, you may need to work with playground equipment providers across the nation. In this case, you’ll likely need to carry some inventory to buffer the impact of delivery lead times. Either that or you can schedule your jobs far enough out to give you enough time to receive the customer’s order before installation is set to begin.

The ability to provide equipment that can’t be easily found elsewhere will be a selling point for your new playground installation business. In addition to the equipment itself, find a dependable supplier of mulch, sand, and wood chips to use as a shock-absorbing underlayment material.

Equipment Needed For Your Business

Playground installation companies require quite a bit of equipment. You may want to rent the larger equipment until your business is stable.

  • Truck and/or trailer to carry materials and equipment
  • Bobcat or other small excavator to clear and level the site
  • Auger or post-hole digger
  • Small concrete mixer
  • Power saws and drills
  • Hand tool including hammers, levels, tape measures, screw drivers, wrenches, and socket sets

What Training Do I Need?

In addition to basic carpentry skills, you should know how to run the excavation equipment and be able to level the site. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSP) and the Academy of Pediatrics have created a handbook called the Public Playground Safety Handbook. All playground equipment installers should be familiar with the safety recommendations as outlined in this handbook as well as any additional requirements that are required by the local building codes.

This information outlines safe playground surfacing standards, height requirements, and safe materials. The main objective is to ensure the safety of every child that might play on any piece of equipment. In addition to making sure the equipment you install is safe, you and your employee’s should be familiar with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) requirements for a safe workplace. Following OSHA’s rules will prevent many costly workmen’s compensation claims.

Finding and Keeping Customers

Finding your first customer is the hardest part of starting a new playground installation business. For residential customers, target an upscale neighborhood that has younger children but few homes with nice playground equipment in the back yard. One way to approach this customer base is through direct mailings or door-to-door inquiries.

You may even offer a discount to get your first job(s). Once you have a contract, go above and beyond to deliver the very best playground that is possible. When others see your final product, they will contact you for a similar project. Another option is to build several sample kits in a high-traffic area close to your target market.

For commercial playground equipment, scout the area for older playgrounds that need replacement and for new schools, apartment complexes, or daycares that are under construction. You will have to supply a bid to any government-sponsored project. They often choose the company that’s most qualified while offering to complete the job at the lowest price. For private organizations, a sales call will be in order. Make sure you bring your portfolio of prior work, several recommendations, and stress your knowledge of your playground installation business.

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