Outdoor experiences play an integral role in a child’s day and education. It is where children can view, explore, and learn about the world they live in. It is where they laugh, talk with peers, and build friendships. It is where they flex their muscles and work out their wiggles so they can better focus on learning when they return to the classroom.
As an early childhood professional, you know that providing a safe and stimulating outdoor learning space is crucial to a child’s growth, development, and well-being. Whether you are renovating your current playground or starting from scratch, it is natural to have questions and concerns when purchasing outdoor play equipment and materials.
From playground design to installation, you can trust Kaplan with every aspect of the playground building process. For years, we have partnered with third-party vendors to provide safe, developmentally appropriate playgrounds for child care facilities throughout the United States.
This article answers six of our customer’s frequently asked questions to guide you through the playground purchasing process.
1. Do I need to pay a deposit to start a Kaplan playground installation project?
Yes, you must pay a deposit before we can process your Kaplan playground installation project. When you purchase playground equipment or surfacing, a Kaplan Playground Representative will enter your order into our system. This will alert our credit department to check your credit score and determine the amount of your installation deposit.
Most playground installation deposits start at 50% of your total playground quote, including equipment, labor, surfacing, etc. However, this amount can fluctuate as high as 100% of your playground quote, depending on your payee status and Kaplan credit score.
Once we receive your deposit, and it clears the bank (if you are using a paper check), we will send a purchase order to the respective vendors so they can ready your playground items for delivery. Delivery of your items could take several weeks, depending on the vendor.
2. Can I receive my standard Kaplan classroom discount on playground items?
Unfortunately, Kaplan classroom discounts are not applicable for playground purchases. There are too many variables that make it difficult for us to offer discounts at this time. For instance, playground equipment is made to order and is not something we keep in stock at our warehouse. All playground equipment ships from a third-party vendor, which prevents us from offering discounts on those items.
3. What are prevailing wages? How do I know if I need to factor these wages into the cost of my playground project?
You must factor in prevailing wages if any of your playground funding will come from Federal sources. State or private funding options do not constitute prevailing wages.
You will only need to factor in prevailing wages if you receive Federal funding, regardless of who installs your playground equipment or surfacing. When a customer uses federal funding for playground equipment and installation, we must adhere to federal guidelines that dictate how we price the installation services. In the instance of prevailing wages, every county in every state assigns a specific minimum labor rate for installation projects. We will incorporate this rate into your project total when calculating your playground installation quote.
These rates do vary by county, even counties within the same state. If you use federal funding for playground purchases and installation at multiple site locations in different counties, you may notice a difference in labor rates on your playground quote as a result of the way each county dictates the rate we must charge.
4. Can I order replacement parts for my existing playground equipment?
Yes, you can order replacement parts for your existing playground equipment. If you made a purchase with Kaplan and have your original purchase order and/or paperwork, we can locate the vendor and create a quote for a replacement part.
If you do not have an old purchase order, you can send us photos of your equipment and the part/s you wish to replace. We will do our best to identify the vendor and send in a quote for a replacement. If we cannot locate a vendor or the replacement part is no longer in production, we will do our best to find similar parts or equipment to fit your needs.
Reach out to one of our Playground Representatives today to order replacement parts for your existing playground equipment.
5. How do I decide between renovating my existing playground or starting from scratch and replacing everything?
When deciding between renovating or replacing your existing playground, you first want to assess the quality of your equipment, surfacing, fencing, etc. A Kaplan Playground Representative can assist you if you do not feel confident doing this yourself. If your site is near one of our representatives, we may be able to send someone to your site, free of charge, to assess your playground in person. If that does not work, you can send us pictures of your playground for review.
When assessing your playground, you can determine the best course of action by considering the following:
The age of your playground equipment
The children you serve and how well your playground currently meets the needs of those ages and abilities
The current condition of your playground equipment and surfacing, if they are still intact, and how well they meet state guidelines and coding requirements
How you want your playground to function in the future and the equipment that will make that possible
When your assessment is complete, a Playground Representative will share their recommendations via email and talk you through your renovation or replacement options.
6. Does Kaplan include installation in the catalog or website listed price of my playground?
No, we do not include the cost of installation in the pricing you see in our catalog or on our website. This is because you may want the option of offloading and installing the playground equipment yourself or with the help of a close friend or third-party installation service. If you choose to install your playground yourself or with the help of a third-party installer, please be aware that your items may arrive at different times depending on our vendor shipping timeframes. This could impact the timing of your installation.
If you want to use Kaplan’s installation services, a Playground Representative can create a custom quote for you. With Kaplan’s installation service, our vendors will ship your playground items to our warehouse after you place an order. From there, we will consolidate your order, ship everything to your location on one truck, and will meet at your location to offload the materials and begin installation.
If you want to weigh the cost of Kaplan’s installation service, ask your Playground Representative to provide you with an installation quote when placing your playground order.
We are here to help!
Planning and purchasing the equipment for your playground is a big undertaking. The above questions are a few things our customers ask before buying equipment, surfacing, and other materials for their playgrounds and outdoor learning spaces.
If you have additional questions or need help with a replacement part, playground renovation, or getting a quote, please reach out to a Kaplan Playground Representative. They will be happy to assist you with all of your playground needs.