“Why is playground equipment so darn expensive?”
If you’ve uttered this question recently – you’re not alone. It’s probably one of the most common questions heard here at Playground Outfitters.
Rest assured – there’s a good answer. Not an answer just to pacify your feelings, mind you. That would be really annoying.
Instead, you’ll get an answer that will make you feel better about your investment. You’ll see that there actually is a valid reason why playground equipment prices are often higher than you might expect.
For the TLDR shortcut – check out our Playground Budget Breakdown
Why Playground Equipment Prices Are So High: The Top 5 Reasons to Consider
Playground equipment prices – they can run into thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. A single piece of equipment can range between $1,000 and $10,000.
But there’s definitely a legitimate reason for this. In fact, there are five reasons why this type of equipment will prove to be a hefty – but worthwhile – investment.
1. The Extra Cost of Safety Surfacing
One of the most important components of your playground is not a swing set or teeter-totters. It’s actually safety surfacing. In 2015, the government issued a Public Playground Safety Handbook outlining the importance of safety features like safety surfacing.
There are numerous safety surfacing materials available, including:
- Engineered wood fiber
- Poured-in-Place (PIP) Rubber
- Recycled Bonded Rubber
- Recycled Rubber Loose Fill
- Rubber Tiles
- Synthetic Turf.
All of these surfacing materials will help keep the visitors to your playground safe. It’s easy to fall and get hurt when you’re running and playing, whether the person running and playing is an adult or child. These safe surfaces will cushion the fall, making major injuries far less likely.
If you’re developing a new playground or renovating an old one, you’ll need to add the cost of resurfacing into your budget.
2. Product Cost Plus Shipping and Handling Fees
Around 20%-50% of playground equipment prices account for the actual cost of designing and manufacturing the play structures.
The manufacturer has a lot of costs to cover when making playground equipment, including:
- Paying their team, including designers, marketers, customer service reps, and those on the factory floor.
- The cost of raw materials to make the equipment
- The cost of running their business, including rent/mortgage, electricity, water/sewage, and other overhead costs.
If you think about it, playground toys aren’t small. There’s a lot that’s needed to manufacture them, and those costs are figured into what they charge their customers.
3. Playground Equipment Prices Include the Cost of Installation and Labor
Just as it takes money to develop and manufacture the equipment, it takes money and time to install it. Part of the cost of the product you buy will cover the labor involved in the installation of the equipment. This can make up around 20%-40% of the total cost.
Some reasons why the cost will be higher are due to:
- The type/size of equipment being installed
- The complexity of the installation
- The condition of the playground itself.
For more questions about installation, be sure to contact us so we can help you find the best fit for your budget and application. Our CPSI certified experts are here and ready to walk you through it.
4. Opting for Independent Play Items
The great thing about big pieces of playground equipment is that they can accommodate multiple children at a single time.
However, it’s kind of fun to shake things up a bit by adding in some cool independent play items. These are items that can only accommodate one child at a time.
If you want to add these onto your playground, you’ll need to factor in more money for your budget. In many cases, you’ll need multiple independent play items so that more kids will have a chance to enjoy them. If you just had one independent play toy, you’d probably end up with long lines and unhappy children (and parents!).
5. Adding Unique Items into the Mix
The most amazing playgrounds in the U.S. have the coolest playground equipment. This equipment engages a child’s imagination while exercising their body.
Just a heads up: adding unusual-yet-awesome equipment into the mix will often add some extra cost to your equipment budget.
Choosing the Highest Quality Products Will Help Keep Costs Low in the Long Run
When laid out, most people understand why playground equipment prices can be so expensive. Unfortunately, they don’t always look at higher-cost and higher-quality equipment as an investment. They see it simply as an expense.
Having this sort of outlook on things can make it easy to choose the cheaper options. That’s not always the best idea.
Sure, you can choose a sale item or smaller-ticket items over more extravagant ones. That’s completely reasonable. Just be careful that you’re not sacrificing quality when choosing lower-cost products.
Choose the best quality you can get within your budget, even if it means waiting until later to buy everything on your dream playground list. The reason for this is simple – you get what you pay for.
Low-quality products won’t last as long, and they won’t hold up as well with regular use. Higher quality products – yes, the more expensive ones – can actually save you some money down the road.
Is trying to create a fun, engaging playground within a budget leaving you frustrated? Please contact us right away! We’ll help you find the best equipment for your needs – all while staying within budget.