So, You Want A New Playground (2 of 3): $aving Money While Serving Jesus

26 Apr

Our church’s new playground project will be completed within the next month.
Yesterday, we completed phase 2 of the project.

We’re learning a ton about the playground business and what it takes to re-imagine a play space and I thought I’d share my insights.

Today, we’ll be looking at REAL ways you and your church can save money.

Some quick facts about our situation can be found by reading yesterday’s post HERE.

As I wrote yesterday, our first quotes came in at just under $150,000.  By the time we signed the final project, we had knocked that price down to $60,000.
How did we do it?

Saving Money While Serving Jesus

  1. We were honest.
    Companies knew, up front, who their competition was and that we were going to go with the lowest bid. Period.
    Our testimony to these companies was twofold: 1) We were a church that handles business in an open forum and 2) We value the gifts and offerings that our parishioners have given… we will not spend more of the church’s money than we have to.
    Just in the bidding period, we were able to see the $150k reduced to $120k.
  2. We designed our own product.
    Not from scratch, of course.
    We assembled a team of parents and kids who looked at each bid’s structure and chose their favorite play areas.
    We took everyone’s favorites and had each company do a mock up of the same structures using their lowest priced manufacturer.
    By replicating a name brand structure and using a local manufacturer to do the work, our $120k bid was reduced to $95k.
  3. We made phone calls.
    You’ll want to see the last 3 finished projects each company submitting a bid has done… but you also want to ask those churches or schools what deals they were given.
    If you followed the “rule of 3” and are asking 3 companies to give you a list of their last 3 projects, then you’ll come up with at least 9 places to call to see what ways they were able to save money.
    Did you know that some companies will offer to absorb the cost of taxes?  Some can offer discounts on products already in their warehouses.  Others will have grants that you can apply for.
    The options vary from company to company and state to state, so you’ll need to make those phone calls.
    At the end of the day, we were able to get a final bid of $75,000 because we knew what cards the company we were dealing with had in their hands and what they could offer.
    That’s right, networking saved us $20k.
  4. We used our own sweat.
    Remember when I said that your overall cost will be about 1/3 Play Equipment and 2/3 Demo, Install, Surfacing and Labor?
    We were able to cut the Play Equipment cost down with the first 3 tips… and you can nearly zero out Demo and Labor costs by rallying members of your church and community to do the work themselves.
    Make sure that you ask for a line item bid from your possible playground rep.  You can then go through that list at this stage and zero out any work that your congregation can do on its own.
    The work that we finished yesterday (tearing out old equipment, removing sand and concrete from the area, and preparing the site for install) saved our church another $15,000.
    Our final bid came in just under $60,000.
  5. We prayed.
    Before every phone call.
    Before every meeting.
    Before every e-mail.
    Before every work/demo-day.
    We continually welcomed God into the work we were doing and asked that the work we would be a part of on that day, at that moment, would reflect the Kingdom of God.
    Did I mention that we saved $90,000?

Tomorrow, I’ll finish up this series with some simple ways you can take on a project like this without burning yourself out in the process.
For our church, this process has taken just over a year and a half from start to finish
Had I not taken the steps that we’ll discuss tomorrow, there’s a good chance my marriage, family and ministry could have been negatively impacted by some of the hurdles and frustrations we faced.
If you’re ever going to take on a project of this scale, you need to read tomorrow’s post.
Monday (part 3 of 3): Making it Happen without Killing Yourself

Proposed Toddler Area

Proposed 5-12 Area

1 Comment

Posted by on April 26, 2009 in Kidmin, Los Angeles, Playground


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