Buying a sports surface is a big decision and can be somewhat overwhelming and confusing. After all, with proper care, you’ll be living with your decision for a long, long time, one that could span your entire professional career. Here are some tips to help you make a better buying decision:
Tip #1 – Take a long term view
Regardless of your budget, buy the best, highest quality floor possible that you can afford….sometimes spending a few more dollars up front can pay off in the long term
- Some floors are designed to last only 10 – 15 years, while others will last 40 years or more.
- Some floors are designed to be renovated in place to extend their life, while others cannot. Some may require complete tear-out & disposal at the end of their useful life, while others can be ‘retired’ in-place and a new floor simply installed over top of it.
- All sports floors require proper care and maintenance.
Tip #2 – Make sure the product you select best matches needs of your users and your facility
There are many, many product types on the market, each of which has unique characteristics suited for specific applications. The challenge is that there are often several different types of products that could be effectively used for the same application. Evaluate Trade-offs like:
- Durability vs comfort vs game play response vs estimated product life
- Competition use or multi-purpose use
- Uni-directional vs multi-directional activities
- Usage rate – Number of hours per day, week, month and year
Tip #3 – Buy from a reputable firm
Do your research. Like Tommy Callahan in Tommy Boy, tried so hard to communicate to a prospective customer“….it’s the company behind the products, not the ‘guarantee on the box’ that matters most….”.
- How long has the company been in business?
- Do they have a reputation and history for being fair in dealing with customers and vendors alike?
- Do they have knowledgeable technical, sales and customer service staff?
- Do they have full-time Research and Development staff?
- What innovations have they introduced to the market?
- Check their product specific reference lists
- Interview current owners with respect to their experience dealing with the company
Tip #4 – Have your floor professionally installed
No matter how good the product, you’re asking for trouble if the surface is not professionally installed by a trained, sports flooring installation firm.
- Like Tip # 3 above check their references. How many sports floors have they installed in the past 10 years?
- Check with the owners about their after-market support and care.
- Installing a sports surface is a specialty that requires significant training, experience and collaboration with the manufacturer, general contractor, architect and owner in order ensure a successful installation. They are trained to identify and provide the owner with solutions to site specific challenges like:
- concrete flatness
- concrete moisture
- site environmental conditions temperature and relative humidity
Tip #5 – Take care of your floor
We know budgets can get squeezed, but proper care and maintenance will add years to the life of the system and ensure that the users have a safe surface.
While we would hope that you choose Robbins, regardless of your decision, we want you to be armed with the best possible information before you buy. Unfortunately, we’ve seen too many projects where “buyer unaware”…… became “buyer remorse”.