Vendor assessment vital in solid selection.
If you are planning to build a new Challenge Course, or if you have one and are in need services like an inspection, maintenance, expansion or training, your choice of a professional vendor will be a very important one, both for now and in the future. Choosing a vendor who can provide a complete range of services and one with a good reputation is key, as is educating yourself to become an informed consumer. The following is a list of questions you might want to ask a prospective vendor:
- Is the vendor insured for general liability and for completed operations or product liability? Are all employees and agents covered by workers compensation insurance, and are all vehicles adequately covered? Can they produce policy copies or a certificate of insurance if requested?
- Does the vendor have at least 5 years of full-time experience in providing the services you need? What is the vendor's involvement level with relevant professional organizations (ERCA, IAPA, ACCT, AEE)? How many courses have they built and in what regions? How much experience does the individual installer, inspector or trainer have who will work on your project? Can the vendor produce a list of references for similar projects? Consider visiting courses that the vendor has built if possible.
- Does the vendor offer more than course installation? How about a periodic inspection program; a variety of training opportunities; maintenance and repair services; course expansion services; course supplies and equipment? If installing a new course or expanding an old one, is a training package included?
- Does the vendor adhere to the Challenge Course Installation Standards published by the ERCA, IAPA or ACCT? Can the vendor ensure that the course will meet or exceed any other application standards, such as camp accreditation standards, state regulations, etc.? Will the vendor help you to establish internal policies and procedures for course management? Does the course come with a warranty?
- Does the vendor adhere to the ERCA, IAPA, ACCT, NEN Standards? Does the content of the training match these standards? What is the curriculum used in their trainings? What assessments are used at the end of the trainings? What is the definition of a successful training?
- Is the vendor financially stable? Is a formal contract executed for all services? What are their terms for deposits and payments?
There are many reputable vendors from which to choose. We strongly suggest choosing some of the questions above that seem important to you, and adding others that express your own concerns.