Facilities Management Thank You, Uniform Program

Renting vs. Purchasing Employee Uniforms: Which is Best for You?

By this point, you have probably identified that your company needs a uniform program, but perhaps you are unsure if you should be renting uniforms or purchasing those uniforms.  We have found this to be one of the biggest dilemmas, after hundreds of meetings with clients.  Which direction should I go, rental or purchase? So let’s start by looking at an example for why a company might choose rental over purchase.  A company that goes the renting uniforms route, may decide to, due to high employee turnover.  In this case, purchasing a uniform wouldn’t make any sense.  

If high employee turnover is not an issue, then purchasing might be a good choice.  Typically, buying your uniforms will cost less than going to rental.  This might come as a shock to some, but here are a few things to consider:



In a uniform purchase program, you might find a 1-year contract with automatic annual renewal or perhaps no contract at all.  

When renting uniforms, these contracts can vary in length and terms.  One rental contract could be a minimum of two years or could be up to five years, depending on contract terms negotiated.  As far as cancellation with a rental contract, there is usually a small window to cancel and it normally falls towards the end of the contract.  After that, the contract will automatically renew.  


Under-wash fee

An under-wash fee refers to a company being charged a weekly rental and cleaning fee for those uniforms that your employees aren’t turning in.  Not all, but some uniform rental companies will include an under-wash fee within their contracts.  

Due to the nature of a uniform purchase program and the fact you buy the apparel, an under-wash fee isn’t an expense you will need to look for.  


Size change fee

With a uniform rental contract, some uniform providers will charge a size change fee, usually around a $1 or $2 per garment, if an employee requests a size change.  It’s important to remember the length of your contract and then multiply that fee per employee, for each year of the contract.  Although it can vary, almost all employee will have at least one size change during the contract terms.  

A rental contract could also include an additional sizing charge, for any uniform needed over an XL.  The cost varies depending on the uniform provider and some providers won’t charge this fee.  One example would be our sister company, Model Uniforms, who doesn’t charge a fee for sizes over XL that are needed.  

With a uniform purchase program, what you order is what you get, so be sure you select the right size.  In most cases, if your employees order a garment and it is decorated, it can’t be returned to your provider


Is a uniform purchase program right for you or should be renting uniforms?

In most cases, when starting a uniform purchase program, you’re only going to pay for the uniform and apparel your employees or admin purchase.  When first setting up your uniform purchase program, you typically only pay for the digitizing fee of your company’s logo.  Other than that, your private web store is free and no other costs are incurred.  Depending on the apparel brand you choose, in your uniform purchase program, you can expect to get a wear life of three to five years with regular wear and home washing.   

So be sure to ask yourself a few questions, when deciding if you need a uniform rental program or a uniform purchase program:

    • Who will be wearing the uniform or apparel?
    • Will the garments need industrial washed or can they be washed at home?
    • Is this for corporate employees or field workers?
    • What is the goal of the apparel or uniform?
    • Is this for professional appearance or industry regulation?
    • Who are your customers?
    • Are your employees customer-facing or interacting with customers or the public?
    • Do you have high employee turnover?
    • What is my uniform budget?


If your company is considering a uniform program and wondering what it takes to get started, then be sure to click the button below and find out how simple it is to start up your own uniform purchase program.


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Topics:   Facilities Management Thank You, Uniform Program