I’m often asked where I stand on the uniform-rental business. Does it make sense to rent uniforms? Is it more economical? Is it more costly? As someone who makes a living selling uniforms, it’s tempting to knock the practice of renting uniforms. After all, I’d prefer for uniform renters to convert to uniform purchasers, right?
As it happens, the answer is a little more nuanced.
If your workforce is exposed to chemical or bacterial contaminants, they may benefit from a uniform-rental program offering an industrial laundering process. This mitigates the risk of contaminants being brought home on work clothes.
Those who work in flame-retardant uniforms may also seek to avoid home laundering. Household washers and dryers can compromise a garment’s safety by not successfully removing flammable soil or by adding starch or fabric softeners that may mask the apparel’s fire-retardant properties.
Laundry issues aside, there are other reasons to consider a rental program: The low up-front costs can be enticing. And the program management, though costly, can prove convenient.
What you will not find in a rental program is real customization, the latest in fabric technologies, and the widest selection of apparel.
Employers for whom this is important generally prefer to purchase directly. So too do businesses seeking to avoid long-term contracts, services charges or unexpected fees. Fortunately, there are plenty of businesses that fall into this category and the direct-purchase segment of the uniform market shows no signs of waning.
Getting back to the question of whether to buy or rent, it’s largely a matter of determining the best fit for your business. In the case of the clients J.A. Uniforms typically serves, purchasing’s heightened flexibility, selection and customization is a compelling draw.
It’s insightful to watch these clients unleash their inner designers, outlining a rough design on a paper napkin or searching for words to describe something they saw and wish to replicate. For the most part, these are not folks who would turn to rental programs. They’re intent on striking a very precise look or perhaps on making a distinct statement. Maybe it’s an interior-design element they’re trying to complement. Perhaps it’s a theme they wish to reinforce with the apparel. Sometimes it’s a whim they’re chasing or a look that draws a specific demographic or psychographic.x`
Regardless of the intent, J.A. Uniforms takes ownership of bringing their ideas to life.