This is the first post in a six-part series looking at the benefits of managed apparel options, specifically evaluating purchase programs and laundry rental for your FRC.
The decision to rent or buy employee uniforms and/or FRC clothing should be based on important factors affecting employees or those wearing the clothing. However, knowing what to look for when considering a laundry rental or purchase program for managed FRC clothing can be confusing.
While a rental program might seem better up-front, maybe because of a lower first year contract cost, overall costs for the life of the average three year rental contract tend to be significantly higher. These costs are not just reflected in dollar terms, but by what you’re giving up or agreeing to when going with a laundry rental program.
In our upcoming series, we will explore key points of laundry rental that you may not have previously considered:
Employees are set-up with an initial allotment of garments (shirts, pants, coveralls, etc.). The laundry service provider will deliver fresh garments and pick-up dirty clothes from the customer. Garments submitted to be cleaned are taken off-site to the laundry facility where they are sorted, inspected and cleaned. Clean clothing is sorted and delivered back to the customer.
New products – New products with better protection and/or comfort ratings, unfortunately, cannot simply be added to the program at any time.
Damaged or abused garments – For damaged or abused garments, the laundry service provider often authorizes product replacement, not the customer. The laundry company actually has an incentive to designate nearly worn-out garments as “damaged or abused” and invoice the company for replacements at full selling price – often without the customer’s knowledge.
Ownership – In a rental program, the customer retains no ownership of garments and clothing is returned to laundry upon termination of the contract – which is often another charge.
Billing – The customer will be invoiced for laundry services – regardless of what laundry is used during the billing period. Plus, invoices are unnecessarily long and confusing to read. Employees who take vacation, are on leave, in training or are on a leave of absence will continue to be charged for services not used while they are gone.
Customization – There is no customization for employee records, invoices cannot be customized and the ability to view statements online is basically not an option.
Unlike a purchase program for FRC where it is easy to calculate your fixed budget, with laundry rental programs cleaning costs are just the beginning. Average costs of $10-$15 per person, per week, plus hidden costs translate to higher total contract cost than in a purchase plan – and this expense can’t be budgeted or verified.
Paper-based billing often creates headaches for the customer as rental billing statements are overwhelming and provide confusing detail. There is no summary reporting and the inability to track expenses or resolve discrepancies often results in inconsistencies between invoices and statements.
Depending on flexibility within the program, choice of garments and service offered by the clothing provider, a purchase program might be better for your company.