What’s the Difference Between Uniform Rental and Managed Direct Purchase?

When choosing an arc rated / flame resistant (AR / FR) clothing supplier, it’s important to understand your options and how they impact the wearers of the clothing. In this post and in the video below, we discuss differences between the two main AR / FR supplier options – uniform rental with industrial laundry (“rental”) and managed direct purchase with allowance / allotment (“managed purchase”) – while providing context around common misconceptions you may have about them.

The main difference between a rental program and a managed purchase program is ownership. In a rental program, the industrial laundry provider maintains ownership of the clothing and the company rents it from them. In a managed purchase program, the wearer selects their clothing via a custom, company-approved catalog and upon delivery, the wearer owns those items. Why does ownership matter? It’s important because it either limits the employee’s control and ultimately, lowers their satisfaction or it empowers them.

On the surface, supplier-owned (rented) AR / FR clothing might seem like the more convenient option – you don’t have to choose or maintain your own work clothes, clothing is selected for you and picked up, laundered, and delivered back to you on a regular basis. But there are several drawbacks associated with this option that you should consider, including but not limited to:

  • Lack of Choice: Clothing is highly personal – rental programs have limited, if any, product choice options for the individual. This could lead to employee morale issues, decreased productivity, or worse – lack of compliance and protection.
  • Used Garments: Upon enrollment in the program, employees could receive garments that have been worn by someone else. This decreases employee satisfaction at the onset and causes premature wear and tear down the line, which leads to costly replacement fees (on top of what was already paid to rent the garment).
  • Missing or Incorrect Garments: If garments go missing or an employee receives garments that do not belong to them – both of which are common problems in a rental program – workers can’t do their jobs effectively or safely. Either they can’t work, or they’re forced to wear dirty garments, which could lead to compliance issues and subsequent citations, or worse, an injury in the event of an incident.
  • Limited Service: In a rental program, the route driver is your main point of contact and they’re often rushing from site to site to pick up or deliver garments and rarely available to discuss any concerns or answer any questions.

In contrast, a managed purchase program gives employees ownership over their clothing and freedom of choice. Employees choose their own garments from a custom catalog of company-approved items using their company-funded allowance or allotment, and orders are delivered to their home or work address. From there, AR / FR clothing is laundered at home by the employee, similarly to how regular, non-FR clothing is laundered. This option leads to a multitude of positive outcomes, including:

  • Garment Care and Longevity: Employees are more likely to take better care of their garments because they’ve chosen them based on personal preference. This often results in increased service life of the garment and saves companies from frequent replacement charges, which could be costly.
  • Comfort and Compliance: Giving employees the option to select their own garments based on what they find most comfortable from a size or style perspective – while meeting safety and image requirements – leads to increased compliance and far fewer complaints. Plus, Tyndale offers free returns and exchanges! Without choice, employees are stuck with the garments that are given to them – whether they find them comfortable or not. This could lead to serious safety and compliance issues – either the wearer will alter the garment to make it more comfortable or worse, they won’t wear it at all.
  • Dedicated Support: In a Tyndale-managed direct purchase program, companies receive support from a dedicated account management team, who manages the program so you don’t have to. Additionally, our US-based customer service representatives are available to assist end-user wearers with all questions or concerns.

Next time you’re selecting your AR / FR clothing supplier, consider the difference of ownership and how it impacts employees’ overall satisfaction. And, be sure to read through our recent blog series examining the industry’s shift away from uniform rental with industrial laundry for managed direct purchase AR / FR clothing programs.

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