Name patches. Emblems. Company patches. Different providers call them different things. They’re the patches that have the employee name and company name/logo. Some companies use direct embroidery as well – were going to cover embroidery in a future post. For this post, let’s focus on name and company emblems. There are other emblem types and placements – for example, putting an American flag on a sleeve – but we’re only concentrating on employee name and company name here. What’s in a name? Unnecessary cost.
Let’s first establish that emblems do add value to a uniform rental program. They provide a professional look and lend a personal touch to customer interaction. You’re the best judge of whether or not to have them, so let’s just leave that there. If you do have them, they may feel like a small portion of the overall cost. Over time, however, it could add 10-20% of additional cost per wearer. That’s not a little. That’s a lot.
When you sign up with a uniform rental provider – or renew – and you get a new set of shirts, there is cost associated with the procurement of that material. You’re getting new garments and new emblems, therefore your provider is covering their cost. Yeah – business 101. Rather, we’re focusing on shirts that have been in service for a while, and are either getting replaced through damage, loss or worn out activity. Let’s break it down.
YOUR PROVIDER SHOULD BE TELLING YOU WHAT ACTIVITY IS GOING ON
We’ll start with loss. If you lose the shirt, well, then you need to pay for everything to replace it. That’s fair. Expect to pay for the replacement rate for the shirt, the emblems and the prep charge. The prep charge covers (among other things) the labor of putting the emblems on the shirt and putting a code tape in the collar. We’re not going to get into the price rates for all those things here, because that is worthy of its own lengthy discussion. So, you lose it, you pay. Simple.
Next, a damaged shirt. If you damage it to the extent that the emblems are ruined, then you need to cover all that cost. Just like in the lost shirt example above. But if the emblems are okay, then they should be reused. This is where things get wonky in the world of uniform rental services. Simply put, you don’t get to make that choice. Your provider does.
Your provider gets to decide whether or not to reuse the emblems. They’re on the shirt about to be taken out of service. The provider might have a labor process in place to remove emblems from shirts taken out of service. And maybe they reuse those emblems on future orders. For instance, on your future order. For the shirt they are about to replace for you. You see it, right? They take your shirt, remove the emblems, put the same emblems on a replacement shirt, then charge you for the “new” emblems.
“BUT IT’S MORE COMPLEX THAN THAT”
Your provider might argue that we are over simplifying it. We’ll leave that up to you to decide. Now let’s talk about worn out shirts – sometimes called replacements. These are shirts that have been in service for a while and need to be replaced by virtue of normal wear and tear. They are not damaged. They’re at the end of their useful life. Your agreement may even contain language that makes it clear – the provider is to replace worn out garments at no cost to you. Do you think that’s the case?
When a worn out replacement shirt gets ordered, it likely means that the emblems are also worn out. Do you think you should be paying for those items? Shouldn’t the rental service cover the replacement or worn out items at no cost to you? If you rented a car and the tires were bald, how would you feel if the rental car company looked at you to cover the cost of new tires? Yeah, it’s all a little wonky, and that’s exactly why we’re bringing it up. We think uniform rental services should start looking at this piece of their service design and make it work better for you. We don’t think you should pay for items you’ve already paid for, or that should be covered under normal wear and tear. What do you think?