There are some industries that seem built for high turnover. That is to say that employees come and go pretty quickly. Food service, retail, and entertainment-based businesses immediately come to mind. They are businesses that tend to require employees to wear company uniforms. For them, uniform rental would be a better option than purchasing.
Uniform rental is a business model first introduced to the U.S. in the late 1800s by a company known as Alsco. The company is still in operation today, with customers all over the country. Alsco even has growing operations overseas. They can easily explain to any business with a high employee turnover rate why uniform rental is a better deal.
Buying Uniforms for Seasonal Workers
Let’s say you run a pizza joint in a small, college town. Business will boom as long as school is in session. In addition, you are likely to hire a few college kids to get you through the season. When school lets out in spring, it will take the extra business and your employees with it.
Under this scenario, you also provide your employees with shirts and aprons. You have purchased both, and you expect employees to take care of the laundering themselves. What will you do when the season ends? You will probably ask for the aprons back, but the shirts are another deal. You cannot trust that the shirts have been laundered properly, and you don’t expect future employees to wear used shirts. So departing employees get to keep them.
Every new season brings a new crop of employees who all need shirts. That means money out of the till every fall. And even those full-time employees you will be keeping year-round are going to require shirts. You’ll pay for those as well.
Renting Uniforms Instead
The scenario described above is not exclusive to food service. Retail stores have their own seasonal employment needs, both for the Christmas holidays and during the summer. The same thing for hospitality. All these businesses have one thing in common: their uniforms will be used only for a limited amount of time. This is why renting makes so much more sense.
When you rent uniforms from a company like Alsco, you’re paying only for what you need at any given time. You can maintain a relatively low inventory during the off-season, then increase inventory once seasonal hiring starts. After the season you return to your previous inventory. You are only spending money on just what you need.
Even better is the fact that the departure of seasonal employees doesn’t cost you any more money. It’s not like buying uniforms that go out the door when employees leave. Uniforms don’t belong to you or your employees, they belong to the uniform rental company. So when employees leave, the uniforms go back to your provider.
The Laundering Question
The other benefit of uniform rental is that the provider takes care of laundering. Employees appreciate this. They would rather leave dirty uniforms at work and have them professionally laundered than be forced to throw them in their own washing machine. It’s a nice perk.
There is also the reality that employees cannot always be trusted to take care of uniforms during the laundering process. It only takes one careless mistake to turn a white shirt pink, for example. No such concerns exist with uniform rental. The rental provider handles all the laundering. It’s up to them to get garments clean without damaging them.
All the evidence points to the conclusion that uniform rental is better for companies with high turnover. It is hard to argue otherwise.