Saving money on workwear & uniform

Having an employee, director, associate or brand ambassador in branded uniform provides a consistent exposure, brand awareness and personal touch point many conventional marketing strategies can’t do. We’re presuming you arrived here because you are currently spending money on, subsidising or requiring employees to purchase their uniform, you’ll be pleased to know you can actually save a lot of money in just a few steps.

Step 1: You’ve got more choice than you may know.

Many businesses do not have the buying power to create a bespoke garment, instead many opt for a blank garment and customise with their logo. The logo application can be performed through a third party embroidery or print company.

Guess what, almost all of the garment embroidery and print companies all use the same suppliers. You can really boil this down to price as the machines, garments and service is likely to be standardised. There are secondary influencing factors which range from dispatch time, customer services or returns procedure.

So the first step is to identify product codes (usually in the label) and go price checking around the internet, some companies will price match too which makes it so easy to save money, take your best quote to the price matcher (if you want to use them).

Step 2: the cost of rushing.

Here is a process not many workwear and uniform companies will tell you about, sampling, specifically blank sampling. Why is this a problem and why can it cost you a fortune? the pitfalls are two fold with this:

  1. If you get 100 medium polo shirts from the same brand there will be variance between them all, some brands are significant. Get them blank to try on and get the workwear company to use the garments you have tried on and not re-order.
  2. There is a lot of work setting up your logo (and likely a charge) so one-off sampling won’t be a viable option for many workwear companies. A simple way to get around this is to ask for the logo setup service and for them to put it on a swatch. Don’t stop there….
  3. Once the logo setup has been complete ask for the emb or dst file, if you ever change suppliers you will likely avoid future setup charges if you have this file.

In summary, try the blank garments on, get a swatch to ensure the logo quality is up to standard, then (and only then) do you progress with your order. This route will ensure you have garments that fit, professional looking embroidery or print and a cost saver if you decide to up sticks and move on.

Step 3: Save on sunken costs

Many workwear businesses provide a portal to some of their customers. Workwear companies will have a minimum amount of wearers before offering this service, we’ve found Industrial Workwear provide a portal for all customers for free. What’s the benefit of portals? they allow staff to complete orders easily, set budgets and even give employees a login to order their own. It drops on manual input errors (everyone hates creating a spreadsheet for sizes), decreases time and provides a controlled way of managing budgets.

Step 4: Don’t fall into the workwear trap

This last step can really hurt you if you don’t take note. Suppliers can firstly discontinue lines and if your image is dependent on a certain style, you won’t hear about it being discontinued until you place your next order. Next, once you are setup and happy with the workwear supplier, you keep the same supplier, DONT: keep shopping around, it’s a very competitive landscape and most companies will lower their profit to recruit a new customer, leverage this. You will likely end up with the exact same garment, looking exactly the same (remember the tip of keeping the emd/dst file?)

The final point you need to validate is burnage, this is the rate you go through new uniforms. Many companies will split their focus to get it cheaper and a most cost effective solution is to review the garment. Different quality has different lifespans, spending more at first may extend a garment lifespan and become commercially viable over high burnage with lower price point items.

The final summary

The recap, firstly if you are buying blank garments there will be hundreds, if not thousands of resellers. Don’t go directly to the brand, they will likely pass your details over to the biggest seller (and sometimes more expensive). Ensure you are happy with the blank garments before committing to personalising them, most companies won’t rectify if anything goes wrong unless it’s a workmanship issue (and they will fight tooth and nail not to refund you usually, check Trustpilot).

Look for cost saving free services like portals which can take the pressure off, eliminate manual errors and also save time. Finally, don’t stand still, usually the first time you hear about workwear procurement issues is at the point you have paid for an order. Periodically review your supplier, garments, suppliers stock (not being discontinued) and also longevity of the garments, switching to a more expensive or cheaper variant can be a comercially viable option.

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