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View Full Version : Uniforms--Collard Shirts and kaki pants--Who Uses Them??


merrimacmill
03-26-2009, 01:09 AM
I know it has been discussed many times before. But I want to narrow it down because it seems the biggest discussion about this was from all the heavy equipment and pavement guys in that section of the forum.

Anyways, right now the guys just wear company T-shirts with our company name on the back and front screen printed on them, and whatever jeans they have, and that is it.

But this year, I am considering taking it a step further. I was considering buying everyone kaki dickies work pants, and hats with the company name on them, and they would just continue with the same t-shirts. But then today, I got a collard shirt from BOSS snowplows, and realized that it was pretty nice, looks nice, but I still felt like I could work in it very comfortably.

I then noticed that all of the large, national green industry companies all have collard shirts. Now, any of you can say what you want about Brickman, ValleyCrest, TruGreen, Scotts, etc... But I don't think that anyone can deny that they know how to make money, and a lot of it too. The expense of outfitting their thousands of employees with clothing must be a huge undertaking, so it got me thinking. They don't just do that for fun, I'm sure that they have had professionals come in and conduct some sort of market research, and that huge expense was some how justified through their market and consumer research.

So my question; In the landscape maintenance industry, do you think that the idea of collared shirts, and kaki pants is worth the expense and trouble of replacement cost and trouble of enforcing the new dress code, etc??? And I understand that it really depends on what we want to do with our companies. I am not asking the guy that is solo, has a full schedule, and is competely content staying right were he is. I am asking the guys that have a crew, or two, or three, and are consistantly looking to grow and expand.

JShe8918
03-26-2009, 01:51 AM
I have thought about the same thing. But any extra cost knocks off money from your bottom line... Yes khaki's and collared shirts look much nicer but wow at the expense to supply your workers with them. If you work solo or even with one or two employees but no more than that because they need no less than 4 pairs... That way they don't have to wash every other day. I supply my workers with steel toe wolverine boots, dark green carhart pants, and company tee shirts. If i could do it over again i would just do the shirts and boots. 4 pairs of carharts is close to 175 bucks after tax. Good luck with your decision.

clcare2
03-26-2009, 04:33 AM
[QUOTE=merrimacmill;2881766]I
I then noticed that all of the large, national green industry companies all have collard.QUOTE]

Pretty much answered your own question.

M and S Lawn Care
03-26-2009, 07:31 AM
I'm doing it to set our company apart from all the little joe smoes who are trying to make an extra buck and undercutting everyone. We're a REAL company, and I want to look like one.

Richard Martin
03-26-2009, 07:50 AM
This post kinda threw me the first couple of times I saw it. I was thinking to myself...

Why would anybody want to wear a collard of their shirt?

http://patrickstack.com/images/2008/02/collard_greens.jpg

Then I figured it out. You're saying collared as in a shirt with a collar.

I will be getting them for myself (solo op) in the next few weeks. The button up shirt will be much cooler and the khaki pants will look a little nicer than what I currently wear.

Columbia Care
03-26-2009, 08:16 AM
While making sales calls, I wear a collared shirt with my companies names on it and dress pants. While servicing my customers, I wear a T-Shirt with our company name on it and nice work jeans. If my sons are helping me, they wear the T-Shirt and jeans.

Changing Seasons
03-26-2009, 08:22 AM
Don't worry about the shirts being collared. Most will never notice but people do notice when all employees match. Give your supervisors collared shirts they have earned them. Make employees pay for their own pants or shorts. You would be amazed at well they take care of them when they have to replace them if they get torn or unsightly. There are too many people looking for jobs if someone says they wont do it. If a employee is short on cash, give them the money to purchase the pants and then deduct over a period of time from paycheck. Plus if you buy them and they quit a week later the odds of finding a new employee that size is slim. If you work at a bank or in a office, does that company pay for the business suits? No. It is part of having a job. Been through uniform companies (huge hassle) and purchasing pants for employees ($$$$) this is the route we have found that works best for us.

kaferhaus
03-26-2009, 08:29 AM
We use a uniform rental company. I pay half the employee pays half. Uniforms are picked up once a week and laundered by the company.

Shorts (khaki) in the warm months and long pants in the cool months. Collared shirts.

I do not provide boots, that's the employee's responsibility. I provide gloves, saftey glasses and ear plugs.

Uniforms are not optional but only cost the employee about 8 bucks a week.

We have a "personal appearance code" and the uniforms are just a part of it. I started this around 10yrs ago and it HAS been good for business. We get a lot of comments on the crew's professional appearance and it also fosters a "team spirit" among the crews.

Businesses like it and our residential customers love it. Imagine the effect it has when joe lowballer with the unkempt appearance shows up at the door trying to take an account from you and the customer is used to seeing uniformed clean cut professionals on her property? The guy could be great at what he does but she'll never know as the lack of a professional appearance now makes a difference to her. She will assume the guy cannot be a professional.

That's why it's very rare that we lose customers to these guys, and it makes it easier to get new ones.....

TJLANDS
03-26-2009, 08:38 AM
We use a uniform rental company. I pay half the employee pays half. Uniforms are picked up once a week and laundered by the company.

Shorts (khaki) in the warm months and long pants in the cool months. Collared shirts.

I do not provide boots, that's the employee's responsibility. I provide gloves, saftey glasses and ear plugs.

Uniforms are not optional but only cost the employee about 8 bucks a week.

We have a "personal appearance code" and the uniforms are just a part of it. I started this around 10yrs ago and it HAS been good for business. We get a lot of comments on the crew's professional appearance and it also fosters a "team spirit" among the crews.

Businesses like it and our residential customers love it. Imagine the effect it has when joe lowballer with the unkempt appearance shows up at the door trying to take an account from you and the customer is used to seeing uniformed clean cut professionals on her property? The guy could be great at what he does but she'll never know as the lack of a professional appearance now makes a difference to her. She will assume the guy cannot be a professional.

That's why it's very rare that we lose customers to these guys, and it makes it easier to get new ones.....

Think you should check, I dont think you are allowed to charge your employees anything for uniforms.

kaferhaus
03-26-2009, 08:40 AM
Think you should check, I dont think you are allowed to charge your employees anything for uniforms.

You'd be wrong. Laws in NJ may be different. I can require the wearing of uniforms as a condition of employment, same as steel toed shoes etc. Even in states where it's specifically not allowed you get by it by designating a small portion of their hourly wage as "uniform allowance".

Leisure Time Outdoor Serv
03-26-2009, 08:50 AM
We have Jackets, t-shirts and hoodies, the guys wear when they are out working and I wear polos or a dress shirt with the name of my company on them when I am out estimating. I think it set us apart from the lowballars out there who just wear any old thing out there

Changing Seasons
03-26-2009, 08:57 AM
As a condition of employment in writing and signed by the employee, you can set what the employee has to follow. If one of our employees comes in with tennis shoes on they are sent home immediately. We require the employee has boots, pants/shorts, gloves and rain gear at their expense. We provide safety gear and shirts/sweatshirts. Make them responsible for their own appearance. They do not like the cut in the paycheck if they are sent home and it usually does not happen again. But that means from the top to the bottom. You as the owner cannot show up in sandals and a flowered shirt.

merrimacmill
03-26-2009, 11:52 AM
Well I stopped by the local print shop today and gave the go ahead. It will be expensive, but I think at the end of the day it will be worth it.

I am thinking a yearly amount of 3 shorts, 3 pants, and 5 shirts for my employees per year. Keep in mind, most my guys are part time. I just alternate them, in other words one guy will work 3 days of the week, and the other guys will work the remaining 3. I'm just not sure what to tell them if they completely ruin them.

I already have 100 or so tshirts on hand in the office that we hand out to people and our employees have them now. So if there is rather filthy job, i'll just have them wear those. But day to day landscape maintenance, mowing, mulching, hedge trimming, sod, etc we will have the collard shirts. I'm just saying, every once and awhile we get one of those rather large over grown yard, brush removal job and of course, it will rain out that day and we are all filthy head to toe in mud, the old t's will come out.

J&R Landscaping
03-26-2009, 12:01 PM
I have company T-shirts and usually wear brown or tan Carhart work pants or cargo pants. I have a couple collared shirts for wearing on estimates and such. There not to bad but I wouldn't want ot be wearing them when it gets super hot and humid out! JMO

grasschopperofchicago
03-26-2009, 12:09 PM
I have thought about the same thing. But any extra cost knocks off money from your bottom line... Yes khaki's and collared shirts look much nicer but wow at the expense to supply your workers with them. If you work solo or even with one or two employees but no more than that because they need no less than 4 pairs... That way they don't have to wash every other day. I supply my workers with steel toe wolverine boots, dark green carhart pants, and company tee shirts. If i could do it over again i would just do the shirts and boots. 4 pairs of carharts is close to 175 bucks after tax. Good luck with your decision.


I disagree here, I think it ADDS to your bottom line!--professionalism is first and foremost! I provide our 4 employees with their outfits

--2 full time get 5 polos/5 pants and part time guys get 2s/2p.... they supply their own boots...we have a local work cloths store here that just bills me on the pants, they go in and have a credit for 5 specific pairs and have to have them at the start of season.

I'm investing the $ in me by having them look professional...they are after all the direct reflection of my business and future!

kaferhaus
03-26-2009, 12:09 PM
I have company T-shirts and usually wear brown or tan Carhart work pants or cargo pants. I have a couple collared shirts for wearing on estimates and such. There not to bad but I wouldn't want ot be wearing them when it gets super hot and humid out! JMO

We only use 100% cotton for that reason.

Pietro
03-26-2009, 12:20 PM
We give em shirts. I got a bunch of company shirts, I usually wear a company tank top. People dont care what your employees wear. Half the time no one is even home when youre mowing. I make sure the guys wear the shirts thou, because if someone IS home they see who is in their backyard and dont worry. We all wear jeans, all year round....better to be hot as opposed to having legs that are all torn up from line trimming and etc. I wear mesh shorts usually, thats cuz I just drive the truck and the Z. Maybe a blower here and there.

merrimacmill
03-26-2009, 12:21 PM
I ordered "Performance" shirts. They are very permiable. Much cooler in the hot weather than a T shirt IMO. Esp the T shirts with the full back screen print. 100% soft cotton as well.

Crash
03-26-2009, 01:36 PM
If you want to be taken seriously and look professional...you need to have all your guys wearing uniforms with your business name on them. It's really a good way to set yourself apart and be taken seriously.

merrimacmill
03-26-2009, 02:35 PM
If you want to be taken seriously and look professional...you need to have all your guys wearing uniforms with your business name on them. It's really a good way to set yourself apart and be taken seriously.

I agree. I mean there is a point where I think most would feel it becomes required in this business. If its joe blow and his buddy mowing a bunch of residential accounts in an un-lettered truck, or magnetic sign truck, I really don't feel that kind of operation would need uniforms. (and NO I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that kind of operation) But when companies are running all matching colored trucks, matching colored enclosed trailers, matching mowers, doing high viz commercial sites, or high end resi properties, I think uniforms are a must. It just depends on what your "vision" for your business may be.

Lawnut101
03-26-2009, 02:44 PM
I am planning on using polo shirts and sweatshirts this year. Possibly t-shirts for hard laborers. But for mowing and such, it would look good to have polos. Image is a big thing for me. Nice equipment, nice appearance, and good work says a lot about a company.

HOOLIE
03-26-2009, 04:52 PM
I don't see any reason for anything beyond a company T-shirt. You got guys performing tough manual labor in all kinds of weather...the more comfortable you allow them to be, the better.

While we're on the topic....why do Mickey Dee's workers now wear dress shirts and ties??? I mean, like that makes any difference :laugh:

SNAPPER MAN
03-26-2009, 05:34 PM
I personally think polo shirts are a little overkill. My guys wear safety green long sleeve t-shirts with the logo on the front and back and they look very professional and are cheaper than polo's. I think polo's would be nice for giving estimates and stuff but not for mowing. If you notice, companies like Brickman and Tru-Green have the button up work shirts, not polo shirts. Those are nice but very expensive.

lawnguyland
03-26-2009, 05:36 PM
I like collared shirts

Here is some free advice... try duluth trading (or other) for "cool max" polos -or other wicking material. Well worth it.

Green Machine Mowing
03-26-2009, 07:17 PM
While servicing my customers, I wear a T-Shirt with our company name on it and nice work jeans.

I ussaly wear nothing at all :cool2:

Crash
03-26-2009, 07:42 PM
I ussaly wear nothing at all :cool2:

HAHA

I concure!