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Uniforms--Collard Shirts and kaki pants--Who Uses Them??

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by merrimacmill, Mar 26, 2009.

  1. merrimacmill

    merrimacmill LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 515

    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.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2009
  2. JShe8918

    JShe8918 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 944

    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.
  3. clcare2

    clcare2 LawnSite Member
    from indiana
    Posts: 224

  4. M and S Lawn Care

    M and S Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 612

    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.
  5. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 14,700

    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?


    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.
  6. Columbia Care

    Columbia Care LawnSite Member
    Posts: 158

    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.
  7. Changing Seasons

    Changing Seasons LawnSite Member
    Posts: 23

    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.
  8. kaferhaus

    kaferhaus LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,444

    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 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,669

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

    kaferhaus LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,444

    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".

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