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Uniforms - professionalism at what price?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Stonehenge, Mar 24, 2001.

  1. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 1,277

    I have a question for those who have uniformed employees -

    All of our employees wear uniforms. Khaki pants or shorts, with a logoed t-shirt. I also provide 1 hat (Panama Jack style or ball cap, also with logo).

    I give each new person 5 new t-shirts, a new hat, and reimburse $15 toward the purchase of pants (up to 5 pair).

    The problem is, with some of the summertime help you get, with turnover being high, it gets expensive spending $120+ on employees that are only with you a few months, and never return the following season.

    What are your policies for uniforms? Who pays what, what quantities, do you have probation periods before giving unis, etc...
  2. bam

    bam LawnSite Senior Member
    from .
    Posts: 261

    All of our employees are uniformed. Salaried employees are provided uniforms. Hourly employees don't receive many benefits, so they must pay for them, however, so they aren't placed in financial hardship, money is deducted over time. Usually, we provide hats for free. It certainly is better than watching the crews with baseball caps with unproffesional logos. And you can't have your employees running around in the heat of summer with no protection from the sun at all.

    We would be in great debt if we provided all the uniforms. Does a corporate entity such as a bank or credit card company pay for their employees business suits? No. However, to have that job a certain uniform is expected.
  3. Fantasy Lawns

    Fantasy Lawns LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,913

    full time & crew leaders are given full uniform (hat, shirts, shorts, work boots)

    the summer help we take a small fee out of the first 2 checks ....and then after end of the season we return it when we get the shirt & hats back ....it's worn but we have plenty of extra's for the following summer (some are still in OK shape)

    I use to work for an outfit which had a uniform service (they came by weekly to pick up dirty & drop off clean) the uniforms sure lasted a lot longer than most
  4. cutntrim

    cutntrim LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 474

    Employees pay for some of the cost of uniforms through deductions on paychecks. They don't pay all at once, and they don't pay the full cost either.
  5. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,662

    We are transfering the cost of using a uniform rental shop to our ewmployees this season. In the past we basically swaped services and it was virtually an even-steven swap.

    This season our employees will have the option of $15 week for 5 pairs of pants or they can buy their own pant/short attire. We do not tolerate rips or soiled linens to be worn on the job site.

    Company shirts and caps are provided, and must be worn at all times. For the new guys we will hire thru a temp agency for some of the bids we have received for this summer, they will get the $3 AC Moore ashe grey t-shirts. These shirts will basically match the company uniform without the logos, and will be a way for clients to know who is full time and who is seasonal.

    As far as footwear is concerned, we reimburse for 50% of the cost of the boot up to $75. We will also be providing Carhartt jackets and bibs this fall to those employees who have been with us for over 3 years. Company sweatshirts are available to all, but the final paycheck is with-held until we receive them back.

    Hope this helps you Stone.:)
  6. thefarmer4

    thefarmer4 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 71

    What are the legalities of taking deductions out of paychecks for uniforms.

    kutnkru I don't think you can legally with hold a paycheck for any reason. You better check just to be sure? Not that I wouldn't do the same.

    You should also tell your employees they can deduct some of that money on their taxes.

    At a local supermarket they give you 1 t-shirt when you start after that you buy the rest.
  7. John Allin

    John Allin LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,489

    As long as the employee signs and agrees to the deduction, you can do it. However, the Federal Labor Laws specifically state that you can NOT take their wage below "minimum wage" even if they agree to the deduction.

    In the same vein... if the employee damages something and then agrees to pay for it (before or after the incident), you cannot take the paycheck below minimum wage, no matter what. Feds will make you give it back IF you get audited. BTW - the federal statute of limitations is 2 years on a wage audit. In other words, they can only go back two years to check to see if you were kosher in your dealings with regards to wages.
  8. GeoffDiamond

    GeoffDiamond LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 1,651

    We use to buy our employees work clothing. This year we are going to a uniform service. I have done that math and found it will be cheaper. We still will buy employees 5 t-shirts, a winter coat, hats, gloves, and boots.

    The uniform service will clean the uniforms, replace them when they are worn out. In the utility construction bix, it doesn't take long for uniforms to get beat up. It is a better way to go, when you get over 25 employees.

    Some of you guys that that give employees up to 15 dollars for pants. If you figure the cost of jeans are around 18 to 40 dollars a pair, 15 dollars doesn't go very far.

    Just IMO.

    Summer/ college/ high school, employees get 2 pairs of carhartt jeans, 5 t-shirts, 2 job shirts, and gloves and hats. If they return for a second year they will get a uniform from our uniform service.

  9. Our law is clear: provide the uniform or your employees can wear anything they want. Other way you need a signature from the employee on a agreement. Never heard about the minimum wage John as refered to, but it probably exist here too.
  10. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,662

    Geoff I just wanted to clarify a little bit more on this. I offer them the opportunity to use our linen service for $15 a week.

    This will give them 5 pairs of pants at their disposal and they wont have to worry about the washing factor. We also have a pricing structure for those that wish to have a maximum of 10 pairs., Otherwise they can purchase their own britches as long as they meet company standards at their own expense.

    This is why I have given them the option for the $15 because it is MUCH cheaper than the alternative as you stated.

    Hope this clears things up a bit.:)

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