Uniforms - professionalism at what price?

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

  1. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Posts: 3,256

    I don't have any employees yet, but you can bet that if I REQUIRE them to wear uniforms (and I will), I and only I will be paying for them.
    I think to require an employee to wear a uniform and then make them pay for it on top of that is ridiculous.
    This probably comes from my working for a furniture company for 8 years and having full uniforms supplied free by the company.
    I would never pay to wear a uniform for a company and wouldn't expect anyone else to do it fo me either.

    Just my opninon.

    Jonathan E.
  2. John Allin

    John Allin LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,489

    If you attend the Green Industry Conference and attend any ALCA functions, and then make a statement to the affect of "I don't require uniforms on my employees" - everybody will look at you crosseyed like "why are you here if you're not a professional??"

    Just a thought.
  3. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Posts: 3,256

    Hi John A. Not sure if you were reffering to my post or not. If you were, you may have misunderstood my post. I was simply saying that I WILL pay for my employees uniforms in full and they WILL be required to wear them.
    I think making them to pay for thier own uniforms is wrong.

  4. John Allin

    John Allin LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,489

    No, no, no.... not referring to anyone's post at all. I understood what you were saying.

    I was just indicating that some guys don't see a need for uniforms (not directed at anyone in particular), and that I think that is a bad policy.
  5. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Posts: 3,256

    Agreed! Have a great season.
  6. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 1,277

    gotgetter -

    Once you've been down the uniform road a ways, you'll see why I was putting this question out there.

    With safety equipment and uniforms, every one of my employees costs me $150 before they even work 1 minute. then, get some guys that stop showing up after a couple days, or ones you have to fire after a day or two, and then you have 2 headaches: collecting uniforms, and/or paying again for more uniforms for the next guy that you hope works out for more than a day.

    If I hire 5 guys, I'm spending $750, before they even start. It starts to make my P&Ls look ugly, and as any business person does, I try to make my numbers look better, so I get out of the uniform biz and into the landscape biz.

    Good luck with your biz and with crossing the 'uniform bridge' when you get to it.
  7. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Posts: 3,256

    I would go with the suggestion that someone made about waiting a couple weeks before getting a new employee uniforms. This is what they did at the furniture company I worked for.
    Gives ya some time to get a feel for whether they're gonna stick around or not.
    I also liked the suggestion about getting them some regular T-shirts that are a close match in color to your normal uniforms to kinda hold them over until you do get them uniforms. And this way they don't go to a customers house wearing any old thing that could make you look bad.

    One other suggestion would be to make them front the money for the uniforms then reimburse them after you see that they're gonna stick around (say 3 or 4 months). Just a thought.

    Good luck either way! Take care.
  8. mbwent

    mbwent LawnSite Member
    Posts: 24

    We provide 3 shirts and require khaki work shorts. They pay for shorts, we pay for shirts. 3 shirts can be laundered and is plenty for 5 day workweek. Our shirts cost about $12 each, but this is well worth having identifiable employees for our clients!!
  9. Chopper Lover

    Chopper Lover LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 288

    From the Employees Perspective:

    I understand the issue of spending money on uniforms for me, an employee that may only last a day or three. I also understand that if you (employer) want me (employee) to wear something that I would not normally wear, supply it, otherwise I will wear what I feel is comfortable and appropriate. What I wear does not affect my work ethic one bit. I will still be to work on time, do what I am supposed to do, and do it right the first time because I don't want to have to find the time to do it again later. Furthermore, I have no interest in paying YOU to make ME your walking billboard.

    From the Employers Perspective:

    I have an issue with spending money on uniforms for an employee that only lasts a day or three. I want you to look professional and like a team member. I want the customers to know you are part of the crew and neighbors to be able to see the name and phone number of the company so we can serve them also.


    There is a way to recover your issued uniforms should an employee quit or not show up for work. It is called an "agreement". The perspective employee signs an agreement prior to employment that he will return all issued property (uniforms) to the company in order to pick up his last pay check. You can reissue everything but the hat to the next employee. (Getting a used hat would just be flat out disgusting!)

    Unless you want them in a specific color or style pant, you issue only shirts and hat(s) since they have to wear pants anyway. Give them one freshly washed clean shirt each day for the first week. (The only issue to this could be soap allergies.) If they don't show up the second day you are only out one shirt and hat which you should get back in order for them to collect their pay check on pay day. If you want to give them some money toward a certain type of foot wear that is an option also. Maybe it may give you a reduced rate on your insurance, but knowing insurance companies, probably not.

  10. Foz

    Foz LawnSite Member
    Posts: 143


    Good post, I totally agree, have worked for companies in the past & the "agreement" seems to work the best. You guys should also check your state laws, in some areas if you want employees to wear a uniform, you MUST provide the uniform. Lucky me, my wife owns an embroidery company & she makes my shirts cheap.

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