Cost Guide: 8 Secrets about the True Cost of a Uniform Rental Program
Are you trying to compare costs for a uniform rental program?
There are two ways a uniform rental company will typically quote you on their program. The first method is the most common in the uniform rental industry. It includes an inventory price or unit price, plus ancillary fees like damage, repairs, prep and emblem. The second way a uniform rental company will quote you is a total annual cost that includes all of the ancillary fees.
To explain it better, here’s an example of two tire stores.
ITU AbsorbTech uniform pricing compared to other national laundry service companies.[/caption]
Store A advertises a brand and size of tires for $80 each and Store B has the same tires for $100 each. You need four of them and go to store “A” and figure to save $20 per tire or $80 total. You sign the paperwork and wait in the lobby. When you get the bill, you are expecting $80 X 4 = $320 plus tax. As you review the bill, you see:
$4.00 per tire for valve stems or $16
$5.50 per tire to mount them or $22
$9.50 per tire to computer balance them or $38
$6. 00 per tire road hazard warranty or $24
$5.00 tire disposal fee or $20
$10 shop supply fee (compressed air, mounting lubricant, computer balance machine maintenance, etc.)
Total bill $320 for tires plus $130 extra charges = $450 plus tax
Happy with your new tires, but disappointed with the final total cost, you call Store B and tell them you would like to get the total installed cost of the exact same tires for your car. The Representative on the phone says the tires are $100 each and there is a $5.00 per tire disposal charge. “Total $420, plus tax.” You ask, “What about mounting, balancing, road hazard warranty, etc.?” The representative says, “It is included in the price of the tire. After all, the tires would not do you any good if they weren’t put on the car.”
ITU AbsorbTech is like Store B. We call it StraightUp!™ Billing.
8 Secrets to Watch for when Comparing Program Costs.
If you’re shopping around, beware of these tactics sometimes used by uniform companies.
Loss and Damage:
- Some uniform companies use loss and damage as a means of offsetting low unit rates. Don’t agree to a low garment unit rate without understanding the ins and outs of how loss and damage fees will be assessed.
- As employees lose, destroy, or change sizes, garments are sometimes pulled from a used inventory. If that used garment suffers the same fate, a charge for replacement may be assessed. Don’t accept being charged full replacement value for a garment if it was never new in the first place. It’s like paying a new car price for a used vehicle; it doesn’t make sense for the customer.
- Don’t get assessed for damaged garments that aren’t actually damaged. Ask to verify and visually inspect any damaged garments before a fee is assessed.
Upgrades and Replacements:
- Be wary of an extremely low unit price negotiated with a vendor. The price concession may be offset by fewer garment upgrades and replacements. For example, a garment that is supposed to be proactively upgraded will stay in rotation for 4 to 5 years. This is long past its useful life, resulting in a poor image for your organization.
Adding a Wearer:
- The cost to add and set-up a wearer in the garment program is typically waived when you start a new program. However, any garment wearers added after the initial install can come with a hefty price tag.
- Determine if set up and prep charges are “per wearer” or “per garment.” If the fees are “per garment,” you could end up paying this fee for the total inventory of garments provided to the wearer.
- Clarify the vendor’s policy on fee changes, and get it in writing. If there is no limit on fee or unit rate changes, you could be subject to a price increase in as little as thirty days after signing the service agreement. This includes the ancillary rate charges.
- Inspect a sample invoice and make sure it is formatted so that charges and fees can be easily audited. For example, damage and loss charges are easier to audit if they are listed in one location instead of by wearer.
- Be observant when evaluating sample garments to ensure they truly represent what you will receive. They may be treated with fabric softeners or other additives that are not truly representative of how the garment will be processed.