Your brand is important, as is the first impression you make when meeting clients or beginning a landscaping job. That first impression has much to do with appearance. When your crew arrives at a job site, you want customers to feel good about your presence.
Customers do seem to like uniforms. It shows that your business is a cohesive team and helps with immediate credibility. Of course, requiring uniforms to be worn by your team isn’t as easy as ordering a few t-shirts.
You may find yourself constantly reordering or not having the right sizes. It can be downright frustrating. The alternative is to use a uniform service, which you may find to be much more efficient.
So what kind of uniform should your landscaping firm have?
Let’s start with the basics. You can consider several options that may include tops and bottoms or just tops. Some ideas are:
- Khaki cargo pants with pockets (great for storing gloves, water bottles, and other small tools)
- Button down shirts with collars with the logo embroidered on them
- Logo ball caps
- Wicking material shirts with logos
- Golf shirts with logos (performance materials work well here)
- Thicker jackets for late fall work
No matter what you choose for the uniform basics, just remember: No landscaper’s uniform is complete without safety equipment. Part of being (and looking) professional is making sure your team has everything they need to operate efficiently, quickly, and most of all, safely.
Most landscaping companies supply their employees with everything they need to be as safe as possible on the job: branded hats (to protect against the sun), gloves, reflective safety vests, goggles, and ear protection. That last item will come in especially handy for your crew when they’re working with loud, hand-held machinery all day (like pruning tools, edging blades, mowers, etc.).
You may also find it more convenient for workers to come to your shop in their street clothes and then change into uniforms. Then, at the end of the day, they change back into their clothes with the uniforms heading to the laundry bin. When you make it this easy and convenient for workers, it’s hard for them to complain.
Is a Uniform Service Right for You?
A uniform company can provide five sets of clothes per employee each week. At the end of each week, they can pick up the dirty stuff and leave behind a new clean set.
Many landscaping companies have actually found this to be less costly than doing their own thing. The cost of new branded shirts can be an expensive drain on your budget if they get lost or ruined easily, or for when new crew members start and need different sizes. It’s always something to manage.
Most uniform services run around $100 per week for less than 15 employees. In the end, it’s not only less of a hassle, but it is also cost effective.
As for downsides, the biggest one is that you will more than likely have to sign a contract, sometimes for a minimum of five years. Additionally, if an employee quits and doesn’t return the uniform, you will have to pay to replace the item.
Overall, most landscape companies see the benefits of using a uniform service. Employees have clean, branded uniforms every day and you won’t have to worry about someone showing up in something inappropriate for working conditions.
Alternatives to Uniform Services
If you do decide to go it on your own and just supply a number of shirts, you should lay some ground rules about what’s expected. You can recommend a certain kind of pants and color so that the look is uniform in nature.
This puts some of the onus back on employees so you may still have to deal with them not showing up to work in the right thing. You can always stock a few extra shirts should something happen to the ones you’ve already provided, which is sure to happen.
Are Uniforms a Competitive Advantage?
What you may find is that requiring uniforms for workers gives you an advantage over your competition. Your crew will stand out from the rest.
What is great about having a uniform is how professional it looks. Your workers are part of your brand, and when you have them looking neat and cohesive, it makes that great impression you are hoping for. It’s one of the best returns you can have for the small investment.
Even for the smallest of landscaping firms, uniforms are important. If you are just starting out, uniforms can provide the appearance of a company that is ready to serve its customers. In these cases, you’ll most likely have to purchase the shirts and distribute them to your workers as you won’t have the volume for uniform services.
However, you can always grow, and when you do, you may want to make the switch for more convenience. If you are on a tight budget, you can still get quality shirts that are professionally branded in the $12-$15 range.
Hopefully, compliance isn’t an issue when you mandate uniforms. You may find that your crew members are proud to put on the uniform, and it may even make them happier, which could lead to higher productivity.
Whatever you decide to do about uniforms, make sure you consider all the options and don’t miss the opportunity to make a lasting first impression.
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