Uniform is a key consideration for any business and can be one of the first things a customer notices when coming into contact with your brand. A stylish uniform can also help attract the best staff to want to come and work for your business, but how do you determine how much you should spend per employee? And how long will your uniform last before you have to replace it?
Here are some handy pointers on what to consider when planning your Company’s uniform budget:
Part-time or Full-time?
A full time worker will need a full allowance so that they don’t have to try and wash/dry clothes overnight during the working week and this will require a bigger budget. Not giving workers enough uniform for a week’s work could result in a reduced standard of staff presentation, which could not only look bad on your company, but it could leave your staff feeling uncomfortable and undervalued.
Indoor or outdoor?
Indoor staff will be in a more stable environment, so they won’t require as many different types of clothing but it’s a good idea to allow a higher budget for outdoor workers, who will need protection from the elements.
Many workers using industrial equipment or in a public setting will need safety clothing, in some professions PPE will be a legal requirement so this is essential to add to the shopping list and budget accordingly. Your team’s well being and safety will be paramount and nowadays this doesn’t mean they can’t be dressed on brand, PPE clothing garments have come a long way in recent years and the options are extensive. (including some great women’s PPE too!)
How important is your brand image? Do your staff come into contact with the general public? Uniforms for staff with customer facing roles can be used to your advantage, it will often be one of the first tasters a customer has when interacting with your business. First impressions are hugely important in all walks of life, so allow a healthy budget to present your brand in the best way possible.
Off the peg Vs Bespoke:
This choice will come down to the size of your business and the look you want to achieve. Bespoke uniforms can be well suited to high end luxury brands or to small boutiques for a more individual look. A bespoke look will be a bigger investment to begin with but could be just what your business needs to project the perfect image. Going for an off the peg option is great for businesses who have a large number of employees and want to create a cohesive look between multiple departments.
Some businesses naturally have a higher turnover of staff so a bespoke fitted uniform may not be the best investment for you in this situation! However, it’s equally important in retaining staff by helping them to feel part of your team by providing a comfortable uniform as a warm welcome to your company.
How often do you need to replace uniform?
So, you have decided on your budget but you’re not sure how often you will have to replace it? This will vary depending on the type of business however, as a rule It’s suggested that a standard shirt will last between 12- 18 months but have you considered the following factors too?
Desk based workers are likely to replace their uniforms less frequently than that of a maintenance worker for example. Do your staff come into contact with mess, spillages or food? You can definitely expect a higher replacement rate for a shirt for a restaurant worker than for a receptionist for example.
It’s an age old saying that quality beats quantity, so purchasing better quality garments in the first place could extend the life of the uniform. If you buy the correct amount of uniform to begin with you won’t need to replace it for at least a year. Again this will be dependent on the role of your staff member and for very mess prone professions it may not help to spend more as garments will be ruined regardless of quality. The type of fabric you choose is very important too, for example, a heavy cotton twill trouser is great for a more manual role, but not smart enough for someone based in an office.
High Street Vs Corporate; Choosing your uniform from a high street supplier runs the risk that items will be discontinued quite quickly, sometimes in as little as one season. This will mean you have to find an alternative replacement for new staff members, which may not match your original choices perfectly. The alternative is to use a specialist uniform supplier (such as 4Couture!) they tend to retain styles for much longer production runs, making it very easy to reorder when necessary.
Will your uniform choice be suitable all year round? Consider weather changes in advance, giving staff a mix of long sleeve and short sleeved garments to start with will reduce your need to buy new uniform part way through the year.
Are you planning on changing your branding? If you are having your uniform garments branded and decide to re-brand your company you will need to replace your uniforms with each change, which could be costly.
Something to consider is how on trend you want your uniform to be. Following the trends will certainly involve more frequent changes in your uniform but could be vital to the reputation of your business. If trends aren’t so important to your brand image then a classic look is the way to go.
Growing your Business:
When growth happens within your company there will inevitably be an increased demand for new uniform. It’s not always possible to predict your future even with a crystal ball! But aiming to choose a uniform that can grow with your business is a good way of avoiding having to replace it completely.
We hope this helps you navigate the challenges of building a uniform to complement your business but if you need guidance the team at 4Couture can help…
In my next blog post I’ll be looking at garment allowances in more detail, helping you calculate the right amount to give each team member.