Does your uniform rental budget account for employee damages?

If your business rents employee uniforms, you may factor for general wear and tear and replacements over time, but forget to include employee losses or damages in your budget. However, losses and damages are the greatest source of unexpected cost when it comes to your uniform expenses – resulting in customers paying as much as 20-30% in added charges.  

In this article, we take a look at what these unexpected costs can mean for your business, and how to account for them.  

Why do losses and damages cost so much? 

Loss and damage charges include the purchase of a new garment at full retail price on top of the associated setup, name tag, logo fees, and sometimes replacement charges, depending on your rental agreement. And, because loss and damage often happen out the blue, it’s not like this is money you were planning to spend.  

Replacement charges aren’t just an unexpected bill to pay, either. They’re also not prorated depending on the age/lifespan of the garment that is being replaced. So, if an employee damaged a uniform after three wears or three hundred, you’re likely paying the same fee, despite the value of the article being significantly reduced in the latter scenario.  

Loss and damage are inevitable. 

While you can include employee uniform policies and provide employee training, uniform loss and damage are inevitable. It’s a part of life. Something as simple as a thread snagging in the dryer could spell an extra expense for your business.  

Instead of passing the burden and anxiety of uniform damage onto your employees, focus instead on signing a rental policy with a provider whose terms won’t gouge you when life happens.  

Your rental agreement determines a lot.  

For uniform rental providers, the lost/damaged garment replacement is often the number one source of complaint from customers.  

Before you sign a new contract or renew an existing one, here are some things to think about: 

  • What constitutes as damage, and is it unclear? Vague clauses about damage can leave you liable for extra fees.  
  • Are you being charged for regular wear and tear when a uniform is returned, swapped for a new size, etc.?  

Damage insurance is an option. 

To avoid being gouged by damage fees, some providers offer an ‘insurance’ or ‘protection’ program. These programs can be expensive, and don’t always cover losses, so it’s important to assess the frequency of uniform damage and your contract to know if the extra monthly premium is worthwhile.  

In conclusion… 

Damage to your employees’ uniforms is unavoidable, but the hefty, unexpected charges associated with damaging rented uniforms don’t have to be. Finding a contract with clear and fair terms, and taking additional measures to prepare your budget for these charges, will protect your bottom line in the long run.