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Company Gear: Take Work Uniforms to the Next Level
First impressions are important. So much so that a first impression can mean the difference between landing repeat business or losing a customer. A great start to a stellar first impression is having a clean, coordinated, and professional uniform.
Even if you’re only a one-man business, it’s important that you invest in a good uniform. Not only will they keep you protected on the job, they’re one of the cheapest and easiest ways to communicate your business’s professionalism.
Are professional uniforms worth the investment?
Definitely. Almost 94% of consumers prefer staff in uniforms as they are easily recognizable, while 93% of the population believes it reflects well on a company if their employees have uniforms.
Studies have also shown that the vast majority of tradesmen prefer having a uniform. It saves them money on clothing and laundry expenses, and customers trust and respect them more. And an added bonus?
If your employees work in hazardous conditions, this can be a good way to ensure they comply with OSHA regulations and avoid injuries.
What kind of uniform(s) do I need?
If you’re looking to make a good impression when quoting estimates or just doing quick repairs, opt for a thin button-up shirt with your company logo embroidered on the front.
Otherwise, you should consider polos and t-shirts. Button-down shirts can often be too stiff and hot, making them very difficult for installers, repairmen, and HVAC technicians to work in. Instead, opt for a cotton option, which will feel cooler as well as absorb sweat. Long sleeves are also often welcomed by installers because they can help keep debris and dust off their arms.
While it’s not essential, you should also consider investing in company branded hats. Not only will they help protect your technicians’ heads from debris, sunburn, or other factors, they’re also a great way to rep your business everywhere you go! Branded hats are also a great goodwill marketing tool to gift to a customer once the job is complete.
What To Look For In Uniforms
In general, cotton shirts are best. They’re often easier to clean, and a light starch can help repel dirt. They’re also ideal for keeping technicians cool because they absorb moisture and trap it next to your skin. For the same reasons, cotton should be avoided in winter when it could lead to employees getting sick on the job or – worse – lead to hypothermia.
Depending on your trade, some material may be more ideal than others. Electrician uniforms, for example, shouldn’t include polyester because it can melt to your skin in the event of something like an electrical fire. Plumbers, meanwhile, might want to avoid cotton because its fibers trap water and it takes a long time to dry.
Even the best shirts stain and damage easily, but dark colors like navy and black will help hide dirt. Too clean uniforms, especially light colors, may send the wrong impression with customers, meanwhile, and give you the impression of being a salesman.
Always make sure your technicians’ uniforms are comfortable and easy to work in. Otherwise, you’re asking for them to get hurt. Dickies, in particular, should be avoided. They stain easily, can be too hot for technicians, and don’t have the same flexibility as other uniforms.
Should You Provide Employee Uniforms?
While online businesses like RedKap let you include custom embroidery and logos in online orders, you’ll likely get the best deals from local printing companies. Printing companies also help you network with other local businesses. Look for local sign and embroidery companies or printing shops and inquire with them. Plus, shopping locally gives you the chance to offer promotions they can share with their customers or commission opportunities.
If you can’t afford embroidery, a cheaper option might be metal pins or clip-on badges.
Best Place to Get Uniforms
RedKap is one of the most popular brands of work shirts and pants for tradesmen – and for a good reason. RedKap’s products are durable, washable, breathable, and comfortable. They also hold their color well and have great pocket placement.
72HrPrint uses dye-sublimation to create their shirts, a printing technique where heat transfers dye onto shirts and embeds it in the fabric instead of printing the image on the surface. This process creates vibrant, long-lasting designs for shirts, jackets, and hoodies.
Like 72HrPrint, Fin-Print offers dye-sublimation but with a large variety of options, including premium jackets, chemical resistant and water repellent material, custom tank tops and shorts, and hats and beanies.
SubEffects offers professional design services that will help you create a custom design with proofs for $100 – $150. Have an old logo your customers are familiar with that isn’t in the right format for printing shirts? SubEffects can enhance or rebuild it. Shirt sizes also go up to 5XL.
When it comes to quality, price, and options, it’s hard to beat Queensboro. Queensboro has fleece jackets and antibacterial pens. They work with brands like Carhartt. And best of all, their performance polos are bleach-resistant, which is ideal for cleaning companies. Sign up for their emails, and you can get 40 – 60% off web prices. Shirts are often on sale for $8.95 and hats for $6.95.
Duluth Trading makes some of the most durable shirts on the market. They’re very thick, so they would be ideal for winter months and colder climates.
Quartermaster is a hidden gem for tradesmen. Their uniforms are designed for law enforcement, security, and fire and rescue professions, but they work brilliantly for tradesmen. These uniforms are well made, but inexpensive enough to offset the cost of embroidery and potential damage. For shirts, try the Proper Performance Polo Shirt, which comes with a handy pen pocket on the sleeve and some of the most extensive size options (up to 8XL).
Meanwhile, the Performance Pants and Galls Elite Ops Tactical Pants look professional. They are also breathable and stretchable. They take longer to fade or wear out. They come with plenty of pockets and reinforced areas for tool clips. The knees are also reinforced. And the cloth is treated for soil and stain resistance.
If you’re just starting, Walmart is the cheapest option. You can buy a nice polo shirt at Walmart and have your company logo embroidered on or attach a metal pin or clip-on badge with your company information.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN
While we don’t recommend making your own company uniform, it would be wrong of not to mention how it’s done! You can create your own designs with an InkJet printer for $50, a heat press for $150, and a package of good quality transfer sheets like JetPro for $16, which can hold up to washing.
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Once you’ve received your brand new company uniform, you’ll be able to showcase the professionalism that you bring to each and every job wherever you go. When properly cared for and barring no accidents, a good quality uniform will keep you looking sharp without getting in the way of your work.
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