FLAME-RESISTANT UNIFORMS: SHOULD YOU RENT, LEASE OR BUY?

Your employees need to be protected, and it’s your job to ensure they’re safe at all times. But Personal Protective Equipment, such as flame-resistant uniforms, is just one part of your safety strategy—and there is a lot to keep track of when deciding whether a rental, lease or purchase program is right for you. Here’s what you need to know.

Direct Purchase

A purchase program is a good option for businesses with a large number of remote employees who don’t report to a central location where they can swap uniforms daily. Typically, in rugged lines of work, an employee needs five uniforms: one for each day of the work week. It’s clear that flame-resistant uniforms can be a significant investment for a business, often surpassing $1,000 per employee.

Flame-resistant uniforms can be a significant investment for a business, often surpassing $1,000 per employee.

In a purchase program, much of the uniform upkeep responsibility falls onto employees—so they must know how to maintain their uniforms correctly. For example:

  • Employees should follow home-washing regulations for a thorough clean. However, non-industrial washing machines often don’t get hot enough to wash away heavy soils like oil from garments.
  • Use caution when adding fabric softeners or bleach. They can harm the integrity of the fabric, reduce the effectiveness of the flame resistance and heighten risk for employees.
  • For repairs, special threads and tools made for flame-resistant clothing must be used.

Rental Service

For some businesses, letting professionals take control of the uniform program makes more sense. A fully-managed solution eliminates the headache of handling your uniform program—and ensures that your business is compliant and your employees always look professional and stay safe. Plus, it all comes without the large upfront investment of a purchase program.

A fully-managed solution eliminates the headache of handling your uniform program and ensures that your business is compliant.

A true rental partner will take over:

  • Washing, with industrial equipment and special detergents
  • Garment inspection to make sure all garments are functional and properly cleaned
  • Uniform repair, using flame-resistant yarn and the right tools
  • Size changes
  • Uniform upgrades and swaps when older garments need to be retired

With size changes, employee turnover, and regular wear and tear, it’s common to replace 25+% of your uniforms yearly.

Surprisingly, rental services don’t have to cost you more in the long run. With size changes, employee turnover, and regular wear and tear, it’s common to replace 25+% of your uniforms yearly. In a rental setup, very little of this cost is passed on to the business owner, making it a more cost-effective solution than the direct purchase model.

Lease Solution

A lesser-known option is a flex-lease solution. Here, employees take responsibility for washing their uniforms at home or hiring a cleaning service. For employers, a flex-lease program offers the same advantages of a rental program:

  • No upfront investment
  • Inspections and repairs using appropriate flame-resistant materials
  • Uniform upgrades and size changes
  • Size changes

It all comes down to choice—and it’s important to know that you have one. Some uniform service providers, such as AmeriPride, can build a custom “best of both worlds” solution for your business. In a hybrid program like this, you can leverage full-scale uniform rental services for employees working at a central location, while purchasing uniforms for employees that work remotely.

Want to learn more? Download our whitepaper on how to best manage your flame-resistant uniform program. You can also contact an AmeriPride Customer Service Representative to help you set up a program that’s right for you.


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