The Harsh Reality of Rentals

The Reality of Rentals: Uncovering the Long-Term Damage of Renting Uniforms

Renting uniforms and apparel introduces a world of hidden fees and reduced quality.

We discovered agencies who choose to rent uniforms are often unaware of many of the detrimental effects to their budgets and uniform quality.

Time for the facts.

This infographic was created to show exactly what renting uniforms entails so agencies like yours can continue to work hard to serve the public, and avoid being bogged down by extra costs or limited uniform options.

Take a look at the full infographic here or by clicking on the preview image below and prepare to be enlightened on the harsh reality of rentals. Or, if you prefer, continue on past the image to read a synopsis of our findings.

Renting Vs. Purchasing Uniforms

Renting uniforms takes a detrimental toll on budgets and uniform quality throughout the

Purchasing uniforms saves money, ensures quality, creates ownership and avoids unnecessary commitment or time constraints.

Hidden Fees Vs. Up-Front, Set Pricing

Uniform rental contracts often require laundry services they count on you to not fully utilize.

Even when your employees do not turn in your garments, you pay for laundry, including days your employees are sick, on vacation or disengaged. For example, your contract might require you to pay $300 per week to launder 100 uniforms even when you have 11 out sick, 8 on vacation and 23 disinterested in actually using the laundry service.

One agency might have to pay completely different fees than another. With purchasing, you don’t have to negotiate or worry. Pricing is standardized at one low rate. (You can find our set annual pricing here.)

Quality Depreciation

Recycled Garments
Uniform rental companies reuse, patch and repair old garments as long as possible, usually milking an item an average of 3-5 years. Purchasing plans replace garments in 1-2 years.

Wash Options
Mandatory laundry services use hot water and harsh chemicals, which deteriorate both the appearance and comfort of garments much sooner than home wash.

Brand & Employee Detachment Vs. Ownership

Style Pushing
Has a rental contract ever suggested you go with a navy pant and light blue shirt? In attempts to cut their own costs, rental services sometimes push the exact same uniform to every job at every business.

Ownership Type
Uniform rental companies regularly take money out of employee paychecks to create a sense of “ownership.” Purchased uniforms, however, are a reflection of your brand that allows your employees to take pride in their uniform and believe in their team.

It’s sort of a ownership by fear vs. ownership by pride scenario. Wouldn’t you much prefer your employees take pride in their uniforms?

Employee Morale
No one wants to wear a ratty uniform for 3-5 years. Purchasing new uniforms every 1-2 years can lead to:

  • happier employees.
  • better fitting uniforms.
  • a sense of responsibility for the uniform.

Long-Term Costs

The average employee uniform rental agreement begins at three years at $6.00 per person/per week for a shirts and pants program. This charge is just the base fee and doesn’t include additional charges, repairs or replacements.

This means that, with rentals, your accumulated costs for just 1 employee are upwards of $1,500 after five years compared to around $300 for that same employee if he or she had uniforms purchased for them. Take a look:

Don’t forget. This is just savings at base price. All the recurring fees of renting uniforms will likely lead to even higher actual savings with purchasing.


Average uniform rental contracts often require you to pay for 11 uniform sets per person. This is so you have 5 sets of uniforms in your closet, 5 sets in the wash and 1 on you at all times.

Not only is this just simply an unnecessary amount of garments, with 11 sets, a garment or two are more likely to go missing, which you would be charged for.

Rental contracts typically last 3-5 years, but you often can downgrade to only 10% of your original agreement to maintain your end of the contract. Meanwhile, purchasing uniforms through us doesn’t require a contract or any commitment. Purchase as frequently or infrequently as you like, starting anytime. (No, seriously. Start now.)

Save on Uniforms for Your Team

We do our best to make purchasing uniforms easy. Get a free product comparison to see for yourself. Email to see how much you could be saving.

Rental Vs. Purchasing: Free Guide for Uniform Procurement

Are you getting the best deal on your uniforms?

A professional uniform leads to professional work. Public agency employees need functional uniforms for the job. They also need to feel confident and comfortable to put their best foot forward and serve and represent your community well.

A uniform should accommodate, not hinder, your employees’ work and attitudes. Provide the best quality for the lowest cost by purchasing your uniforms instead of renting them.

Agencies tend to assume renting uniforms will cut costs. This assumption is incorrect.

Cost comparison

To rent five changes of standard 65/35 poly cotton uniform pants and shirts, you would pay an estimated average cost of $6 per week per employee, or $312 per year.

To purchase these same five new pants, five new long sleeve and five new short sleeve shirts would cost about $135. Purchasing uniforms could save you $177 per employee per year, or 57%.

Additional costs

This cost comparison does not include the add-on charges you will likely incur throughout the term of a rental contract. Don’t overlook the many common, often hidden additional costs of uniform rental programs:

  • Oversize charges
  • Laundry program charges
  • Underwash charges
  • Ancillary charges
  • Size change charges
  • New employee charges
  • Garment wear and tear charges
  • Long-term repair charges
  • Environmental waste water or energy charges
  • Damaged or lost contracts

Download the Rental Vs. Purchasing guide below for a detailed look at each of these additional costs to determine how they can affect your costs for both rental and purchasing programs.

Download Rental Vs. Purchasing Guide

Learn more about the commonly overlooked features of uniform rental programs and how purchasing your garments may be a more effective, cost-saving solution.

Free Rental Vs. Purchasing Guide

Free Guide - Find out if you're getting the best deal on your uniforms

3 Reasons to Purchase Rather Than Rent Uniforms

Should you purchase or rent uniforms?

You need cost effective solutions for all your uniform needs. So should you purchase or rent uniforms? In an effort to cut costs, you may have, or be considering, a uniform rental contract.

Keep reading for three reasons to purchase rather than rent uniforms.

Should you purchase or rent uniforms?

1. Rental contracts charge fees for adding new employees.

There is normally a prep or setup charge to add every new employee hired during the term of the contract. This is an added cost for laundry to pull garments out of inventory and add a laundry tape to the garment.

Five changes of pants and shirts require eleven sets to be used. An average setup charge is $1 per garment. Twenty-two garments at $1 each results in a $22 setup charge per employee.

Purchasing uniforms often eliminates this added cost.

2. Rental contracts charge fees for size changes.

A fee of $1 to $2 per garment is charged when an employee requests a change in size during the term of the contract. Keep in mind that a rental contract usually ranges from three to five years. Almost all employees have at least one size change during that time span.

Purchasing uniforms means that the employee not only gets a new uniform each year, but can also order their correct size without penalty.

3. “Under-wash” means you pay for laundry services that weren’t performed.

One of the highest ancillary expenses when using a rental uniform contract is paying for something called under-wash. Under-wash refers to an agency being charged fees for weekly rental and cleaning services that are not performed, due to employees not turning in their uniforms to be cleaned.

Why does this happen? Many employees forget to bring in their uniforms, are sick, or are on vacation on pick-up day. Also, many employees prefer to wash their own uniforms at home for personal hygiene reasons.

It is reported that the average number of employees within rental uniform programs who do not turn in their uniforms for cleaning ranges from 30% to 33%. This means that as much as a third of the cost of a uniform rental contract may be billed to agencies with no return for that investment.

Purchasing uniforms eliminates this added cost.

Purchasing uniforms is the most cost-effective solution.

To learn more about renting vs. purchasing uniforms, download our free guide that provides a comprehensive comparison for uniform procurement.

Wondering if you should rent or purchase uniforms?

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