Uniform rental for dealerships looks simple at first glance, but complex contracts can be very costly. To avoid overpaying thousands of dollars over the lifetime of a contract, dealerships need to closely monitor both their contracts and the performance of their provider.
Signed contracts are difficult to terminate and legally binding, so it’s crucial to understand all contract terms before committing to a vendor. Here are some terms uniform vendors use to enhance their profits:
- Evergreen Clause — Most dealers sign a new uniform contract and forget about it. Many vendors use this to their advantage through an evergreen clause, which automatically renews the contract after the initial agreement period. Dealerships should keep a copy of the agreement on record and take the time to understand how to negotiate the contract.
- Length of Agreement — Dealerships typically only look at changing providers when service is poor and they are considering alternatives. Some uniform contracts are seven years, which make negotiating prices and service very challenging after signing. Remember that shorter contracts will favor dealerships, so strive for fewer months for more flexibility and more assured strong service.
- Annual Price Increases — Contracts typically allow for a certain rate increase each year after the initial term of the agreement. Dealerships risk being overcharged if they don’t know the limit of the price increase and the items they affect. Price changes usually appear on a note with a weekly delivery receipt or invoice, making them easy to miss. Upon signing by dealership personnel who may not have referenced the uniform contract, the dealership often accepts the price increase without any review.
- Replacement Policy — Looking great is vital to customer satisfaction, so sharp uniforms are more important than ever. If a dealership signs a five-year agreement and uniforms are not replaced during the course of the contract, they will invariably have staff wearing dull, dingy and stained outfits during the contract. Before signing a contract, understand the vendor’s policy on replacement and their definition of wear and tear.
- Customization — Uniforms with heavy embroidery or specific logos cannot be resold and used elsewhere after the agreement is terminated. Find out the policy for customized uniforms as well as lost and ruined items to determine whether there will be a charge at the end of the contract involving custom uniforms. Does the vendor require you to pay the depreciating value of the garment or the full replacement fee?
Of course, most car dealerships are just too busy satisfying customers to carefully follow the contracts of their uniform vendors. FLADCO offers a free, no-obligation evaluation of your uniform contract and provider. Call today to learn more.