Here are some ways to evaluate a uniform provider:
- Meet with Senior Management — While your driver will be your main point of contact, it’s important to know who will resolve any major issues. Dealerships who know the team have additional resources to help alleviate issues beyond what your delivery driver can assist with.
- Plant Tour — A facility tour allows you to become familiar with processes for laundering, tracking and counting garments and supplies such as shop towels and mats. The contracted cost to replace lost items can be astronomical, so understanding the vendor’s methods for counting and tracking items helps keep vendors accountable and allows dealerships to avoid replacement fees.
- The Counting Process — Discrepancies often arise between the dealership and vendor. Over time, uniforms can get lost or damaged. Did an employee misplace one or were they counted incorrectly? Replacements are costly and should be avoided as often as possible.
- Know Your Driver — The driver is essentially your customer service rep. Before signing a new uniform contract, look through the potential driver’s references to determine their work ethic and personality to ensure you will have a positive experience.
Signing and maintaining a uniform agreement
Once a dealership has selected a provider, make sure that the prices on all products and services are detailed in the contract before signing. An officer of the dealership should sign the agreement so that senior management is familiar with the terms.
After a uniform contract is signed by the dealership, keep the following in mind to ensure a positive experience during the length of the agreement:
- Review All Invoices — If weekly invoices go directly to one person at the dealership from the uniform truck, it eliminates an approval process before statements are paid. Invoices are presented at the time of delivery, often printed from handheld devices. As such, any price adjustments for extra uniforms or other issues are rarely flagged for updated billing on the statement. Without oversight, the dealership has to deal with an incorrect price that can challenge statement reconciliation.
- Conduct Regular Compliance Audits —Once into the lifecycle of a uniforms agreement, dealerships should conduct regular compliance audits to ensure the terms of the contract match monthly invoices.
- Verify the annual price increases are within the signed contract range
- Verify prices for each item and service
- Ensure you get what you paid for in the contract. For instance, if the dealership pays for 50 shop rags and 14 mats to be cleaned and replaced weekly, make sure the vendor is following through on this service and charging appropriately.