You have just received this week’s delivery from your uniform rental supplier and not only are there items missing, but the invoice is incorrect . . . again! You have finally reached the breaking point. You have been patient. You’ve tried to work with them. You’ve given them the benefit of the doubt – even your people make mistakes from time to time. But the problems seem to be unceasing. The driver seems to be a nice guy, but you have a business to run and enough is enough. You don’t treat your customers this way and you don’t have time for this aggravation.
Sound familiar? If this sounds like your story, it’s familiar because you are not alone. Other companies have had the same experiences, if not worse. The reason it is such a common story especially more recently (the last 15 years) is because the uniform rental industry has been consolidated by just a few of the larger players. This creates a lack of competition and whenever you have a lack of competition in a market, large providers feel less compelled to “go the extra mile” or go any distance at all to please customers, as they believe they have nowhere to go.
Don’t go from frying pan into the fire
These larger players make acquisition after acquisition, growing ever larger and less responsive or service oriented. They become like large tankers, taking many miles and hours to change course significantly. While smaller boats can turn 180 degrees in seconds, inside of 100 feet. Consider this when you decide it is time to make a change in uniform suppliers. What are the odds that going from one national big name supplier (large oil tanker) to another big name supplier (larger container ship), with the same business model will result in a significant change in the level of service? If you are changing make sure you are not just substituting company names while retaining mediocre service, garment shortages, incomplete repairs, dirty clothes returned as clean, unstable prices, and voice mails that are never returned.
The larger suppliers will say they outfit a gazillion people each year and if they are all happy you will be too. They don’t tell you they bought up hundreds of smaller competitors and that is how they got a gazillion people to use their service. Last year our customer retention was 96%. Sixty three percent of our new accounts last year came from voluntary referrals from existing customers and we had no acquisitions. Numbers like this only come from a very satisfied customer base.
In the uniform rental industry, smaller independently owned local or regional companies (like Lord Baltimore Uniform) are the reliable service providers (smaller boats). As a commercial laundry, they are big enough to supply large accounts with hundreds of people, but small enough to know their customers by name and understand their unique needs. With one layer of management, decisions are made with expediency and response time is minimal. With fewer customers, resources are not over-taxed and available to customers with immediate needs and best of all, most all independents will guarantee their service.
Lord Baltimore Uniform
To learn more about why Lord Baltimore is one of the best uniform companies in the region, please contact Joe Bateman at Lord Baltimore by calling 800-292-1224 or visit LordBaltimoreUniform.com. We also handle towel rental for gyms and salons; apron, towels, uniforms and mats for restaurants; and uniform, shop towel, fender cover and mat rental for manufacturing and automotive industries.