When it comes to ordering workwear, we know that pricing is a huge influence in the buying decision. As a business owner about to place a fresh order for company workwear in 2018, you may be considering going it alone and branching out into the world of workwear solo.
Surely it's cheaper to do so? Effectively cutting out the middleman and going directly to the source sounds like a good business move - but is it that simple?
Unfortunately not. Workwear pricing is ubiquitous amongst manufacturers and holistic suppliers such as ourselves. Paired with the fact that there is less incentive for a manufacturer to offer an individual any discounts, offers or bundles/advice. It's often inefficient and time-consuming to attempt to order all workwear items individually from separate suppliers alone.
That being said, you may look to purchase high street items (maybe from Amazon) rather than setting up a workwear account with a manufacturer. There is the potential for cost savings here, but you strip away all the extra value and pile on so much more of your time to find, test, order, get customised and maybe return. So is it really worth it?
Workwear suppliers can offer cheaper checkout prices (with added value) as they have an incentive to attract you to their store rather than a competitor's, retain you as a lifetime customer, offer advice, upsell customisation and offer you a wider range of products from a mix of suppliers.
This blog takes a closer look at some of the other considerations (price being a major factor) that you should think about when deciding whether to use a workwear supplier or going solo. They are:
Workwear pricing is set by the retailer (the RRP). This dictates what we - as online stores - must price the product for. If a manufacturer sells their own products through their site, the prices will be exactly the same. Slight variances in shipping costs may exist, but there will not be a saving on the ticket price.
Where using third-party suppliers can save you money is in the opportunity to buy workwear bundles and bulk discounts.
A workwear bundle can be a selected number of the same item (250 hi-vis vests) or maybe a 'wearer pack' where you pay a flat price for a head-to-toe workwear outfit that covers one individual in full. This simplifies your ordering process massively as you only order 50 wearer packs which contain multiples of each for when items are being washed, as opposed to 50 hats, 50 jackets, 50 pairs of trousers, 50 pairs of boots and so on.
Working closely with a workwear supplier can have advantages beyond just cost savings. Have you considered that you'll need to order multiples of every product for each employee to cover items being laundered? It might sound obvious, but this is a careless mistake we see happen regularly, leaving businesses without appropriate workwear.
Some of the bigger workwear specialist brands such as Portwest typically do not deal with end users. Trying to set up an account will take time and may not be possible. You will almost certainly be directed to a distributor.
Brands that cross over to the high street, such as Dickies and Gildan, offer online purchasing - but only of their own products, of course. If your business requires a mix of workwear items from different brands, do you honestly have time to order in small batches from separate sites? Do you know which brands are the most appropriate?
The time lost collating your chosen sites and working your way through each checkout could be better spent discussing your requirements and negotiating a better deal with a third-party supplier who has the time to ask the right questions and understand your business.
1000's of options, do you know which are the best?
Workwear has no shortage of options. Many manufacturer sites hold 1000's of products in every sector imaginable and hundreds of options that would technically be 'right' for your business. Where do you start?
Concerns of picking the wrong item based on it showing up first in the category - or simply losing your way on a huge site with hundreds of pages can cause tension and doubt in the ordering process and delay you even further.
By using a specialist supplier, who has worked with PPE and other workwear items for years, you'll be able to trust their select range of products they have tried and tested so you don't have to. A specialist picks what they feel is the best value, most functional and versatile products at the right price for their customers.
A supplier will have tried and tested all of their products to ensure that they are fit for purpose and long-lasting. This saves you the headache of discovering this 3 months after you've placed your order and your team and complaining that their polos have faded and jacket linings have ripped.
While we understand that cost saving is a top priority for most businesses when it comes to workwear, there are other factors to consider before choosing to work alone or with a third-party, they are:
1) Honest and open advice during the consultation process
By working with a workwear specialist, not only will your ordering process be quick and efficient, the consultation process before you pick any products will be thorough and extremely valuable.
An experienced workwear supplier will know exactly the right questions to ask. They should challenge you on your choices, ideas and plans for ordering workwear. After all, they are the experts. This free advice is invaluable and will save you money in the long run.
2) The renewals process
Ordering your first big workwear order is one thing. Remembering when it's time to renew and starting the whole process from scratch, alone, is another. Many businesses place their first order then simply forget about it until staff start to complain again (sound familiar?).
By opening an account with a supplier, you'll build a relationship with an expert who can tell you how often you should order your PPE, or when it's time to place that order for polo shirts so they are ready for the summer rush.
Having someone in your corner taking care of workwear ordering and renewals means it's one less task for you to do before you leave, it's a no-brainer.
Customising your company workwear with print or embroidery really takes it to the next level. There are a whole host of benefits from increased brand awareness, increased employee motivation and overall brand image improvements.
Manufacturers rarely offer this service and it would be overkill to invest in your own machinery to customise your company workwear alone.
Beyond the advantage of having customisation machinery on site, maintained by experts - a workwear supplier should guide you through a consultation process to understand what you are trying to achieve with your workwear. They should also recommend the best format for customisation for the garments you are looking to purchase.
Xamax offer a free visualisation on all customised workwear orders, so you can see how your garment will look before you confirm your order
Buying workwear isn't easy - but it can be simplified
Ordering workwear for staff can be a daunting and organisational task. That's before you've even started to consider where you might save costs.
Our guide to buying workwear is packed full of helpful hints and tips that will save you time, money and mental energy throughout the ordering process. Best of all, it's completely free.