Many of our first interactions with potential customers go like this:
Them: Hi! We want to switch to a new uniform rental company. We’re currently with another company, but we’ve become dissatisfied.
Us: Great! We’re happy to help. But before we go too far, are you in a service agreement with your current supplier?
Them: I don't think so. We've been with them for a long time, but let me check. Oh shoot, we're in a contract for the next three years!
Maybe this has happened to you too. Our industry is notorious for long-term agreements that auto-renew if you don't opt-out in the agreed-upon window. So many businesses are stuck in long-term partnerships that they didn’t even know they were in. So how do you switch uniform, floor mat and linen service companies? Here’s how.
Check the Status of Your Agreement
The best thing to do is find your original agreement and see when it expires. If the agreement expired years ago, and you can’t find a new one — you might not be out of the woods yet.
Many contracts auto-renew if you don't explicitly say you want to cancel. So, if your five-year agreement auto-renewed a year ago, you still have four years left on your contract. It's best not to fight this in court as the uniform companies have won these battles time and time again.
Be sure to contact your current provider to make sure you’re not in a contract before you sign with a new company. You may end up in two contracts and be forced to pay a lot of money to get out of one.
Send a Written Notice to Opt-Out of Your Agreement
Most agreements give you a 30-90-day window to issue a cancellation notice in the form of an official letter, email or sometimes a phone call. Be sure to opt-out during this window on your agreement, or else your agreement will auto-renew.
Ask for a copy of your agreement if you don’t have one, so you know the appropriate time to send in your notice.
Gather and Count ALL Products from the Previous Supplier
ALL OF THEM. If you don't hand in a single item, you will be charged for it. This means making sure all of your uniform-wearing team members have to turn in every shirt and pair of pants they have from your previous supplier.
Most times – your new partner will help you with this step, so you don't have to do it all on your own, which brings us to our next point!
Choose Another Uniform, Floor Mat & Linen Service Provider
But in general, our advice is always to consider more factors than price. Things like company reputation (online reviews), face-to-face meetings and plant tours should weigh heavily as well. Partner with a company you can trust to solve your issues when you have them or call you back when you leave a message. You'll be so glad you did in the future. The ideal uniform company is one you don't have to think about often.
Ensure a Smooth Transition
One of the questions you should ask your new partner is, "how will we handle the transition period?" They should have a plan to help get you out of your old and into your new service.
It's essential to make sure you don't have an off week where your team doesn’t have work clothes, or your tables don’t have napkins. This will require some planning to make sure your last delivery with the old company and your first delivery with the new company are in sync.
Your new partner should be on top of this as you probably aren't their first customer who's switched from another company.
The nature of agreements in the uniform, floor mat and linen industry make it a bit more complicated than you would expect, so make sure you have your ducks in a row. Check your contract for an expiration date, submit a written notice, gather up all of your products, choose another supplier and make sure everything goes off without a hitch. This way, your company and your new partner can start a great relationship.
Interesting in switching to Rentwear? Talk to us today!
Connor is the Director of Marketing at Rentwear Inc. and writes about how uniform, floor mat and linen service can help your company.Connor Clay