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Empowering Auto Care

How Uniforms Can Boost the Bottom Line in Your Auto Repair Business

Photo: Courtesy of Goh Rhy Yan

Steven Sintros, president and CEO of UniFirst Corporation, measures out the multitude of benefits uniforms can have for your business.

Steven Sintros,

President and CEO, UniFirst Corporation

How important is workwear for an auto technician?

First and foremost, auto technicians require work uniforms to protect their personal clothing from wear and tear, and from the oils and heavy soil found in auto repair environments. Some of the most pronounced added benefits of having employees wear consistent-looking, branded uniforms as part of a managed service program are they project a professional business image, create a more productive team atmosphere, provide an effective form of “free” advertising and lead to more satisfying customer experiences.

However, an ever-increasing number of employees are wearing uniforms today not simply to preserve personal clothing and to promote a company’s brand and image, but also to help protect themselves against a range of potential on-the-job injuries. The ongoing advances in fabric technology, along with the use of specialized protective fabrics, have made it possible for today’s uniforms to help protect workers, including those in the auto care profession, from potential hazards that may arise in the workplace, including accidental burns or injuries from minor chemical or acid spills.

For example, workers who are exposed to flammability risks should have uniforms made from flame-resistant fabrics, and employees who work in vehicular traffic areas should wear uniforms that incorporate the use of reflective high-visibility materials to be more readily seen and to aid on-the-job safety. If uniforms are not appropriately protective and functional, a worker could be less productive and could even become injured, leaving a business liable for the injury.

How does the uniform affect performance for auto technicians?

In addition to protective qualities, a work uniform should also be comfortable, especially for auto care professionals who move around all day long. If a uniform is not comfortable, a worker will be constantly distracted from doing his or her job properly, which can obviously affect performance.

For over 50 years, the standard uniform for the auto industry has incorporated traditional 65/35 polyester/cotton blend fabrics. However, more recently the need for increased comfort has prompted the industry to research the use of different combinations of polyester and cotton to create lighter performance fabrics, and to create science-backed, innovative workwear that is currently transforming today’s uniform industry. These “mobility” types of garments provide superior performance and true freedom of movement without sacrificing durability. Designs include work shirts and pants with scientifically determined built-in flex panels in areas where workers need it most, and offer the ultimate in mobility and comfort, so employees can bend, squat and stretch all day without constraints. At UniFirst, we are very excited about offering this breakthrough workwear as part of our standard uniform program offerings.

Why are managed employee uniform programs important for auto care businesses? 

When introducing a managed employee uniform program, businesses typically have the option of renting, leasing or buying their customized work apparel. Most businesses choose to rent, since this option is turnkey in nature, requires no upfront costs and leaves all the administrative headaches with the uniform provider, all for a low weekly fee per wearer. Uniform service providers deliver hygienically laundered and maintained uniforms on a regular basis; remove all soiled uniforms; routinely perform quality inspections on all garments; and automatically repair and/or replace any apparel that becomes overly worn, damaged or ill-fitting.

Laundering uniforms with a professional industrial launderer, and away from workers’ homes, is especially important in the auto care industry, since it offers employees another level of protection against contaminants they may inadvertently take home with them on their work clothing.

In the end, uniforms are a smart choice for auto care businesses that want to help assure employee safety, productivity and retention which, in turn, allows customers to consistently receive quality products and services to keep them coming back time and again.

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