David, good question!
Related, do you make them wear them everyday? And do you require them to tuck in their shirts? I only asked this because one tech strongly protested over having to tuck in his company shirt. It was kind of wild.
I've never worked somewhere where field staff wasn't required to tuck in their shirt. And I worked for an electrical contractor. On construction sites it was ignored a lot of the time, but any commercial setting, always.
Off-topic: That company had optional uniform service, which for communications/security types was polos and khakis. The uniform service was amazing, btw...It was cheap and I didn't have to do work laundry. If you didn't go for that, you could wear plain or industry-branded polo shirts or collared shirts. No T-shirts.
The companies I worked for went for expensive outerwear. Carhartt and Columbia. I still use the Columbia jacket when I'm doing outdoor work.
The polos I remember were Hanes. I remember because it was a big argument between a couple people because someone else wanted to get generic ones. Hanes won out. The thought was that cheap shirts with your branding on them are kind of like driving around in a beat up station wagon. It doesn't reflect well.
I make my techs wear fedoras embroidered with a company logo made from hemp thread. But then again, some people think I'm a hipster anyway.
Pro Focus LLC | 01/14/16 11:45pm
I bought cheap polo shirts and had my logo embroidered on them. I should have spent more on higher quality shirts. The collars never stay flat. They wrinkle in five minutes of use. Looking for a new source to get some replacements made. Probably will shop local, as opposed to online, like the first time.
Higher quality polos with logo and khakis. All provided for them at our cost and mandatory. Uniform means just that. Recognizable. Yes they must tuck them in and look squared away and presentable. I wear them also. The office staff has the option.
IPVMU Certified | 01/15/16 01:38pm
Pay money for quality shirts. I can not stress that enough. Go with a 5.11 brand or something similar. Like Ethan said a uniform company is the best way to go because they deliver, pick up and launder everything, but that is pricey depending on where you are located. I know our Maintenance group uses Cintas for their uniform service.
Cheap shirts wear out faster, fade faster and also start looking like crap WAY faster. We use whatever brand is cheapest at the time of the order and some of them only last about ten washes before they start to fall apart.
For pants the best brand, hands down, is 5.11. We have tried Columbia, Carhartt, Dickies, L.L. Bean and Cabelas over the years l and none of them come close to touching 5.11 in terms of quality.
IPVMU Certified | 01/17/16 06:26pm
We use Cintas as a uniform service. Shirt and pants. 11 of each are issued. 5 per week, one on his body. We buy one jacket per year - generally 3 season. Shirt style is up to the tech, color and logo is not. I wear them too. I'm a short sleeve and sweater guy - year round. With Cintas, we are on the plan where we pay extra per week to have free repairs/replacements as needed. The company pays the vast majority of the cost. We charge the tech 50 cents a day for the uniform; they don't need to buy "good clothes" and we maintain them. This is a requirement of the job, and outlined at hiring. That small amount is 'buy in' to their job and has served us well. For the 20 plus years we've used a service, we've only had one instance of a tech that was extremely rough on his clothes. I have no idea what that man did to tear, rip and stain them. We finally told him he had to start buying them as they got damaged. He didn't last much longer.
IPVMU Certified | 01/18/16 01:40pm
We have a clothing service for pants and polos with logos. We also get them jackets at costco and have them branded at our printer. We used to order jackets, sweatshirts....etc from branding companies but found the quality to be low and cost to be too high. Costco has more options and our printer can embroider almost anything.
IPVMU Certified | 01/18/16 11:59pm
I'd like to share the customer perspective as an end user. Appearance matters.
Polos are better than t-shirts. Button downs are better than polos.
Denim is better than Walmart cargo pants. Khakis are better than denims.
When a tech shows up looking professional, I give them that until they prove otherwise. When a tech shows up wearing a faded "This Bud's for You" t-shirt and cargo shorts, it gives the impression that they have no contact with the employer apart from having their jobs emailed to them, or that the employer doesn't care.
When a tech looks neat, I assume his gear is organized and I imagine the shop and the operation are the same.
It's also important to stress professional behavior. When a tech is unprofessional in his/her behavior (profanity, lax work ethic, loud voices, sloppy work summaries), I assume the entire organization is, as well. After all, what else have I got to go on?
Of course, I realize that it's all window dressing, but it also tells me who doesn't care enough to put a little effort into window dressing.
IPVMU Certified | 01/24/16 08:24pm
All of our Staff Technicians have (1) OSHA safety jackets w/ reflective colors, (1) standard overcoat (8) T-shirts w/ company Logo ,and (8) POLO shirts w/ company logo. We supply replacements at any time as we feel the messy looking clothing equates to a possible messy job.
All technicians are given their fist pair of Steel toe boots from RED WING also. Second and on are on them.
Cheap place? No, we prefer to offer clothing that one would want to own not something the cheapest on a shelf.
IPVMU Certified | 01/25/16 01:18am
The Red Wings are a high quality product. We let the tech pick out anything in the store (usually in the 300 per pair range). I have never seen any worn out or inferior in any way. They are simply a very good product that's it. I assume that is how they can afford tom operate stand alone shops all over the country.