Say yes to your dress


Wardrobe still makes an impression

It’s unlikely customers who visit equipment dealerships will conduct a red-carpet review of how employees are dressed. But it doesn’t mean they don’t notice what people are wearing.

In the business world – even in social situations – a second chance to make a good impression is a rarity. This means you need to come out of the locker room looking like a professional. Whether you trade with a retailer whose employees wear blue coats or eat at a restaurant where staff is dressed like cartoon characters, appearance still matters to most consumers.

“In my opinion, professional dress is extremely important and has a huge effect on how an organization is viewed,” says Alaric Harbaugh, a national account executive at UniFirst Corporation. “I believe customers notice when employees are not dressed appropriately. I know I do.”

UniFirst is one of the association’s newest endorsed partners and a current provider of uniforms to equipment dealerships throughout North America.

Dress defines culture

According to UniFirst, employees in uniforms are easier to identify, helping

assure consumers of their legitimacy. “Dress has a very noticeable influence on the culture of a business,” notes Harbaugh. “People who are dressed professionally tend to not only take their jobs more seriously and take pride in their work, but feel the need to reflect the professionalism put forth by their appearance. Professional dress creates a respectable image that resonates with not only customers but other employees as well.”

Harbaugh adds that uniformed employees have an effect on customers, too. He says UniFirst has found the following applies to businesses whose employees look like professionals.

  • Uniformed employees are seen as more credible and trustworthy.
  • Consumers have more confidence in employees who wear uniforms.
  • Consumers think employees wearing uniforms are more likely to understand their jobs more thoroughly.

Walking billboard

Whether employees work behind a parts counter or mingle among the public, when they’re in clothing that represents a business, they’re walking billboards – and research supports this.

Uniforms are a more effective marketing tool than internet, TV, radio, billboard and newspaper advertising. That’s what a survey of more than 250 companies revealed, most notably in industries where employees face the public on a regular basis.

“Customized uniforms outperform more traditional methods of advertising by up to 9 to 1,” according to a survey, Are Uniforms an Effective Marketing Tool?, conducted by Ashwini Poojary, Sawyer Business School, Suffolk University, Boston, Massachusetts.

There also is a competitive edge for businesses where employees look professional. According to a study conducted by J.D. Power and Associates®, “customers are more inclined to do business with employees in uniform because they’re viewed as members of an organized, professional team. That’s good business.” Following is more from the J.D. Power and Associates study.

Consumers say:

  • They prefer to see uniforms on those who provide products and/or services to them.
  • They feel that employees wearing uniforms are more trustworthy.
  • They feel that product and/or service quality is likely to be higher when they deal with uniformed employees.
  • They believe that uniformed employees are more credible than non-uniformed
  • They believe that uniformed employees are more knowledgeable about their products and/or services.
  • They feel more comfortable explaining their purchase requirements to uniformed employees.
  • They have more confidence in uniformed employees’ ability to do the job.

Business people say:

  • They have a strong preference for uniformed employees in every setting.
  • They are more likely to purchase from or use the services of a supplier with uniformed employees.
  • They ascribe positive attributes to employees in uniform: confidence in the employees’ ability to do his/her job and high product and/or service quality.
  • They feel it is easier to identify someone who can assist them when employees are in uniform.
  • They believe uniforms enhance brand image.

Your look is your brand

In the equipment industry, most customers are drawn to brands for a variety of reasons, including quality, performance, reputation, durability, availability, price… it’s a long list. While a dealership’s employees may not get top billing on the big sign that stands tall over a dealership or what’s stenciled on a piece of machinery, employees are essential to a dealership’s brand and how they appear makes a difference.

“This is a strong selling point for a uniform program,” says Harbaugh. “In addition to a clean, professional uniform, UniFirst’s industry leading personalization technology allows us to recreate extremely crisp, detailed customer business logos. The logos can either be embroidered on emblems, directly embroidered on shirts, hats and jackets, or created as screen print designs for T shirts.”

More than a uniform company

UniFirst, which began operations more than 80 years ago, is more than a clothing outfitter. Nearly 200 WEDA members use UniFirst, which also offers facility service products, such as:

  • floormats and mops,
  • microfiber mops, towels, and dusters,
  • industrial towels and wipers,
  • GOJO® soaps, sanitizers, and hand care products,
  • Tork® paper towels and sanitary tissue,
  • air fresheners and trash can liners, and
  • disposable gloves and PPE – personal protective equipment.

Association program discounts

“UniFirst bases national pricing on the total volume across all WEDA member locations so every location will have access to deeply discounted unit pricing,” says John Schmeiser, CEO, WEDA. “There’s no better time than right now to learn more about UniFirst’s capabilities and what they can do for your dealership. We encourage WEDA members to set up a meeting with their local UniFirst representatives to find out how this program can benefit their dealerships.”

Getting started

If you’ve come this far in reading about UniFirst, maybe it’s time to go a little further and see what UniFirst can do for your dealership as a member of WEDA. 

“The main benefit of preferred provider programs is the ability to pool the buying power of all WEDA members, which, in turn, allows us to offer lower initial program entry rates. This leads to long-term savings,” adds Harbaugh. “The level of service is a benefit realized by all UniFirst customers.”

To learn more about the UniFirst-WEDA program and to get a free analysis for your dealership, call Alex Toledo at 800-934-8641 X 2115 or write to

Additional information about UniFirst is available at

Uniforms and Service Solutions 

As noted, UniFirst is more than a uniform company. Here are some of the benefits of the UniFirst-WEDA partnership.

Employee Uniform Services

A full-service UniFirst uniform rental program goes well beyond basic workwear deliveries and takes care of all work apparel needs for one low weekly fee per employee. For about the cost of a daily cup of coffee, per wearer, you receive:

  • initial sizing and outfitting (“Try-for-Size”),
  • on-hand inventory,
  • regularly scheduled pickups and deliveries,
  • laundering and maintenance,
  • garment quality inspections,
  • automatic repairs and replacements,
  • professional pressing and finishing,
  • size adjustments as needed,
  • garment tracking reports,
  • confirmation of orders, and
  • full program management.

Pricing matters, according to Kyle Haubrich, corporate service manager, Western Tractor Company. “When I negotiated our contract over a year ago, I thought we got a great deal. However, once WEDA partnered with UniFirst our organization saved another 6 percent.”

And while pricing matters, Haubrich says service was key in the dealership’s business relationship with UniFirst. “The service offered was a deciding factor for using UniFirst. Each store has a contact rep who is very personable and understands our business and our needs.”

Western Tractor operates four locations in western Canada. The dealership was instrumental in working with WEDA in developing the partnership with UniFirst.

Facility Service Programs

UniFirst facility service programs provide cost-effective floorcare, restroom, and cleaning products to create a safe, attractive, and more productive workplace. And you never have to worry about running out of these items because UniFirst provides scheduled usage-based services:

  • delivery of freshly laundered floormats, mops, towels, and wipers,
  • removal of all soiled items for hygienic laundering and quality checks,
  • refill of all GOJO® soap/hand care and air freshener dispensers,
  • stocking proper inventories of Tork® paper hand towels, sanitary tissue, and other goods,
  • inspection of all product dispensers to ensure they are working properly, and
  • monitoring of usage levels to recommend any changes in quantities.

“UniFirst has great products and service with a very competitive pricing structure,” adds Haubrich. “We’re very pleased with the high quality of all of the products we use.”

As for recommending UniFirst to other dealers, Haubrich says the company is worth a look and he’s pleased with Western Tractor’s choice of UniFirst. “UniFirst offers great service and has great people who understand our industry.


ALARIC HAUBAUGH is national account executive for UniFirst Corporation. UniFirst is an endorsed partner of Western Equipment Dealers Association.


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