It takes an awful lot to get to the point of delivering fresh, clean linens to end users. Moreover, it doesn’t matter whether those linens are for a restaurant, a hospital, or any other kind of business. Both linens and uniforms require a lot of work. Linen rental companies put a lot of time and effort into delivering high-quality uniforms and linens that customers are proud to use.
Anyone can sign a rental agreement with a linen rental company like Alsco and rest comfortably knowing that they will always have fresh, clean uniforms and linens at their disposal. These companies do a wonderful job of making linen rentals seamless for the customer. What customers do not know is that there is a lengthy list of considerations that go into running a successful commercial linen service.
One of the bigger considerations linen providers face is that of material selection. Take uniforms, for example. Providers can go with cotton, polyester, and poly-cotton blends. What they absolutely should not do is focus solely on unit price. Why? Because cheaper fabrics do not necessarily last as long.
Cotton and poly-cotton fabrics tend to be the cheapest alternatives for uniforms. Polyester tends to be more expensive. Yet over time, a properly laundered polyester garment will last longer than a cotton or poly-cotton blend. Longer life typically means polyester garments cost less in the long term.
Where table linens are concerned, straight polyester is generally not the wisest choice. Why? Because colors fade too quickly. This reality leads us right to the next consideration: consistency.
Your typical customer demands consistency with every linen and uniform delivery. For the record, consistency is not an unreasonable demand. Both linens and uniforms contribute to a company’s public image, so companies cannot afford to accept uniforms and linens that do not look the same.
Imagine a restaurant with a décor that features a forest green color scheme. Forest green polyester table linens look absolutely stunning when brand-new. However, forest green fades rather quickly and inconsistently. After just a couple of months the linen service is left with sorting napkins and tablecloths at the dryer in order to guarantee color consistency with each delivery.
In terms of uniforms, linen providers have to pay attention to both color and overall wear and tear. They have to take care to ensure that older uniforms do not look worn out and ratty. Custom embroidery has to be identical and any silkscreen printing has to be monitored for fading.
Different Linen Providers
Perhaps the most difficult consideration is having to compete with other providers for the same customer. In other words, there are some customers who utilize multiple providers for different needs. For instance, a hotel chain might rely on Alsco for uniforms and floor care supplies while utilizing another provider for bed and bath linens.
The challenge here is to provide superior quality and service at a competitive price. The last thing a linen provider wants to do is give the customer an excuse to transfer all services to a competitor. Indeed, a best-case scenario would be impressing the client so much that the provider eventually wins all of the services.
These three considerations are just the tip of the iceberg. Linen and uniform services deal with so much more, ranging from environmental regulations to adhering to industry standards. From providing hygienically clean linens to making sure that laundering plants are operated in accordance with the law, it takes a tremendous amount of effort to run a successful linen service.