How to Affordably Outfit SME Employees?

Stuck for uniforms within your corporate budget? Don’t scrimp on safety gear without reading this first.

Running an SME means you have plenty to think about on a day to day basis. The smaller the business, the more there is to do. When you do finally make it big enough (or stable enough) to hire some employees to help you; making sure they are outfitted correctly ought to be a primary concern.

Not everyone thinks it’s possible to outfit employees correctly on a budget – but we are here to tell you that you can. And easily, too. Let’s discuss how we outfit our employees. To uniform or not to uniform, that is the question.

The Importance of Staff Dress Codes

In a post-pandemic world, nobody can say they do not know the business value of correct Personal Protective Equipment. If you do not issue the correct safety gear, you could end up with a lawsuit on your hands. Add to this the brand awareness and free advertising you get from popping your corporate logo on the back of your servers, delivery drivers, or other workers, and you start to see why uniform is so important.

In short, outfitting staff correctly can:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Make staff safer
  • Builds Team spirit
  • Protects against bacteria and germs
  • Ensures governmental compliance
  • Builds brand persona
  • Helps with customer/business transparency

Now that we can identify the key reasons why we should make staff outfitting a priority in small and medium businesses, we can examine how you can dress your staff on a budget.

How to Dress SME Staff on a Budget?

Here are some of the best ways to make your money go farther.

1 – Choose the right Corporate Clothing Firm

Corporate clothing isn’t bought in shops so much as it is ordered from suppliers. Choosing the right firm means finding one that’s near you. This cuts down on import taxes. Finding a corporate clothing firm that only produces high quality workwear is another must-do. False economy with workwear leaves you ordering increased garments as the old ones fail to last. Don’t forget that the clothing should be fit for purpose. Underestimating the importance of safety clothing brings more trouble than it is worth.

2 – Start Basic

If you are dressing corporate staff on a budget, starting with the basics can help. White shirt and black trousers are a smart look that can then be embellished as you need. Consider plain shirts with your corporate logo on the breast as a starting point. If you need to cut costs here, opting for a polo shirt or a coloured shirt may be less expensive.

3 – Buy the Essentials

If you are a construction company and you need to buy safety clothing for your staff, be sure to buy the basics first. This means looking at what safety equipment your employees ought to have by law, then picking those items from your workwear supplier.

4 – Weigh the Savings

It’s all very well to buy cheap hard hats and steel toe boots, but what happens when they are needed for the task they are designed to perform, and they fall apart in just a few uses? Worse than the impact this false economy brings to your business, is the environmental cost of cheaply made clothing. One shirt takes about 1,750 litres of water to make and produces 5 kilograms of Carbon Dioxide. As SME owners, our responsibility is to manage this.

5 – Consider where to save

Continuing with the construction site example; examining all the gear that is necessary by law and looking at cheaper alternatives is OK – as long as those cheaper alternatives aren’t a risk. For example, it would be cheaper in the long term to save money by opting for cheaper high vis gear, than it would be for opting for cheaper boots. While the boots see constant use, the high vis gear does not. If you must buy cheap quality, look at the things your workers won’t use every moment.

So, in a restaurant, we know our chefs need steel toed boots and chef jackets. We also know that a good boot will stop a chef’s knife taking off one of their toes, whereas a chef’s jacket is essential food safety gear that doesn’t need to physically protect the chef. If you were trying to save money, buying a cheaper jacket and aa more expensive boot would keep your staff safe, without compromising your budget.

Outfitting SME Employees: You Get What You Pay For

When outfitting employees for your small or medium business, keep in mind that you do get what you pay for. Cheaper materials will need replaced sooner. Cheap workwear is fine to start off with, but next year, allocate a greater amount of your budget to make up for this year’s false economy.

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