Getting your company set up on a linen rental program can seem complicated. If so, it is likely due to a lack of knowledge or working with a provider who purposely complicates things. The truth is that linen rental doesn’t have to be complicated.
This post will explain the basics of linen rental. It will cover uniforms, determining customer needs, and rental contracts. It will also discuss ancillary services offered by some linen rental companies, like Salt Lake City-based Alsco.
We start with uniform rental given that many providers deal with uniforms separately. Under a rental scenario, each employee is assigned a certain number of uniforms to last for two delivery cycles. One set of uniforms is available to the employee while the other set is being laundered. Deliveries are typically scheduled on a weekly basis.
The linen provider maintains ownership of all garments. They handle procurement, branding, laundering, and garment maintenance. The customer is essentially paying for monthly rental of the garments.
Determining Linen Needs:
Moving on to linen rental, the first step in establishing a rental program is determining the customer’s needs. Needs will vary based on the customer’s industry and the types of linens required. Take a hospital, for example. It might work with Alsco to provide bed linens, patient gowns, and bath linens.
The number of pieces provided would be determined by facility volume and delivery schedules. Just like with uniforms, two sets of linens would be assigned to the customer. One set is in use while the other set is being laundered.
The Rental Concept:
Where most companies struggle with linen rental understands the rental concept. Customers rent a certain volume of linens for a specific period of time. Consider a 100-bed nursing home that changes bed linens daily. They might rent eight hundred sheets per week, giving them enough for daily changes along with extras for emergencies.
The nursing home pays a rental fee based on eight hundred sheets per week, even if they do not use all eight hundred. Let’s say the facility turns in 750 sheets for laundering. They will receive 750 in return the following week. The remaining fifty are still in their storage room. Those fifty will be rented for another week even though they were not returned for laundering.
Almost all linen providers operate on a contract basis. They propose to provide a certain volume of linens at a specific price, for the term of the contract. Contracts are typically from one to three years. The best contracts allow customers to modify their orders, with prices adjusted accordingly, as necessary.
Although not all linen providers offer ancillary services, many do. Alsco is an example of one company that does. While the bulk of their business is in uniform rentals and hospital linens, they also offer other services, including:
1. Floor Care – Floor care services include things like a rubberized floor mats, wet and dry mops, and floor cleaning supplies. More and more linen providers offer rubberized floor mats these days.
2. Washroom Supplies – Another ancillary service involves washroom supplies. Companies provide washroom fixtures, roll towels, hand sanitizers and soaps, etc. They keep their customers well-stocked at all times.
3. First Aid Supplies – First aid is yet another ancillary service. Providers like Alsco stock industry-standard first aid kits that can be custom-designed based on industry.
And there you have it. The basics of commercial linen rental are pretty clear. Linen rental doesn’t have to be an exercise in mental gymnastics. It only is when linen companies make it that way.