When ordering uniforms, teams have to consider a few different aspects: aesthetics (colors & design), sizes, timeframe, length of season, and budget. Most coaches and parents who have been tasked to order uniforms start at price and work backwards. This approach is all well and good, provided one understands what they’re getting, and more importantly what they’re not, when they start there.
Let us first have an understanding of the difference between price and value. Price is really just what you pay for at the end of the day. Value however, is price, while taking into account the quality of the product and service received. Before you sit down and order your team’s uniforms it is essential to keep those three characteristics in mind- price, quality, and service, and figure out which two are the most important to you. It’s nearly impossible to find a place which offers all three.
I know of one uniform manufacturer which offers one model which features an odor-management treatment at a very low price. Unfortunately, instead of the odor-killing chemical being impregnated into the fabric, like the some of the higher-end uniforms, they simply sprayed it on. This is a very cost-effective way of providing this feature to the consumer, but the down side of it is that doesn’t stand up to repeated washings. Simply put, after the first time you do a load of laundry, your odor-resistant uniform is no longer that. Initially, the uniform looked great on paper, but in reality, it was a bit of a hoax. As with everything else, you almost always wind up getting what you pay for.
The easiest way to avoid such a letdown is to simply talk to the sales person and ask questions. I challenge you to be a better consumer. After all, you work hard to keep your teams cost down so, why not be judicious? Interview the parents and coaches of other teams before speaking to your supplier. What did they like about their uniforms? What about the supplier they bought them from? Or the most important question: What would they have done differently? When you finally do call customer service, you will have a working knowledge of the products you’re looking at. From there, you can ask the representatives your more technical questions. Be sure to pay attention to their answers. If it’s starting to shape up that you know more about the product than the person who is selling it to you, I strongly suggest you taking your business elsewhere.
The next blog will be a nice explanation of some of the most commonly used terms in uniform product description. My hope is to make you a uniform expert by providing a convenient tool to make sense of the catalog jargon.