What Makes a Good School Uniform Supplier and How to make the Buying Process Easy
One of the more terrifying events in modern life is buying a car for the first time. Think back to when you first walked onto a lot and were approached by the floor salesperson. Just thinking about it makes my palms sweat. But why is that? Why is a simple human interaction like buying a car so fraught with anxiety and unease? It’s two things: the magnitude of the thing (cars are expensive!) and the misbalance of information (no matter what you know, the salesperson knows more). We’ve noticed in our initial meetings with customers a similar unease: with so many students, with so much at stake, the administrator in charge of choosing a uniform supplier is under a lot of pressure to make a good decision, and they generally feel like they don’t have the necessary information to make a good decision. But it doesn’t have to be this way! We want our prospects to make the best decision for their school regardless of whether that decision leads to a sale or not. So, we’ve put together a little cheat-sheet for you. We’ve highlighted four things that we think best answer the question “What should I care about?” before you step into the room with us or any other school uniform supplier.
Price & Value
The first thing that any organization looking for a school uniform supplier should consider is price – not just the cost of the program or the uniforms themselves but how that cost fits within their school’s budget. We can offer the best school uniform program the world has to offer, but if the organization doesn’t have the budget for a proper uniform solution, we won’t be able to provide that program. The majority of the time, our clients have done their homework and have a realistic budget. They’ve investigated across vendors, comparing the price of each garment, the price to quality ratio, and the replacement cost if there isn’t a guarantee. But if you haven’t, do a little googling and see what things cost. Knowing the price ahead of time makes things a lot easier in the future. In the end, though, remember that ‘you get what you pay for’ is an adage for a reason.
If we have a pet peeve as an organization, it’s uniforms that aren’t up to the kids-are-going-to-do-what-kids-are-going-to-do task. We spend thousands of man-hours every year improving our products, putting each garment through its paces in an effort to make the most durable uniform available on the market. Parents and schools shouldn’t need to consider whether a garment is going to last the year. It should last the school year, period. A good school uniform supplier will guarantee their products from defects and wear and tear for the school year, and there should be an easy, no-jumping-through-hoops way of getting that garment quickly in the event of a product failure. Before your meeting, you should know what guarantees, if any, the supplier makes about their products and what recourse you have if things don’t go as expected.
So, you’re midway through the school year and you suddenly have an influx of new students that you need to outfit. What do you do? With most school uniform suppliers, you send the parents a link and hope that they can figure it out, and you hope your uniform supplier still has your styles available for purchase. It’s a job that no parent wants, and it’s a job that no administrator should have to be responsible for. Your uniform supplier should be well-equipped to handle this and other common scenarios. If you’re unclear if the uniform supplier has the processes to address these scenarios, or if you’re unsure about whether they’ve even thought about these scenarios, ask them!
We’ve been around since 1972. We’ve had more competitors than we can count. Some have lasted a while, most last only a couple of years, and some fail to even get started. Why is that? Because outfitting a school is one giant logistical puzzle that you have to get right for every school you serve. It’s hard work, and it’s especially hard when you don’t have years of experience to help guide you. We are constantly iterating on our process to make it easier and more affordable for our partner schools. Lessons we learned in 1971, 2018, and every year in-between inform our decision-making today. It’s what makes FlynnO’Hara, FlynnO’Hara. So, in your first meeting, it’s important to ascertain how established the supplier is. You want your school supplier to be around next year. You want to lay the foundation for a relationship that can last many years. A proven history is a signal that you’ll be able to do that.
No Pressure, We Promise!
We know you have a lot of options when it comes to choosing a school supplier. We want to be considered for your school. Choosing your supplier, however, doesn’t need to remind you of that cold, gives-you-the-willies car lot. We’re here to help in any way that we can!