Why Vendor Size is the Most Important Factor in Choosing a School Uniform Supplier
When you’re looking for a school uniform supplier, you’re going to find three types of companies. There are local, small suppliers that service a limited area. There are national brands that happen to offer school uniforms. And there are medium-to-large-sized suppliers that only do uniforms. Finding the right supplier for you can be daunting, and the size of company you choose for your school determines the experience your families will have with the vendor.
When your school uniform supplier is too big…
Big (and we mean big box store level big) suppliers are good at one thing: selling poor quality merchandise cheaper than everyone else. And if cost is your only factor, it’s best to give big suppliers a look. But what do you give up for that cheaper product? First, you give up quality. General manufacturers (rather than specialized uniform manufacturers) make your product, and you will be lucky if the product lasts the school year. Second, you give up service. If you have a problem with a large supplier, you get an 800 number and that’s it. Going with a large supplier is very much a “you’re on your own” proposition, with little service and selection.
When your school uniform supplier is too small…
We love local suppliers – we were once one ourselves! But being small in the uniform supply business has its disadvantages. Unfortunately, customers bear the brunt of those disadvantages. A small supplier will never match the inventory of a larger supplier. Do you have a specific color or style or plaid in mind for your uniform? Small vendors can’t help you. Do you need custom sizing or custom embroidery? Small suppliers can’t do custom at scale. If you have a small school and you know you want plain navy polos and tan khakis, a small supplier might work. But it’s a gamble. And we’re not big fans of gambling when thousands-of-dollars are at stake.
OK. So what is the right size?
Let’s get this out of the way: we’re biased. But putting biases aside, the right size supplier for your school is the one that can meet your criteria. Our clients evaluate vendors on price, ease-of-purchase, customer service, turnaround time, and quality. We address each as follows:
For us, price is a question of value. We’re not the cheapest. The biggest suppliers deliver the cheapest price. We keep your costs low while manufacturing products built (and guaranteed) to last the school year. So, while you can get better per-item pricing, your yearly spend with us will often be lower because you won’t need to replace items.
Small, local suppliers tend to be brick-and-mortar. Large suppliers tend to be online-only. We’re a hybrid, offering 31 retail stores throughout the country and a world-class online presence. We also do on-site service at your school. Small companies don’t have the staff to do that, and larger companies don’t do in-school fittings because school uniforms is just a minor part of their business.
3. Customer Service:
With FlynnO’Hara, your school has a dedicated representative. He or she will meet with you throughout the year, see the uniforms in action, and make recommendations for future purchases. And, when you need, you can get an actual Flynn on the phone in seconds. Our company name is our family name for a reason: we want you to know that we care about your uniforms. We’ll do anything we can to make sure we’re the best uniform supplier for you. It’s a family rule.
4. Turnaround Time:
We lead the industry in turnaround time. It’s something we care deeply about. Because we work closely with both your institution and our suppliers, we can turn our orders around in 3 to 5 days. It’s a turnaround time no other provider can equal.
Your students deserve nice looking uniforms that last. Your embroidered logo needs to shine on the garment. Producing high quality uniforms is an art learned from years of experience. We’ve been at this since 1972, and that experience is why we guarantee our products. We know they are the best in the industry, and we’re willing to stake our profits and name on that claim.