What are the pros and cons of renting or owning workwear that's winter ready?

Winter Workwear: Rent or Own?

Productivity Efficient Solutions

Are your employees at risk of cold stress and other factors of working in the cold? Quality winter workwear is a must, but should you rent or own?

Winter workwear should be as tough as the weather and the people who work in it. Being outside in the winter exposes employees to weather that poses additional health and safety risks, whether they’re working at high elevation with strong winds or at lower elevations where snow or cold rain falls. Both OSHA and NIOSH have resources about cold stress, which can be caused by improper dressing. The CDC even offer a “Working in the Cold” podcast. According to these organizations, being ready for tough winter conditions requires the right attitude and durable, rugged uniforms that hold up against whatever Mother Nature might throw at it.

Winter Workwear Options

In winter, employees want uniforms that are rugged, hold up against the elements and tough working conditions and offers a professional image that makes them feel good. One option is Carhartt, a company that’s been gearing-up employees in a myriad of fields since 1889. It’s a brand employees closely connect with tough, durable winter clothing. Whether you ultimately choose to buy or rent your uniforms, be sure to consider all your options when it comes to winter workwear and outfitting your team throughout the season.

Renting vs. Owning

Of course, the number of your employees, the kind of jobs they perform and the weather conditions they work under are all important for calculating the costs of renting versus owning uniforms. Typically, the tougher the working conditions, which includes factors such as weather, elevation and how much dirt and grime your employees typically face each day, the higher the overall cost of buying and maintaining your uniforms.

1. Total Cost of Ownership

It’s crucial to calculate the total cost of ownership (TCO), whether you own uniforms or use a rental program. When you purchase workwear, you may confront high initial costs (CapEx, or capital expenditure, as accountants put it), not to mention the added TCO cost of laundering and repairing your owned uniforms. With normal wear and tear, your owned uniforms may depreciate in effectiveness and value over time, forcing you to replace them and pay even more CapEx for new workwear. Keep in mind that the more complex your working conditions, the more wear and tear you’ll see on your uniforms, and the more money you’ll spend on inspecting, laundering, repairing or replacing them.

2. Rental Programs

When you rent winter workwear through a rental program, you can help avoid the high initial cost of buying the uniforms your team needs. The direct and indirect costs of using your own people to maintain your uniforms gets taken out of your hands, and you can redirect their focus to what really matters: growing your business and helping your customers. Since you don’t own the workwear and can easily replace it, you don’t suffer from the depreciation over time of an owned asset — in this case, much-needed winter uniforms. In addition, you can proactively manage your workwear, giving you the flexibility to change what you want (in terms of uniform style, makeup, etc.) over time.

Whether you decide to rent or buy uniforms, you’ll need to decide upon the best solution for your employees, your professional image and your bottom line. Winter weather can take a big toll, so you’ll need to make the right choice to make sure your people ready to work.

Chuck Leddy
Chuck Leddy

Chuck Leddy is a versatile, fast-learning communications professional with a proven track record as a digital content marketer. Writing for clients like GE, ADP, the National Center for the Middle Market, smartShift (computing), Office Depot, and more, he's published hundreds of articles, features, profiles, and interviews.