When it comes to commercial linens, there are only two ways to go: you buy your own linens or you choose a linen or uniform rental program. There is hardly any gray area where commercial linens are concerned. How do you exactly know which is the better choice? Or more importantly, how do you know which choice is best for your business?
In our search for answers, we’re putting customer-owned goods (COGs) laundry service side by side with linen rental in a comprehensive comparative analysis, and giving you some helpful tips on knowing which direction to take your business.
Understanding Commercial Linens (What Businesses Need from Linens)
Before we move on to the comparison, let’s lay down the basics: how do you need your linens? It doesn’t matter whether your linens are for direct customer use, or used in background operations. If you use commercial linens for your operations, these are the four standards your linens – owned or rented – should be able to meet:
Exceptional Product Quality. No matter the size of your business, or the industry your business is in, the need for high-quality linens and garments is a non-negotiable. And we cannot stress it enough: quality is everything. You need your linens and uniforms to not only meet the aesthetic standards you want your brand to be known for, but you also need your linens to be built for the harsh, often unforgiving not to mention frequent laundering process.
Maintenance. The one thing that is just as important as the quality of your linen supply is the quality with which your linens are maintained. After all, you need your linens to be clean – especially for applications in the medical/healthcare, hospitality, and food service industries.
Consistent Supply. When linens are an integral part of your operations, you cannot run the risk of being just one item short. You need the guarantee of having enough linens and uniforms – at all times.
Cost Efficiency. How much should your linens cost you? The choice you make between owning your linens and renting them will be a major deciding factor in how big of a dent your linen needs should make on your overhead costs.
The more important question in this seemingly never-ending debate is this: how do your choices – COG laundry service vs. linen rental – fare against these needs?
Let’s find out.
Customer-Owned Goods: The Basics, the Pros, and the Cons
Customer-owned goods, as we’ve previously defined, are exactly what they sound like: linens that you – the customer – have purchased and are sent out to a laundry facility for processing. The choices of volume and quality are entirely up to you.
The Pros of COG Laundry Service
What advantages can you expect when you purchase and own your business’ linens?
- Cost Control. While the COG option requires a rather huge upfront payment because of the bulk, you get sole control of how much you are willing to expend on each linen article. You also get sole discretion over the volume of linens you wish to purchase.
- Quality. COG also allows you full control of the kind and quality of linens you get compared to linen rentals. You get to pick – and even nitpick – every little trait that you require for your linen supply.
The Cons of COG Laundry Service
While the COG option does present a couple of attractive benefits, there are some disadvantages to this option as well:
- Stability of Supply. The demand for linens in any given business’ operations changes from day-to-day and season-to-season. COG literally limits your capacity to provide for these changing demands without so much room to adapt. And everyone who’s ever had to use linens as part of their main business knows how difficult it can be to run out of linens especially at the last minute.
- The Burden of Storage. While we all may be more familiar with having too few linens for any given period, having too many can also prove to be a burden when storage enters the picture. This is an especially big problem for smaller businesses where space is already an issue.
- Repair and Replacement. Linens don’t actually last forever and anything from wear-and-tear and unforeseen circumstances can all cause damages that may need unexpected repairs and worse, replacements. And the burden of repair and replacement rests solely on you, the business owner, which can greatly hurt your budget.
Linen Rental: The Basics, the Pros, and the Cons
While the particulars may vary from one service provider to another, the basics of linen rental are pretty similar and straightforward: a company offers different linen products for business owners to rent, the volume is pre-decided at every delivery – but with a lot of room to accommodate seasonal demand changes, and the linen service provider picks up the linens for washing and maintenance.
The Pros of Linen Rental
Convenience and stability are two of rental’s most obvious advantages:
- Constant Supply. Linen rental guarantees you a constant supply of linens at all times. You never have to worry about running short on your linen supplies especially since most linen service providers offer emergency deliveries and last-minute changes in your delivery volume.
- Zero Maintenance Required. Aside from taking care of the laundry and storage of linens, linen rental service providers also take care of linen repairs and replacements. With damages being so unpredictable, this proves to be very helpful.
The Cons of Linen Rentals
While linen rental is the ultimate choice if you’re after total convenience, its limits lie in your freedom to control many of aspects of your linen needs:
- Cost Control. Linen rental saves you from the large upfront investment that COG requires but the costs may naturally add up in the long run.
- Quality Control Limitations. Linen rentals also delimit your control of the quality of the linens that you get. Unlike with COG, your options are constrained to whatever is available from the service provider.
Decisions, Decisions, Decision
Now that you know everything there is to know about COG laundry service and linen rental, especially the pros and cons of each option, we go to the more important question: how do you know which one is best for your business? We’ve got some tips:
- Assess the nature of your business’ needs. Each business has different needs. Measure up your needs and each option against the categories we’ve stated above. How much are you willing to spend on linens? Is storage going to be an issue for you? How specific are you with the particular qualities you require of your linens?
- Get cost assessments. Cost still remains the biggest and foremost issue when it comes to choosing between COG and linen rental. Get a commercial linen professional to give your business an accurate assessment of your linen requirements.
- Check out your options. Finding the right company to provide you with maintenance services (for COG) and supply (for rentals) is key to success, no matter which type of service you choose to get. Explore the service providers in your area, speak with them if you can, to get a better look at what they can do for you and how they fare against your needs and their competitors.
Need a professional opinion? Consult with the ultimate commercial linen service experts – contact Linen Finder! Linen Finder is your complete resource for all your commercial linen and uniform needs. Our experts are more than willing and ready to give you professional advice on all things commercial linen.