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Company leaders offer advice on how to outfit your crew

July 30, 2021 -  By

Workwear is a critical part of a landscaping company’s branding, but it doesn’t come without its challenges. Crew members come in all shapes and sizes, and workwear needs to not only fit but keep up with the demands of the job. A challenge for companies is to find a uniform look that suits the fit and function of everyone on the team.

Choose a color and design that can be replicated across different brands. (Photo courtesy of Gempler’s)

Choose a color and design that can be replicated across different brands. (Photo courtesy of Gempler’s)

Hilary Kleese, content brand manager for Gempler’s, says working with a company that knows workwear can help those in charge of ordering understand what brands run true to size, what brands run small and what brands have larger sizes.

“You want to choose options where you don’t have to choose between putting my logo on it and making sure that it’s professional grade,” she says. “For us, when it comes to branded workwear, it’s Carhartt, it’s Dickies, it’s Columbia or Under Armour when you need sun protection.”

Having a wide variety of sizes is important, Kleese says. “That’s definitely something that we’ve run across time and time again because those landscape professionals come in all shapes and sizes,” she says, noting Carhartt runs up to a size 4XL and Gempler’s stocks work boots up to a size 15 with regular and wide widths.

Kleese; Rob Paradise, vice president of Arborwear; and Carl Atwell, president and owner of Gempler’s, share tips to help companies get the right fit for employees.

Tip 1: Think colors, not just brands

“Not every brand of apparel fits exactly the same, and a certain brand that fits well to some may not to others or (may not) be offered in a full range of sizes,” says Paradise, whose company based in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, outfits crews from head to toe with workwear and boots. “A solution? Choose a color scheme or design that can be duplicated across a few different apparel brands to meet the sizing needs.”

Tip 2: Get input

Request input from employees to make them comfortable and productive. (Photo courtesy of Arborwear)

Request input from employees to make
them comfortable and productive. (Photo courtesy of Arborwear)

Want to ensure your crew is happy in their workwear? Ask team members to prioritize which workwear features are important to them, whether that’s lightweight or moisture-wicking material, sun protection or comfort.

“Implementing a uniform without addressing the needs of the team in the field could be a costly mistake,” Paradise says. “If there is buy-in from the team and their input is heard, you will have a much happier and productive workforce. Choose the right tool for the job at the beginning, and the team will be excited, proud and happy.”

Tip 3: Get samples

Atwell says samples from an apparel distributor are a great way to understand how a certain brand of workwear will fit and meet the solutions your team is looking for.

“Get some samples of the product so you can get the size right,” he says.

Tip 4: Don’t wait

Paradise says apparel is an investment in your team, and it’s an investment that pays off as a source of pride for
your employees.

“Just about all our customers that had been hesitant to embark on a full uniform program eventually admitted that they wish they had pulled the trigger much earlier,” he says. “The happiness of the employees and professional appearance benefits the businesses in added revenue and employee retention.”

Tip 5: Layers

Your crew may need different workwear, such as pullovers, long-sleeved and short-sleeved apparel, all on the same day. 

“Last week, we were talking to a guy who said, ‘At the beginning of the day when I get dressed, I never know what jobs I’m going to be doing that day, so I really have to walk out the door being ready for any conceivable task,’” Kleese says.

Tip 6: Start small

Include the company name and logo on employee workwear and make sure they’re visible. (Photo courtesy of Gempler’s)

Include the company name and logo on employee workwear and make sure they’re visible. (Photo courtesy of Gempler’s)

While it is important to ensure your logo is consistent and appears on all offerings for your crew, Paradise suggests approaching outfitting your crew in steps.

“Keep it simple to start as it will be much easier to manage and fine-tune the program as the company grows,” he says.

Kleese says apparel is also a great tool for retention. Crews can get a set amount of logo apparel to start, and then it can expand after a certain period of employment.

“Owners can say, ‘at three months here, you get this awesome rainwear jacket that’s logoed. We’ll give you this starting set of logoed gear for free, and then you can earn these other pieces as you go,’” she says.

Christina Herrick

About the Author:

Christina Herrick is the editor of Landscape Management magazine. Known for her immersive approach to travel from coast to coast in her previous stint as senior editor of American Fruit Grower Magazine, she uses social media (Twitter/Instagram @EditorHerrick) to share her experiences on the road with her audience. Herrick has a degree in journalism from Ohio Northern University and has been in B2B publishing for seven years. She can be reached at cherrick@northcoastmedia.net.

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