Does Your Dealership Utilize Uniforms?

Every employee should be dressed in such a way that it’s instantly obvious they’re employed there, and that they’re part of the team.

I dropped into a local powersports shop last week and something seemed a bit off. Then, I realized what it was – there was no “look” for the staff. Some staff members had shop labeled attire, but it was not matching. There were different types of clothing with different looks and different colors.  Some wore what I call “civvy” clothing, in that there was no way to identify that they were staff, other than where they stood, or what they were doing. One thing I always hate hearing is “excuse me, do you work here?” If a customer asks that, you definitely need some sort of uniform look.

Every employee should be dressed in such a way that it’s instantly obvious they’re employed there, and that they’re part of the team. What does that mean? Let’s look at it from the aspect of a new customer to your shop. He doesn’t know that Bob or Janice work there, unless they are dressed in such a way that they stand out a bit. That doesn’t mean they have to wear tie die and have rotating beacons on their heads (although that might be kind of cool), but rather, their clothing should be labeled at least enough to tell customers that these are staff members.

Hopefully, you have a logo. If you don’t have a logo, get one. Make it simple, because it has to look great whether it’s four inches or five feet wide. I’ve designed a couple over the years that I still find attractive. I did design one once that looked great at a foot wide, but once it was shrunk down to shirt size, it was way too busy. I always include the name of the business in the logo too. And, don’t be afraid to update it after a few years, but keep it in a similar vein, so that people still know it’s your shop’s logo.

To get the most out of that logo, you have to use your logo everywhere – price tags, contracts, on your building, on your vehicles, on your staff clothing, and anywhere else you can think of. The more your customers see your logo, the more comfortable they are in doing business with you. That’s the secret of consistent marketing.

First, you should have nice polo shirts (I like Gildan myself), and on the shirt should be the name of your company and your amazing logo. I give every staff member 5 polo shirts with our embroidered logo on the front left chest, and a screen-printed logo on the back as large as possible. I prefer black clothing, as it shows off the logo well, at least if you’ve used bright colors. If your logo is mostly dark, then a bright colored shirt might work better for you. Perhaps, if you are a single-line dealership, use the racing color of your brand.

I also give them a zip-up hoody with logos front and back. Make them nice quality, so that staff will wear them everywhere. When it wears out or starts to look shabby, give them a new one (and take back the old one – you don’t want them out there).

Employees shouldn’t just look good on the top half. Make sure they have good-looking pants too. I hate blue jeans. They’re nice when they’re new, but people tend to wear them doing all kinds of dirty jobs, so they can get shoddy pretty fast, and they fade. My dress code is black jeans, black slacks, or black leggings. I’ll allow black shorts in the summer, whichever the staff would prefer. Be sure to have men and women’s versions of your shirts and hoodies.

To help with buy in of your dealership’s “uniform” be sure to give the staff some say in the style or look of the clothing. Doing this will make your staff much more accepting of it. If you just dump it on them without any consultation, you may get pushback. Get them involved in the decision and they will buy into it. Plus, you may get some great ideas when you include them.

You should also consider different shirts that your staff can wear on special days. Maybe tie dye shirts on the first days of spring; camouflage ones around Memorial Day; Santa shirts just before Christmas; a different color on your sale days – all the same, and all with your logo on them.  

All of these suggestions will give your staff a great, unified look, and a more professional look. You do this and you’ll never hear “excuse me, do you work here?” again.

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