Clothes make the men

Our nine field crew workers wear charcoal gray work pants year-round, as well as company shirts. We give them button-down shirts and golf shirts, and we also provide logoed work jackets to wear in the winter.

We want our crew to present a professional image. As remodelers, we're constantly working under the scrutiny of the customer. So we want to maintain a professional appearance all the time.

Full-dress uniforms are the best way to keep complete control over the image your crew presents. Shirts alone aren't enough. I could tell the guys on the crew not to wear worn out pants, but what I consider worn out and what they consider worn out isn't necessarily the same thing.

It's an expense, don't get me wrong. But you've got to dress today's younger generation. They didn't grow up with the same professional ethic as their parents.

Professional image is everything

The professional image isn't just for customers. Where we are in Pennsylvania, there aren't many remodelers who work at our level. We try to stay six to 12 months ahead of our competitors, and the uniforms help us do that.

Suppliers recognize our crew immediately, and that gets us referrals. Lumber suppliers and plumbing suppliers may have somebody asking them where to go for a job. The suppliers refer that person to us because they know us, and they know we're professionals. They know we're going to reflect well on them as opposed to someone who might not even bother to call back.

Ron Clark

Clark Construction Co.

Bethel Park, Pa.

Big50 2000

No clothes calls

We like to see our name tastefully displayed, so we print shirts and caps with the company logo and ask our eight crew members to wear them. But we think uniforms are an unnecessary expense. They're also inappropriate for the image we present to our customers. As long as the crew looks professional, we're not strict about the dress code.

As an expense priority, anything beyond shirts and caps would be on the after-everything-else-gets-taken-care-of list. In other words, it's never going to happen. I suppose that the name recognition from uniforms would produce leads, but there are more effective ways to spend your money. We have job signs, we put our logo on our trucks, and we print business cards for the crew. We think those are better marketing investments.

Individuality counts

Uniforms also convey an image we don't want for our company. They're too impersonal and too blue collar. We value the guys on our crew and treat them as individuals. When I need someone to finish a flight of stairs, I want a specific guy. Who cares what he's wearing? I want Luis or I want Jan, because I know he's right for the job. That doesn't come from the uniform; it comes from the person.

To me, uniforms say the guy wearing the uniform doesn't matter. We think our customers agree. We want our customers to see our crew the same way we do: as skilled, valued individuals. Uniforms would create the opposite impression, and that would hurt our business, not help it.

Kevin Wallace

Wallace Remodeling

San Francisco

Big50 1989