Should I Rent or Purchase Linens?

Posted by Steve Prudente on December 13, 2016

One of the most frequent questions that we get from potential customers such as gyms, salons, hotels, nursing homes, and others is whether or not they should buy their own sheets, towels or other linens and ask a company to wash them, or whether they should rent these items.

Obviously, there are pros and cons to both approaches. Here are some of the best rules of thumb if you are considering either:

 

Reasons to Rent Linens:

  • If you want linens that are pretty standard – for example, white towels of good but not luxury quality –  linen rental is something to consider.  So if you operate a nursing home, gym, spa, or similar business, you can usually find items in a linen rental company’s stock that are going to get the job done with the quality and price you expect.
  • If you have to replace linens often – Even though sheets and towels are reusable, lots of people don’t realize how often you need to purchase new ones.  If you’re a gym that uses 300 towels per day, it’s almost a guarantee that around 10 of those towels are going to walk out the door every day of the week, and that means that your inventory is going to be seriously depleted in a month.

    The same applies with high-stain items – While commercial laundering can get out some of the toughest stains, it’s not perfect, and between 2-3% of nursing home sheets are still going to be stained after each wash.  This means that linens that circulate weekly are going to gradually disappear after just a few months.  A linen rental company will automatically make replacements of your inventory so that you don’t have to worry about constantly making purchases of new inventory to keep yourself stocked.

  • If you don’t want to make the upfront investment in a lot of inventory – If you work with a commercial laundry company, a good rule of thumb is to have at least 3X your maximum daily linen need on hand.  So if you are a salon that needs 200 towels on a busy day, you should probably have 600 towels on hand – 200 in use, 200 getting laundered, and 200 as a buffer in case anything goes wrong.  Buying 600 towels is a bit expensive, so a linen rental company can get you going without any initial sticker shock.

Reasons to buy your own linens:

  • If you want your linens to be a unique expression of your brand – such as having unique colors, patterns, or luxury quality – you’re going to have a lot more options if you purchase your own linens.  Of all the major full service hotel chains we serve, every single one purchases their own linen because they’ve begun competing on the quality and distinctiveness of their linen kits.
  • If you have extremely variable needs for linen.IMG_0108.jpg
    Most linen rental contracts are based on fixed quantities and inventories. While every business has some seasonal variations, if you need tablecloths for a few events per year, and you’re okay using the same designs, it’s almost always going to be a better deal for you to purchase those tablecloths and have them laundered versus renting them all year long, or using “event rental” or “party rental” services. You’ll break even after a few events and then save money each time you need them.

So, to answer the question “Should I rent or buy?” really depends on your business’ unique needs.  We happily accomodate both customer-owned and rental customers on a daily basis, featuring a constantly expanding line of linens and towels, janitorial supplies, and even floor mats.

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