Microfiber: Rent vs. Buy… or Something In-Between?

It’s always a good idea to examine ways in which your business can be more efficient. If you own or manage a maid service, janitorial service, or building service company chances are you rely on microfiber towels, mops and dusters to keep your clients’ facilities sparkling. Working with a commercial laundry may be a great way to increase your efficiency.

What many people refer to as “Uniform Companies” or “Linen Companies” are more accurately described as Textile Rental Services. These commercial laundries launder anything in industry, hospitality and healthcare that need to be laundered on a regular basis, including uniforms, linens, towels, mops, and mats. They then rent those items to businesses and institutions that use them. In the interest of full disclosure, our company has been providing cleaning textiles (wet mops, dust mops, towels and dusters) to textile rental services since the 1950s. Roughly half of our business today is selling to Textile Rental Services; the other half is selling directly to end users like maid and janitorial services. Because of our history we understand the pros and cons of renting textiles vs. buying and washing them yourselves.

There are many things to consider when deciding if rental is right for your business. Among these are quality and inventory control, selection, cost, and natural resource consumption.

When you own your microfiber you decide when to replace it. When you’re renting, it’s up to the commercial laundry when your mops, towels and dusters are replaced. Naturally, a textile rental company is going to try to make their textiles last as long as possible. Because of this you may not always be satisfied with the condition of the textiles you receive. Another thing to consider is that, unless it’s written into your contract, you won’t be receiving the same towels, mops or dusters that you turned in the week before. For instance, the towels your route person dropped off to you on Wednesday would have been picked up from another account on the previous Monday or Tuesday. You have no way of knowing what those towels were used for previously.

Another thing to consider is selection. When you’re renting microfiber the company providing the textiles will have a limited selection available to you. Most laundries want to keep variations in their product offerings to a minimum to maintain efficiency. For instance, if you demand to have a pink microfiber towel, chances are they’re only going to be able to rent that pink towel to you so they may not want to offer it. When it comes to mops, dusters and more obscure cleaning items your choices will be even more limited. That said, if your business is a large enough account, some textile rental companies will bend over backwards to earn your business including providing the microfiber products that you demand.

Of course, cost is also a consideration. Take one of the most common towels in the cleaning industry, a 12”x12” Microfiber Towel. If you’re purchasing a large amount of these from a wholesaler like us you can expect to pay around $0.60 each. A textile rental company would charge in the neighborhood of $0.15 per towel per week to provide and launder this towel.

Commercial laundry equipment is far more efficient than the home laundering equipment you’re likely to be using. Commercial washers range in capacity from 50 lbs to over 400 lbs. Because of the size of the load and the wash formulas used, these machines use 1/3 the water, ½ the energy and ½ the carbon emissions than home wash systems do when laundering the same volume. This does not take into account your time spent tending to a washing machine, drying and folding! They’re also easier on the textiles, including microfiber, so you should expect them to last longer.

There’s another option available with some textile rental services. It’s something known in the industry as COG (Customer Owned Goods) or NOG (Not Our Goods). There are certain commercial laundries that specialize in providing this type of service. With a COG or NOG program you buy the textiles and the laundry processes them for you. A program like this would get you the best of both worlds.

  • You control the inventory and decide when it should be replaced.
  • Extend the life of your microfiber by ensuring proper equipment, wash formulas and chemicals are used
  • Cut down on wasted water and energy
  • You no longer need to tend to a washer and dryer; clean microfiber is delivered to you.
  • You don’t have to invest in and replace your own equipment

In our opinion a COG or NOG program gives you the best of both worlds. If you can find a commercial laundry to give you a fair deal, it’s a great way to go!

 

3 thoughts on “Microfiber: Rent vs. Buy… or Something In-Between?

  1. Pingback: Interview with Matt Rickets from Better Life Maids | Microfiber Wholesale Blog

  2. Gary

    What would be a ballpark figure for COG or NOG pricing if you sent in around 50 mf towels (window, polishing, general cleaning, drying) every week?

    Reply
    1. Brett Post author

      Gary,

      Typically a textile rental company will have a minimum charge, in my experience it’s at least $25 per week. They have to be able to justify adding a route stop. They’re also going to want to have enough volume to fill their machines, which would mean probably at least 50 lbs worth of textiles per week. Otherwise, they’d have to add your microfiber to other loads which would mean it would need to be sorted. With all of that said, you may be able to work out a deal with a local independent laundry that’s advantageous for both of you.

      Brett

      Reply

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