A Word About Wearing Vendor-Branded Shirts

Posted by | March 19, 2018 | Marketing Advice | No Comments

When I was a kid, I loved it when my dad would come home from work and hand me a local paint supplier’s t-shirt. The back would usually have some Hawaiian-style cars, motorcycles, desert, beach, or surf design on it. Frazee Paint, Dunn-Edwards, and Vista Paints were all very popular when I was growing up in San Diego. The shirts were free, so not only did I enjoy wearing them, but my dad’s paint crew would also get in on the action. If they got too much paint or caulk on them, they’d go to the paint store and get another free shirt! Why not? It’s free, right? 

Invest In Your Own Brand!

Even if you are trying to save every penny when starting a painting company, don’t go the route of relying on your paint vendor to supply your shirts. All you are doing is helping them with their marketing efforts and missing your own opportunity in the process. I have no problem if you wear them on the weekends and/or outside work hours. When your team is on a project, however, it is your brand that needs to be front-and-center at all times.

I know it sounds like a little thing, but the little things really do matter!

I would even go a step further and make your shirts pop! I have seen more painting and home improvement companies invest in vibrant shirts instead of the standard white. It can get a little expensive if you go the non-white route, but branding really is everything! And, as you wear your brand around town with consistency, you’ll be amazed by how many people begin to notice! If you get creative (like Dunn-Edwards did with their gear), your customers will want to wear it, too.

Photo Credit: VoyageLA

A few years ago, Allbright Painting did a logo redesign and updated their hats and shirts. They also added “Los Angeles, CA” on the gear. It did not take long before some local high school students were reaching out wanting to wear their shirts and hats. Talk about brand exposure!

My Dad stopped wearing vendor shirts around the mid-90s. One day he went to visit a job to check on his crew. When he drove up, he saw another paint company doing the house next door. The painters on that project looked scruffy and dirty, and they worked out of a non-branded vehicle. He thought to himself, “My guys look way better and more professional!” Then he looked at his own team and realized that, in all honesty, they looked the same. He began to wonder what the difference really was between his company and the painters next door. Why would a homeowner choose his crew over the other guy?

It was around that time that he took branding seriously, mandating a consistent, clear, clean image: company-lettered trucks, hats, yard signs, clean company shirts, and so forth.

That was the beginning of solid growth for Chism Brothers Painting, reinforcing the fact that how you present yourself in your market is important. Don’t look like “the other guy,” but wear your brand with confidence!

I would love to hear your story about how you’ve made decisions to grow your brand using company shirts, hats, and other gear. Let me know on one of the social sites or via email.

Thanks for reading!

About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.

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