Glossary of Terms – Uniform


“A” Grade Garment – These are brand new uniforms that have not been previously issued to another customer.

Abuse, Damage or Ruin Charges – These are charges for merchandise which was deliberately ruined or damaged beyond normal wear and tear.  Frequently, companies will attempt to asses these charges for uniforms that are simply worn out.  This is a key revenue driver for uniform companies and a large variable in customer billing.

Agreement – This is another term for contract.

Allied Products or Facilities Services – These are products such as mats, mops and shop towels which are not garments or linen.

Automatic Replacement Percentage (ARPL) or Inventory Maintenance (IM) – This is a percent of the inventory that will be charged automatically to the customer each delivery for replacement of merchandise.  The intent is to cover merchandise that is regularly lost.  The percentage may or may not be appropriate.  This can be another revenue driver and large variable to customer billing.


“B” Garment – These uniforms have been previously issued to another customer.  They should be in good usable condition.

Blend – This is a term associated with garments that are a blend of two or more fabrics.  Generally, is it used to describe a 65% polyester/35% cotton garment.  These are the most common uniforms.

Branch, Depot or Satellite – This is a uniform provider location that does not process merchandise.  These are typically outposts where clean merchandise is delivered by the processing plant and soiled merchandise is picked up.  This enables the uniform provider to extend their service territory.  The service provided by a branch is typically not as good a service provided directly from a processing plant.  Complications exist with product availability and turnaround time. 


”C” Garment – These uniforms are damaged beyond industry standards.  They may be used in high damage environments to reduce overall cost.  For example, a company that works with adhesives that will ruin every garment may elect to use these to avoid damage charges.

Changes – This is the number of workdays for a given employee that need to be covered by the uniform program.  If an employee works 5 days, this may be referred to as 5 changes.

Change Rate – Contractual pricing based on a change of garments, not the total inventory.  I.E.  An employee is assigned 11 shirts, but only billed for 5 changes.  This unit rate is higher than a per piece rate.

CPI – This is the Consumer Price Index.  It is typical for a standard agreement to call for an annual increase equal to the CPI or a fixed percentage, whichever is higher.

Cloth Roll Towel (CRT) or Long Continuous Towel (LCT) – These are cloth towels typically used to dry hands in the restroom of a manufacturing environment.

Customer Owned Good (COG) or Not Our Goods (NOG) – These are items the customer owns and turn in to the uniform company for cleaning.  These charges are assessed per item cleaned.

Contract Expiration Date (CXD) – This is the end date of a customer’s agreement with the uniform provider.

Cotton – This term is generally used to describe a garment that is 100% cotton.  These uniforms are used in a heavy manufacturing environment, where 65/35 blend garments will not be safe.


Damage – See “Abuse.”

Depot – See “Branch.” 

Direct Sales – These are items a customer purchases outright and does not rent.

District Manager (DM), Route Manager (RM) or Service Manager (SM) – This is the direct supervisor of the delivery personnel for the uniform provider.

Driver, Route Sales Representative (RSR) or Service Sales Representative (SSR) – This is the person that makes the weekly deliveries to the customer and is generally responsible for servicing the account.


Emblem – This is the common term for a name tag or a company logo that is sewn on the chest of uniforms.

Emblem Charge – These are the fees assessed to purchase and apply name tags (name emblems) or company logo’s (company emblem.

Environmental Charge, Fuel Surcharge, Service Charge or Wastewater Charge – These are various fees assessed by uniform providers to cover items such as gas, utilities and waste water fluctuations.  This is a key revenue driver for the providers and a potentially large variable to a customer’s overall cost.

Evergreen Clause or Rollover – This is a clause in the agreement that can automatically extend a contract, beyond the initial end date, to another term.

Exchanges or Size Changes – This is a request from a uniform wearer to change the size, color or style of existing garments.  It requires the uniform provider to order a complete new set of garments.  This is a big money loser for the provider. They typically drag their feet in providing this service that is part of a standard rental program.


Flame-Resistant Clothing (FRC) or Flame-Resistant Garment (FRG) – These uniforms function a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).  They are designed to resist fire and self-extinguish when the source of the fire is removed. 

Flat Rate – This is a flat fee assessed for a given inventory of clothing.  If a contract calls for a change rate of $1.00 and an employee has 5 changes, you may see a flat rate of $5.00 on the invoice.

Fuel Surcharge – See “Environmental Charge.”


General Manager (GM) – This individual is typically over the managers that oversee the delivery personnel and the production facility.


ID Tape – This is a tag pressed onto the garment which identifies the route number, the account number and the employee number.

Inventory Maintenance (IM) – See “Automatic Replacement Percentage.”

Item Code – This is an alpha numeric code that identifies the rental or direct sale item.


Lease Program – This program is designed to provide merchandise to a customer that does not wish to have a cleaning service.  The program should include mending, size changes and upgrading.  All cleaning of soiled garments is handled by the customer.

Liquidated Damages – This is a payment of an agreed upon sum of money as damages for breaching a contract.  Standard agreements call for 50% of the average spend times the remaining term.  This amount is typically much higher than reasonable and negotiable.

Long Continuous Towel (LCT) – See “Continuous Roll Towel.”

Loss Charges – These are charges for merchandise that was lost by the customer.  This is another revenue stream for uniform providers and large variable to customer spend.  Merchandise may be “missing”, but it is very difficult to determine who “lost” the items.  Uniform providers will attempt to assess for all “missing” items.  Payment should be based on what is reasonable.


Not Our Goods (NOG) – See “Customer Owned Goods.”


Oversize, Special Size or Undersize Garment Charge.  Extra charge for garments that are not standard stock sizes.  I.E. a 58×30 pant or a 6XLL shirt.


Peripheral Charges – These are fees outside of standard rental.  They include loss, damage, prep, emblem, etc.  These create the largest variance and potential increase to a customer invoice.  These are the charges we need to make sure customers understand and validate at the local level.

Plant or Processing Facility – This is the location where rental merchandise is cleaned and returned to the Service Representative for delivery.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – These are items given to an employee to satisfy safety standards in a given environment.  Examples are safety glasses, steel toe boots, Flame Resistant Clothing, etc.

Price Increase – This is an increase to the unit rates on a customer invoice.  These are typically scheduled on the anniversary of the agreement and spelled out in that agreement.  Some uniform providers will arbitrarily assess increases at any given interval. 

Processing Facility – See “Plant.”


Renewal – This is an agreement that replaces an existing contract. 

Rental Program – This program calls for full cleaning services, repairs, size changes and upgrading uniforms.

Replacement – This is a term associated with removal of product that does not meet industry standards and is replaced with a new or like new item.  I.E. a shirt is worn out, so it is replaced with a new garment.

Repairs – This is typically associated with mending of garments.  I.E. sewing on buttons, patching, repairing belt loops and/or fixing zippers, etc.

Rollover – See “Evergreen.”

Route Manager (RM) – See “District Manager.”

Route Sales Representative (RSR) – See “Driver.”

Ruin – See “Abuse.”


Satellite – See “Branch.”

Service Charge – See “Environmental Charge.”

Service Manager (SM) – See “District Manager.”

Service Sales Representative (SSR) – See “Driver.”

Shortage – This is a lack of merchandise causing a customer to run out before the next scheduled delivery.  I.E. Dave turned in 5 sets of uniforms and only 4 came back from the laundry.  He will be short before the next delivery.  It may also be a shortage of towels or other non-garment items.

Size Changes – See “Exchanges.”

Special Size Charge – See “Oversize.”


Undersize Charge – See “Oversize.”


Volume – This is the total dollars spent by an account.  It may be expressed weekly, annually or by the term of the agreement.


Wastewater Charge – See “Environmental Charge.”