If you’ve ever been upset with the poor level of service and aggressive pricing tactics from Cintas, you’re not alone.
Customers all across the country enter contracts with Cintas for their uniform, apparel, and cleaning supply services only to find that Cintas constantly changes their rates and adds extra fees or overcharges that don’t make sense.
Unfortunately, canceling a Cintas contract and finding a different vendor is not only challenging, but it isn’t always a great option because all major uniform vendors partake in these poor business practices. Other companies like Unifirst, Aramark, and Alsco engage in similar practices.
The best approach is to gain an understanding of how to renegotiate your contract terms and receive credits for any billing errors or overcharges, and more importantly, ensure you put yourself in a position to protect yourself going forward. In almost all cases, this will require you to work with a team of industry experts that know how to handle nuanced negotiations and service disputes with Cintas.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the major issues customers have with Cintas contracts and how they can go about negotiating better contract terms and getting the money back they deserve.
What Is Cintas?
Operating in almost 500 facilities with more than 40,000 employees in North America, Cintas supplies uniform rentals and cleaning services to companies. They offer everything that’s needed to make the workspace a safe and clean environment.
They dominate the industry because they act as a sort of one-stop center for all a company’s cleaning requirements, whereas Cintas’ competitors usually only compete with them in certain functions.
For example, if we look at Cintas competitors, we see that while Cintas offers a whole range of products and services, companies similar to Cintas only offer some of them.
Cintas Contracts: What You Need To Know
It’s so important to read the fine print in all contracts, and the one between your business and Cintas Corporation is no exception. Here’s what you need to know before adding your name to a Cintas contract:
- The standard time frame for all Cintas contracts is five years. However, the contract is automatically renewed if not canceled by the client.
- Cintas’ service agreement automatically renews for the length of the current contract if the customer does not send notification by certified mail to cancel the service 60 days before the contract expires.
- Products and services may be covered by a service or maintenance contract that is subject to the Master Agreement and may survive the Master Agreement.
- Cintas charges termination fees if the customer cancels before the contract expires.
Common Reasons for Wanting to Cancel Cintas Contracts
The most common reasons for customers wanting to cancel Cintas contracts include:
- Customer service problems
- Prices increasing without notice
- Continual billing issues
- Billing for products not received
Before Getting Out of Your Cintas Contract
When contracts are not properly negotiated or monitored, any vendor — including Cintas’ competitors — is going to take advantage, so switching is not the answer. Instead, there are solutions to more effectively managing your Cintas contract so that it works for you instead of against you.
Switching to a Cintas competitor will not solve your problems, because in this industry, the truth is that all vendors will take advantage if the contract wasn’t properly negotiated or monitored.
So lesson #1: always get professional assistance before signing a contract. That being said, if you’re already locked in a bad contract, we can assist as well.
- At P3 Cost Analysts, we average saving our clients 30-40% off their uniform and linen expenses. And if we can’t save you anything, we won’t charge you a fee.
- Cost is just one element, though. We’ll perform a uniform and linen service audit and provide a thorough report that shows all errors and overcharges, together with an explanation of where you can save.
- We will help with the renegotiation of your current agreement and the implementation of contract terms and conditions that protect you instead of Cintas.
- We will use our proprietary database of client benchmarks to ensure you have best-in-class pricing, as well as terms.
- We’ll constantly monitor the monthly Cintas charges to ensure they are in line with the contract, and fight to recover any overcharges that occur.
How to Get Out of a Cintas Contract
In some cases, regardless if we can save money and reconcile the issues, the client may still want to get out of their Cintas contract as soon as possible. This isn’t always possible, as the contracts are binding, but here are some steps you can take.
- Evaluate your contract: Determine if the contract has been breached by Cintas in any way. This will depend on the specific terms and conditions of your contract, as well as the billing and service history on your account.
- Reduce your scope with Cintas: Reduce the number of products and frequency of service to the lowest allowed per your contract.
- Contact Cintas: Send a certified letter to the Cintas General Manager in your region stating your dissatisfaction and that you intend to end the contract in 30 days’ time. If they have not fulfilled their end of the contract, you may be able to get out of it. You will be required to pay any outstanding invoices but may be able to terminate early.
Our Process To Reduce Your Cintas Expenses
As we’ve seen, Cintas contracts can be tricky to get out of and even harder to manage ongoing. In some cases it may not be possible to get out of your contract, so your best option is to negotiate your terms and rates with Cintas.
This level of work with Cintas requires in-depth expertise which is where P3 Cost Analysts can help. We help you reduce your Cintas spending with a proven process.
To begin, we’ll need your Cintas service agreement and the last 4 weeks of invoices. You’ll need to sign a service agreement and letter of authorization to enable us to obtain what we need from Cintas.
Auditing & Findings
It takes us on average, 2 – 3 weeks to conduct a full audit of your invoices, and then we’ll report our initial findings to you. We’ll also check contract compliance and examine all pricing variables for errors and overcharges. Because of our industry expertise, most often we are able to find enough to reduce your bill by about 35%.
Once we’ve compiled our findings, we have a 20 – 30 minute call with you for a strategic discussion, then we approach Cintas for renegotiation. Typically, our clients remain with Cintas until their contract expires, but are happier once we are able to reduce costs.
Together with renegotiating better terms for you, 30 – 40% of the time we are also able to secure rebates or refunds for previous overcharges. However, this does depend on any special terms or conditions that may have initially been added.
A one-time audit is not likely to make any vendor pull up their socks and start behaving, so the situation will need to be reviewed on a continual basis.
We audit our clients’ uniform and linen invoices monthly or bi-monthly for contract compliance. With often dozens of line item charges on each invoice, the vendors are notorious for sneaking in price increases that are hard to notice. We monitor these to ensure contract compliance and work to recover those overcharges when we identify them.
The Bottom Line on Cintas Contracts
The bottom line is that Cintas contracts are a problem for many companies. Difficult contract terms, poor service, and overcharges leave many companies quite frustrated.
If you are ready to take a step toward improving your situation with Cintas, contact us today for a risk-free consultation.