Put on Your (Collision Repair) Business Clothes

Put on Your (Collision Repair) Business Clothes

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You already buy clothes, so why not spend a tiny bit extra and add your logo to a t-shirt, hooded sweatshirt or hat? You and your employees, and even customers and friends, can become walking billboards if you do it right.

Shop Uniforms vs. Branded Apparel

RedKap auto body shirt
Image: RedKap Automottive Workwear

Most likely you already have shop uniforms, whether you buy your own RedKap or Dickies apparel, or you rent them through a uniform service like Aramark or Cintas. Uniforms are great for the shop floor, and even the office staff, but what about when you or your team members step out of the office?  

Branded apparel is a great way to advertise your shop, while you’re running errands around town, attending your kid’s ballgame, or going for a walk in your neighborhood. 

How Branded Apparel is Used in Auto Body Marketing

Relationship Building

Putting your logo and tagline on clothing using your company colors can help build awareness of your brand. The more exposure people have to your auto body shop, the better. 

Gifting high quality items to key vendors, insurance agents and repeat customers can solidify relationships without breaking the bank.

Promotions and Giveaways

Your goal with branded apparel is for people to wear it, so find a way to get it to them. If you do other advertising, incentivize them to bring their vehicle to you for an estimate. Maybe that’s on a radio ad, a Facebook ad, or your website. You can easily advertise promotions such as, “Bring your vehicle in for an estimate and we’ll give you a free t-shirt”. 

Company Culture

If your shop is a good place to work, your team should happily wear your branded gear. This is a cost-effective way of keeping your auto body shop on people’s minds. 

Whether it’s Christmas time, an employee’s birthday, or simply a way to boost team morale, you can use your company swag as gifts to your team. 

Choose high quality clothing
Your shirt should only rip if you want it to!

High quality is key though - if a t-shirt is super thin, to the point of being transparent, or it falls apart in the wash, it’s going to reflect on you, so don’t simply opt for the cheapest option. Let your clothing vendor help you select a long-lasting garment that will be worn for years.

Where to Find Branded Apparel for Your Shop

Ideally you’ll have at least one local embroidery and silkscreen printing company with whom you can build a relationship.

Working with a local company has many advantages. Don’t overlook the benefits of being able to see the available color options, touch the fabrics, compare options and make hands-on decisions.

This goes for embroidery too. Once your logo is digitized, you can order an embroidery sample to ensure it’s exactly what you had in mind prior to placing a larger order.

Assuming the price point is competitive, finding a local vendor really is the best option. If you don’t have a local option, there are many online suppliers who can assist with these needs, such as Vistaprint or Printful.

Types of Apparel & Design Options

There are several factors to consider when creating custom apparel for your shop. You don’t have to settle for simple t-shirts and ball caps with your logo, although those are perfectly acceptable options. Here are some ideas to consider.

A Simple Logo on a Shirt or Hat

Embroidered hat
Embroidered hat

The most obvious thing to do is create a t-shirt, polo, or ball cap with your basic logo. This is an easy way to start ordering custom clothing. No matter which options you choose, make sure they are stylish enough that your team will want to wear them. If it’s poor quality or cut strangely, it’s going to stay in their closets.

Inspiration, Jokes, and Puns

If you want to make your apparel a little more fun, create special graphics or phrases to put on your shirts, hoodies or hats This works well with t-shirts, where you have space for more than just your logo. 

You can add any saying you might use around the shop, even inside jokes, as long as your crew is on board. Don’t overlook the option to include text on the back of the shirt, or even down the sleeve.

Seasonal Designs

You can hand out unique designs to your staff, family and friends. Along with your other seasonal advertising, you can tailor your message to the season. 

For instance, fall is when your team is most likely to wear hoodies. Create a design with a deer hitting a car (a graphic, not a realistic photo) saying “Deer Attack? Bob’s Auto Body”.

Deer Crossing
Deer T-shirt
Image from Oh, Deer video game by Necrosoft

In the winter, stocking caps or jackets work well, and ball caps and t-shirts are perfect for the summer. Most importantly, get creative with your designs so that people will wear them frequently.

Special Events

If you host an event, like a continuing education course or a Christmas benevolence car giveaway, create a shirt specifically for that event. If you sponsor a little league team, get a shirt for yourself.

Team Building Exercise 99
Image: Redbubble

If my own closet is any indication, people will continue to wear event shirts for years afterwards. 

Even if it’s while mowing the lawn or running a few errands, it’s a good reminder to anyone who sees it that you sponsored or hosted an event. 

Goals and Achievements

When your shop celebrates an anniversary, like 20 years in business for example, use this as an opportunity to hand out commemorative t-shirts to your entire team. 

With “print on demand” capabilities of some vendors, you can even make one-off designs for special occasions, like when an employee celebrates 10 years with the company.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to putting your company’s logo or message on clothing or promotional items, the options are practically endless. Custom apparel for your body shop is an important piece of your overall branding strategy, and a useful way to spread the word about your business.

Hire us to market your body shop - get in touch today.

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Put on Your (Collision Repair) Business Clothes
Jason Ferguson

About Jason Ferguson

Jason has been a graphic designer since 1994 and started building websites in 1997. Since then he's learned countless new marketing skills and loves helping companies get more customers using digital marketing techniques. Jason founded Conspicuous Digital in 2017 and focuses on helping collision repair shops with their marketing.

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