The Cintas Corporation, simply called Cintas, is one of the largest cleaning aid service companies in the world. It was first established way back in 1929 under the name Acme Industrial Laundry Company. Richard and Amelia Farmer, the founders, did extensive recycling work in collecting used rags from the nearby industries, laundering them, and selling them back to the said industries as new/second-hand products!
However, this manual work took quite a while to take place. It wasn’t until the 1960s that Cintas began partnering up with other major corporations to produce mass work, by which time, the company was run by the Farmers’ grandson, Richard ‘Dick’. He imbued a breath of fresh air into the workings of Cintas by introducing local uniforms into the mix (selling and rental). Eventually, the company went deep into the cleaning and safety supplies trade, selling mops, restroom products, mats, safety items, and first aid.
Cincinnati, OH, US
Public, Independent Company, S&P 500 Component
Today, the name Cintas is synonymous with anything related to cleaning supplies and uniforms. The company has a solid presence in almost every US state and Canada. It acquired quite a few uniform rental companies over the years, including first-aid kit suppliers like American Petragon First Aid. However, its largest acquisition to date has to be the G&K Service, a popular supplier of uniforms and cleaning products. This acquisition was cemented in 2017, and since then, Cintas has been consistently featured on the Fortune 500 list every year!
Currently, Cintas generates a revenue of around $7 billion, and it essentially owns the service supply market in the US. Scott Farmer, who resigned this year, was the last of the founder’s line to run the company. It is presently run by Todd Schneider. So do other companies in the niche stand a chance against Cintas? Let’s find out!
The biggest competitor of Cintas is Aramark. Aramark was founded in 1936 by two brothers, Dave and Henry Davidson. They initially named it after themselves, Davidson Brothers. Its services involved providing vending stuff to plant employees in the aviation sector. It was only in the late 1950s and early 1960s that the Davidson brothers thought of expanding their business. And in 1994, the company name was officially changed to its current name, Aramark.
How Cintas makes Money
The revenue stream of Cintas can be essentially divided into three sub-sectors – uniforms, floor mats, and safety products. Cintas sells as well as rents out uniforms and floor mats for various industries, but it only sells security products without renting them. But did you know that the company makes over 77% of profits solely from renting stuff? Yes, apparently, renting out uniforms and floor mats constitutes a major part of its business!
Here’s how the uniform rental system (the biggest revenue generator) of Cintas works. For any organization, big or small, Cintas provides two clean sets of uniforms for two weeks. The organization has the option to either customize the uniforms or use them as is. Once you have selected the choice of uniforms, the sets will be delivered to your doorstep as soon as possible. You can request repairs or replacements any time there on out. And the best part is that you don’t need to make any upfront payments. Just pay the bill whenever it arrives!
Industry – Uniform Rental
Cintas is the leading provider of uniforms for almost any and every sector in North America. An organization can either buy an entire set of uniforms or rent it for a reasonably-priced subscription. If you don’t wish to purchase the collection, then you have a range of benefits to take advantage of. For one, laundry care of the rented uniform will fall entirely under Cintas’es radar. And you won’t need to pay any additional fees for maintenance or repair of those clothes.
Furthermore, Cintas’es range of uniforms isn’t just limited to one single category. You can rent a separate uniform set for work, another one for outwear, and yet another for emergencies. The company also provides Carhartt rental, chef wear rentals, cleaning department gowns, isolation wear, scrub rentals, and flame-resistant clothing. You have the option to pick their entire range for your company or individual wear for specific departments.
Industry – Floor Mat Service
Cintas provides floor mat services like rental and retail for almost every industry. Did you know that the type of floor mat that you use at your company’s premises determines the quality of work you provide? Clients can instantly deduce the performance and dedication of a company from their floor mats! Even if you render unique services in your niche, the customer won’t think twice before rejecting your brochure if your floor mats aren’t appealing enough.
The importance of an appealing floor mat in your office space for determining the outcome of that all-important client meeting cannot be stressed enough without actually applying the idea behind the presentation. And Cintas provides rigorous stats behind its claims of mats being an essential ingredient in impressing the customer!
Competitor – Aramark
Aramark Corporation is a giant in the services industry. It provides food, facilities, and uniform services to every major operation in the world. Its revenue of over $14 billion reiterates its formidable worldwide presence. The company started off by providing vending services to employees in the aviation sector. It was only in the late 1960s that it graduated to providing mainstream services, including the likes of the Olympic Games.
After the Automatic Retailers of America (ARA) was fully incorporated into the mid-20th century Aramark, their services stretched into several sectors in the industry. And when ARA was finally changed to Aramark in the 1990s, they successfully acquired many other mid-range to small establishments in the niche to grow into the multibillion-dollar organization that they are today.
Industry – Managed Services
Managed services are different from providing general uniform or cleaning service in the sense that it outsources the said services, only supervising and managing the procedure. Thus, though Aramark doesn’t get involved in the services that it provides, it forms an integral part of the service industry as a whole.
As mentioned earlier, Aramark primarily deals in the food and uniform industry of managed services. It is headquartered in Philadelphia, PA, and has its presence throughout North America and 20 other countries on the planet. The Davidson family (founders) is nowhere to be seen among Aramark’s ranks today. It is currently headed by John Zillmer as the CEO. The one major advantage that Aramark has over Cintas is that it provides uniforms for prison inmates as well.
Competitor – Ecolab
Ecolab works in a unique sector of service – water treatment. The company was founded in 1923 with the full name, Economics Laboratory, by Merritt Osborn. Initially, it provided cleaning services and products for hotel carpets. In just about a decade, its services had expanded into other sectors and so had its reach (throughout the US). The name, Economics Laboratory was a handful, so they eventually shortened it to Ecolab in 1986.
Today, Ecolab has become one of the largest water treatment and cleaning services companies in the world. It made a number of acquisitions over the years to become a corporate giant which not only provides specific services but also sells commercial equipment for doing so. Ecolab is presently based in St. Paul, MN, and has several branches all over the planet. Its total employee count is approximately 50,000, and it generates a revenue of nearly $15 billion.
Industry – Cleaning and Hygiene
This particular industry falls under the ‘services’ industry, but since Ecolab provides both products and services, we are considering it as a separate entity. The general business model of Ecolab is something like this. If you own a brick-and-mortar business, then you will need to provide clean water to your employees and ensure a hygienic workspace. To do that, you need to call up Ecolab and either hire their water treatment, cleaning, and infection prevention services or purchase their products.
Competitor – UniFirst
As the name suggests, UniFirst deals in professional uniforms (mostly rental). It was founded by the Croatti family in 1936 as a dry cleaning service. They initially operated the business from their barn, and as their clients and workload grew, they expanded into other areas of Boston, MA. Did you know that UniFirst is one of the most honest companies that we have come across? Here’s how.
When they started manufacturing uniforms, they received complaints from the nearby residents about water pollution from their waste residue. UniFirst was later sued for the persisting problem, but the company reached an out-of-court settlement of $1 million. Since then, they have been ensuring that none of their manufacturing and dry cleaning industries are causing any environmental problems.
Industry – Uniform Rental
UniFirst designs and manufactures the uniforms and puts them up for sale or rent. Most of their $1.8 billion revenue stems from renting out uniforms. They also provide complete service for the rented uniforms, right from laundering and cleaning to mending and replacement. All you need to do is place an order for the type of uniforms you want for your employees. They will be delivered to your company’s doorstep in a short time. Once you are done with the uniforms, UniFirst’s personnel will come to pick those up as well!
Competitor – ABM Industries
ABM Industries is a facility service provider with a host of products and offerings. It was founded by Morris Rosenberg way back in 1909. It was a window cleaning service that was handled entirely by Morris alone, as he washed and cleaned people’s windows day in and day out. As his business grew, so did his team, and in 1913, he chose the name American Building Maintenance (ABM) for his company.
Industry – Facility Services
Today, ABM has come a long way from window cleaning to fully immersing itself in almost every area of facility service. While janitorial service still forms an integral part of the company, it also provides electrical, energy, HVAC and mechanical services for various sectors. Its revenue is somewhere around $6.5 billion.
Competitor – VF Corporation
VF Corporation is an apparels and footwear dealer that has a worldwide presence. It was founded in 1899 by John Barbey as a mitten manufacturing company. Initially called Reading Glove, the company changed its business to producing silk lingerie in 1913, also changing its name to Schuylkill Silk Manufacturing. However, since it was so tough to pronounce the name, it was later changed to Vanity Fair (VF) Mills after their unique lingerie collection by the same name.
Industry – Work Apparel / Uniforms
Today, VF Corporation produces all kinds of apparel. Their target sectors include outdoor/sportswear, activewear, and workwear. The latter set of clothing is their most in-demand one. The company sells work uniforms, but doesn’t rent them out. The revenue of VF Corporation is nearly $14 billion.
Competitor – APi Group
APi Group is a company that provides services mainly for the industrial and construction sectors. It was founded in 1926 as a separate division of the large mechanical firm, Reuben L. Anderson-Cherne. It was mostly created for bringing in small insulation businesses through distribution. Today, APi Group has come into its own and diversified into various other markets. Its revenue is about $3.5 billion.
Industry – Construction Safety
APi Group is into ensuring the safety of workers in the construction segment. Also, it provides architectural metals, piping, and other materials for various sectors.
Competitor – Landau Scrubs
As the name suggests, Landau Scrubs is mostly into medical scrubs and hospital attire. It was founded in 1938 by Rodolph Landau when he began selling workman’s uniforms to garage employees. Today, the company generates a healthy revenue of around $500 million.
Industry – Uniforms Retail
Landau Scrubs manufactures hospital wear for employees, doctors, and patients. It only sells the attire without renting it out.
The Top 7 Cintas Competitors: Aramark, Ecolab, UniFirst, ABM Industries, VF Corporation, APi Group, Landau Scrubs. Their combined revenue is close to $62.3 billion, with a total employee count of 516,500.
Philadelphia, PA, US
St. Paul, MN, US
Wilmington, MA, US
New York, NY, US
Denver, CO, US
New Brighton, MN, US
Olive Branch, MS, US
Cintas Competitor Crossword
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Darrell Burges - Business Analyst & Technical Writer
Darrell Burges is a skilled business analyst and a technical writer for WCS. Based on his 5+ years of experience, he writes in-depth articles about competing companies and encourages individuals to explore alternatives in the business world. He is the one who knows how to engage you in the world of competitors and explain complex concepts in simple terms.