Careful planning and preparation will ensure that the task of ordering your squad's cheerleading uniforms will not become a headache and heartbreak. This is a major decision for most squads and warrants a lot of thought and discussion. Before you order your cheerleading uniforms, follow these tips and advice.
Selecting a Style - If you're involved in this part of the process, you have the responsibility to consider:
- Company - Become familiar with a company. Ask other people for references. Request catalogs and study the company's policies. Play close attend to their terms and conditions and return policy.
- Price - Set a budget. Figure out what you can spend per person. Look for specials or discounts on shipping and quantity orders.
- Dress Code - If your school has a dress code you should consider it when ordering your cheerleading uniforms. Skirt length and midriff tops are just two areas that will probably need your special attention.
- Comfort - Cheerleading uniforms should be comfortable to wear especially while stunting and jumping. A comfortable uniform will have some "give" to it and not restrict motion or movement. Comfort also encompasses the way your cheerleaders feel when wearing their uniform. You don't want them constantly tugging on it to cover up exposed areas.
- Style - Choose a style that will look good on all of your cheerleaders. Consider their body types and figures. You want the uniform to be functional and yet still flatter the wearer.
- Material and Fabric - The fabric should have a little "give" to it so that it will add to the comfort of the uniform. It should be easy to care for and the material should be colorfast. Read the labels if you can and if not, ask your sales representative. Consider whether the uniform is wash and dry or has to dry cleaned. Cheerleading uniforms have come a long way over the last few years. Look into the newest high tech fabrics that wick moisture away. For a little extra money, they might be worth the investment. These factors may make a difference to your squad in how they feel and look on the floor or field.
- Versatility - Being versatile can give you more bang for your buck. So, check to see if you can change up part of the uniform to get a new look. Also, consider that your cheerleaders may be cheering in hot and cold weather. If you order a jumper or shell, think about whether they can wear a long sleeve top under them.
OK, you've considered all of the above and think you're ready to place that order. Well, you may not be ready just yet. Here are some more tips on do's and don'ts when ordering your squad's uniforms:
- Color - Check the colors to make sure they match your team's colors. If you are a shade or two off it can make a big difference in how the squad appears from the stands. Inquire about run lot of the fabric and ask whether you need to order all the uniforms together to ensure you get the same color. If you are unsure about the colors in a catalog, request a color swatch sample from the company. Most companies will be glad to assist you with this in order to avoid a mistake.
- Size - Measure accurately. If there is a sizing chart in the catalog, follow it closely. If anybody falls between sizes, it is always better to go up to the larger size.
- Payment - Ask about payment options and discounts for quantity and cash. Some companies require a deposit to place an order and some require payment in full. Learn the terms so there are no surprises. Also, you might want to consider whether they accept credit cards, purchase orders or personal checks.
- Shipping - Ask about shipping on both the original order and any returns you might have. You'll want to know how they are going to ship and who pays for the shipping.
- Delivery - One of the first things your squad will want to know is when will they receive their uniforms. Get a firm shipping date and estimate of delivery. Some orders can take up to 12 weeks. If you have an upcoming event, deliver can make or break a deal.
- Don't Assume Anything - If you have any questions, ask a sales representative or customer service representative. Don't think you're bothering them, it's par of their job to answer questions.
- Refunds and Returns - Read the return policy carefully. If your uniforms are custom made, they may not be returnable or exchangeable.
By following the do's and don'ts above, your squad will experience nothing but excitement the first time they put on their new cheerleading uniforms.