Housing association fleet moves from flexi-lease to contract hire

Believe Housing

A housing association in the North East of England has awarded a sole-supply contract to Alphabet and switched its fleet from a flexi-lease arrangement to contract hire.

Believe Housing operates 163 vans and two cars. Alphabet is providing full contract hire and maintenance, including accident management, driver risk management and rental services.

The move is expected to cut the company’s fleet costs by 30% over the next five years.

Rachel Cox, director of property repairs at Believe Housing, said: “Most of our staff get to work in one of our offices or from home, but for trade operatives the van is their office. Making sure the vehicles were fit for purpose and were a safe and comfortable working environment was at the forefront of our minds. That meant consulting members of each trade, so the racking suited the materials and tools they use, to having air conditioning and DAB radio in the vehicles.

“The move to a sole provider and new funding model will reduce operational costs by about 30% over the next five years, and as a not-for-profit all the money we save will go back into providing affordable housing in the region and a wide range of support services for customers.”

With the support of Alphabet, Believe Housing is also building on its wider environmental targets and green credentials by moving 10% of its fleet to electric vehicles within the first year of the contract. The housing association has initially placed an order for 11 eLCVs (Vauxhall Vivaros) and two electric company cars (Nissan Leaf) and will be continuing to grow this part of its fleet in the future.

Alphabet’s short term rental service, AlphaRent, has helped Believe Housing keep its workforce on the move by supporting many daily rental requirements at very short notice and preventing downtime as they transition to their new fleet.

Dermot Kehoe, corporate sales manager at Alphabet (GB), said: “It’s great to be working with believe housing in this key period of growth for their business. With a substantial fleet based on a flexi-lease model, we were keen to get the process of moving to contract hire vehicles underway as soon as possible, so they could start benefitting from significant cost reductions. And by advising them to order the LCVs prior to full specifications being agreed, we were also able to help them avoid three price increases on the main models they selected, creating further cost savings for the business.

"We’re delighted to have part of the new fleet already in operation for believe housing and are looking forward to identifying more efficiencies, as we continue to build our partnership and help them drive the business forward.”

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