For Frederick Purnell, it’s a top priority to reduce fleet operating costs at Delaware’s Wilmington Housing Authority (WHA). Over the last 10 to 15 years, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) funding for housing authorities has dropped 30% to 50%.
“When we had a bigger capital budget, we used that funding to purchase fleet vehicles,” says Purnell, executive director at WHA. “That funding has been cut, and the HUD has limited the authorization of purchasing vehicles in housing authorities across the country.”
With a fleet of 44 vans, pickup trucks and sedans that averaged 15 to 18 years old, the maintenance and repair costs continued to climb each year, as the older vehicles required more frequent maintenance, says Purnell.
To help cut operating costs, Purnell sent a proposal to several leasing companies. In the end, Enterprise Fleet Management offered the agency the best package, including fuel management, maintenance repair and roadside assistance.
Established in 1938, WHA provides affordable housing for low-income families in the city of Wilmington, Del. “We personally manage almost 2,000 units and take care of all the maintenance and repair,” says Purnell. “The maintenance team uses the fleet vehicles to respond to service calls.”
By partnering with Enterprise Fleet Management, WHA plans to reduce its fleet costs over the next five years, saving an average of more than $25,000 per year in operating expenses.
“Enterprise did an audit of our existing fleet and suggested where we could use a smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicle to replace the older, gas guzzler we had in our inventory,” says Purnell. “The old vehicles used a lot of gas and required more expensive parts like new engines and transmissions.”
As part of the new fleet strategy, WHA first got rid of its old vehicles that were sitting on the lot and not being used. This reduced its fleet from 44 down to 38, says Purnell.
In addition to providing WHA with new vehicles, Enterprise also offers regular maintenance, use reporting and a fuel card program. It will help dispose of the vehicles once the lease is over.
“We know that the cost to maintain our fleet vehicles will drop,” says Purnell. “The savings was significant when Enterprise compared the fuel consumption with our older vehicles to the anticipated gas mileage of the newer fleet.”
So far, Enterprise has delivered nine Ford Transit Connect cargo vans to WHA, replacing its older Ford cargo vans. The remaining vehicles are scheduling to be phased into the fleet — replacing the oldest and highest mileage vehicles first.
“With this fleet refresh, Enterprise will help us more reliably service the buildings we manage, while at the same time significantly reduce our fleet costs and carbon footprint — it’s a win-win for everyone,” says Purnell.