TC CLEANS UP WITH PRIUS
The UK’s largest independently owned cleaning contractor has achieved significant cost-savings as a result of providing its busy area managers with full hybrid cars. TC Cleaning Services runs a fleet of almost 100 vehicles, 70 of which are Toyota Prius hatchbacks. It started using Prius in 2007, and is now in the process of switching from second- to third-generation models.
The company, based in Walton-on-the-Hill, Surrey, has been in operation for 50 years. Its core business is in the retail sector, with clients including bluechip companies such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, New Look and Budgens. TC Cleaning Services employs more than 4,000 staff at some 1,200 sites across the UK, and the Toyota hybrids are used by the managers who oversee the contracts. Area managers drive Prius T3 models, while regional managers qualify for top-of-the-range T-Spirits with leather trim.
Purchased outright, the vehicles are supplied by local business centre Motorline Toyota Gatwick and maintained by Toyota garages throughout the UK and Northern Ireland. TC Cleaning Services is a Toyota Fleet partnership customer.
The managers drove mainly Mercedes A-class cars before TC Cleaning Services initiated the switch to hybrid drive. “Prius has proved cost-efficient for the company, because both our fuel and maintenance costs have decreased,” says Fleet Administrator Lynne Davies.
“Even for an expanding fleet like ours in the midst of fuel rises, the cars have held their own very nicely. It’s only in the past nine months with such steep rises in petrol prices that costs have been pushed up.”
“We have trackers in the vehicles, so it’s relatively easy to calculate the savings since we started to feed Prius in – and the difference is marked.”
For the drivers, the change “made a financial difference in terms of tax, and Prius was a larger, more comfortable car,” says Lynne. For those driving into London, lack of congestion-charging meant another significant saving.
Feedback from the managers backs this up: “There has been nothing negative – they can all see the positives of using Prius,” says Lynne. “Once drivers get used to the hybrid concept, they’re absolutely fine.”
What does Lynne herself think of the latest Prius? “Toyota has tweaked the things that needed changing – it’s more refined, provides more choice as to how to drive, has a deeper boot and the heads-up display is fantastic – that’s a bonus I wasn’t expecting.”
The reliability of the Toyota Prius is allowing TC Cleaning Services to squeeze high mileages from the cars. “I recently sold one of the oldest after 195,000 miles, with not an ounce of problems in that time,” says Lynne. “Two more will be sold soon at 150,000 miles, and those now on the spares fleet have all done over 110,000.”
At executive level there are also two Lexus RX 450h hybrids on the fleet, with a CT 200h under consideration. “Our CEO has said that he wishes to work towards an all-hybrid car fleet – although it will probably take a few years to achieve this goal,” says Lynne.
“There’s no going back to conventional cars for us – only pushing forward to achieve our aim of a fully hybrid car fleet.”