Superior UK and William Purves Funeral Directors: a 10-year partnership

2013 marks the 10th year in which Superior UK Automotive have supplied funeral vehicles to William Purves Funeral Directors. Director Tim Purves explains why the partnership works so well.

William Purves is a family-run funeral business based in Edinburgh with 20 offices stretching from the Scottish Borders and North East of Scotland to North Eastern England. The business was started in 1888 and is now run by four Directors, including Chairman John Purves and his son Tim Purves, who represents the fifth generation of the Purves family.

Like all four of the company Directors, Tim is on-site at the business’s Head Office in Edinburgh and enjoys a hands-on role which includes funeral directing and meeting client families. He also has a special operational remit: that of funeral vehicles.

“The business used a different brand of vehicles in my Grandfather’s day,” Tim explains. “About 15 years ago we decided to change our fleet to Mercedes Benz vehicles, and this is a decision I have carried on in my role as Director in charge of fleet management. All of our vehicles are E-Class Mercedes Benz.

“We discovered Peter and Kevin Smith whilst searching for a source of specialist Mercedes Benz funeral vehicles, and soon decided to move some of our business over to them. The quality of the vehicles speaks for itself, but their company values and customer service sets them apart and that’s why Superior UK are still our chosen partner 10 years later.”

In 10 years, William Purves Funeral Directors have taken delivery of 10 hearses, 15 limousines, a specialist Vito removal vehicle and company fleet vehicles from Superior UK. “With 20 offices set across a large geographical area, we run a very large fleet and we’re in the fortunate position to be able to always buy new vehicles,” says Tim, who changes the company’s fleet every six years. “Most recently, we took delivery of two brand new limousines from Superior UK.”

After 125 successful years in business, William Purves Funeral Directors have a strong corporate identity. One decision which helped align their company values and external branding was the colour of their funeral fleet. “When we took the decision to move away from traditional black, Superior UK were a great help, assisting us with the respray of our existing fleet at the time,” explains Tim. “The exclusive Mercedes Benz “Palladium Silver” certainly suits us as a company and is appreciated by our client families.”

It’s not just the colour of William Purves’s vehicles which appeal to the families they serve. Bespoke vehicle details and special design touches, like dark colour interiors and eye-catching glass roofs, make sure this company are remembered for their attention to fine quality. “The glass roofs on the limousines help lift the dark interiors by allowing plenty of light in,” says Tim, “and client families do comment on the light airy interior.”

Tim tells us why he is happy to retain Superior UK as a key business partner after 10 years in partnership. “The vehicles we get from Superior UK are very well made and always of a good high finish”, he says. “But, after 10 years, it’s about more than the vehicles. We appreciate what a good working relationship we have with Peter and Kevin at Superior UK. Despite the fact that we’re a long way away from their offices, they take the time to visit us regularly. They always deliver our vehicles in person. And it’s invaluable to know that you can pick up the phone any time and speak directly to the people who make the decisions.”

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