You must have traveled to different tourist places by charter buses. Now, think of it as a business venture. Starting a charter bus company can be a very profitable business for you. With careful planning as well as proper service, you can do well in this business.
Charter buses are vehicles that carry tourists or other passengers to different places of interest or meetings, conferences, etc. It goes to a tailor-made path, unlike the public buses. The charter buses are hired by tour operators or corporates for carrying tourists, delegates, etc.
Charter buses have a good and steady demand. Therefore your business will also have a good demand, provided you make your arrangements well. You can start with a single bus or minibus and gradually expand your charter bus company.
Remember one thing. The charter bus business is service-based and therefore you have to be very particular about the services. Punctuality, comfort, and co-operation are the essential points for the success of your business.
Charter Bus Company Business Plan Checklist for Beginners
You need to follow certain steps in starting your charter bus business. Following are the important 10 steps that will guide you towards success in a chartered bus service business.
1. Choose the Location
Locations play a key role in your charter bus company. The location must have good traffic of tourists or should have importance as a center of business activities. If your location has both the features, then it is ideal. Not only considering these features, but you also have to gather a good idea about the history and geography of the location and its population.
2. Know the Market
You have to do good research on the market along with the viability of your charter bus company. In the first place, you have to study the demographic profile of the place of your business. Keep in mind that your prospective clients do not comprise only tourists. The VIPs, Corporate delegates, political persons, and government officials are also your prospective clients.
Assess the financial capacity of the people of your location or the people who visit that place. This is a decisive factor in your charter bus company. In the next place make a list of the existing charter bus companies in the area.
This will make you aware of the competitions you are going to face. Also, try to know the people’s opinion about the existing companies and what more they want from a new charter bus company.
It is these expectations that will help you to enter and get hold of the market. However, as there are many charter bus companies already there, so you have to be prepared for a tough competition.
In the analysis of competitors, find out the different routes in which they operate. Whether it is sight-seeing or intercity or mostly corporate meetings- try to find out the data. Accordingly, you should decide your niche. You can decide on a different niche to attract more clients.
3. Make a Charter Bus Company Business Plan
In the next step, prepare the business plan for your charter bus company. Work hard on the business plan and seek the advice of the experts. Make a panel or board of experts comprising of finance, accounts, transport, and automobile industry experts.
Your business plan should have details about the investment needed for the business, source of fund, expense heads, marketing strategies, and allocation of funds.
Find below some of the basic topics to be addressed in your business plan:
- Initial and recurring costs
- Target Customers
- Expenses heads
- Pricing plan
- Manpower costs
- How you plan to promote your chaster bus business?
4. Name Your Charter Bus Company
Now you have to choose the name of your charter bus company. Brainstorm your ideas and settle for an easy but meaningful name. Take the opinion of others through personal contact as well as social networking platforms. But, don’t take much time.
After you finalize the name get a domain in the name of your business. This is important because your company must have a website. Websites are necessary for online booking, payment, information on tour programs, and publicity.
Also, get a trademark in the name of your business. Along with it, design a good logo for your business.
5. Register Your Business
The next step is giving legal identity to your charter bus company. In this regard, LLC is your best option for various reasons. Firstly, it will keep your personal finance safe. Secondly, this form of business organization is more helpful for the expansion of your business.
You can form an LLC of yourself or hire a professional LLC formation service provider paying some extra charges.
6. License and Permits and Taxes
After business registration, you have to get the necessary license and permits for your charter bus company. Such requirements vary from state to state. However, you will need a business license and a commercial transportation license. While hiring the drivers, make sure that they have a valid driving license.
Register your business for the taxes. You need EIN or Employer Identification Number.
7. Buy a Business Insurance
You need insurance to protect your business from any mishap or accident. Since your charter bus company will operate with several vehicles, therefore you will need insurance to protect them also. You will need different kinds of insurance like
- General insurance
- Motor vehicle insurance
- Health insurance
- Liability insurance
- Workers Compensation Insurance
- Payment protection insurance
8. Open a Business Bank Account
Open a bank account in the name of your charter bus company. Also, get a credit card in your company’s name.
9. Calculate the Expenses
Your charter bus company will have expenses on different heads. The price of luxury buses varies according to the condition. A used bus can cost you around $8-10000. While a new bus with all the luxurious features cost approximately $ 100,000.
Now come the running expenses. First of all, comes the fuel and maintenance cost of the buses. Charter bus services need to be comfortable with different amenities like toilet, AC, Wi-Fi, intercom, and others. Apart from that, there is the cost of fuels. This will cost approximately $4-600 per week.
Secondly, there is the cost of salaries and wages. Drivers get approximately $20 per hour, mechanics $12-15 per hour. An efficient accountant is needed for your business and his/her monthly salary is between $4-5000. The marketing personnel also have similar compensation.
Thirdly, there are fixed costs of rent for your office, insurance, and license fees, office equipment, and stationery.
These are the expense heads and estimations. However, the exact amount depends on the number of buses your company will have. It is wise to start with a couple of buses and then gradually scale up the business.
10. Create a 10Marketing Plan
This is the pillar of your charter bus business. You have to follow several strategies to market your company and earn more profits. Let us see them.
Visit different potential clients regularly. These include tour operators, corporate and government offices, colleges, universities, and the tourism offices of the area. Distribute printed brochures and leaflets to them so that they can have an idea of your services.
Provide Comfort to Passengers
A significant point in your charter bus company is the comfort you will offer to your passengers. Therefore take every minute effort to keep your buses comfortable as well as luxurious.
The features of the charter bus include air conditioning, comfortable reclining seats, footrests, restroom, toilets, drinking fountains, tray table, window screen, power outlets, DVD watching facilities, music system, large luggage storage capacity, etc.
Wi-Fi on the bus is a very important service for your charter buses. You can also install GPS on the buses. Offering soft drinks as a welcome drink can also be good value addition.
Keep a close eye on the regular cleaning and maintenance of the buses.
Arrange s Soft Launch
You can arrange a soft launch, a free trip for key persons like tour operators, important corporate or government officials on your charter bus. This will add to the publicity of your charter bus company and give you mileage.
Create an Online Presence
Website is an essential factor both in terms of marketing as well as profits. Design a good, user-friendly website for your charter bus company. This will let more people know about your company and its services.
Give the details of the tour programs on the website. Activate the facilities of online booking along with online payments.
Explore Social Networking Sites
Create pages in the name of your charter bus company in popular social networking sites like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, etc. Don’t forget to give colorful pictures of your buses and trips along with satisfied customers’ reviews on the pages. Also, share the link to your website on the pages.
These pages will be a good medium of publicity for your charter bus company as more people will get to know about your company.
Advertisements have a universal appeal and acceptance. Give ads for your company in newspapers, TV, Radio. Also use banners, hoardings in prominent places of the area. Distribute flyers and pamphlets in the residential areas and complexes.
Offer discounts on special occasions like festivals, or for parties or marriages. Also, offer off-season discounts to attract more customers.
Maintain Good Customer Relations
You have to maintain a very good customer relationship for the publicity and good image of your charter bus company. Co-operate with them in all ways. Good customer relations will give you more clients as well as referral clients.
These are the important steps you should follow in starting your charter bus business. Despite these steps, there are some obvious questions that will arise in your mind. Let us try to answer them.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to start a charter bus company?
It depends on the scale of your business. It is better to start with second-hand buses. A standard tourist bus will cost between $ 40-60,000. The running cost along with other fixed costs will sum up to at least $ 15-20,000 per month.
Therefore, for multiple buses, your investment will be greater. However, it will not be multiplied, as some fixed costs like office, accountant and other staff salaries will not be doubled or tripled.
To sum up, for a single bus business, you have to start at approximately $ 100,000.
What is the profit margin for a charter bus company?
The profit is quite high. With a single bus that operates in a place of tourist attraction, you can earn $ 100000. Moreover, this is a growth-oriented business, where the revenues are increasing for the last 5-7 years.
According to Statista, the revenue of the charter bus industry will reach approximately $ 4.114,3 million by 2024. This projection proves that it is a growing business. Therefore with the right planning, you can earn good profits.
In this regard, remember that you will be able to earn more with the addition of buses in your company.
What are Real-Life Examples of Charter Bus Company?
There are many reputed charter bus companies in the United States providing quality services to customers. Some of them are listed below:
- Adirondack Trailways
- Jefferson Lines
- Peter Pan
Who are the Target Customers of Charter Bus Business?
The targets are mostly tourists. They can be from all age groups and profiles. Apart from that, the Corporate and Government Officials, Celebrities, VIPs, or Marriage, or other Event planning Organizations are also your target.
These are the key factors in starting your charter bus company. It has a bright prospect. So also, you will have a good future in this business.
About the Author: 99businessideas.com led by Rupak Chakrabarty is committed to helping beginners, entrepreneurs, and small business owners in starting, managing, and growing their business. Our aim is to educate the entrepreneur on the various stages of entrepreneurship.