What are tour buses?
They are used to ferry tourists from one destination to another. As the number of tourists increases, year after year so does the demand for transit services. Think about it, tourists aren't going to travel to a country with their fancy cars or bikes. When they travel to a new destination, they need an affordable, comfortable, and luxurious transporter to hob nob them from one hot spot to another. They will need assistance to reach the hotel from the airport. Then from the hotel, they will need assistance to travel to the various hot spots in the city. If a city has 10 sites of tourist attraction, does one expect tourists to search for a taxi every time they move to the next destination? And even if they do, the cab ride would be expensive which they could save for themselves otherwise.
How to start your own transportation service?
Of course, a multi-seater shuttle vehicle will be needed to carry large groups of tourists together. New shuttles are expensive and the cost of operating and maintaining them can financially cripple a start-up. Therefore, it's better to buy one that is already used, has less than 200,000 miles, is less than a decade old, and has one previous owner from licensed dealerships. Their life spans up to 300,000 miles. So, if they already have 150,000 miles, they can still be used for another 150,000. This is where tour operators can make good amounts of money. They are fairly cheap because they are preowned, compared to their newer counterparts and prices can range from $10,000 up to $45,000 depending on their features.
Getting the shuttle bus delivered to your site
Dealerships selling vehicles that accommodate 15 passengers or more are not located everywhere. They are normally situated far from city centres. Many buyers may not find a dealership in their home state and may have to contact dealers from outside the state. In either case, the dealer will pack the shuttle on a trailer and get it delivered to your site with ease. The buyer will be responsible to pay for the trailer service at a nominal amount of roughly $1.5 to $2 per mile. Once delivered, it can be set into operations right away because they can be operated with a regular license.
Where to park the bus?
A big shed, barn, or garage will be a good place to park during non-working hours. It will be safe and protected from the elements as well as theft. This will increase its trade-in value should the owner decide to sell it after a few years. Expect a shorter life span for it if kept exposed to the elements day in and day out. Moreover, it should be parked on a flat surface when out on the road.
Hiring an experienced and licensed driver to operate the bus
Vehicles that seat up to 15 passengers do not require a commercial license. This means they can be set into operations right away with a regular license. This is one of the greatest advantages of buying a small 15 seater tour bus. But the driver has to be trained to operate a used shuttle. He should make a checklist of all the major components and inspect them before and after every trip. This will ensure passenger safety and avoid breakdowns during operations. This safety measure will alert the driver in advance of any upcoming repairs.
Finding clients to get started
Once the vehicle and its driver are ready to move, the operator should start contacting the various hotels in his city to find out if they need transit services. Most hotels are located within a 10 km radius from the international airports. All hotels need transportation service to ferry their customers to and from the airport at regular schedules. They also need transportation to help their guests go sightseeing throughout their stay in the hotel. As a market penetration strategy, the operator can offer services at a cheaper rate than his competitors. Once he has his book full of scheduled services. He can then slowly and steadily search for newer and better clients who will be ready to pay a premium for his transportation service.
Maintaining and repairing the shuttle bus
Every automobile requires scheduled maintenance and repairs. It's better to get it checked every 6 months even if it appears to be in good shape and functions as usual. This is a precautionary measure and if done judiciously will increase its life beyond 300,000-miles. The longer its operational life, the more money it will make for the owner.
Disposing of the bus when no longer needed
Finally, when its mechanical life has been completely squeezed out, it's time to dispose of it. Many sellers repaint and change the seats to give it a brand new look. Yet they can't find buyers for several months or even years. It's better to dispose of them to the dealership from where they were purchased initially. All dealers are ready to buy back their stock at a reasonable price right away rather than let them sit idle in the owner's garage for several months.
Rinse and repeat: Buy another used shuttle bus and start the process again
After going through the entire cycle of buying, owning, and disposing of their first shuttle vehicle. It's time for the operator to buy another and get his company back on track by contacting the same dealership. This time the dealer will offer him a discount as well because he is a repeat customer and the dealer would be seriously interested in establishing a long term relationship with him. As the operator purchases more and more, he will be entitled to get bigger and bigger discounts on every purchase. Moreover, large dealerships will offer maintenance and repair services at discounted prices too. These savings will go a long way in the overall success of the transportation company.