6 Things to Consider When Entering the Bus Market
1. Create New Revenue Streams
Limo operators who take the initiative to organize tours instead of partnering with tour operators are finding much success. Every area has a tour route. For example, Virginia operators succeed with holiday lights tours, and wine and brewery tours. Paul Rodenberg of Reliable Limousine in Washington, D.C. has had overwhelming interest in the city tours he conducts with his Grech Motors buses. He advertises seats on a tour, with discounts for pairs, and gets a good turnout.
Operators with the experience and capability can take it one step further by offering destination management services, which include transportation, hotel accommodations, event and activity planning, tours, and guidance about local venues for groups to enjoy. Most operators partner with Destination Management Companies (DMCs) to handle transportation and logistics for their clients, but a transportation company who can provide full DMC-type services can increase its bottom line while expanding its client base and enjoying revenue from new sources.
2. Emphasize Quality
Operators should focus on the quality of the vehicles they’re considering. Anything 20 passengers or more requires a different level of maintenance. People who tend to be overly price conscious find in the first year or two they have major maintenance problems. Also, better quality upfront means higher resale value and greater longevity.
3. Don't Expect the DOT to Work on Your Schedule
Department of Transportation (DOT) compliance is a necessary requirement. Just getting an appointment for an inspection can be a hassle. DOT regulations vary among states and even among inspectors. Grech Motors buses all are guaranteed to be 50-state DOT compliant. If you need guidance with DOT compliance, visit our friends at Limo & Bus Compliance.
4. Consider Maintenance Challenges
Before deciding which chassis you want your vehicle built on, research what brands are serviceable in your region. Not every area has a service center for every brand of chassis. Not all chassis dealers have the equipment to put a bus on a lift; you’ll need an authorized chassis truck service center for that.
5. Insurance is Expensive
Once you move from sedans and stretches to a bus, you’re also moving from $1.5 million in coverage to $5 million. However, there are ways to lower those costs by getting insurance discounts, such as by installing GPS or monitoring cameras. Some insurance companies will even buy camera systems for clients. Those cameras become a witness in case of a lawsuit stemming from an accident. If you’re in the right, the camera can keep you from getting sucked into drawn out litigation.
6. Survey Clients
Operators should first thoroughly understand their client demands before purchasing their bus and if they are looking to serve existing customers or attract a new clientele. Arrange to have a demo vehicle in place so clients can size up the vehicle before you purchase. Operators should poll their clients — what options would keep them coming back. Perhaps going an extra mile — and dollar — in terms of exterior design or interior options, such as power outlets to charge devices and on-board WiFi, can help attract that executive market you’ve been chasing, while still serving current clients. On the other hand, a dual-purpose limo bus may be better suited to your market. Since many standard limo buses sit on the weekends, a corporate limo shuttle mixes corporate and party amenities for a versatile moneymaker.
See what our clients have been saying about Grech Motors buses and the Grech Motors experience:
Grech Motors is a high-end coachbuilder founded by Ed Grech, who currently serves as President and CEO.