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Old 01-11-2014, 10:58 PM   #11
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Re: Preparing to purchase my first bus

This isnt going to an actual bar scene guys. Its a music venue with a bar attached to it. I understand that there are many risks involved but I don't think I should be blowing the business away because of a few intoxicating situations.
I've already spent two months planning for this. I'll take all comments into consideration but I've been told no...don't do it all my life. I'm so pestered by the thought that I can't form my ideas into something. I have a book of inventions I'd love to produce provided I receive income...something working a job won't do right now. I've gone yo school for 6 years and have no degree because I don't know what to do in life.
My assumed solutions to these are strict rules, emergency planning, a willingful attitude to call authorities when needed, and a member on the bus acting as crowd control and security.
Where can I find more laws pertaining to seating and standards. Keeping up with bus maintenance so far doesn't seem to be much of an issue. I've included a minimal deposit amount of $450 /month for maintenance.
Questions still pending:
Which type of bus fits best? Seats facing in, school bus, top of the line bus, open booth seats? I'm assuming since seats can be purchased from 1- any amount that a group of 30 people facing eachother might be sort of awkward.
It MST be diesel because I'd like to make the conversion to bio fuel very quickly.
Insurance companies... not a lot out there in mn so far? Anyone have more suggestions?
If I'm not making a business out of this and just "transporting groups of friends" can I get away with making money from it?
Additional trip ideas include music festivals around america, Spring break trips, leisure activities, etc. I don't plan to make a career out of this..1-2 years and I'll sell the bus for someone else to do unless its extremely successful..I can also sell the business.
I think I'll talk more about the business aspect on another forum since this forum deals mostly with conversions which seems like I May not even be doing,
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Old 01-11-2014, 11:08 PM   #12
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Re: Preparing to purchase my first bus

I should also mention that while some of the shows will be your alternative and rock shows, the majority of them will be electronic dance music. The scene around this music is built on fun/positive be who you are and we accept you type attitude. I'd hope it stays that way. This isn't just 21+ its 18+. A lot of them do not drink that much and as a manager of the club I don't anticipate high toxicity. Anyone that seems to be too intoxicated may be asked to stay the night at a hotel and picked up by friends later ( I don't have any other solutions yet) I will reccoment that if friend notice a friend that's too drunk to ensure they slow down n hour prior to the bus departure. I will also mention that clear signs of underage drinking will be turned over to the mlps PD conviently right down the road.
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Old 01-12-2014, 10:59 AM   #13
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Re: Preparing to purchase my first bus

I have read this thread and am kind of shaking my head but not in a bad way. I just turned 44 last December so I like to think I have a few years of lifes beating under my belt.

First off I applaud you for wanting to take on a business. I think its one of the great things about this country that makes it so great. Lots of great ideas and services have came about cause someone thought outside of the box. I do have to say that a lot of others have mentioned some very good points. Having been a wilder person in my youth I would like to think I had a lot of experience in the drinking dept but drunk people are the best and worse of things to deal with. Yes they spend money freely but they also create a lot of their own issues. I think we live in a sue happy society so you more or less have to plan for the worse in almost any case. Its how insurance companies calculate their risks. Theres a reason why they make money.

To throw my 2 cents on on trying to help you find solution.... As for what bus. I think get what you can afford. You are working on a pretty serious limited budget. If you have a good successful business it will make money and you will will expand to get more and better buses. I would SERIOUSLY look in to the laws that govern passenger travel in both states. I have heard in Texas they are considering making charter bus companies put seat belts in buses at some point in time. So if your states require or do something like that.... well your seating arrangement may be decided because of this. I am not sure if your going to have people roam free on the bus well that may affect that.

Question are you planning on having a toilet on board? Last time I checked people who drink go to the room a lot. Remember liquor/beer/wine is not owned when you buy it... its just rented. So one thing I would say is make sure you have enough capacity to handle people and waste they can and will create.

I would imagine your biggest issue is going to find someone to insure you. This will be a HUGE cost. I dont know of any business that is involvement with alcohol with super low rates and commercial insurance on a passenger vehicles is usually their 2nd or 3rd largest expenses. So I hope you have enough business to hopefully over come those impasses.

Good luck on this. I hope it takes off. Wishing you the best and I will keep looking here to see how it does
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Old 01-13-2014, 12:10 PM   #14
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Re: Preparing to purchase my first bus

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ucwarrior1
Insurance companies... not a lot out there in mn so far? Anyone have more suggestions?
You will have to look around for a nationwide company (they usually have the financial resources to take on specialized risks like this one), but calling an independent insurance agency in the greater Minneapolis area will get you on the right track. Usually insurance companies can point you in the direction of another company if they can't write the business themselves. You can narrow the field down by searching for insurance companies that specialize in business insurance; a lot of companies like Allied, Nationwide, Farmers, State Farm, etc. will not write insurance for a business that sells alcohol or requires a liquor license. They will usually refer the potential customer on to a specialized commercial insurer. Make a few calls and if it isn't something the first insurance company wants to insure, ask them for suggestions on where you should go. Someone will give you a good recommendation!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ucwarrior1
If I'm not making a business out of this and just "transporting groups of friends" can I get away with making money from it?

Additional trip ideas include music festivals around america, Spring break trips, leisure activities, etc. I don't plan to make a career out of this..1-2 years and I'll sell the bus for someone else to do unless its extremely successful..I can also sell the business.
I would think you could "rent" your transportation services to a group. I spent a lot of years caravan-ing around the countryside and going to shows; there was always a small group of more financially secure people that would rent an RV or a bus so that they wouldn't have to sleep in hammocks outside like the rest of us. You could look into that avenue of things as well. You would have your LLC or whatever you choose to do, and that company would rent your bus. In a sense they would also be renting you as you would be driving. You would have to work out your expenses ahead of time (cost of fuel, insurance, maintenance, etc.) and do a lot of the trip-planning on your own I would think, but it seems like it might be an easier hill to climb than insuring it as a party bus.
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Old 01-13-2014, 12:19 PM   #15
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Re: Preparing to purchase my first bus

with the proper motivation, money, and perseverance I think you can run a successful bus business.

However, In michigan, the required permits, inspections, insurance, and special commercial drivers license required equates to several thousand dollars per year.

I wanted to get into the party bus business on the side, but felt there isn't any money in it here in Michigan unless that is your full time job. Then you factor in purchasing the vehicle, fuel, maintenance, and repairs and in my opinion, you're pretty much working for free.

How many times do you need to rent the bus out to cover the minimum 10 or 20 thousand dollars in annual expenses?
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Old 01-22-2014, 01:55 AM   #16
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Re: Preparing to purchase my first bus

Hey look at that..your only halfway through life Thanks Bapos for the response! Alcohol is definitely one of the main proponents that determines my success in this. I don't think the allowance of drinking on board will determine the amount of sales I do, but it is impossible to disallow the use of it outside and then on the ride home. The first bus I'm purchasing will not have any restroom services on it although I can make a quick 10minute stop on the way back almost halfway through as I cross the border. I think my largest concern will be people who are sick (puking their brains out). I mentioned that I will have a semi trained staff/security on board so they can be taken to the front to be taken care of. The waste can be in nice scented bags and double bagged to ensure that the bus doesn't stink.

@sara- What's really cool is I've done the trip planning all of my life! From rerouting my study abroad to stop in Amsterdam, to spring break trips for all 5 years of college
So like the Vegas trip I would write up a trip report and receipt of all charges and be the sole driver. This is overall what my original intent was. To provide people with a unique experience for an accepting rate. Travel the world and see what you've never seen! Be a caravaner, a traveler, a festi hopper, and get where you want to be!

I do have a job on the side and plan to maintain that. I think once this begins I can do my job and still manage the company for booking mostly from home. All sales are online, customers will purchase, I'll assign a driver and a pick up location, they'll be picked up, meet me downtown Minneapolis, get into the venue, get them on the bus and head home. Just a lot of planning on my part. It's good that i've become proficient in this area.

I quantified my costs at a per trip basis for the venue trip ONLY. I have the amount written down for maintenance, cleaning, etc at a per mile basis. I'd have to run and grab it but it's small. I believe my normal operating expenses will be roughly $590. Sales will max at roughly $1400. MORE SHOWS-LOWER COSTS. MORE TRIPS-More MONEY. To answer your question. Total trips at minimum-10 sold out trips (28 seats)
Gas-$120 round trip
Insurance- @ 2 trips a month ($250 per trip) based on the 6k
Driver $100-120 roughly for driver- based on 6-8 hours of total time. Drivers with experience and no accidents will be paid more


As far as insurance goes, I was finally quotes from someone at around $6,000 if I'm working with hired hands with experience. I'm looking at needing 5 million coverage. This makes it a lot easier than the $12,000 I was quoted before. I think I can work with it. That makes my bus purchase and insurance the two largest payouts (at the same price). $12,000 roughly to start with as long as the insurance isn't needed right away. I'll continue to call once I have Drivers with information to give to the insurer.

Without reading more into either of these, how would a business insurance differ from solely the bus insurance? Most costly? Covers more assets (I dont really have any)?

Another concern I have is the personal use of the vehicle. If I want to take it to vegas this summer with a group of friends, if something illegal were found or underage drinking was happening (not saying it will nor be prevented-but it happens) how that can affect my business. I feel like without the extra side income from friends and trips that I may not make enough...or even if I am the extra will be nice to pay for costs. This can all be determined later.

The bus I'm currently looking at is attatched. Im unsure how I feel about the layout since I'll be getting groups of 1person-5 people coming to these shows. Strangers facing eachother might be awkward. I'm thinking of having amatuer comedians, a mime that appears 20minutes prior to arrival? or some sort of entertainment for the first few trips until I can pay off the first one and purchase another bus that can be worked on-IF THIS IS A SUCCESS.
If this flops...I've simply traded a trans am for a bus and still hopefully made a bit of extra cash.


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Old 01-22-2014, 02:58 AM   #17
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Re: Preparing to purchase my first bus

There were a lot more options back in Novemeber...I'm getting limited!! YIKES

Here's the post information about it

PARTY BUS - $6,000 (Ellsworth, WI)
1999 International (VIN)- 1HVBEABM5XH213550 : 30 Passenger Shuttle Bus. Turbo Diesel Engine , Allison Automatic Transmission.This bus runs & drives great.It is in good condition. Driver side rear tire had blow out, figer glass has been fixed, just hasn't been repainted, see pic, It has been very well maintained & regularly serviced by International. Has almost new tires, new belts, CD player, AC unit, seats are in great shape. Has air ride and air brakes. This bus has 329,029.62 miles on it. Downsizing company, call 715-497-3894 more info or to come take a look and test drive. Been getting $800 per night for rental.

Other options
http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/hnp/c ... 86299.html ( I really like that this has 12 seats plus I can add in 3 booths towards the back for more of a group seating option.
http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/csw/c ... 82149.html (This is a little more than I want but it works!)

http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/hnp/c ... 92220.html (Looks awesome...too good to be true?)
http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/csw/c ... 30697.html (OMG I WOULD LOVE TO CONVERT THIS)

http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/ank/c ... 90540.html
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Old 01-22-2014, 09:35 AM   #18
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Re: Preparing to purchase my first bus

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ucwarrior1
@sara- What's really cool is I've done the trip planning all of my life! From rerouting my study abroad to stop in Amsterdam, to spring break trips for all 5 years of college So like the Vegas trip I would write up a trip report and receipt of all charges and be the sole driver. This is overall what my original intent was. To provide people with a unique experience for an accepting rate. Travel the world and see what you've never seen! Be a caravaner, a traveler, a festi hopper, and get where you want to be!
I think it's something everyone should do; there is no substitute for a good adventure. It seems like you are well-prepared for the fun (and work) that comes with a good adventure!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ucwarrior1
As far as insurance goes, I was finally quotes from someone at around $6,000 if I'm working with hired hands with experience. I'm looking at needing 5 million coverage. This makes it a lot easier than the $12,000 I was quoted before. I think I can work with it. That makes my bus purchase and insurance the two largest payouts (at the same price). $12,000 roughly to start with as long as the insurance isn't needed right away. I'll continue to call once I have Drivers with information to give to the insurer.

Without reading more into either of these, how would a business insurance differ from solely the bus insurance? Most costly? Covers more assets (I dont really have any)?
The biggest difference between business insurance and insurance on just the physical bus itself involves the liability exposure that comes with a business. Most insurance companies that insure a bus for personal use are worried about the things that could happen to the bus itself (physical damage coverage) and the liability you present to other drivers. Your insurance company has a duty to protect you from unforeseen occurrences. Insurance companies know that risks are present every moment of the day. But what about those things you don't think will happen to YOU? (It's why insurance is sometimes a hard financial pill to swallow when you think, "...but that's never going to happen to me." The point is... what if it does? That's why you have insurance.) In the case of a business, your insurance company has a duty to protect your assets just as if it was a personal vehicle, but they also want to make sure that you are able to continue with your livelihood if something does happen. You might not have any assets now, but you will when you start your business. You will be surprised!

Society sees a business and thinks, " Yay! Deep pockets!" If someone has the opportunity to sue you personally or to sue your business, guess what? They're going to sue the crap out of your business. If your insurance policy does not provide adequate coverage for your assets, the person suing you could take EVERYTHING. If it is related to the business, their attorneys are going to claim they have a right to it. If you claimed square footage of your house or apartment on your taxes for "work purposes", guess what? They will probably figure out a way to say it's a piece of business property and they have a right to it. Your equipment, your profits, your bus, your computers... your business property in general... all adds up to a total of assets. And that's what people will try to take from you. That's why business insurance provides high insurance limits and additional coverages. Of course, this extra protection means you are going to have to pay more to make sure more of you is protected. Does that make sense?

It's also a very good idea to establish a business identity for yourself. Starting your business under an LLC - for example - will help keep your personal finances separate from your business finances. In the event that you do have someone try to sue you, they are entitled to your business assets (if they win the suit) but do not get to touch your personal finances.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ucwarrior1
Another concern I have is the personal use of the vehicle. If I want to take it to vegas this summer with a group of friends, if something illegal were found or underage drinking was happening (not saying it will nor be prevented-but it happens) how that can affect my business. I feel like without the extra side income from friends and trips that I may not make enough...or even if I am the extra will be nice to pay for costs. This can all be determined later.
This could be tricky if you do everything possible to make the bus a business expense (nice rewards and write-offs on taxes) as opposed to a personal vehicle. There might also be some insurance considerations if you are using it personally instead of as a business vehicle. That is a good question for an insurance agent and an attorney.

I am super weird about insurance - especially when businesses are concerned. I worked for a national insurance company for a long time, not just in sales but also in claims. I also did work in their legal department and holy crap. People can be awfully greedy sometimes. I wish I could impress upon people what happens when they haven't prepared enough. It is sad to see families and businesses ruined because they didn't want to pay for an extra type of coverage. Then again, when budgets are tight and our economy is in the crapper, sometimes you have to roll the dice and self-insure some of these exposures. It just depends upon what makes you comfortable.
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Old 01-22-2014, 10:52 AM   #19
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Re: Preparing to purchase my first bus

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sara
Lots of really smart stuff.
Well, If I ever decide I want to start a business, I know who I'm contacting first
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Old 01-23-2014, 01:19 AM   #20
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Re: Preparing to purchase my first bus

Yeah I feel you on the liability issues. It's obviously my largest concern! I havn't called about business insurance yet however and I'm afraid that may be too costly to start up with. Would I then be looking for a company to both insure the bus and the business? Or is the business covering all assets?
I'm assuming an LLC would only be beneficial if I reach a certain amount of revenue and for the first year I don't anticipate reaching over $50k. Not to say I can't do it..but I'm already a month behind

I was preparing to setup a sole-proprietorship rather than an LLC being that I am the only one currently running the business. I currently have no assets except my trans am and a small savings and about $800 in investments. I don't have much to lose I can consider an LLC but I think I may have to read more into that...which is really difficult because with my fulltime job serving..I have 3 business books, a web design book, the web design job, and a lot of advertising to get done over the next 2-3 weeks. I'm time crunching!

Sarah you rock with that descriptive post!

Anyone have suggestions on the buses? If you were to pay for a ticket to go to a music venue, which bus would you want to be on? Why? What fits best?
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