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Old 01-11-2017, 07:32 AM   #11
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Join Date: May 2015
Location: Oklahoma aka "God's blind spot"
Posts: 2,283
Year: 1989
Coachwork: 1853FC International/Navistar
Chassis: 35' Retired Air Force Ambulance
Engine: DT466, MT643
Rated Cap: 6 souls and a driver
Great post Cowlitz!!!!

I remember the DOT inspector even told me I needed to keep a SHTF (stuff hits the fan) binder and designate someone to be able to bring that to the accident site in case of a total loss accident (such as docs being burnt up in a fire/accident, death of driver, etc).
He even said it would be helpful if a copy was kept offsite, because he'd seen a guy's business burn down and lost most everything in it, including the limo!

And Oklahoma has another group wanting their money... OCC (Oklahoma Corporation Commission). If your docs and dues weren't current, they had the authority to not only shut down the party, but impound the vehicle immediately with no chance of getting it back!).
Then the LLC documentation with Secretary of State... I had to documents the Minutes from my meetings with a ONE PERSON COMPANY!!!

Drug test screening for a one person company!
Yeah, the paperwork drove me away!

You'll be astonished at trying to be 100% legit. Keep in mind... We have legislators in congress trying to shut us down! So the rules change & update very often. So then, we have the limousine associations that have to advocate for us... It's not a bad idea to enter an association for the industry, so you'll be updated and someone speaks on our behalf.

You mention "following the rules".... The DOT Compliance officer I used, called it 'chasing the rules' because if you weren't in the loop with constant updates... You didn't know the rule changes!
I once complained I had no shoes....
Until I met a man with no feet
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Old 01-12-2017, 08:28 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
As a former charter bus company owner I would offer some important things to remember if you have a USDOT number and most particularly if you have an MC number:
  • If you don't already, get a drug use policy for your company. You will also need to arrange for pre-employment and random drug testing. The local trucking companies should be able to tell you who operates the nearest pool. The larger the pool the less the odds are of you getting picked.
  • Paperwork is a nightmare and you need to stay on top of it. Once you get behind you will never get caught up. And if you get audited and you are not caught up the cost in fines starts in at about $10K.
  • Some of the paperwork you will need to have are employment applications for all employees, including you with an accompanying copy of a pre-employment drug test. I kid you not. It is required.
  • Another form that needs to be filled out is a form designating who is authorized to work on or authorize work to be done on your bus. I had a form, signed by me, that authorized me to work on my buses. Again, I kid you not.
  • Another form is your emergency exit testing log. Every month you need to log the fact you have checked every emergency exit and emergency door to certify that they are all opening correctly and any buzzers that are supposed to sound off do sound off.
  • You will need to keep on hand all Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports a minimum of 6 months. Any gripe noted needs to correspond to a matching work ticket that documents what needed repairing, what was done, who did it, and what day it was done. You will need to make sure each driver fills one out on every bus they drive on any day. If a driver drives five buses in a day that driver will fill out five DVIR's.
  • Get a three ring binder with clear page pockets to create a cab card book. In the cab card book you need to have all of you documents in regards to operating the bus--registration, proof of insurance, a copy of the annual DOT inspection, and the trip sheet. The trip sheet will have to describe, in detail, where the trip originated, where the trip was going, and where the trip was to be completed with appropriate times and dates. It will also need to describe from which terminal the bus left at the start of the trip and to which one it returned at the end of the trip(if it is your driveway your address is sufficient).
  • Whether or not you go interstate or stay intrastate, keep time cards or some other documentation to show no one was working more than the 10 hours driving or 15 hours duty in any 24 hour period. You do not want to exceed the short haul radius. If you do go outside that radius you may have to install Electronic Logging Devices--expensive and a royal PITA!
  • Each vehicle owned and operated by the company needs to have a folder just for that bus. In that folder you need to document every single thing that is done to that bus--replacing light bulbs, replacing fan belts, checking tire pressure, adding a quart of oil or a gallon of coolant, repairing a seat cover, etc. You need the documentation to show to not only the auditor but it will also help if the worst should happen. If you can show documentation that every time your equipment left home everything was working and up to snuff it will be really hard for an ambulance chaser to prove your equipment was not safe.
The above list is not inclusive but just some of the more important items you need to keep up to date in your company files. I have a book that is 8 1/2" x 11" and an inch thick that I used as a cheat sheet for most of the forms I was required to have. I got it from WA state. I would guess your state most probably has something similar.

Part of the reason why I am no longer in the charter bus business is the paperwork was becoming such a burden. Between the state and federal compliance it had become a full time job. When I started my business it was so I could get paid for driving my bus to fun venues and go to lots of interesting places. I didn't start my business to shuffle paper all day long.

Good luck and I hope you take some of the suggestions milkmania gave you.

Thank you so much for this! I went through and went back and made sure that you had everything you listed. Mostly, we did, but I added a few things thanks to you! There is an Indiana version of the document that you sent me & I had it in our files already! Submitting the last bit of paperwork and hopefully we'll be caught up....... for now. ;)
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Old 01-12-2017, 10:02 AM   #13
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 9,696
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International S3800
Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
are you using this as a Business? a party bus for hire, or is it just goign to be your own private bus / RV for running around to events?
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Old 01-12-2017, 02:40 PM   #14
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Eastern WA
Posts: 3,056
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American RE (A3RE)
Engine: Cummins ISC (8.3)
Rated Cap: 72
I love your theme!

I have been humming "Boat Drinks" all morning as I work on thawing frozen pipes and getting nearly frozen vehicles running.

Twenty degrees and the hockey games on.
Nobody cares; they are way too far gone,
screamin' "Boat drinks," somethin'
to keep them all warm.
This morning I shot six holes in my freezer.
I think I got cabin fever.
Somebody sound the alarm.
I'd like to go where the pace or life's slow.
Could you beam me somewhere, Mister Scott?
Any old place here on Earth or in space.
You pick the century and I'll pick the spot.

I know I should be leaving this climate.
I got a verse but can't rhyme it.
I gotta go where it's warm.
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Old 05-02-2017, 10:58 PM   #15
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Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 1
Most of those points only apply to buses with 16+ passenger and CDL drivers, correct?
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Old 05-03-2017, 02:50 AM   #16
Bus Crazy
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 1,911
Originally Posted by rallison83 View Post
Most of those points only apply to buses with 16+ passenger and CDL drivers, correct?
They apply to any person, company, corporation, organization, or church that owns a vehicle that requires a CDL to drive it. In the school bus world every yellow bus is considered a school bus and requires a CDL to drive. In the skoolie world almost no bus would fall into this category regardless of the exterior color as long as the skoolie's registration ID'es the vehicle as an RV for private use only and not for hire.

Which is the number one reason why you want to get all of the school bus equipment and signage off of your skoolie ASAP.
cowlitzcoach is offline   Reply With Quote

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