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Old 01-10-2017, 07:15 PM   #1
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Party Bus Conversion

Hi! I'm Kassie! My family recently bought a school bus turned party bus. It's a 1997 International 300 Series 3800. It is wheelchair accessible and we want to keep that feature. Aside from that, the inside is nothing to get excited about.

With the name "Coconut Express," we have plans to turn it into a "Tommy Bahama" theme on the inside - basically a classy Tiki theme! I've already found some good ideas on here, but I wanted to formally introduce myself because I have a feeling I'll be getting to know you all pretty well!

Our goal is to have the renovation done by the Jimmy Buffett concert in Indiana, which is usually in June.

If you have any threads that I can read that come to mind of buses with intact wheelchair lifts, please pass them along! Thank you

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Old 01-10-2017, 07:24 PM   #2
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More Photos

http://i68.tinypic.com/1zcpch0.jpg

http://i66.tinypic.com/2e3r5lv.jpg
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Old 01-10-2017, 08:51 PM   #3
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Location: Columbus Ohio
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Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International S3800
Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
what a cool as heck looking bus!!! I love it!!
-Christopher
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Old 01-10-2017, 08:56 PM   #4
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Location: Oklahoma aka "God's blind spot"
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Coachwork: 1853FC International/Navistar
Chassis: 35' Retired Air Force Ambulance
Engine: DT466, MT643
Rated Cap: 6 souls and a driver
Welcome aboard

Study up on your insurance and DOT requirements, since you'll be hauling passengers for pay. (My understanding was it's 5 million minimum liability coverage and CDL required, based on size and passenger count)
Make absolute sure you have the proper endorsements, and it wouldn't be a horrible to create a LLC, so if anything happens... They go after the LLC and not your personal assets. I see the DOT# on bus, not sure if it's yours or previous owner's. I don't see a MC# displayed though.

I may be incorrect on some of this or all of it... But this is why I stayed with a 10 pack limo service.

Also, determine whether you'll be interstate or intrastate commerce. Edit: I see by DOT # lookup that it's listed for Intrastate only.

Above all, protect yourself as you'll be dealing with drunk passengers moving around within a large vehicle! It sounds much more glamorous than it actually is.
After being in service for 7+ years... The shiny kinda wore off.
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Old 01-10-2017, 08:58 PM   #5
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Yes, the insurance and compliance has been a pain in the neck! However, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel and we are nearly finished and ready to go! We found out, after the purchase, that the former owner wasn't even CLOSE to riding legal. We are happy to report that we are 100% following the rules!
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Old 01-10-2017, 08:59 PM   #6
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Thanks! The interior isn't nearly as cool looking. Lots to do, with little budget! Story of everyone's conversions, right?!
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Old 01-10-2017, 09:06 PM   #7
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Join Date: May 2015
Location: Oklahoma aka "God's blind spot"
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Chassis: 35' Retired Air Force Ambulance
Engine: DT466, MT643
Rated Cap: 6 souls and a driver
Wink

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoconutExpressPartyB View Post
Yes, the insurance and compliance has been a pain in the neck! However, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel and we are nearly finished and ready to go! We found out, after the purchase, that the former owner wasn't even CLOSE to riding legal. We are happy to report that we are 100% following the rules!
You'd be shocked at the number of companies not running legal.
I went through a buddy's DOT Compliance Officer to make sure I was legit and stayed in the loop for compliance updates.

Perhaps you can be up and running by Prom Season...
Think about creating a prom package, so you'll be with one group all night, because the window for "pick up and drops" is extremely limited for time.
Put together some incentives in your package for the group to want the bus all night.
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Old 01-10-2017, 09:13 PM   #8
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Join Date: May 2015
Location: Oklahoma aka "God's blind spot"
Posts: 2,201
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Coachwork: 1853FC International/Navistar
Chassis: 35' Retired Air Force Ambulance
Engine: DT466, MT643
Rated Cap: 6 souls and a driver
I'm going to pm you a couple links to check out...
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Old 01-10-2017, 09:32 PM   #9
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Join Date: May 2015
Location: Oklahoma aka "God's blind spot"
Posts: 2,201
Year: 1989
Coachwork: 1853FC International/Navistar
Chassis: 35' Retired Air Force Ambulance
Engine: DT466, MT643
Rated Cap: 6 souls and a driver
This ipromise prom contract is largely endorsed by the limousine service community, and it really helped me when I implemented it.

A PDF copy can be found here: http://www.bostonsbesttransportation...20Contract.pdf
I am not affiliated with them
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Old 01-11-2017, 03:28 AM   #10
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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. http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/NR/rdonlyres...hicleGuide.pdf

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.
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