Keeping Your Fleet Busy During the Slow Season
Well let’s face it, it’s bound to happen. You purchased that bus that you been contemplating for a very long time, and its been great since the first day. But you know it’s coming…………. “The Slow Time”. You ask yourself, how am I going to pay for this vehicle? Where are the rides coming from? Where is the money coming from? Well let’s think outside the box. First you should have already worked the numbers and you should know what you ROI is. Remember…November issue of LCT.
And you should remember the other article written by me on the True Cost of Owning a Bus. Well since you have done your homework than you already know you MUST send that bus out even if it means your NOT making your normal profits. What have you determined to be your bottom line? Is it 10%, 5% or are you still stuck on higher profits. Also remember if the bus is being used that day and you have a chance to book it again on the same day then give the customer what they need. Meet their budget.
There are other ways to make money during YOUR slow season. I’m sure you have listened to George Jacobs say, “Send me your bus” “I will pay your loan amount for that month”. Problem solved! Yes, that does work. Be sure you have worked out all the details, Insurance, damage, etc.
You can also consider sending your bus and driver out to other locations where its busy, like Orlando in the winter time. Make arrangements with a local provider in the Orlando area ahead of time. You may not make as much per hour or day, but you now have an income and your driver also has a very important income. He can pay his or her bills! Washington DC has the Cherry Blossom Festival. PGA Golf Tournaments. From what I’ve seen the tournaments use at least 100 motor coaches to move the public into the event. Super Bowls, Presidential Inaugurations, Marches. The last march in DC had several hundred motor coaches. Political Bus Charters, who’s running in your state? Who’s running nationally? Educational Tours, there are mid-west and west coast travel companies who fly the students into DC for tours and then rely on local companies to do the movement. You can pretty much keep a bus going for a month or so.
Remember its not what happening in your area during you slow season, it’s what’s happening elsewhere.
Evergreen clients are always important to have, find those year-round customers. Find the long-distance shuttle work. We have talked about them in the past. Companies expanding or moving. They need to transport their employees to and from the new corporate office. Seasonal companies towards the year end need to hire additional employees maybe several hundred. They normally park them at a remote parking lot and have them bused in and return at the end of the day. Think about that, 500 employees need to be moved in a short window of time. Maybe two hours. There are on the average of 56 seats per motor coach. You can shuttle them using 4 or 5 coaches turning the bus twice to cover the quantity. Then you do it all over again in the end of the day. GREAT work during the slow season. Maybe they need a mini bus or van to stay there all day in case someone must leave. Guess what? That company will need to do this year after year. Think about the fall season, somewhere there are balloon festivals. Most of the time there need to be several buses to shuttle from a remote parking lot to the lift area. That shuttle can run from 5 am to 9 pm. Many have around 10 motor coaches to handle the masses.
What about Disaster relief Transport, if you’re not on the approved list you won’t be able to get hired for this. BUT you can still contact the area local companies who would be approved, maybe they can send more buses to the relief and you can come in and handle their local work. NOT a bad idea, thinking outside the box. Somebody must move them. Holiday shopping? Sure you are, and so are many more people. The local malls and outlets need your help. From Black Friday to maybe one week before Christmas there are thousands of people shopping. Outlets? There all over the place, look for Simon Malls and Premium Outlets and Tanger Outlets, never a parking space available.
What about Ski Bus Trips, Corporate retreats, large groups. Yes, those buses do drive in the snow. Go after that business. There are plenty of snow areas. Become an expert on the Ski Trips.
Each year United Motor Association (UMA) and the American Bus Association (ABA) both have their industry trade show. It moves around so find the next State they will be held in. in 2019 UMA will be in Ft. Lauderdale and the ABA will be in Louisville. Both associations do a lot of motor coach movements. Get Involved!
Back in 2015 there was a very large event “We Fight Inequality” at Cadman Plaza Park in Brooklyn NY. Over 300 motor coaches moving people to and from that event. OMG! What a crowd. If your getting involved in that type of work, you not only need buses and drivers, but you need plenty of on the road dispatchers. The buses need to get in drop off and get out.
Military work (DOD) Department of Defense. Most of these trips and awarded through a bidding process. You typically have 2 hours from the time the email is sent to respond. These trips are moving from Base to Base, Base to airport, training exercises. There are some bases that offer daily rides to and from the airport. That bus would make maybe 4 trips a day to and from the airport. Hmmm looks like a great profitable contract. Here you don’t need the newest motor coach or the one with all the horns and whistles. And what about the contract from the Hotel to the processing office. Every week there are buses moving new recruits into the processing center. You will need to be approved to do DOD work. This could take some time to accomplish this but it’s worth it.
If you know of something special and seasonal, please share it with us, we love to do follow up articles.
For large Trade Show & Convention Transportation, Sporting Event Transportation contact The Convention Store located in Millersville MD. Google them. They hire everyone and everywhere!
Another great site would be www.everfest.com there they list so many North American Festivals 2018-2019. Who know maybe one in your back yard. Check it out.