A Business Opportunity for Those Who Recognize Changing Times
Today’s rapidly changing transportation and environmental philosophies are moving business travelers, vacationers, and commuters increasingly toward a philosophy of “more passengers and fewer vehicles.”
That provides forward thinking entrepreneurs toward investment opportunities that will help meet that growing need for multi-passenger transportation. The shuttle business provides an opportunity to take advantage of that growing market with a minimal investment for start-up.
At Diamond Coach, transportation is our business – and we are happy to provide some step-by-step advice to help you take advantage of future transportation growth opportunities by starting your own shuttle service. Here is an easy-to-follow 10-step plan for organizing, marketing and establishing your own Shuttle Service to meet the growing need of personalized mass transportation.
• Organize Your Business Structure
There are many options – sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, S-corps, Limited Liability companies and partnerships. Meet with a Certified Public Accountant who is familiar with the public transportation business to structure your new business in the most advantageous form for your needs. Check with a commercial insurance agent to make certain you are properly protected, not only with property and casualty coverage, but with liability coverage adequate to cover all anticipated contingencies.
• Double-Check Government Regulations
Check with your City Clerk or County clerk to see if a business license and/or permits are required. Check with your state Tax Commission or Department of Revenue to see if there are applicable sales taxes; and check with your state Department of Transportation about required permits and regulations that might apply to your business.
• Know Your Market Area
Draw a 200-mile radius from your planned location on a regional map. Locate airports, nursing homes, hotels, casinos and major tourism destinations. Check with such facilities in your region for unmet on-demand transportation needs. Analyze airports in the region to determine whether or not there is sufficient shuttle transportation to meet passenger needs.
• Establish Planned Routes and Coverage Area
Based on your research of the marketplace, establish the coverage area most efficient for your operations. Drive the routes to major airports and destination spots to determine reasonable travel time. Utilize that information to set up an operations plan for initial business start-up routes.
• Develop Specialized “Shuttle Packages”
Base these packages around tourism attractions and other major attractions in your area (such as convention centers or major entertainment venues). Create discount package offerings for frequent users such as businesses, hotels, and casinos. Design packages that spotlight local attractions which may be of interest to visiting tourists.
• Obtain Your Vehicles
The qualified team at Diamond Coach can help you with the selection of the proper vehicles for your needs. Determine the number of vehicles you will need to adequately serve your business and marketing plan. Be sure to include handicapped-accessible vehicles to serve all customers. Diamond has a variety of vehicles including many different seating options, sizes and accommodations for handicapped passengers. With more than five decades in the business of building specialized buses to meet passenger needs, Diamond Coach is the first choice of shuttle operators.
• Hire Reliable, Qualified Drivers
Courtesy, driving experience and customer service experience are keys to successful drivers, as well as good driving records. Truck drivers, bus drivers and operators of large vehicles are typically good candidates. Check with your Department of Motor Vehicles to ensure that your drivers meet any specific driver’s license requirements for operators of commercial vehicles carrying passengers for pay.
• Market Your Shuttle Operation Properly
Join your local Chamber of Commerce and any related tourism promotion associations. Utilize the contact lists and networking events of those organizations to expand awareness of the services you offer. Obtain the assistance of a trained writer and a graphic designer to ensure than your marketing materials are hitting the mark. Produce ads utilizing introductory discount pricing offers to attract initial business. Produce rack cards detailing your services, including photographs of your buses to assure potential clients that your vehicles are clean, properly equipped and comfortable. Place these cards in all available locations at local tourist attractions, visitors’ centers, airports, and hotels.
• Search Out Private Pay Contract Clients
Transportation is always a problem for large corporations who have clients and employees regularly traveling to air. Reduced-fee contractual agreements/retainers for providing on-call or prearranged door-to-door transportation to and from airports is oftentimes a lucrative windfall revenue source. If you have casinos in your area, you may be able to contract with them to pick up clients at airports, allowing them to retain their own company transport vehicles on premises to meet unexpected needs of hotel guests.
Smaller schools who do not have adequate on-call transportation can also be a revenue source, especially transporting teams or groups of fans to and from out-of-town games.
• Health Care Transportation
Transportation agreements with area nursing homes, hospitals and surgical centers represent another business opportunity for shuttle service. Nursing home patients oftentimes need transportation Medicaid or Medicare facilities or doctors’ offices. Many times there are several patients utilizing these outside services at the same time and group transportation is an affordable option for them. If there are surgical or specialized medical service centers in your area to which people fly for specialized treatment, these centers can also be a source of regular airport transportation business.
We are always pleased to be of assistance in any way possible as your plan the best methods and best equipment to take ultimate advantage of your new business opportunities. If you have questions about equipment or the sizes of buses to best be utilized in your market area, our professionals at Diamond Coach are always available. We are confident the reliability, custom design, our lengthy record of quality service, and the existence of our international dealer network will quickly demonstrate “The Diamond Difference.
To download a copy of this guide and to begin planning your Shuttle Business today, click this link: Diamond Shuttle Business Plan