Own A Charter Bus Company

Combine broad historical knowledge of your locale, an area with sufficient population density, a used bus, and a little business savvy and you could run your own charter bus company. Here's the story of how one man did it in the 1970s.

| January/February 1980

  • 061 charter bus company - larry gates and bus
    Larry Gates in front of his charter bus.
  • 061 charter bus company - leading a tour
    Scenes from a Gates charter bus tour.
  • 061 charter bus company - gates fixing bus
    Larry Gates examining the engine.

  • 061 charter bus company - larry gates and bus
  • 061 charter bus company - leading a tour
  • 061 charter bus company - gates fixing bus

Most folks work all year in order to get a couple of weeks off to fish, ski, or just drive around and enjoy the scenery.

Lake Sherwood, California's Larry Gates on the other hand has gotten off the yearly vacation treadmill. As the owner and operator of a home-based charter bus company, Larry spends about 200 days a year "on vacation" . . . but he never travels alone! By hauling children, senior citizens, Elks, Rotarians, and other such groups along with him, the busman has managed to live the life he wants to and earn an impressively high annual income!

"For most anyone who likes to travel, a one bus charter operation makes an ideal home business," says Larry, an easygoing, 37-yearold who lives in the country and loves it. "Once you're established, it's not hard to net $35,000 a year . . . without even pushing yourself."

Cost Versus Income

The dollars-and-cents arithmetic involved in running a small tour company goes something like this:

Larry owns a used 39-passenger Greyhound bus, a model which can currently be bought for approximately $5,700 down and payments of around $440 a month for four years. Whether you get a Greyhound or a smaller rig, the full price of the bus will represent your actual capital investment . . . but the regular payments have to be regarded as a fixed monthly expense until you own the vehicle.

Other monthly bills—including insurance, license, and home office overhead—run, in Larry's case, about $400, $60, and $75 a month respectively. So if you add these figures to the monthly payments required to purchase a big bus, you can expect a total of about $975 per month in fixed expenses.

9/4/2011 4:34:56 AM

Wow. This article is from 1980! The gentleman profiled here is close to 70 years old, now. Although the info presented here is still sound (if you adjust for inflation) not everyone who wants to break into this business has the required cash outlay to purchase a bus. There's a much easier, and potentially more profitable way to run this business, that doesn't require the purchase of a bus, nor do you need to take on the daunting task of driving one. Check out www.yourownbusbiz.com. It pretty much tells you how anyone can get into the charter bus trip business without this kind of cash investment.


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