With the Christmas and new year festivities well and truly out of the way, it’s time to focus on getting back into the swing of things. For anyone between the ages of four and 16, that means a likely reluctant return to school after two weeks of fun.
It’s especially around this time of year that getting up and getting to school in the winter doom and gloom gets particularly tough, which can lead to more kids than usual opting for public transport over a chilly walk or cycle. While the major bus companies will be picking up most of the work, there is an increasing window for smaller private transport services to cash in as well – thus running you own school bus business is a more viable option than ever.
If the start of the new decade means the start of a new business venture for you, here’s how you can begin your journey to a successful school transport venture.
What’s your business plan?
It doesn’t matter what line of work you’re involved in or how long you’ve done it, every successful business needs to plan ahead. Of course, in the initial start-up phase, this is more important than ever.
Yes, the fundamental concept of running a school bus service is relatively simple, but there’s much more to it than two pick ups and drops offs a day. What ages are you looking to cater for – and on what scale? What area are you looking to cover? What’s your USP – a cheaper product or a more premium service? What does your competition look like and how will you market yourself? What’s your five-year plan?
The above are just a handful of key questions you’ll need to sit down and truly assess before getting your business up and running. You can get a gist of the core principles you need to consider in your business plan here, meanwhile trackschoolbus.com would recommend the following to outline in your plan:
- Vehicle selection
- Vehicle utilisation
- Fee structure
- Operating expenses
- Special requirement (disability access etc)
Safety, safety, safety
One thing you’ll address in your business plan – and something that should be right at the top of your priorities list – is how you plan to ensure the absolutely safety of the children you’re catering for. In any business involving kids, safety has to be the ultimate concern. Without reassurance that your business and its product is completely bulletproof, parents won’t even think about entertaining your services.
What does that mean in essence with a school bus service? A timely and reliable service, fully maintained equipment, trained drivers and open communication lines are just a few things that will be a baseline expectation for you to succeed. Remember, safety will have to be a core value of your brand in order for it to work. If even one incident or accusation looks to damage that, your business is in serious trouble.
Again, it’s not rocket science to understand the need for considerable start-up capital in virtually any business, and school bussing is not different. You’ll need budget to develop and market your brand, pay for the equipment you need and pay any staff you may employ.
Naturally, the thing that will stick out on the business plan the most is the need for a quality school bus. As a start up private transport business, it’s probably not a good idea to turn up in any old banger MPV. Instead (baring safety in mind particularly), you’ll almost certainly want a state-of-the-art minibus/people carrier.
Now, that’s bound to cost you an awful lot of money, which you might not be able to afford alongside executing the rest of your business plan. If your initial capital doesn’t stack up to afford a bus outright, look to a provider like Allied Fleet, who offer school bus leasing services that can tide you over in the infancy of your operation. Once you’re up and running with a regular customer base, you’ll be able to move away from leasing and look to a permanent purchase.
Running your own school bus business is a venture that can prove to be highly profitable, as long as you ensure you take the steps to offer the correct core values to parents. Safety, reliability and value are likely to be the three drivers that will see your business become a success, so make sure you create a detailed business plan and put it into practice.