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 Starting my own school bus company finally!
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Posted - 06/12/2013 :  5:47:04 PM  Show Profile  Visit cook-illinois's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi everyone! I recently lost my grandmother and there was some money left behind for me; and now I'm looking to start my own school bus company in the Chicago area. My budget is probably going to be around 300k

Little background info: Chicago Public schools has almost 3000 school bus routes (one way). Since Chicago is so big the district contracts out with 20 different private vendors to provide 1500 school buses! From what I researched , the highest bidder had 245 buses and the lowest had 12. Illinois is a low bid state so who ever is the lowest bidder and most responsible bidder wins. Transportation contracts are usually bid on every 5 years; I have to double check but I believe the contract is up for bid in early 2014 which gives me less than a year to get ready! I'm looking for all the information and tips anyone can provide to be successful. Thanks!

Carp/AmTran Fan
New Member

1 Posts

Posted - 06/13/2013 :  11:50:37 AM  Show Profile  Visit Carp/AmTran Fan's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hello there,

first of all, my condolences on the loss of your grandmother. Here is an idea for you to consider. With the time frame you have in mind, it might be a better option for you if you checked into purchasing an existing school bus operation. That is what I am doing. I am waiting on the seller to get some paperwork to me so I can do a limited partnership to secure the financing. The purchase of buses, even used buses will take all of your capital you have, and you will be left with rent, insurance, fuel, parts, other repair related expenses, wages, and benefits that you will have no money left to pay for. After the purchase of buses, bonding, and insurance, your biggest expenses will be fuel and salaries. With an existing business, you will have everything in place, and you can always make some changes as long as you will be within the paramaters of the contracts.

Another thing to remember, most school districts will not go with an unknown contractor who has no previous customers, and with an existing business, they have established customers, as well as employees who are familiar with the company, routes, buses, and clientele. Just a couple of things for you to think about. If you wish to talk more about this, please feel free to email me. My email address is as follows:

[email protected] com. My name is Brian. I wish you all the best of luck and success in your endeavor.
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United States
2018 Posts

Posted - 06/14/2013 :  6:34:27 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Just remember that Rome was not built in a day. Less than one year to get ready is just setting you up for definite failure. I suggest taking your time, doing research, planning carefully, talking with contractors, learning the game, and doing things by the book.
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Active Member

11 Posts

Posted - 06/14/2013 :  8:29:00 PM  Show Profile  Visit cook-illinois's Homepage  Reply with Quote
thank you so much brain and kodie for responding!

Brain there's no contractors looking to sell right now. I also called a bunch of school districts and most of the affluent suburbs of Chicago want a least 5yrs experience transporting kids similar to the district that your trying to bid on; so if your bidding on a high school route, you have show 5 yrs transportation grades 9-12. However the City of Chicago does not require the contractor to have any experience transporting kids just show them a well detail plan on how you plan to deliver and provide a performance bond usually 10% of what contract is worth for the first year. Also I have read plenty of horror stories about Chicago based Illinois central school bus company(started in 2004).

I have been doing a lot of research and have more to do; right now i'm considering going with a company similar to Legalzoom to create a Limited liability company or LLC. They also get you a federal tax id number and few other good things I saw. Then I will be able to apply for my USDOT Number, and Operating Authority (MC Number) for charters.

I have also found two great locations to possible lease from monthly (2-4k). both locations are former truck repair shops; have in ground fuel systems; both can hold about 40-50 buses.

I having got to the insurance yet on m list but just you have to have insurance on each bus or can you buy like a group insurance and it will just cover all the buses in your fleet?

so example if i had 20 buses in my fleet would it cost me 100 each bus or do they have plans like 1-10 buses is this rate 11-30 is this rate..ect ect

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