16 Feb The Ultimate Guide to Charter Bus Rentals
Getting Stuck With a Piece of Junk!
When booking a charter bus, you are responsible for the comfort of a number of passengers. Therefore it is important that you don’t just pick the cheapest option and hope for the best. New motor coaches are very expensive and many companies are opting to invest in older buses to get their foot in the door. Although it isn’t necessary that you have a brand new bus, it is important that it is a late model (preferably in the last 5 years) for the best experience. Having a newer model will drastically reduce the odds of a breakdown or mechanical failure. It is also recommended that you request a newer model so that you reduce the likelihood of being penalized for faulty equipment. To avoid this happening, it is a good practice to ask for a picture and updated information of the charter bus you will be renting.
Not Having a Backup Plan
Anything from bus break downs to equipment malfunctions can happen during a trip. And there is no faster way to ruin a trip experience than with an uncomfortable traveling environment. If you have a good transportation company you can rest assured knowing they will have a backup plan. These companies provide access to additional buses and access to a network they can rely on to help assist if a problem where to arise. To avoid this situation, it is a good idea to ask if the company has a contingency plan.
This is very important. There is no need to put lives in danger. The last thing you want to worry about is a situation resulting from an unsafe driver. Although this issue is not common, you should still be aware of it. It is important to hire a company who has strict hiring policies, extensive back ground checks, and safety training for their drivers. You may also check with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to check if there are any reported, unsafe driving marks against the company on file at: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety-security/PCS/Consumers.aspx
Unfortunately, this is a legitimate issue in this industry. Many factors effect job satisfaction, however they should not become an excuse for indifference to the job or poor customer service. It is a widely known fact that the quality of service has a direct correlation to the level of satisfaction with an experience. The same can be said for the charter bus industry. Often times the interaction you have with the customer service representative is a good gauge to go by. Many times their attitude is indicative of the company as a whole. If it is a good company to work for, with a friendly environment, it will shine from your first moment on the phone getting a quote. If you need an additional level of comfort, then you can always ask for a referral.
3 Questions to Ask Before Booking a Charter Bus!
- Make sure you ask if they carry the required level of insurance set by the state of Texas (which is currently $5 Million Dollars).
- Ask if the bus is a late model bus, has low mileage and is well maintained. Requesting a bus with these factors can drastically reduce your chances of bus failure.
- Not all buses come equipped with safety belts because they are not required. This may not be an issue for you, but if it is then make sure you ask.
2 Rip Offs to Watch Out For
The Bait and Switch!
This is one of the oldest scams in the book. Companies convince you to sign up or pay for one thing and then deliver something totally different. Imagine, if you will, that you charter a 55 passenger bus and then when it arrives it there isn’t enough seats for everyone because it is a 51 passenger bus. Or, what if you were lead to believe you were getting a newer model and then an older model shows up. As frustrating as these rip offs may be, the good news is that they are easy to avoid. Establishing clear requirements up front can help you clarify and adjust any discrepancies that may arise. Another preventative measure is to read the service agreement to have any questions answered prior to signing.
Unexpected Price Hikes!
This scenario is common in this industry. Companies may have you agree and sign on a price, only to give you a notice of price increase at a later date. This increase could be applied in the form of fuel surcharges, taxes, gratuity, etc. Hidden charges such as these can lead to frustration and a desire to cancel services. However, the required deposits are non-refundable, so that means you will either have to continue to do business with the company and fork over the additional amount, or cancel and lose the deposit. To avoid this type of rip off, you need to make sure you ask for a total, all inclusive, out-the-door price! Please note it is common practice for a company to include a gratuity for the driver in the price. However, some companies do not include gratuity and it is important for you to know beforehand so that you can prepare.
MOST IMPORTANTLY: THE #1 MISCONCEPTION IN THE CHARTER BUS INDUSTRY THAT YOU MUST KNOW!
If you learn anything in this guide, please let it be this: Not all charter bus companies are created equal! There is truth in the old adage, “You get what you pay for”. When you are quote shopping for the lowest rate it is important to understand the difference between “price” and “value”. It is entirely possible to find a great deal at a great price. However, many companies will try to convince you that they fall in to this narrow category. However, the truth is there are many that don’t. The chart below illustrates the four main categories that charter bus companies can fall in to and knowing your options can help you make the right choice.
Charters 365 is a transportation specialist company. It is our mission to provide a bus anytime and anywhere in the Houston Area. We make it easy to get exactly the right bus at the right price. We do not own buses and we are not brokers. We are a transportation and event specialist with a local knowledge of bus availability, bus quality, and inside information on the charter bus industry.
Over the last 10 years we have had the opportunity to work with almost every charter bus operator in the Houston area. Unfortunately, we have experience working with many of the companies that we are warning you about. The good news is that our past experience gives us an advantage in helping you learn how to avoid them. Adversely, our experience has also led to the development of long lasting relationships with companies that we believe meet our high standards. We represent these companies with pride and take pleasure in booking trips for them. These Best Value companies have been chosen because of their consistent ability to deliver a positive experience for our clients.
We guarantee that the companies we work with have the following:
- Well maintained, late model buses
- Back up plans in place
- Safe driving records
- Trained, friendly staff
- Unwillingness to participate in rip off scams
- Required Insurance standards
- High Quality with Affordable Price
If you have any questions regarding the industry, or have dealt with a company that you felt either provided great service or poor service we would like to know!
If you would like an immediate QUOTE, call us at 1.800.353.2198 or CLICK HERE and fill out our online quote form.