Big Bus Econ 101: How To Make It Work

Posted on August 5, 2010 by - Also by this author

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - As the chauffeured transportation industry tipped into a full-blown recession in May 2008, North Carolina operator H.A. Thompson got ahead of the down curve.

Thompson, a limousine operator who started Rose Chauffeured Transportation in his backyard in 1985, bought his first used motorcoach well before LCT relaunched as Limousine Charter & Tour Magazine in February 2009.

Thompson, 76, foresaw how economies of scale and efficiency would become the driving factors in recession-era transportation and beyond. Two years later, Thompson has built up a growing division: a fleet of nine used Van Hool 57- and 49-passenger motorcoaches. Thompson predicts the buses will become Rose's most profitable vehicles after the start-up years.

Thompson recently shared some detailed figures with LCT Magazine, a rarity among private companies and operators. The numbers result from Thompson's successful formula: Buy used, upgrade to the max, and deliver quality chauffeur-style luxury service.

As a strong proponent of operating each vehicle as its own revenue and profit unit, Thompson makes sure a vehicle can at least pay for itself. If it's not making money, better to cut it from the fleet, he says. That's why he now has only one stretch limousine out of a fleet of 33 vehicles.

"Motorcoaches for us in Charlotte are a much better return than stretch limos," Thompson says. "The coach market in Charlotte softened and we moved in at the right time."

Motorcoach economics

Rose considers $16,000 a month a satisfactory revenue stream per bus, but shoots for a goal of $20,000 per month per bus. That translates into about 20 days on the road per month, with the average trip running about $800 to $1,000.

Thompson concedes 2009 was a bad year, as it was the trough of the industry downturn. Nevertheless, Rose averaged $12,000 per month in 2009 on its motorcoaches, although it was below its goal of $15,000 per month. In 2010, business has definitely picked up.

"You have to have good cash flow," Thompson says. "You can't jump into the bus business unless you have healthy revenue behind you. You can't run on a low checking account and have buses." 


Expert Bus Tips

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

Ford E-450 Minibus Will Provide A Safe Ride

Vehicle Pick of the Week: The First Class Customs creation has a variety of certifications that will please corporate travel buyers.

2018 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Spied In The Wild

The large van last received an update for 2014, but we’ll be seeing a complete overhaul this time around.

A First Look At The Range Rover Velar

The company has begun accepting orders for the First Edition models, which are priced at $89,300 and limited to 500 in the U.S.

Genesis G80 Not As Strong As G90 Counterpart

The Hyundai sedan is a good warning the marquee is evolving quickly, keeping it on track with one day attaining the ranks of Infiniti or even Lexus.

2017 CT6 Has All You Never Knew You Needed

“You can build a car, or you can build a Cadillac” resonates perfectly with “Dare Greatly.”

See More News

Facebook Comments ()

Comments (0)

Post a Comment



See More

LCT Store

LCT Magazine - March 2017 $12.95 INT'L LCT SHOW ISSUE COVER STORY: * Innovate or Die: Show To Be a Business "Disrupter" * *


Experience the three annual industry events for networking for business, showcasing vehicles and products, and getting the tools for success.

Read About Your Region

What’s Happening Near You?
Click on any state to see the latest industry news and events in that region.

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment


Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Metro Magazine

Serving the bus and passenger rail industries for more than a century

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

Please sign in or register to .    Close