Luxury Coach & Transportation

February 2019

Magazine for the professional limousine, charter and tour industry.

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20 LUXURY COACH & TRANSPORTATION FEBRUARY 2019 WWW.LCTMAG.COM F E D E R A L T A X E X E M P T I O N O N D I E S E L IRS Publication 510 (Rev. January 2016) Excise Taxes (Including Fuel Tax Credits and Refunds) FOR VEHICLE WITH SEATING CAPACITY OF MINIMUM 20 ADULTS MOTORCOACH: OPERATOR PROFILE the right fleet. I have to make sure the support, whether it's insurance, main- tenance, reservations, information, is there. Everything has to be in place for it all to click and work together." Drivers willing to do regular long day tours can make up to $75,000 per year. "If they cannot afford the living, guess what? ey will jump ship and go somewhere else. So if they're good, you might as well work to keep them." e company offers medical, dental, and life insurance as well. Big On Safety & Insurance Like many motorcoach operations, Eshaghi devotes one person to compli- ance to keep up with all the federal and state rules and track electronic logging devices (ELDs) on all the buses. He also carries extra insurance at $10 million liability per bus per incident which is well beyond the $5 million requirement for vehicles carrying more than 15 passengers. Some large corpo- rate and educational contract custom- ers require the $10 million liability. "You get an extra edge versus a small- it through to the driver. "Nobody ever did that when I started it. A gratuity was unheard of to pay." e company also pays its drivers for overtime, even for interstate trips which are exempted from federal overtime laws. "A lot of operators who see me at the shows and call me ask why I'm paying all that extra money when I don't have to. I say, 'You have to keep the driver happy one way or another.' We want to find the cream of the crop and get them to work for us long-term." He estimates average driver turnover at his company is about 12-15 years. Finding drivers for long, over the road tours is a challenge because you have to hire someone willing to be away from home 12-14 days and who has the right personality and demeanor to bond with the tour group. "e driver has to make money to survive, and the Los Angeles market is fairly expensive to live in," Eshaghi says. "If your driver at the end of the day is happy with what he's making, that's all I can ask for from that part. I have to make sure he has the right bus, another five or six months." Eshaghi cites a strong secondary mar- ket for used motorcoaches inside and outside the U.S. "e first factor is for the customer. Every year, these buses, like any technology-driven industry, have new items added on. I could buy a bus this year, and next year they come up with something new that basically would be advantageous for the customer. "Number two is, if you sell the bus at about 300,000 miles versus a lot of companies that use their buses up to 500,000 or 600,000 miles, you save money on your maintenance because the older the bus gets, the more you have repairs and breakdowns." As a result, you get your money back faster and buy new buses, he says. . . . But Low Driver Turnover CCC boasts a low turnover rate at a time when motorcoach and chauf- feured operations have trouble finding qualified drivers and chauffeurs. One incentive the company has borrowed from the limousine industry is charg- ing clients a 10% gratuity and passing

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