What Natural Disasters Can Teach The Charter Bus Industry!
Anyone following recent news has noticed that there has been significant climate change throughout the United States and the rest of the world. As a business owner I am not in a position to make a statement whether this climate changes are caused by global warming or not. I’m simply making a positive statement. As a business owner I also have the option to accept this fact and take action, or to turn my back and pretend it’s not happening.
Let’s first go through the most recent natural disasters that can put us in danger.
– Earthquakes: This past weekend an earthquake off the coast of Alaska set the Pacific side of the country into a Tsunami warning. Luckily a tsunami did not make contact with land. Another earthquake a few months ago near DC has taught us a lesson; earthquakes can strike the East Coast also!
– Hurricanes: Hurricane sandy has caused one of the largest economic loss in the United States. Economists say this can set back the country’s GDP by one percent. Estimates in loss have been as high as $50 Billion.
One of the pictures running through social media sites and newspapers is a yellow cab company’s fleet being flooded from Sandy. Over 100 cabs were completely flooded in that picture alone. The next day we got a phone call for several charter buses to transport volunteer efforts to NYC. Our most reliable affiliate in NYC said that 10 of their buses were damaged by the storm. Then we proceeded to call our affiliates in NJ, their fleet was also flooded. We had to call aWashington DC Charter Bus service to complete the trip.
Most of the transportation companies didn’t have time to prepare, and some took the greatest measures they though were necessary. In all honesty, most people underestimated the strength of the storm. Sandy is the strongest storm the Northeast has experienced in over 100 years. Before going to bed I began to think what tips I can give to protect the charter bus business. Below are 3 points to help us protect our assets and business.
1. GET INSURANCE! Although the USDOT requires all transportation carriers to have insurance, we certainly know of a few companies that have slipped through. Your short term gain is simply not worth the loss of your valuable assets. Get full coverage on all your vehicles.
2. STRATEGIC PARKING. Although insurance can certainly help you get your asset back, insurance does not pay for the loss of revenue. I’m certain that most of the companies that were affected by Hurricane Sandy will soon get their fleet back, however, many of these companies had business the very next day that they were not able to book. In a city like NYC parking is certainly very expensive and limited. But if you operate in an area where parking is plentiful, make a smart decision. Spending a few hundred dollars more a month can help you stay afloat in the long run.
3. HAVE AFFILIATES. I never understood why some bus companies don’t work together. Last week I called a Houston Charter bus company that was booked and asked them if they recommended another company. Their reply was something along the lines of “No we are the only reliable one”. It is hard for me to believe that there is only one reliable service in the greater area of Houston. Those of us that work with affiliates understand that when we are in trouble affiliates can carry our work, in return they will surely give us business in the future. If we work together we will all benefit, trust me on this.
These 3 points are simple but very important and we can forget about them when bootstrapping our business to success.
As far as the business effected by Hurricane Sandy, my prayers are truly with them and every person affected. I hope that the government stands on its promise to financially help out small businesses. New Yorkers are also some of the most resilient and hard working people I know, I’m certain they will soon get back on their feet.