Do you want to start a party bus rental company? If YES, here is a detailed guide on how to start a party bus business with no money and no experience.

Okay, so we have provided you an in-depth sample party bus rental business plan template. We also took it further by analyzing and drafting a sample party bus marketing plan backed up by actionable guerrilla marketing ideas for party bus businesses.

Why Start a Party Bus Rental Business?

If you have ever considered starting an entertainment related business in the united states, a business that to a large extent is not highly competitive, then one of your options is to start a party bus business. The party bus business is involved in renting and organizing parties in a bus or a suitable vehicle for a limited number of guests. This business is doing moderately well in the United States of America.

Depending on the scale you want to start, the startup capital for this type of business can be considered to be moderate. As a matter of fact, you can start your own party bus business and then grow it big within a short period of time by re-investing your profits back to the business.

Before launching this type of business, it will pay you carry out your due diligence as it relates to market research, economic and cost analysis and of course feasibility studies. If you get things right before launching your party bus business, it will not take you long before you breakeven and start smiling to the bank.

How to Start a Party Bus Rental Business – A Detailed Guide

Industry Overview

The party bus business is captured under the party rental services industry. A party bus which is also known as a party ride, limo bus, limousine bus, party van, or luxury bus is a large motor vehicle usually derived from a conventional bus but modified to carry 10 or more people for recreational purposes.

In the face of economic recovery, the overall revenue generated in the party bus cum party supply rental industry shrunk slightly in 2011 as businesses and consumers wary of the recent recession held off on event spending. On the other hand, renewed assurance in the economy in successive years has encouraged businesses and consumers to host events that require products from the Party Supply Rental industry.

Continued economic recoveries will likely aid growth through 2020. So also, with higher personal and corporate income, households and businesses are projected to expand their party budgets, which will allow them to spend more on rentals.

The Party Supply Rental Industry that party bus business is a party of is indeed a large and vibrant industry not only in the United States of America and but also in most countries of the world. Statistics has it that the Party Bus cum Party Rental industry in the United States of America is worth about $5 billion, with an estimated growth rate of 2.3 percent between 2011 and 2016.

There are about 9,645 registered and licensed party bus companies cum party rental businesses in the United States and they are responsible for employing about 50,470 people. In the United States, only Classic Party Rental Company can boast of having a lion market share in the industry. Despite that, the industry is still very much open for competition from aspiring investors.

According to report recently published by IBISWORLD, in the United States, the regions that have the greatest concentration of party bus cum party supply rental companies are the Southeast, the West, the Great Lakes and the Mid-Atlantic.

The distribution of companies is based mainly on the number of households and median income levels by region. Besides, party rental cum party bus companies tend to locate their business near major metropolitan areas, which generate a steady stream of demand for corporate and social events.

The Southeast region has the greatest concentration of industry establishments, estimated at 31.9 percent of the total in 2015. The Southeast is the most populated region of the United States; therefore, given the high proportion of households, there is a greater demand for party bus and rental supplies for social events and corporate events.

The party bus rental business will continue to blossom because people will always organize parties hence the need to rent party buses. This industry is not saturated and there is room big enough to accommodate aspiring entrepreneurs who intend opening their own party bus rental in the United States of America.

Some of the factors that encourage entrepreneurs to start their own party bus rental business could be that the business is a thriving business and it is easy to set up and manage.

The party bus cum party supply rental industry is indeed a profitable industry to venture into despite the fact that the entry bar for starting the business is not too difficult to scale through. The truth is that if a party bus business is well positioned in an environment with the right demography, they will surely attract regular clients and their party bus will be well booked all through the year.

Market Research and Feasibility Studies

  • Demographics and Psychographics

The demographic and psychographic composition of those who patronize party bus rental businesses cut across all genders, households, schools and businesses that organize parties, hence the demographic composition of a party bus rental business is all encompassing.

In essence, your target market can’t be restricted to just a group of people, but to all adults, households and businesses within your target location who have the purchasing power. So, if you are thinking of opening your own party bus rental business, then you should make your target demographics all encompassing.

List of Niche ideas Within the Party Bus Rental Business That You Can Specialize in

It is important to state that there is no known niche area when it comes to a party bus rental business. Every player in this line of business usually organize and rent out party buses and a good number of party bus companies are also involved in core party rental business and they rent out party tables, chairs, flatware, linens, centerpieces, stages, tents, canopies, public address system, red carpet, drums, plates, glasses, cutleries and other items.

The Level of Competition in the Party Supply Rental Stores Industry

The competition that exists in the party bus business goes beyond competition with party the supply rental industry; you will be expected to compete with any other business such as event planners et al that are also into organizing and renting out party buses. So, it will be right to say the competition in the party bus rental business is relatively tough.

The truth is that no matter the level of competition in an industry, if you have done your due diligence and you brand and promote your business properly, you will always make headway in the industry. Just ensure that you have standard party buses of different sizes, experienced and competent workforce and you know how to attract and reach out to your target market. 

List of Well – Known Brands in the Industry

In every industry, there are always brands that perform better or are better regarded by customers and general public than others. Some of these brands have been in the industry for a long time, while others are best known for how they conduct their businesses and the results they have achieved over the years.

These are some of the leading party bus rental companies in the United States of America and in the globe;

  • Hot ATL Party Bus
  • Broad Ripple Party Bus
  • Chicago Limo Party Bus
  • Denver Party Bus Rentals
  • Harrisburg Party Bus Rental
  • Incognito Limousine And Party Bus
  • Big H Party Buses
  • K & V Limo | Private Luxury Transportation
  • Prom Night Party Bus Rental Service
  • Carpe Diem Party Bus
  • Party Bus Vegas Transportation
  • Top Dog Limo Bus
  • Party Bus Boston – Party Bus Services & Party Bus Rentals In Boston, Ma
  • Unified Party Bus
  • Cruzzin Party Bus

Economic Analysis

If you are looking towards successfully launching a business and maximizing profits, then you need to ensure that you get your economic and cost analysis right and try as much as possible to adopt best practices in the industry. Party bus rental business is not a Green business, as a matter of fact; you will come across several party bus rental companies when you go sourcing for one or when you search through online and offline directories.

So, if you are mapping out your economic analysis, you should carry out thorough market survey and costing of the amount needed to purchase party buses that are in demand in your location and also the cost to successfully run the business.

Over and above, if you are considering starting a party bus rental business, then your concern should not be limited to the cost of purchasing and maintaining party buses, but also on branding and on how to build a robust clientele base. The truth is that if you are able to build a robust clientele base, you are sure going to maximize profits in the business.

Buying a Franchise vs Starting a Party Bus Rental Business from Scratch

If you are looking towards starting a party bus rental business, you would have to start from the very scratch because you can hardly get the franchise of a party bus rental business to buy, if you do, it will be way too expensive.

Besides starting a party bus rental business from scratch is less stressful when compared to other small – scale businesses that usually requires detailed groundwork before launching the business. With party bus rental business, you should just try as much as possible to purchase the needed party buses and then leverage on every marketing tool within your disposal especially the internet to market your business.

Please note that most of the successful party bus companies around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success and of course you can build your own party bus rental business brand to become a successful brand.

Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face When Starting a Party Bus Rental Business

If you decide to start your own party bus rental business today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established party bus rental companies and any other business such as event planners et al that are also into organizing and renting out party buses. The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market.

Some other challenges and threats that you are likely going to face is economic downturn. Also, unfavorable government policies can hamper the growth of your party bus rental store. There is nothing you can do as regards these threats and challenges other than to stay positive that things will work well for you.

Best Legal Entity to Use for This Type of Business

When considering starting a party bus rental business, the legal entity you choose will go a long way to determine how big the business can grow. You have the option of choosing a general partnership, limited liability company, or a sole proprietorship for your party bus rental business.

Ordinarily, sole proprietorship should have been the ideal business structure, but if your intention is to grow the business and have fleets of party buses across the United States of America, then choosing sole proprietorship is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company, LLC or even general partnership will cut it for you.

Setting up an LLC protects you from personal liability. If anything goes wrong in the business, it is only the money that you invested into the limited liability company that will be at risk. It is not so for sole proprietorships and general partnerships. Limited liability companies are simpler and more flexible to operate and you don’t need a board of directors, shareholder meetings and other managerial formalities.

These are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your party bus rental business; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners and investors’ expectation and of course taxes.

If you take your time to study the various legal entities to use for your party bus rental business, you will agree that limited liability company; an LLC is most suitable. You can start this type of business as limited liability company (LLC) and in future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation or ‘S’ corporation especially when you have the plans of going public.

Upgrading to a ‘C’ corporation or ‘S’ corporation will give you the opportunity to grow your party party rental business so as to compete with major players in the industry; you will be able to generate capital from venture capital firms, you will enjoy separate tax structure, and you can easily transfer ownership of the company.

Catchy Business Name ideas Suitable for a Party Bus Rental Business

As it relates to Choosing a name for your business, you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents. If you are considering starting your own party bus rental business, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;

  • Open House® Party Bus Rental Services, Inc.
  • Part Ryders™ Party Bus Rental Service, LLC
  • Collins & Clara™ Party Bus Rental Services, Inc.
  • Broadway® Party Bus Rental Service, LLC
  • Green Cruiser® Party Bus Rental Services, Inc.
  • Jason Clarkson & Family® Party Bus Rental Services, Inc.
  • Rock ‘N’ Roll© Party Bus Rental Services, Inc.
  • Y’ALL Group™ Party Bus Rental Service, LLC
  • Social Hub™ Party Bus Rental Services, Inc.
  • Right Lane® Party Bus Rental Service, Inc.

Insurance Policies

In the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. So, it is important to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your party bus business.

Here are some of the basic insurance covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own party bus business in the United States of America;

  • General insurance
  • Auto Insurance
  • Collision Damage Waiver
  • Personal Accident Insurance
  • Personal Effects Coverage
  • Commercial Auto Liability
  • Risk Insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Liability insurance
  • Workers Compensation
  • Overhead expense disability insurance
  • Business owner’s policy group insurance
  • Payment protection insurance

Intellectual Property Protection/Trademark

If you are considering starting your own party bus rental business, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to run it without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.

But if you just want to protect your company’s logo and other documents or software that are unique to you, then you can go ahead to file for intellectual property protection. If you want to register your trademark, you are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO. The final approval of your trademark is subjected to the review of attorneys as required by USPTO.

Is Professional Certification Needed to Run a Party Bus Rental Business?

When it comes to a party bus business, you do not need to have any formal training or special certification before you can be allowed to start a party bus rental business. All you need is informal training that will expose you to the in and out of the business.

On the other hand, if you come across any form of certification that can aid you to effectively manage and grow your party bus rental business, then by all means try and pursue such certification and a good example of such certifications are Global Certificate in Event Design (EDC) and The Certified Special Event Professional (CSEP).

List of Legal Documents You Need to Run a Party Bus Rental Business

The essence of having the necessary documentations in place before launching a business in the United States of America cannot be overemphasized. It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations.

These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to run your own party bus rental business in the United States of America;

  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Business License
  • Tax Payer’s ID / Tax Identification Number
  • Business Plan
  • Copy of license for recent inspection report
  • Employee Handbook
  • Employment Agreement (offer letters)
  • Operating Agreement for LLCs
  • Insurance Policy
  • Online Terms of Use
  • Online Privacy Policy Document (basically for online payment portal)
  • Company Bylaws
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
  • Franchise or Trademark License (optional)

Financing Your Party Bus Rental Business

Starting a party bus rental business can be cost effective especially if you choose to start on a small scale. Purchasing standard party buses are part of what will consume a large chunk of your startup capital, but if you choose to start the business on a large scale, you would need to go source for fund to finance the business because it is expensive to start a standard large scale party bus rental business.

When it comes to financing a business, one of the first things you should consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business.

Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for startup capital for your party bus rental business;

Choosing a Location for a Party Bus Rental Business

When it comes to choosing a location for your party bus rental, you should be guided by the demand for party buses. It cannot be overemphasized that the location you chose to open your party bus rental business is key to the success of the business, hence entrepreneurs are willing to rent or lease a facility in a visible location; a location where the demography consists of people with the required purchasing power and lifestyle.

It is important to note that a business facility in good location does not come cheap hence you should be able to allocate enough fund for leasing / renting in your budget. If you are new to the dynamics of choosing a location for your business, then you should feel free to talk to a business consultant or a realtor who has a full grasp of the city and perhaps country you intend starting your party bus rental company.

Most importantly, before choosing a location for your party bus rental company, ensure that you first conduct a thorough feasibility studies and market survey. The possibility of you coming across similar business that just closed shop in the location you want to open yours can’t be ruled out.

These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your party bus rental company;

  • The demography of the location
  • The demand for party buses in the location
  • The frequency at which parties are done in the location
  • Accessibility of the location
  • The number of party bus rental businesses and any other businesses like event planners and party supply rental companies that are also into renting out party buses in the location
  • The local laws and regulations in the community / state
  • Traffic, parking and security

Technical and Manpower Details

There are no special equipment needed to run this type of business except for Point of Sales (POS) Machines, shelves, and software applications. You will also need computers, internet facility, telephone, fax machine and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves) amongst others and all these can be gotten as fairly used.

As regards leasing or outright purchase of a facility, the choice is dependent on your financial standings, but the truth is that to be on the safe side, it is advisable to start off with a short – term rent / lease while test running the business in the location. If things work out as planned, then you go on a long – term lease or outright purchase of the property.

When it comes to hiring employees for a standard party bus rental business, you should make plans to hire a competent Chief Executive Officer (you can occupy this role), Admin and Human Resources Manager, Sales and Marketing Officer, Accounting Clerk, and Party Bus Drivers. On the average, you will need a minimum of 3 to 6 key staff members to run a small – scale but standard party bus rental business.

The Services Delivery Process Involved in a Party Bus Rental Business

Generally, a party bus rental company lists out the different types and sizes of party buses they have for rent. When a party organizer or customer approaches them, they agree on the prices of the party bus to be rented, payment is made, and deposit is also made. The deposit is compulsory because it is used to replace any damaged party equipment that was rented.

In most cases, once the payment and deposit are done, the party bus rental company instructs the driver to get the party bus ready, take the bus to the chosen location carry the guests and drive them via the chosen routes and when the party is over the driver returns the party bus back to base.

It is important to state that a party bus company may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them efficiency and flexibility; the above stated party bus rental business process is not cast on stone.

Marketing ideas and Strategies

Generally, running a business requires that you should be proactive when it comes to marketing your goods or services. If you choose to launch a party bus business, then you must go all out to employ strategies that will help you attract customers or else you will likely struggle with the business because there are well – known brands that determine the market direction of the party supply rental industry.

As a matter of fact, your marketing strategy will center on swift delivery, comfort, quality, and pricing, and above all excellent customer service. You should ensure that whenever your customers rent party bus from you, they will get quality equipment and excellent service.

The truth is that if you are able to put the above stated in place, you won’t struggle to retain your old customers and at the same time win over new customers. Businesses these days are aware of the power of the internet, which is why they will do all they can to maximize the internet to market their services or products.

In other words, a larger percentage of your marketing effort should be directed to internet users. These are some of the marketing ideas and strategies that you can adopt for your party bus rental business;

  • Introduce your party bus rental business by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to couples/young adults, households/families, schools (high schools, colleges and universities), sport organizations and the neighborhood where your party bus rental company will be located
  • Advertise on the internet on blogs and forums, and also on social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn to get your message across
  • Create a basic website for your business so as to give your business an online presence
  • Directly market your services
  • Join local party bus rental associations for industry trends and tips
  • Provide discount days for your customers
  • Advertise your business in community based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
  • List your business on yellow pages ads (local directories)
  • Encourage the use of Word of mouth marketing (referrals)

Factors That Will Help You Get the Right Product Pricing

One key factor that will help you rent out your party buses at rock bottom prices is to ensure that you obtain your business loan from financial institutions that will not put pressure in you; you should source for loan that will give you enough time to pay back.

Another strategy that will help you rent out your party buses at the right price is to ensure that you cut operational cost to the barest minimum and channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your brand name. Aside from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, it will also help you get the right pricing for your services.

You can also try as much as possible to work with independent contractors and marketers; it will help you save cost of paying sales and marketing executives.

Possible Competitive Strategies for Winning your Competitors

The availability of a wide range of party buses, your business process and of course your pricing model are part of what you need to stay competitive in the industry.

Another possible competitive strategy for winning your competitors in this particular industry is to offer freebies once in a while to your clients. Over and above, ensure that your organization is well positioned, key members of your team are highly qualified and your party buses can favorably compete with the some of the best in the industry.

Possible Ways to Increase Customer Retention

When it comes to business, no matter the industry that you choose to pitch your tent in, one of the easiest ways to increase customer retention and perhaps attract new customers is to produce results and satisfy your customers always. If your customers are satisfied with your products and services delivery, they can hardly source for alternative service provider or products.

Statistics has it that one of the major reasons why clients source for alternative service providers or products is when there is a drop in quality. Another reason is poor customer service. Ensure that you offer your customers incentives if you want to retain them and of course continue to generate repeated sales from them and also to attract new customers.

Part of what you need to do to achieve this is to track progress, results or outputs with the aim of improving on them quickly as the case demands. When it comes to managing your customers, and building loyal clientele base, you should purchase a customized CRM software.

With a customized CRM system, you can easily stay in touch with your clients (you can carry out quick surveys, you can introduce new products and prices to them without any hitch, you can felicitate with them on their birthdays and other anniversaries, you can keep track of their progress, you can send bulk sms and customized e – mails and above all, you can easily receive compliant and feedback from them).

Strategies to Boost Your Brand Awareness and Create Your Corporate Identity

If you are in business and you are not conscious about boosting you brand awareness and communicating your corporate identity, then you should be ready to take on whatever the society portrays your business to be. One of the secrets of larger corporations is that they are willing to spend fortunes to boost their brand awareness.

If your intention of starting a party bus rental business is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national and international brand by opening chains of party bus rental companies and franchising, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.

The truth is that the market is a dynamic and it requires consistent brand awareness and brand boosting cum promotion to continue to appeal to your target market. Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create corporate identity for your party bus rental company;

  • Place adverts on both print (newspapers and events and lifestyle magazines) and electronic media platforms
  • Sponsor relevant community based events / programs
  • Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your party bus rental business
  • Install your billboards in strategic locations all around your city or state
  • Engage in roadshows from time to time in targeted neighborhoods to create awareness of your party bus rental company
  • Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
  • Contact couples/young adults, households/families etc in the neighborhood where your party bus rental company will be located informing them about your business and the services you offer
  • List your party bus rental company in local directories / yellow pages
  • Advertise your party bus rental company in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site.
  • Position your Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the location where your party bus rental company is located.
  • Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles and party buses are branded with your company logo
Ajaero Tony Martins