When setting up a 15-passenger transportation business, you must consider your future client base. There are many niche areas you can service. For instance, you can offer transportation services to senior citizens, children or institutions. It is important that you research and find out which area has a high demand for transportation within your state, and concentrate your business in that area.
Register the business name and business with the Secretary of State in your home state. Also register with the Internal Revenue Service for an Employee Identification Number.
Buy any needed vehicles. You can purchase either a new or used vehicle. To get a good deal, work with a reputable dealer. It is advisable to join associations such as the American Public Transportation Association, as you may get associated member discounts when purchasing a vehicle.
Get licenses and permits from the federal Department of Transportation in the state where you operate. If passengers will directly pay the driver for transportation, then the van is subject to additional safety standards and checks from the Department of Transportation. In that case you must provide seat belts for all passengers and keep a record of the inspections, repairs and any accidents involving the van.
Set up an office for use as a coordination point for your business. Clients can call the office and make bookings or inquire about the business or van. Also, the office can be used as a dispatch point for employees. This is essential if you have multiple 15 passenger vans. Ideally, consider getting a location with parking space for the vehicles when they are not in use.
Get equipment. To run the office you need a telephone, furniture, fax machine and computers for keeping client logs. You also need a radio dispatch and signaling equipment system, which can be purchased from communication companies such as Telex Communications Inc.
Buy automobile liability insurance for your vehicles and the passengers you will be transporting. Talk to two or three insurance agents and select one to provide you with an insurance policy.
Hire drivers with a Commercial Driver’s License. This can be obtained by completing a CDL application form, paying the required test fee and taking a written exam. After a driver passes the test, he will receive a driver’s permit valid for one or two years depending on the state. The driver should also have a transport endorsement permit issued by the government to allow an individual to be involved in public transportation. Carry out background checks on the drivers before you hire them to ensure they have a clean driving record and no criminal records.
Advertise your business. Put up posters in community areas, town halls, grocery stores and other public areas where it is legal to post advertising. Advertise in newspapers, classifieds and magazines. Also advertise online and in the Yellow Pages.