Each group has certain requirements, and keeping this in mind helps to ensure everyone's satisfaction. Here's a list of questions to consider before contact our sales staff:
What type and size vehicle will you need?
How many people will be traveling?
What level of luxury or additional equipment will you need or desire?
What is your travel itinerary?
Who will be your contact for your group's charter needs?
Will special accommodations need to be made for the driver on overnight trips?
Will more than one driver be needed because of the length of the trip?
Which is more important: luxury or price?
20 Tips to Bear in Mind Before Signing a Contract
Not all charter companies are the same and therefore other factors need to be considered in addition to price. To help you get all the service and reliability you want and need, we offer these tips for better chartering. We hope that they will help you prepare better quote request and keep your groups safe, comfortable, and satisfied.
1) Does your group have any special needs that must be met?
2) Clearly spell out your schedule and what is involved in detail.
Be sure the company knows what hours the driver must be available to the group, and if the driver must stay at the same hotel (for overnight trips).
3) Find out when the company was established, and how long it has been offering charter motorcoach services. A good track record is always desirable.
4) Request that the company supply its ICC and DOT numbers.
Such numbers are assigned by the U.S. Government and are required to operate legally.
5) What is the company's DOT Safety Rating? A satisfactory rating is standard.
Never charter from a company with an unsatisfactory rating. Call the Federal Highway Administration's Office of Motor Carriers at 1-800-832-5660 to verify a carrier's safety rating.
6) Request a Certificate of Insurance.
Your carrier should supply a Certificate of Insurance. This certificate shows the carrier's levels of insurance and effective policy dates. Accepted levels of insurance call for a minimum of $5 million for combined single-limit liability.
7) Ask for references.
Request and contact references from similar type groups traveling on similar type programs. Never charter from a company unwilling to provide references.
8) Ask how many coaches are in their fleet.
Overall charter fleet size is important. It provides a gauge to the operator's ability to supply alternate vehicles in the event of a mechanical problem, on multi-motorcoach movements, or on weekends and during peak seasons. It also provides some insight into the success of the company.
9) Is the company adhering to Department of Transportation driver regulations?
The DOT limits drivers to 10 hours of continuous service. If your itinerary requires more than the limit, ask how the charter company is going to handle it.
10) Ask the company's procedures for on-the-road emergencies.
The operator should have access to a nationwide reciprocal maintenance agreement which will assure you of prompt servicing of equipment in all regions of the USA / Canada
11) Is the company available for inspections?
You should inspect the motorcoach equipment general offices and garage facilities before signing any contracts or agreements. You can tell a lot about a company just by looking.
12) What is the average age of the equipment operated?
Vehicles that are over 10 years old, unless properly maintained on a preventive maintenance basis, can have a greatly diminished reliability factor. Generally, the newer the motorcoach, the fewer the breakdowns.
13) Are video-equipped motorcoaches available?
Video-equipped coaches can be a genuine asset. You can view educational videos or provide movies to help pass the hours. Sports teams can even view game videos; a great way to see your opponent, or review your own performance.
14) Is the carrier legally licensed to show first-run motion pictures?
Only carriers that hold such a license may show these films. Request to see a copy of the license.
15) Are bids really necessary?
Often, bidding is only required if the total cost will exceed a set dollar amount. Breaking down larger movements into smaller segments may eliminate the need to bid at all.
16) Does the company have a drug-screening program in place?
Specify that your carrier supply a copy of their written drug policy and drug-testing program. Never charter from a carrier that does not strongly enforce a drug-free workplace.
17) Can the company supply a list of qualified drivers?
Ask the carrier to submit a list of current qualified drivers, who have a CDL—commercial driver's license, have passed the DOT physical examination requirements, and carry approved driver qualification documentation.
18) Who pays for the driver's hotel room?
Find out if the driver's room is included in the cost of the charter, or if you are responsible for it.
19) Who is responsible for extra mileage costs beyond the contracted amount?
Find out the carrier's policy before the trip—not when you get the bill!
20) Is the carrier a full service company?
Do they have their own maintenance facilities? Can they provide vehicles to meet special needs?
Please familiarize yourself with our standard contract terms and conditions:
(1) A deposit is required 7 days after the receipt of this document.
(2) A deposit of $100.00 for charters under $1000.00 is required.
(3) A deposit of 25% for charters $1000.00 and up is required.
(4) Final payment for charter service is due and payable at least 14 days in advance of the charter date.
(5) Charters booked less than two weeks prior to departure must be paid in full with a money order, bank check or charge card at time of booking.
(6) When making payment, please indicate on your check or other mode of payment, the date of your trip and your Charter Confirmation Order Number to insure proper credit.
Prices Subject to Change
All prices quoted in the confirmation are subject to change under the circumstances described herein, but shall not be increased, in the aggregate, by more than twenty percent (20%).
(1) If the price of diesel fuel increases by more than twenty percent (20%) between the date of the confirmation and the date of the charter, the Company may increase the prices quoted in the confirmation by an amount equal to the product of (i) the per gallon increase in diesel fuel over twenty (20%), and (ii) the estimated number of gallons to be used in the charter.
(2) If there is a change in the federal, state or local laws or regulations between the date of the confirmation and the date of the charter that (i) require material modifications be made to the motorcoach chartered, or (ii) cause the Company to incur material additional or increased expenses in providing the charter service, the Company may increase the prices quoted in the confirmation.
A charter receipt confirms your order. The Chartering Party must notify the Company of cancellations. There will be no cancellation fee if the cancellation is made more than 14 days prior to the Charter Date for one-day trips. Cancellations made less than 14 days prior to the Charter Date for one-day trips will be subject to a $100. cancellation fee PER BUS PER DAY. Cancellations made less than 15-29 days prior to the Charter Date for extended trips will be subject to a $100 cancellation fee PER BUS. Cancellations made less than 15 days prior to the Charter Date for extended trips will be subject to a cancellation fee of 25% of the total charter fee.
No allowances or reductions of any kind shall be made in the rates set forth on this order.
When the Chartering Party requests any change in service that results in an increase in miles or hours to that specific charter, an additional charge may be necessary for that additional service. Any change resulting in a reduction of charges will be subtracted from the estimated cost and will be refunded to the Charter Party after completion of trip. Tolls, highway fees, etc. will be separate and additional.
Extended Day Trips
A detailed itinerary is required for extended day trips at least two weeks prior to departure. Itineraries are subject to review by a safety officer of the Company. Prices are subject to change based on the final itinerary. The Chartering Party is responsible for reserving a room(s) for the driver(s). If staying at an expensive hotel or other accommodations, please contact the charter department.
Federal Department of Transportation safety regulations prohibit drivers to be on duty more than fifteen (15) hours per day, ten (10) of which are for driving (including a 30-minute pre- and post-trip vehicle inspection). The driver must be given eight (8) consecutive hours off before he/she may resume his/her duties.
Damages to Buses
The cost of repairing damage to buses resulting from the conduct and actions of passengers on that specific charter shall be charged to the Chartering Party and is payable as soon as such cost is determined.
The time of arrival at starting point, destination, or return to point of origin cannot be guaranteed. Operators are carefully selected and have instructions to drive at all times at a speed within the limits prescribed by law and compatible with safe operation. Unusual road, traffic and weather conditions are beyond Company control.
Equipment furnished by the Company is thoroughly inspected before being assigned to the charter service to insure uninterrupted service. If for some reason beyond the control of the Company, a mechanical failure makes necessary the replacement of a bus originally assigned to the charter service, the replacement bus may be of a different type. VCR equipment is installed on some of our over the road motorcoaches. Request for VCR equipped coaches will be honored to the best of our ability, but is not guaranteed. Only non-copyrighted videocassettes are permitted to be shown. The following is important information from a Summary Statement prepared by the Film Security Office of the Motion Picture Association of America Inc. provided for your information: by law the pre- recorded videocassettes available in stores throughout the United States are for HOME USE ONLY. The U.S. Copy- Right Act grants to the copyright owner the EXCLUSIVE right among others, to perform the copyrighted work publicly, (U.S. Code Title 17, Sections 101 and 106). Even performances in semipublic places such as clubs, lodges, factories, summer camps, and schools are public performances subject to copyright control. Companies, organizations and individuals who wish to publicly exhibit copyrighted motion pictures and audiovisual works MUST secure a license to do so. THE COMPANY DISCLAIMS ANY AND ALL LIABILITY FOR THE
Showing of Copyrighted Videocassettes
This requirement applies EQUALLY to profit making organizations and non-profit institutions such as hospitals, prisons, schools, and the like. Purchases of prerecorded videocassettes and videodiscs do not change their obligations. In addition, public performance of videotape recordings made from televised motion pictures is a multiple copyright infringement.
The company assumes no responsibility whatsoever, for any personal property. Baggage and all other personal property will be handled only at passenger's own risk. Passenger's baggage shall be transported subject to the available accommodations (as determined solely by the Company) provided by interior and/or exterior racks. A 15% luggage handling charge may be applied to airport transfers.
The company reserves the right to refuse to transport persons under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs, or who are, or are likely to become, objectionable to other persons.
Conduct of Passengers
Passengers shall not interfere with the operator in the discharge of his duty or tamper with any apparatus or appliance on the bus.
Firearms, Explosives and Fireworks
Possession of firearms, explosives and fireworks (whether in baggage or on the person) are strictly forbidden on/in the motorcoach.
When the charter trip is such that a greater than normal amount of time and material will be necessary to clean the bus properly, the Company, at its option, may require additional cost to cover such additional time and materials.
Limitation of Liability
NEITHER PARTY SHALL BE LIABLE IN ANY EVENT, OR FOR ANY REASON, INCLUDING BREACH OF THIS AGREEMENT, EITHER DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, TO THE OTHER PARTY OR ANY THIRD PARTY FOR ANY SPECIAL, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, PUNITIVE, EXEMPLARY OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES OR LOSS OF PROFITS ARISING OUT OF THIS AGREEMENT, EVEN IF SUCH DAMAGES WERE FORESEEABLE OR EITHER PARTY HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.
Neither party shall be liable for failure or delay in performing obligations set forth in the charter agreement, and neither party shall be deemed in breach of its obligations, if such failure or delay is due to natural disasters, strike, lockout, or other industrial or transportational disturbances, law, regulation or ordinance, or any causes reasonably beyond the control of such party.
The Charter Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the parties and supersedes any and all other agreements, either oral or written with respect to the subject matter hereof.
The Chartering Party may not assign this Agreement or any of their respective rights, interests, duties, or obligations hereunder without the prior written consent of the other party. The Company may assign this Agreement and any of its rights, interests, duties or obligations hereunder without the prior written consent of the chartering party.
The following items are prohibited without the written consent of the Company:
(2) Alcoholic Beverages - A $100. - $500. Deposit (per bus) will be required if alcoholic beverages are allowed by the Company. The deposit may be refunded if the bus is returned undamaged and with no excessive cleaning. No tap beer will be allowed on any bus. A chaperone/responsible person (21 years of age or older) will be asked to sign A Rules & Statement of Responsibility form.)
(3) Smoking (including the use of e-cigarettes)
(4) Glass containers
(5) Golf shoes or other shoes with spikes
(6) Fuel containers
Any person or group which requires an ADA accessible bus is requested to inform us at the time of reservation and must notify us in writing no later than 48 hours prior to the Charter's departure.