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:
In the event Chartering Party notifies Company in writing of the intent to cancel the charter agreement more than twenty-one (21) days prior to departure, the full deposit amount is refundable. Should the agreement be cancelled less than twenty-one (21) days but more than seven (7) days prior to departure, then Chartering Party shall forfeit deposit amount. Should the agreement be cancelled less than seven (7) days but more than seventy-two (72) hours prior to departure, then Chartering Party shall forfeit fifty percent (50%) of price quoted. No refund less than seventy-two (72) hours prior to departure.
The Chartering Party is responsible for providing a detailed itinerary including destinations, times, addresses, and direction/maps where necessary at least fourteen (14) days prior to departure date. Unless otherwise expressly stated, all arrival times shall be approximations only. The driver is responsible only to the itinerary provided. Although a driver will make a reasonable effort to accommodate changes in the itinerary or an incomplete itinerary, there can be no assurance that all changes can be accommodated. Prices are subject to change based on the final itinerary. When the Chartering Party is responsible for reserving and paying for the driver(s) room(s) then a single room per driver is required. The vehicle cannot be used for individual or personal transfers due to liability issues.
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.
The request for VCR equipped coaches will be honored to the best of our ability but is not guaranteed. No refunds will be made on non-working VCR'S or Monitors. We only permit non-copyrighted videocassettes 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 prerecorded video cassettes available in stores throughout the United States are for HOME USE ONLY. The U.S. Copyright 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. 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.
Prices Subject to Change
All prices quoted in the confirmation are subject to change under the circumstances described in this Section 5, but shall not be increased, in the aggregate, by more than twenty percent (20%).
(a) 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 percent (20%), and (ii) the estimated number of gallons to be used in the charter.
(b) 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 under the confirmation prior to the date of the charter, or (ii) cause the Company to incur material additional or increased expenses in providing the charter services, the Company may increase the prices quoted in the confirmation.
Where required, a $100.00 deposit shall be collected as security for damage to the vehicle, including cleanup after use of beverages on the vehicle. Said deposit shall be returned if there is no damage or additional cleanup required. The Chartering Party shall be responsible for all damage to the interior of the motorcoach beyond normal wear and tear.
Waiver of Consequential Damages
It is understood by the Chartering Party that certain unforeseen factors beyond the Company's control may result in delays. The Chartering Party hereby waives any and all claims for damages, including any deposits and costs incurred by the Chartering Party for rooms, meals or admissions arising from delays due to factors beyond the Company's control, including delays arising from weather conditions and mechanical failure.
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 Company assumes no responsibility for any personal property. Baggage and all other personal property will be handled only at passenger's own risk. Company assumes no responsibility for parking at any location.
The following items are prohibited without the written consent of the Company: smoking, glass containers, kegs, golf shoes or other shoes with spikes, firearms, explosives, and fireworks. Objectionable persons may be removed at their expense.
The price for the charter service does not include any gratuity for the driver or step-on-guide. Gratuities are optional and should reflect the quality of service received.