How Much Does It Cost To Rent A Charter Bus?
Posted 12.4.2022 in Ask the Pros
There are a lot of factors to consider when renting a bus and all of them will impact the price in different ways. With this guide, we will help you become an expert at renting a bus and help you save some money along the way too!
Number of Passengers
The first item to consider is the number of passengers you need to transport; this will determine the vehicle types available to rent and the number of vehicles that will be required.
This may be the most confusing part. The best place to start is what is a charter bus? Is it a specific type of bus? Actually, a charter very simply means the hiring of a vehicle from a professional company. So any bus that you hire — or charter — is a charter bus. You will hear a lot of terms like: Motorcoach, Coach Bus, Charter Bus, Tour Bus, Charter Coach, Travel Coach, Shuttle Bus, Party Bus, Mini Bus, Entertainer Coach — there can’t be this many types of buses can there? While many bus “experts” would like you to believe that there are dozens of bus types, we can broadly put charter vehicles into two categories: Motorcoaches and Mini Buses. The interiors may be designed for different functions, but they still fall into the same category.
A standard, seated motorcoach is usually a 30-45 foot long bus with seating capacity for 30 – 58 passengers. Double-Decker buses can often seat more than 80 passengers at a time.
A mini bus is usually on a truck or van chassis and seats anywhere from 12 – 40 passengers. Mini buses typically do not ride as comfortably as motorcoaches, but they offer an affordable alternative for smaller groups look for charter bus service.
Money Saving Tip: When choosing a vehicle, try to find a vehicle that allows your group to travel in as few vehicles as possible. While a group of 50 passengers can fit in two mini buses, you will almost always save money by having that same group travel in a single motorcoach.
Number of Miles
The number of miles you intend to travel has a significant impact on the cost of charter bus rental. Buses run on diesel and every mile you travel increases the amount of diesel fuel required and increases the cost of the trip.
Money Saving Tip: When planning your itinerary, reduce the number of miles by choosing routes carefully and avoiding doubling back. You can also talk with one of our logistics professionals on how to travel with the fewest miles possible.
Number of Days
The number of days you will need the charter bus will also impact the bus. Most charter bus rental companies charge a minimum per day that you reserve a charter bus even if you are not running any miles because many charter bus drivers get paid by the day or get a daily guaranteed wage regardless of the number of hours you use the bus.
Money Saving Tip: When planning your itinerary, see if there is an opportunity to reduce the total number of days you need the charter bus. This may save you a substantial amount of money. If you are on a multi-day trip where you don’t need the bus on the middle days, ask your charter bus rental company if they can book the bus with someone else on the days you do not need the bus to save money; this can often be a win-win for both you and the charter bus service.
Number of Hours
Many charter bus rental services charge by the hour instead of by the mile or by the day. Be cautious when working with a company that charges by the hour. You will often find that you pay WAY more than you would with a charter bus company that charges by the day or based on mileage. At Eagle Christian Tours, we never charge by the hour. If you rent a bus with us, you get the bus for the entire day so you can take additional time without having to rush through your travel.
Professional Driver vs. Drive Yourself
Some charter bus companies or mini bus rental services will offer a charter bus or lease bus that you can drive yourself. In most cases, it will require you to have a commercial drivers license. While driving yourself is a great way to save money on your bus rental, it could cost you a lot more in the long run. Large vehicles like charter buses and mini buses are often targeted by people trying to make false insurance claims. If you are involved in any kind of incident whether you are at fault or not, it could cost you tens of thousands of dollars to defend. Even false claims could cause your insurance rates to go up after your renewal.
When it comes to the safety and liability involved with operating a coach bus or mini bus, it is always better to have a professional driver taking care of your group. It is the most stress-free way to travel and ensures a smooth and seamless ride. At Eagle Christian Tours, all of our charter bus rentals come with a professional Host-Driver that will make sure your group is taken care of throughout your travel.
This is often the most misunderstood part of booking a charter bus. All commercial drivers are limited in the number of hours they can drive at a time. The number of hours is different based on how you are operating. If your trip goes over the legal number of hours that a single professional driver can drive in a day, it will require a relief driver to relieve the first driver. When you add a relief driver, it adds additional expense to your trip.
Money Saving Tip: When planning your itinerary, make sure that each day of your travel does not exceed the maximum number of driving hours that a professional driver can drive in a day. At Eagle Christian Tours, our professional planners can help adjust your itinerary so that you experience everything while making small changes that reduce the number of drivers required and saves you money!
We had a customer from Rome, Georgia ask us whether it would be better for them to go to Top Golf in Atlanta, Georgia or Chattanooga, Tennessee. The mileage and details were almost identical between the two places, but going to Chattanooga, Tennessee was 7% cheaper than going to Top Golf in Atlanta; this is because traveling across state lines turns your trip into interstate commerce which exempts you from sales tax. While schools and other institutions may already be sales tax exempt, for everyone else going out of state can save you hundreds of dollars on your next trip.
For customers in Georgia, our tour planners can help find stops just across the state line to help save you money on your trip. Even a 30 minute lunch stop across the state line could save you hundreds. For customers in Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, or Florida, Eagle Christian Tours is a great fit as we are based in Georgia and it automatically qualifies as interstate commerce when you travel with us.
Ways to Save Money on Your Next Charter Bus Rental
To recap, you can save money on your next charter bus rental by:
- Reducing the total number of vehicles to the minimum number needed to transport your passengers
- Planning your travel efficiently so that there are no wasted miles
- Asking your charter bus rental company if they can rent the charter bus to another group on days you don’t need the bus
- Planning your itinerary so that you do not exceed the total number of hours a professional driver can drive in a day
- Planning a stop across a state line can turn your trip into interstate commerce that is exempt from state sales tax
Prices for a charter bus rental can depend on many factors and every trip is unique based on the miles, days, number of passengers you are looking to transport, the number of drivers required, and the places you are traveling to. As you can see, the way you plan your trip impacts every part of pricing. We hope this guide gives you all the tools you need to plan better bus travel and save money on your charter bus rental.
If this all sounds a little overwhelming, don’t stress. At Eagle Christian Tours, we want to take the stress out of travel. We can plan every part of your trip to make it as smooth and affordable as possible. You can talk with one of your trip planners at (706) 314-8684. If you would like to learn more about our coach bus rentals, mini coach, or mini bus rentals, you can see our buses here. Thanks for reading and happy travels!