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Author Topic: Where to land a job driving entertainer coaches?  (Read 12066 times)
ilyafish
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« on: December 18, 2008, 06:38:30 PM »

Just wondering how often job openings for this come about, im considering next fall after we are done touring for the year to go work for a company that leases out entertainer coaches.  I know a CDL will be required so i will have to get one before that, but besides that....is it a hard field to get into?

The only thing that i can see being my downfall is i am 21 right now, 22 by then.  However chances are i know more about busses than most current drivers. At least from my observation every time i try to initiate a conversation at a truck stop or rest area with a bus driver, they know nothing....not even what kind of bus theyre driving!! (Obviously i know, but nothing is a better conversation starter than 'Is that a MC (insert model here)' unless of course the answer is 'i dont know, i just am paid to drive these things!'

So anyways, i know some of you on here used to be or still are in the industry.....i am just looking to fulfill my love of driving busses when im not on tour haha.  21 years old and single and not married....might as well take advantage of it!  I am however specifically interested in entertainer coaches.

Thanks guys!

Worst case scenario, with the bus market the way it is right now, ill just buy a personal bus for myself and just work on that! haha, i do love driving them though :-)))))
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buswarrior
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« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2008, 07:25:03 PM »

If you can get your head around how the systems on an entertainer coach work, you will be hired, never mind your age. As you have discovered, it is VERY hard to get motivated and knowledgeable coach drivers for these extended gigs.

Google for your local and not so local VIP/Entertainer coach companies and give them a call. Even ones many states away will hire you, it doesn't matter where you are from, they need guys who can withstand the lifestyle.

Go get your CDL, see if you can hire on with a local charter company for a little while to get your feet wet. Don't be telling them your plans, just hire on and get some mileage and training under your belt.

You have to be able to thread a needle with the coach, BY YOURSELF. If you need help to move that bus within inches of stuff, you're no good to the entertainer bunch.

Especially reversing. If you can't go backwards better than you go forwards, forget it.

Everything the coach does has to be effortless and stress free. The group doesn't know what's going on, cuz YOU are so smooth and stress free. You don't get recommendations by freaking out the group, you get asked back year after year because the bus is a "no problem" environment. They don't want to hear about the toilet, the generator, the problems, the limitations, you shut up, make it work and make it smooth.

Like a good butler, or other old style servant, the boss doesn't need to be bothered with the details of your menial functioning.

Long high mile drives, reposition the coach across the continent by tomorrow, really bad behavior in the back, depending on your value system...either way, you can't be safely driving and being involved in whatever... drive overnight, sleep sometime, do it again tomorrow night.

That being said, if the group won't let you get the right sleep or leave you alone to drive the coach, park that baby and take the next flight home.

Help any?

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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RickB
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« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2008, 08:16:20 PM »

Iminaccess,

Hemphill Brothers, Senators coaches. Google them and see if they are hiring.

Call Wade Staley of Staley Coaches in Nashville. He is a great resource.

I think having younger,fit drivers is what alot of touring folks are looking for. The obese and older folks bring possible heart attack into the scenario. We had a driver for us a few years ago that we all swore was gonna cack in the mountains doing 80 with the cruise on some night!! Of course he got his stomach stapled right after we finished the tour and weighs like 190 now... go figure.There is alot of loyalty and many long term relationships between drivers and celebrities so getting the "A" gig (driving a headliner like Reba or Garth) will be a long wait. When they find a person they trust, that will put up with their idiosyncrasies and insecurities, they stick with them.

You would probably start driving a crew bus. 45 foot Prevost Mirage or H model with a series 60.It will have 10-12 bunks in it and the biggest rule of all with tour buses is you NEVER,EVER,EVER let anyone go #2 in the toilet. You better be able to sleep during the day and be prepared for alot of pizza, drinking, fighting and cussing. I have seen some of the best friends in the world when they are out on the road, away from their families for months on end, and  super pampered by everyone around them, become vicious enemies. The ego required to stand in front of 15-20k people can make people difficult to say the least.

Oh and the biggest drag of all is if you think you're gonna "see" America like you've probably been seeing it with your band. You won't. You will drive all night and sleep all day and days off when the band is hitting the clubs or going to dinner, you will be at the Prevost shop fixing the 14 never ending things that break all the time.

I know it was a sobering post but you really better know you want this, or you will have a monumental amount of time wrapped up in a job you don't love.

Good luck and God Bless you in your search if you decide to move forward.

Send us pictures of your gleaming new series 60 so we can all drool on our two strokes.

Rick

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ilyafish
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« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2008, 08:25:54 PM »

Helps alot buswarrior! Yeah, obviously i need more practice but i have put my 9 and trailer into places i wouldnt take a van and trailer into.....and backed out.  having a veggie system really helps because you have to get into small alleys behind restaurants. anyways, not to toot my own horn, i obviously could use another 150 dates this coming year to train myself even more, as well as local charter companies.

i think what i might do though is i am friends with some people pretty high up in the industry, and they all deal with bands that have morals. so with that being said i might just talk to them and find out what leasing companies they use and try to arrange something because yeah the one thing that i could not deal with is the immoral stuff.

Rick, thank you for your input and information as well.  Really good to know what I would really be getting into

any additional information/input from others would be great!
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Own: 1981 MCI MC9 w/
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HB of CJ
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« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2008, 08:36:49 PM »

Wow, greats posts and insights everyone.  Thank you.  Yeah, consider the job kinda like a corporate biz jet pilot or owner operator yacht charter outfit...the people and things one has to deal with.

Crazy as it sounds, even if the national (world?) economy does take a nose dive into the deep end, there will always be a nich for entertainers doing their thing and they will always need transport.

Maybe you can hire on somewhere, learn all the ropes, get experience, then buy your OWN entertainer Bus Conversion and be your own boss.  The better you get, the more money you can charge. HB of CJ Smiley Smiley Smiley

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ilyafish
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« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2008, 08:46:36 PM »

good thinking :-)

I actually got the idea when hearing about a band purchasing a bunch of mc9's and converting them and leasing them out and told myself it would make good use of my coach when we are not on the road. Obviously were not talking about any huge bands that would be renting mc9s haha but still a couple extra bucks and you get to do what you love.....driving buses!  However i am way too in love with my coach to even think about having some rockstars on board trash it every night!!

With that being said, ultimately i would love to do that....for the amount of money those things are leased for, no need to even do any math to figure out how quickly you get your money back!

So yeah, i think i will try it, see if i like it, if i do, ill keep doing it, get a reputation, then buy some of my own buses and do it by myself.

Keep the posts coming though guys, im loving all this information!
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Own: 1981 MCI MC9 w/
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Live:  Flemington, NJ

1 Corinthians 9:19-22
Songman
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« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2008, 09:16:32 PM »

These guys all hit the nail on the head. Luckily I was always one of the guys sleeping in the bunk while the poor drivers had to drive all night  but I have seen enough of it to know that I wouldn't want to do it! More power to you! We need good steady guys up there! The best gig, in my opinion, would be when you get with someone who owns their own instead of leasing. When the artists gets big enough, that's usually what they do. They you get put on salary and you get paid whether they are on the road or not in some cases.

I've seen these guys back these buses into places that I wouldn't want to try to back a pickup into. And I have seen then run down the interstate at 75mph just inches from a concrete construction wall. Scared the crap outta me! I agree that you need to get some good logable professional hours under your belt. Work on not only being able to get into small places, but also work on being smooth. No one wants to live with stuff flying all over the bus. But I disagree with not mattering where you live. Just like I used to tell people who would ask me about trying to break into the music business... You gotta be there. Nashville (or L.A. or N.Y.) don't send out talent scouts anymore. You gotta come to them. I think that applies to any job. I wouldn't think I could be a lumberjack if I lived in Southern Arizona. If you want to drive an entertainer coach, I think you have to live close to where entertainers base from.
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TomC
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« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2008, 11:53:00 PM »

When starting out driving truck, I found out the hard way that insurance companies don't want you if you're under 25, and most companies wants drivers with at least 2 years of provable driving experience.  How can you get driving experience if nobody will hire you?  That's the 6 million dollar question.  Good luck if you find out.  I personally, started with a local moving company to get up to the 2 years of experience before I bought my first truck.  Good Luck, TomC
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Jeremy
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« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2008, 02:20:49 AM »

Might be worth simply visiting lots of Entertainer company websites and seeing if they are advertising for drivers.

This comment is from Jumbocruiser (http://jumbocruiser.com/) which is a British entertainer coach operator:



Looking for a driving job ?

Unless we already know you then the only way to get on our books is to do double drives. In effect that means you will need to be a casual driver for a while until a position becomes available. Unfortunately positions are rare and timing is crucial. In the first instance please click here to let us know your details. Priority is given to drivers with trailer licenses who live near Bristol. We are also interested in drivers who live abroad for double drives if they have right hand drive experience. Meanwhile please click here to make sure you really want the job !



Jeremy
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ilyafish
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« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2008, 07:47:07 AM »

Would what i am doing now (owning my own coach and driving it daily for more than 6 months out of the year) be considered professional experience?

Again, thank you for the insight guys!
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« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2008, 01:49:43 PM »

If you can get around the 25 year age rule.
And you can get your CDL with all the endorsements.

Try doing a few miles driving for a partial living in school buses or finding
runs delivering buses and or RV's for one of the conversion dealers or others.

The bottom line is you need seat time. Much like logging hours during pilot training.
the expertise of driving a bus takes time and experience and the only way is
to go looking. You might have to fly to a pickup or get in with a driveaway services.

Or maybe see about driving a city or metro bus for a while as a reserve driver.

When I wanted to learn to drive a bus, I went to Disney and learned and drove.
While not being paid very well, The experience was worth all of it. 9 weeks of training
and 2 months of random check rides and all that fun. You haven't lived until you have maxxed out an RTS so far that the air suspension was on the lower stops....FUN!!

Dave...
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Bob Gil
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« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2008, 02:22:50 PM »

This brings up too many memories from days gone bye.

Unruly kids on school buses (alter ed kids future criminals), light that don't work at midnight with a bus full of school kids, kids throwing stuff out the windows at cop car, etc.

Drunks that just got off the air plane going to the rental cars at the air port.  Driving in cricles around the Dulles Air port for 8 + hours at a time. 

One of the best was the girls basket ball team that put a sign in the back window of the bus say they were being raped.  (2 am on the way from a late night game 90 miles from the school)  When The state trooper plued me over and found I was the only male on the bus he got a good laugh but the kids got a letchure too.

First driving a truck, I would not want to have to start over again but I have been playing in the freeway scince 1975, don't know any thing else better to do for a living.  From trucks to emergency vehicles, school buses and  back to trucks again, the bigger, longer, wider, the heaver the better.
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circusboy90210
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« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2008, 03:48:22 PM »

go to Las Vegas if you have a clean record & over 25 they will get you cdl licensss .lts of companies there have 3rd party testing priveledges
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Van
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« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2008, 09:46:30 PM »

you must be talking about las vegas,New Mexico ,thats not how it's done here in sin city.Only one location here for CDL ,testing ,licensing,renewals,and the econo ain't that great tourisim down,nevada has the highest unemployment rate in the country with another estimated 10,000 to be laid off before it's all over.have a nice nite.Van
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circusboy90210
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« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2008, 10:39:02 AM »

you must be talking about las vegas,New Mexico ,that's not how it's done here in sin city.Only one location here for CDL ,testing ,licensing,renewals,and the economy ain't that great tourism down,Nevada has the highest unemployment rate in the country with another estimated 10,000 to be laid off before it's all over.have a nice nite.Van
relying on info from the 2years I lived there. (drove limousine) most transportation companies do have 3rd party testing as per job search research & actuality from work in them. 8.3 is pretty high but this also means 91.7 still have jobs.friends I still know in industry's there r not crying yet though.butthen again I only hang with the best.;-)
go to Bell Trans or one of the big companies(no matter whatshow up well dresses & groomed) other than that safe driving record& over 25. they pretty much hireoff the street. Alan waxman is a good second step. or go directly 2 majors if you have p endorsement claws B or better. howeverthe moving industry some places still have 3rd party testing. go 4 bekins they have install contracts for 50,000 hotel rooms being renovated or newly installed in next 2years. you justneed2 hustle in Vegas there s allways money to be made there no matter what Cool
OK also forgot city transit system & a company that operates the deuce both have 3rd party testing. the airport shuttle is operated by bell trans they are on industrial . keep your head up & please don't fedthe fear mongers just like saving our economy after 9/11 , best thing 2do now is live life & buy American whenever possible , the worker is not an unacceptable expense but a neighbor that has bills just like you.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2008, 02:16:19 PM by circusboy90210 » Logged
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