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Author Topic: Bus questions! - Long post (newbie)  (Read 3209 times)
Topher
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« on: April 24, 2013, 06:01:39 PM »

Hi my name is Chris and I had some kinda big bus questions.

I am in the final stages of starting up a nonprofit and we are going to be buying a entertainer coach and four people will be living out of it for about 9 moths out of the year. We will be going all over the united states and maybe in a few years parts of Canada.

I am looking at a 2013 PREVOST X3 45 FT. STAR COACH (It's pretty expensive but for four people living out of it for 9 months a year I like it). It also has.
• Headroom clearance 89”
• Volvo D-13 engine “EPA 10” (500 HP)
• Allison World B500 Transmission
• Engine brakes on D13 engine
• Electric slider windows
• Full heating and air conditioning system
• Prevost Advanced Electronic Stability program
• Euro flush style cabinetry and radius corners
• Five independently zoned 13,500 BTU roof air conditioning/heat systems
• Automatic Toe kick heating systems
• Trac Star in motion satellite TV system with DVR receivers
• Electric flush macerator toilets
• Automatic vent fans
• Travertine shower with rain shower and removable wand head
• Instant hot water heaters
• 20 KW quiet generator with automatic start
• 4000 watt 24 volt inverter
• Automatic transfer switch generator to shore power
• Water tanks fresh, grey and black 100 gallon each with tank monitors
• Automatic dump valves
• Heated bays
• Over 215 cubic feet of available bay space
(Sorry for all the specs but I don't want to spend a TON of money on a bus and find out two months out that it will not work out)


1. It has 100 GL each Water, gray and black tanks. Is that enough?

2. What maintenance (other then the Oil and stuff) does it need?

3. What should I look at when buying a bus?

4. Do they make a keypad lock for the door to the bus.

5. Do I need a DOT number? (I have googled, called and searched their website with no luck) And if I do what are the costs that go with it?

6. I have a budget of $2,000 a month for maintenance and $50,000 yearly maintenance. Is that enough? (Way over priced I think but it should cover if something major happens to the bus.)

7. Do I need to do anything to the bus to use it during the winter?

8. Do you have any thoughts or words of wisdom?

I have spent the last three years of my life researching everything for my nonprofit and I have everything else taken care of but it seems like every day something else pop's up about the bus aspect of it. And I have friends who have worked on tours, some for more then twenty years but they have never had to deal with bus's. Most tour's rent their coach's and I have done that math and it about the same to buy one and you have my options to make changes.

I'm also looking at a house for the nonprofit to run out of and it has R.V. Hookup's. I figured it would be good thing to have thoughts?

Sorry for the extremely LONG post but I like to know every little detail and I would hate to be on the road for two months and find out that the bus won't work for what we need it to. Or drive around in the winter and find out that I should have done something to the pipes and now they need replaced and I hope you bus nuts are able to help me out.

Thank you
Chris
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Chris
Mansfield, Ohio
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« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2013, 06:19:21 PM »

Hello Chris,

Welcome to the group. If I didn't have to be up at 0400 to take my parents to the airport I would spend more time with this, but you will find there are many here to answer those questions. The way I see it that with the budget you have allocated you won't have a problem. I cannot imagine spending more on maintenance than most common folks spend on a mortgage, and with that kind of coin you will never have to get greasy. Post some pics and a web or blog link when you get a chance.
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« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2013, 06:23:34 PM »

Not familiar with the converter myself. I would ck anyone's references. The equipment is pretty well standard. Might look at a couple year old coach. Lots of bargains out there now. If a XLII make sure they have the siding update done.  Would be nice but prob could find coach with less than 60,000 miles on it for 1/2 of new price. Bob
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Bob@Judy  98 XLE prevost with 3 slides --Home done---last one! SW INdiana
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« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2013, 06:27:58 PM »

Not to bad for a startup nonprofit organization almost a million dollar bus and 74 grand a year for maintenance I am in the wrong business you need a partner     
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« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2013, 06:52:40 PM »

They are not listed on the prevostcar web site as a dealer or converter. Ck(prevostcar) their web site for converters of Prevost coaches they supply. FWIW Use left side when entering then go to entertainers. then to coach type-then to dealers/converters. They list who they supply--not to say that Star might not be brand new or buying thru someone else. Jon could prob help but he still can't post.  Bob
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Bob@Judy  98 XLE prevost with 3 slides --Home done---last one! SW INdiana
Topher
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« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2013, 06:59:00 PM »

Hello Chris,

Welcome to the group. If I didn't have to be up at 0400 to take my parents to the airport I would spend more time with this, but you will find there are many here to answer those questions. The way I see it that with the budget you have allocated you won't have a problem. I cannot imagine spending more on maintenance than most common folks spend on a mortgage, and with that kind of coin you will never have to get greasy. Post some pics and a web or blog link when you get a chance.


This is the bus I am looking at http://babybonzai.com/coach/?page_id=118 and I would buy it though Staley Coach. The link to the nonprofit site it www.the24ontour.com

Not familiar with the converter myself. I would ck anyone's references. The equipment is pretty well standard. Might look at a couple year old coach. Lots of bargains out there now. If a XLII make sure they have the siding update done.  Would be nice but prob could find coach with less than 60,000 miles on it for 1/2 of new price. Bob


I have looked at a lot and I have my eye on a few but my feeling is to plan and wish (and budget) for the top of the line then work down from there. A big thing tho is for this bus you can drink the water (most entertainer coaches you can't) and also you can poop on the bus!!!! A nothing thing is this one has a shower and two burners where as most entertainer coaches do not.

For the sliding update. If its brand new would it need updated?

Thanks for the advice tho!

Not to bad for a startup nonprofit organization almost a million dollar bus and 74 grand a year for maintenance I am in the wrong business you need a partner     


I would LOVE to lower the cost of everything but I plan for the worse and pray for the best. I would hate to have something happen and cost more then that was in the budget. Also with driving a lot it will need a lot more oil changed, filters, tires and it also covers the cost of the internet. The goal is NOT to have to use that $50k but its there if the generator dies or we can't use it for a week. It's to help out their.

Thanks for all the help so far guys!!!

(added)
They are not listed on the prevostcar web site as a dealer or converter. Ck(prevostcar) their web site for converters of Prevost coaches they supply. FWIW Use left side when entering then go to entertainers. then to coach type-then to dealers/converters. They list who they supply--not to say that Star might not be brand new or buying thru someone else. Jon could prob help but he still can't post.  Bob


A star coach is a design for an entertainer coach. Most entertainer coaches have twelve bunks and a lounge in the front and back. A star coach is designed for big named stars (hince the Star Coach) where there is a bedroom in back and 2-6 bunks for crew members. They can also be used for a Motor home.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2013, 07:03:01 PM by Topher » Logged

Chris
Mansfield, Ohio
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« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2013, 07:19:05 PM »

Florida Coach is a listed converter.  There a few and it has allot to do when it comes down to who stands behind what.  There is a Star converter in Atlanta Ga that advertises the same product but is not on list.  Good luck. Your house systems will be the most maintenance and aggravating in most cases. Lots of units come with two Gen sets for that reason. FWIW  Two yrs ago I tore a no name entertainer conversion apart--lets just say it was?Huh?.    Bob
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Bob@Judy  98 XLE prevost with 3 slides --Home done---last one! SW INdiana
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« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2013, 07:33:20 PM »

Star does a good job Bob not much difference I can see in those and the Nitetrain,Hemphill,Nashville Coach and others all the entertainers are about the same,

Staley is the dealer for those and he is on your Prevost approved list the crap I see on some of the approved converters doesn't mean much to me   

A friend of mine is on that list in Phoenix and I see what he does, all Prevost does is tell you what you cannot do to change the chassis the rest they don't care 

You been reading the PC about the delam on the Xll I was wondering when that was coming to light but you have to give Prevost a big hand they are doing the repairs free to keep it from becoming a full blown recall and that still may happen who knows
« Last Edit: April 24, 2013, 07:42:07 PM by luvrbus » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2013, 07:47:16 PM »

I agree Just haven't heard of him. The guy that did mine was/is still doing them.  I've made allot of mistakes! So if I can see them in  his work that was bad.  I do wish Topher the best !!!!! Don't mean to be negative at all. A little jealous maybe. I could never put the miles on a new one to justify it! 2 out of the 3 of the series of my batch (conversion series) caught fire.   Enjoy the ride! Spend several days pre-delivery learning as much about house systems as you can. They are going to be very complicated. With todays market get  it just like you want it!  Bob
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Bob@Judy  98 XLE prevost with 3 slides --Home done---last one! SW INdiana
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« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2013, 07:52:42 PM »

Don has been around for a long time he is more into leasing with a driver and does his own conversions I bought a Eagle from him one time years ago it was a solid coach
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RJ
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« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2013, 08:40:18 PM »

Chris -

Welcome aboard!  Please take a couple minutes to add a signature line to your profile, similar to mine below, so that we can better help you.  No sense sending you to a shop in Seattle for some work if you're in Charleston, right?  Might also find out you've got some busnuts nearby, too!

You're getting into a very grey area regarding the DOT, primarily because it's going to be owned by a non-profit.  It's not really an RV motorhome, because you are using it to transport folk between gigs that hopefully will support the non-profit (i.e. getting paid), vs being on vacation and just tootling around.  It's not really a revenue service vehicle in the general sense either, because you're not charging people to ride on it.

IMHO, it falls into the realm of "entertainer" being operated by a non-profit.

For years, entertainer coaches got away with not having to comply with DOT regs, but that's no longer the case.  Most nowadays are leased, and come with, or require as part of the lease, a CDL driver.  That driver has to comply with all the HOS regs, log books, daily pre-trip inspections, random drug testing, etc., etc., etc.  Plus the vehicle must go thru DOT vehicle inspections periodically.

As part of doing your homework on the DOT issue, I'd suggest you spend some time talking "in person" with a local captain of your state Highway Patrol's "Motor Carrier" division - those are the guys most familiar with DOT regs as they deal with them daily.  In addition, talking with Management at NiteCoach, Hemphill and Nashville Coach - three of the largest entertainer leasing outfits in the country - can further help clear up the grey cloud.

Once you get clarification on the DOT issue, then next thing you're going to have to deal with is insuring the beast!  Most likely you'll get all kinds of doors slammed in your face on this, but here's where the entertainer coach pros should be able to help you out.  It's not going to be cheap, however!

You haven't mentioned it, but have you budgeted for fuel?  To be conservative, figure 5 mpg @ $4.50/gallon x number of projected annual mileage.  The coach may get better than 5 mpg, but you've already said you'd rather over rather than under budget.  So these numbers will keep you safe.  (Which, btw, also means that you religiously fuel the coach every 500 miles, regardless of tank size.  Re-priming a diesel is not fun alongside the Interstate at Oh Dark Thirty!)

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink
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RJ Long
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« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2013, 10:22:46 PM »

Chris:

I do not have a bus.  However, I was looking at an older XL II star coach that Wade and Libby Staley had on their lot.  I was running different options to try to have it pay for itself, and Wade bent over backwards answering my questions and to try to make it happen.

In the course of running the insurance piece of the puzzle, I contacted Brad Stephens at
Stephens & Associates Insurance Agency, Hendersonville, TN  (615)851-1800.  He brokers insurance for leased entertainer coaches and would be a good contact for more information.


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muldoonman
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« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2013, 06:47:47 AM »

Welcome Cris, having a new bus takes a lot of the troubles out of the equation. Other than getting the bugs worked out everything else should be covered. Of course you have to go back to the builder to get it done, which would be a royal pain in the tail. Prevost has service centers around and they have been good on getting on coach problems for me. Just getting them fixed the first time with my old bus has been the problem. I usually have to go back a couple times to get the same thing repaired. Good luck with your endeavor.

glen s.
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« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2013, 09:01:10 AM »

The bottom line with having to have a DOT number-are you transporting people that are going to perform to make money-doesn't matter if it is a non profit or not. Also, the driver better be P rated on his license. The only time you do not need a DOT number is when this is strictly a motorhome used by your own family for pleasure touring.

Another example-horse people going to a rodeo. If the event they are competing in has the possibility of winning money-whether they do or not-is considered a professional event and your transporting a means by which to make money-hence it is a commercial vehicle requiring DOT numbers, qualified driver and driver keeping driving logs.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2013, 01:10:00 PM »

You haven't mentioned it, but have you budgeted for fuel?  To be conservative, figure 5 mpg @ $4.50/gallon x number of projected annual mileage.  The coach may get better than 5 mpg, but you've already said you'd rather over rather than under budget.  So these numbers will keep you safe.  (Which, btw, also means that you religiously fuel the coach every 500 miles, regardless of tank size.  Re-priming a diesel is not fun alongside the Interstate at Oh Dark Thirty!)

My whole budget for the bus is $2,000 a month for maintenance, $4,000 a month for gas, $50,000 a year for maintenance so that $122,000 a year. This is not including the cost of the bus and the tax. (Nonprofits have to pay tax's sometimes on things but they get the money back from the government)

(Added)

I also have a budget of $2,000 a month for insurance.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2013, 01:17:51 PM by Topher » Logged

Chris
Mansfield, Ohio
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