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Author Topic: What would you do ? Need some HELP with Coach Specs.  (Read 2527 times)
H3-45
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« on: October 30, 2013, 05:11:58 AM »

Hello,

Let me give you a little background and then I have a question for help!!  I have been in the entertainer bus business since 1986 both as a owner and a driver. I have been off the road for a couple of years and that job is going away,So I am thinking about going back on the road again[it's the only thing I know how to do] Anyway I have found the convertor I want to use,very well versed in the Entertainer coach conversion market which is slightly different than the motorhome market and the do it your self market. Anyway because things have changed in the Entertainer Coach Market so much[everybody wants the newest thing out,whether they can afford it or not] I have decided to build a H3-45 with 4 slides as a Star Coach [2 to 6 bunks in the middle and a King bed in the rear] 2 bathrooms, a 1/2 bath in the front and a full bath in the rear with a shower.Heated Floors,All the latest electronics,HD Flat screen TV's,Wireless Internet,High dollar floor coverings,leather,corian,top of the line appliances,every thing First Class!!!!

This is the part were the question comes in,Even though I have driven 25 plus years and had almost every type coach immagianable as far as interior goes. I want to make sure I build this one right,So I am asking for everyones opinion on what you think or would put on a coach if you were building one like I am talking about. I have some pretty good ideals on what I cant live without,but would like to hear your ideals on what you have found you cant live without.This will be a once in a lifetime build for me,I have had a couple of new coaches in the past,But nothing like this.I figure If I have the financing I might as well build it top notch and to the hilt the first time,hence the quad slides,the Entertainer market has changed a lot in the last few years and some of the coaches I drove for hundreds of thousands of miles,people wouldnt go around the block in today.I am not saying they know what they are talking about,they just know what they have heard and thats what they want and they have the money to pay for it. I am building a coach for a niche market,It being a Star Coach and all. The Coach only plays a portion of the game,It is the personel service you recieve from the wife and I as drivers that play as much of a role as the Coach does in the game. The business is all about SERVICE and the quad slide H3-45 is what it takes for the coach side and the wife and I for the service,catering to your every need side. With the two together we should have a winning venture and this coach and one more new one after the seven years it takes to pay for this one will do it for me in the coach business. I will offically be old enough to retire and will have done my service to the indusstry and will go were old bus drivers go when there is nothing left for them to do!!!LOL

  Please wish us luck and give us your ideals as I truly believe there is a vast amount of knowledge on this board that I could tap into and use some of it to my advantage. Let the Ideals begin!!!!


 Amenities & Equipment List

Amenities to include but not limited to.
 
2014 Prevost H3-45 Star Bus w/ King bed in rear stateroom,2 to 6 Bunks in center hall or converted to desk work area

A/C Heating Systems

6- Dometic Penguin II 13,500 BTU A/C with heat strips & Digital Thermostat

Air conditioning ducted through ceiling with concealed airflow & returns

Toe Kick heater under master stateroom bed

Heated floors thruout

Bus full heating and air conditioning system

Electrical System

Continuous and uninterrupted stranded wiring

12VDC & 110VAC house electrical system

2-20kW EPS generator with sound proof bay on air bag suspension

Automatic generator/shore power transfer switch

4 AGM batteries with custom design

two generator starting battery's

2-Pure sine wave 4000 watt inverter/battery charger

Automatic Generator Start

Shore power inlet on pass side

125' electric shore power cord with 10' pigtail

Aesthetically pleasing switch locations

Low and high voltage protection via circuit breakers and fuses conveniently located

Lights inside all interior closets

2 way merge switch for generator and house battery systems

Dimmable LED Lighting

Audio/Visual Systems

2 Samsung 75" 8000 series LED television in front lounge entertainment center

Video Media Center Platform accessible through front/rear TVs & I Pads

All in one remote system controlled by i Pad

Compatible TV and component remote controls

40 channel high output Cobra 29 LTD Classic CB radio with internal speaker w/ grounded aentenna

Trac-Star in-motion DSS Satellite System with cover painted to coach

2 Yamaha Blu Ray DVD players

2 Yamaha stereo receivers

2 Hughes DVR satellite receivers for seperate viewing front and rear of coach

60" Samsung 8000 series LED television in rear lounge entertainment center

Bose Stereo surround sound system in front and rear lounge

Bose Stereo surround sound system mounted in entertainment center in bay

HDMI input jacks front and rear that tie to TV system

Internet Wireless Router for mobile broadband for up to 8 seperate units to operate

HD Antenna for Local Channels

Entertainment Center in Bay w/ 46" Samsung 8000 series LED television w/ Blu-Ray DVD Player and hooked to front satelite reciever

Full coach Awnings on both sides

Water System

100 gallon polypropylene fresh water tank

100 gallon polypropylene black & Grey water tank

100 gallon polypropylene Grey water tank

Tank Monitors

Entire fresh water system, 3/8" ID tubing for constant pressure and volume in all areas

Insulated and heated water bay

20 gallon 120v electric water heater

Electric operated holding tank dump valve

12 volt water pump with integral pressure vessel Flo-Jet

Fresh water fill on both sides of coach

Water treatment unit- All hot & cold water filtered water quality

Front Lounge 1/2 Bathroom [Vanity and Toilet]

Stainless Steel Vanity sink in private toilet room with upgraded faucet

Meticulously laid Natural Stone tile flooring

Halogen lights above vanity

Laminate bathroom cabinetry

Special vanity overhead soffit

Techma Silent Flush Macerator Toilet

Vent fan with remote control

Cabinetry/Galley/Living Room

Euro Style Laminate cabinetry with radius corners throughout

Pocket Air Doors with Safety Override

Maple hardwood doors with Burl Inlays and Polyester finish

Natural Stone countertops and window seals with contemporary style flush installation

Booth style dinette table [Corian counter top]

Phone from booth to driver

Stainless Steel galley sink with bar faucet

Natural Stone backlit galley backsplash

Vitrifrigo 12/24 120/240 refrigerator/freezer drawer style

Convection microwave with vent fan

Induction dual burner cook top

Lower galley pullout style storage

All interior walls of cabinets fully finished and laminated

All cabinetry substrate custom built or Birch plywood

All cabinet doors and drawers have positive catches

5 layer ceiling with LED ribbon lighting and abundant LED down lighting

Custom Natural Stone in galley, front lounge and step area

Custom built leather sofas with drawer storage below

Upholstered window treatments and valances

Individual window shade for each window with blackouts

Abundant LED down lighting above sofas

Leather seating throughout

Power Adjustable Flexsteel reclining chairs

Pullout workstation above front AV center

Intercom Phone to driver from between reclining chairs in front lounge

Master Bedroom/Bathroom

5 layer ceiling with LED ribbon lighting and abundant LED down lighting

King size Tempurpedic bed

Reading lights above bed

Phone from to drive

Carpet & soundproofing pad around bed

Extra soundproofing & sound deadining material under bed and in rear stateroom

Overhead storage above and underneath bed

Upholstered walls & window treatments and valance

Closets and shelving across rear of bus

Vanity with overhead soffit & LED Lighting

Upgraded rain shower with detachable wand and side sprays

Techma Silent Flush Macerator Toilet

Vent fan with remote control

Linen closet and shelving

Natural Stone flooring in bathroom

Natural Stone backlit panels in shower

Dashboard/Electronics/Driver's Area

Courtesy light under door stairs

Ergonomically engineered gauge and switch locations at driver

Step Lighting at entrance door

Generator stop/start, inverter, satellite dish, volt meters & tank monitor controls left of driver

Stereo with back up camera, navigation and i Pod hookup

Commercial GPS w/10" monitor mounted in driver area

Driver privacy pocket door W/ wall between front lounge and driver area

Driver windshield blackout blinds

Trailer wiring/converter

20,000 # Trailer hitch

Bunk Section

4 or 6 sleeper interchangeable private bunks

Removeable bunk section that can be replaced with desk top

Integrated i Pads

Individual overhead bunk light

Individual heat/air vents

110 volt plug

Recessed pocket for storage

ETC. ETC,


Thanks for your time,

Robert
« Last Edit: October 30, 2013, 12:57:43 PM by H3-45 » Logged

Robert
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« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2013, 05:33:58 AM »

Good Luck!

All I know is that if you want to know what's hot and sells, look at the most advertised TV spots.  Viagra, Cialis, cell phone plans, reverse mortgages, etc.  Seems that the Star Coach has gone in the direction of who can spend the most and have the most outlandish features.  They don't travel interstate in the coach, jet in and be picked up with the entourage.  If 7 years is your horizon, that's forever in the "Star" world.  Attracting top dollar clients would require constant updates if not in the latest counter tops at least the latest TV and electronics.  To make enough to re-coop the investment in 7 years and have a growing retirement equity would seem a push from an economic sense, IMHO.

You are probably correct in identifying that the difference in the experience your client gets is what you and your wife can bring to the equation.  If it were me.... I'd spend $25k and promote myself at the best, most expensive driver, host, concierge, sommelier, valet, bar-b-queer (Pronounced Bar-bee-que-er), gourmet chef, good-'ole-boy money could buy and develop you a network of Star Coaches you could lease on a per gig basis.  Hell, maybe Madonna could use a few shekels to rent her's out when she's not using it.

A wildly different thought, but with the best of hopes for your success!
« Last Edit: October 30, 2013, 05:39:39 AM by TexasBorderDude » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2013, 06:08:26 AM »

With four slides the first thing that came to mind was will it be used to travel in, or just parked?  If you have to travel in it can you use it effectively with the slides in?  The second thing was weight, but you will already know what the limits are.

Brian
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« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2013, 06:35:49 AM »

Your not going to like this answer:  Most of  the stars that could afford a quality high tech coach lease=would have their own! The other that do lease lesser glitz coaches--in most cases just seem to be well put together but are really just on top functional. I have one of those now that was built by a pro builder that I am rebuilding and I took it all the way past what was damaged because of poor very poor workmanship!!  The poplar belief is a quad will not be for driving down the road visiting and fellowship comfort.  Lots of ragged out H models 5 or 6 yrs old entertainers out there cheap.  Just a point!  You will need at least 2 gen sets but you already know that being in the business before. The four slides destroys your first two bays for storage and you will limited to your choice of AC.   Don't see many H's on E circuit mostly like shinny stainless.   Just my opinion.. Also most of guys like me here are home builders  and sometimes get a little touchy when someone comes in with the attitude of throwing money at it..  I did however give you my honest take on it both ways.   Bob
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Bob@Judy  98 XLE prevost with 3 slides --Home done---last one! SW INdiana
H3-45
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« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2013, 07:19:55 AM »

Hello Again,

Texasborderdude the reason I want to keep this one for 7 years and then buy another new one is to retire this one to our own private motorhome,I realize from being around the business that 7 years is a long time in the market,When we normally keep them 3 or 4 then sell them while they still have some decent value to them then start over.

Bob,

From my lengthy expierence most top entertainers Lease there coaches,Some of the country acts own there own but most other types of music leases there coaches along with a lot of corporate accounts.The reason I came here asking for advice is because I respect the opinions on this board and there expierence. The reason I would have one built is I dont have the ability to build what I need to be successful in the market I am trying to obtain. I like building things and am excellent at maintaining what someone else built. Put a cordless screwdriver in my hand and step back LOL!!!!!! I dont have the money laying around to throw at it,It is going to be a business venture,I have quite a bit saved up,but nothing like it is going to take to pull this off.

I have thought long and hard about this and this industry is all I know how to do,Road manager,tee shirt sales,Truck driver,Coach driver. I have driven coaches for the majority of my career,just done the other things to fill in.I know for a fact there is a market for what I am wanting to do and now that the kids are grown,My wife can travel full time with me and we can make a team. She drives as well and knows quite a bit about the coach,especially the electronics and I am more mechanical so together we have it whipped. Doing it this way somebody is with the coach 24 hours a day that can take care of things and clean,were with me on the road by myself there is no one with the coach while I sleep. And sometime things go wrong while I sleep.

I by no means meant to come off as a smart alec with money,because without the bank this will not happen. I just wanted some opinions of some very intelligent,expierenced people that may come up with something I havent thought about.

I cant help it I am still a "Bus Nut" I just get my "Fix" a different way,I have been in love with buses since I was a small child. I used to think a sceniccruiser was the most beautiful bus there ever was. It was the Coach that drew me to the Entertainment Industry,NOT the star. They are people just like we are,there is something about seeing them with holes in there underwear that takes the star status clean away. But the Entertainer Bus Industry was a way for me to get to drive a piece of equipment that otherwise I wouldnt be exposed to and to go to places that people twice my age will never get to travel to.I have over the years driven GMC 4104-4106,4107,Eagle Model 01,05,10,15,15-45,20, MCI 7,8,9,10,96A3,102C3,Renissance,J4500,Prevost Champion,LeMirage,XL,XL-45,XL II, X-3,H3-45,H5-60, And one night I went crazy and drove a VanHool for one trip!!!! These coaches over the years had all different kinds of interiors,From Home-Built to Million dollar interiors. It didnt matter what I was driving It all paid the same and I dealt with the flaws as well as the brillant ideals of all of them whether they were home-built or factory built and they ALL were flawed and brillant in there own way,some of the home-builts where the neatest things I had ever seen and the "Factory built where the biggest pieces of crap that was on the highway.

It just depended,there was no way to tell until you lived with it a while. I love to look at so called home-built conversions,you will see some of the most amazing work that a factory could only hope to duplicate. But there are some people that dont have the ability to fabricate a coach interior but has the ability to finance and make the payments on one so they can enjoy there hobby or in my case make a living at doing something I love with something I love!!!! Does that make me any less of a "Bus NUT" I dont think so,but everyone has a different opinion. As I have said I have the utmost respect for guys and gals that can take a pile of materials and make an interior out of it. I just am not one of those guys,But I can put a package together with a business plan that makes sense to my banker that makes him want to loan me the money to purchase a piece of equipment to go in a business that I know and can make a living in these hard economic times. If doing it that way makes me not a "BusNut,Then I guess I am not one.But I will still think I am. I dont mean this to be taken as a smart comment,NO DISRESPECT intended just stating my feelings. And I would still like to hear the different opinions on your thought of what a coach needs or dont need to function!!! I cant think of everything and now is the time to incorporate them into the plans,before we start building and have to add something!! THANKS FOR YOUR HELP!!!!!

And Bob,I think it is AMAZING what you have done with your Prevost. I have been watching you build it from the begining and think it is awesome,you have brought back what most would have junked and have made it a beautiful,funtional Coach,That looks factory built!!!!

I meant NO HARM !!!!! Thanks for your input.

Robert
« Last Edit: October 30, 2013, 07:55:56 AM by H3-45 » Logged

Robert
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« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2013, 07:37:02 AM »

The only thing I see missing is a fish cleaning station, otherwise I think you've pretty much got it all worked out Grin
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« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2013, 07:56:57 AM »

Texasborderdue,

That will go in the trailer!!!!!  LOL

Robert
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Robert
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« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2013, 08:26:20 AM »

Robert,

from experience driving professionally charters and tours in the seventies, then hockey team buses as a volunteer for several years, the one thing I would like to see is privacy and silence for the driver while driving. I see that you probably have already addressed that with a wall and a door around the driver. What bothered me while driving at night was the noise from watching a movie turned up loud, or just music in the coach. I would have liked individual ear phone outlets at each seat to eliminate the noise. I used to wear ear plugs while driving the hockey team. Not ideal, and probably illegal. Another nuisance was the interior lights reflected in the windshield at night. I used to ask them to turn them off and only use the reading lights. How do you deal with all that?

Very interesting reading about your experience in the entertainer coach business. Sounds exciting. I agree with you that service is at least as important as the equipment.

JC
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JC
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« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2013, 08:39:07 AM »

Lostagain,

I had a XLII built in 1998 and it had a wall behind the driver were the enterteainment center was and on the passenger side were the jump seat normally is I had a wall put there with a pocket door to close at night so I was completely secluded and with no jump seat if you wanted to talk you had to stand. After having that coach for 4 years,that is the only way I would have one in the future,Sound deadining wall for my driving comfort,Solid wall for no glare or lights at night,No jump seat for my sanity after 20 plus years on the road,I have heard all the stories,LOL!!!! Its the only way to go in my opinion,a lot safer than having a drunk musician falling on you while driving!!!!!! Thanks for your reply,I drove the Nashville Knights on a few trips years ago,didnt like it,too many people on the bus and they didnt understand bus etiquite. They were PIGS!!!!!

Robert
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Robert
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« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2013, 08:48:45 AM »

     H3  -  I don't have anything concrete to tell you other than (having struggled with the specs and Iwannits on my humble bus), I really admire your work and thought that you've put in.  I also have no experience in the bus rental/charter business but the amount of investment you're talking about takes my breath away.
     One thing I'd suggest is that you look at specs and power capacities of inverters.  You may need more than one 12V inverter to get 4kW, or you may need to go to 24V for your "house system", etc.  Whatever, it looks complicated and expensive to me from here.
     Best wishes to you!   BH   NC   USA
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Bruce H; Wallace (near Wilmington) NC
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« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2013, 10:32:23 AM »

Robert,

You are going to start with a motorhome shell to get the slides you want and I think the one thing that is going to be an issue is weight.

It is nice to have an impressive "want" list, but we motorhome owners are nearly bulletproof when it comes to getting away with driving coaches that exceed axle weight limits. I am not suggesting that is acceptable or even the smartest thing to do but I know a number of coaches that exceed the Prevost axle weight limits and a great part of the reason is slides. They add weight. A lot of it.

As a professional driving a commercial vehicle I am sure you want the coach, its passengers and all the stuff in the bays to weigh less than the coach data plate calls for. For safety reasons alone that is important. But I would hazard a guess that unless your converter uses some exotic technology to build the coach with weight saving materials you are going to be overweight. You may get away with it most of the time, but I will bet a time will come when you get scaled and the brown matter is going to strike the whirling blades.

If you proceed you and the converter need to execute a binding agreement that you can carry XXX pounds of rock stars and XXX in the bays and all axle weights will be within weight limits. One commercial coach I am familiar with (an H-3) with one slide was so heavy on the front axle it would not come up to driving height.
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Jon

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« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2013, 12:04:25 PM »

Jon,

   Thanks for the insight on weight,I hadnt thought about it. I was just thinking if they build it,it will be legal because they have already went thru everything with it. But that may not be so!!! The LAST thing I want to build is a 2,000,000.00 beast that cant be driven down the highway the way is was intended. I will sure be talking to the converter about weight issues,If it cant be driven down the road with the same number of people on board as it can sleep then I have a PROBLEM. I was going for the 4 slides to maximize the available room while parked,but it still needs to function as a over the road coach. There will be no need in building it if I have to carry a lighter weight coach with me for the passengers to ride on at night. I am thankful I brought this up here,As slides were not all that common when I came home from the road. They were common when I worked in the office at the bus company and something I seemed to have had to deal with on a daily basis. Somebody was always calling in with slide problems,either not going out,not coming in or leaking air or water it was always something. But as an operator I never had to deal with one much. The only reason I am considering them now is to build the biggest and best coach for the day that it rolls out of the factory,I am sure somebody will top it the next day. But for one day I will be the King!!!! LOL  Thanks again for your input!!!!


Robert
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Robert
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« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2013, 12:32:25 PM »

Robert I agree w/Jon make sure that the "builder" will guarantee it to be legal.
I have seen to many times when they don't.
Of course in the past many have built heavy coaches & gotten away w/it.
But that day is a chang'n! 

I was at a mechanic/technician training class a few yrs back and they were telling us a lot of seated coaches were having troubles with being over weight @ UTAH's scales (that's where the class was)

But just recently a lot of states we didn't used to have to go in the scales are now making us go thru.

It's all about revenue for the states so unless you want to have to pay fines make sure it's going to be legal! (or at least put a clause in the lease making it the clients responsibility to pay over weight fees since they want such a fancy dancy rig that it can't be legal { and since they have plenty of $ to throw around anyway!)
Grin  BK  Grin   
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« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2013, 12:54:21 PM »

B K,

  Thanks for the reply,I want to be as legal as a truck. I am setting up everything the same as a trucking company would as far as compliance,IFTA,SSR,Apportioned Plates all the things to be 100% compliant and legal and weight is definatly one of them!!! No over weight coach here,Period!!!! I would be in BIG trouble all the way around if I built a coach that was not legal,The wife,the banker,the broker,ETC. I have noticed more and more in my travels that more scales are requiring buses to pull in everyday. Its all a money thing,No more passing an entertainer coach off as a motor home or a private coach as we did for so many years to avoid paying the way!!!! It's far better to be 150% legal than try to operate any other way!!!

Thanks,

Robert
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Robert
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« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2013, 12:55:17 PM »

Robert,

I admire your build list.  Many moons ago, I drove a few band buses.   A lifetime full of experiences.

I ended up buying a ex entertainer.   It fits out lifestyle and family.   The few recommendations..

I don't think that 4 AGMs are large enough..   Minimum 8, installed over the drive axles..  You have all that room behind the skirts..   The weight placement is perfect.  

Lastly, I think that the rear bedroom 4th slide is worthless for a entertainer.   It takes too much space while driving down the road.   And as you know, most of the band folks use the bus as transport to the city and then get a hotel.   Having the rear slide ingress into the rear is a pain.   My feeling are the same for the front curbside slide.   You create a tunnel feeling while driving.   All the band members moving around both slide walls.    

I do have a question for you.   How often do you get to deploy the slides in the entertainers other than at the venues??  I'd take two slides over four when configured as a band bus.
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