The travel and tours industry is a billion-dollar market that all types of people are getting into. It’s not just for retired people or those with ample time to spare, but also for stay-at-home parents who want to earn some extra money on the side. The opportunities are endless!
If you want to get into this industry, you’ll need to consider applying for a travel and tours business. Here are some things you can do to get what you need:
Learn the rules and regulations in your area
This is important so you won’t run afoul of any laws prohibiting operating tour buses or other similar vehicles without requisite permits. The last thing you want is to incur penalties and fines.
Before you can even commence operations, you’ll need a local business license. Without this, you cannot legally run your tours or pick up any passengers on the street. You also need to file for a vehicle for hire (VFH) permit with your local government.
Set up an office
The next step is to get your premises ready for office work. If you’re going to operate tours with an RV, truck, or van, you can set up shop in a site that is close by or part of your travels. Just make sure that it’s not too remote where clients will have difficulty reaching this facility.
Having an office in a highly visible area like a mall or commercial space is ideal. You can also opt to set up shop in a quieter place where you only get the foot traffic you need. Just be sure that it’s still accessible, especially when clients need help or assistance in the future.
You do not necessarily have to rent an office, but you can choose to go for coworking spaces if they are available. You can find these in areas near universities, museums, and business centers. These are perfect because they already have the infrastructure required, like restrooms, electricity supply, and security for your convenience.
You’ll be asked to fill out an application form when you want to avail yourself of coworking spaces. This is usually sent by email or through fax. Make sure that you have these ready when submitting your application.
Choose a business name
To legally operate your business, you need to have a unique business name different from other similar companies in the area. Keep this in mind while thinking of names for your travel and tours enterprise. If you’re an individual or sole proprietor, you need to include your legal name in your business.
If you have partners, you can use their full names too, but make sure that they are registered with the SEC or Security Exchange Commission. Once you’ve decided on a name, register it with the local government so you will have proof of ownership.
You’ll need to secure a business permit to operate your travel and tours business. You can find an application form online or at the local Chamber of Commerce. Just complete this with all the necessary details related to your business, location, and financial arrangements if you have any investors.
Get licenses for your fleet
After buying your chosen cars, trucks, or RV units that are on sale, you need to secure all vehicle-related documents. If you are thinking of buying a removable shell or bus, make sure that it has the correct type of permit so that you won’t have any trouble with traffic enforcers when on the road.
You’ll need to get vehicle licenses for each one. Some states require special license plates for these, which can be expensive. It’s best to contact your local DMV to check the requirements of operating commercial vehicles in your area. You can also read more about this online or on their website, where the requirements are posted.
Additionally, you’ll need to acquire the right equipment for your work. This includes a tour bus (or other vehicles) and all the necessary facilities like a lavatory, PA system, projector, etc.
Put yourself out there
The last thing you’ll want to do is get yourself familiarized with local practices in this trade. The best way to do this is by networking with other industry players. Visit them, introduce yourself and establish a rapport. This way, they’ll be more likely to offer you recommendations and referrals if your service is needed.
When someone needs a tour around the city or hotel accommodations, they will most likely ask their friends for leads on reliable travel agencies. This is where you can come in. Ask them to refer business to you—and don’t forget to reward these people for their referrals.
The same thing is true when it comes to advertising your brand. List all the advantages of working with you and include them in your website or social media profiles. You can use online tools like Facebook Business Manager or Google Adwords to reach out to more people without breaking the bank.
These are just some of the things you need to know about getting your travel and tour company licensed. Doing all these will ensure that your business runs smoothly, without legal hassles. Get all the necessary documents ready, and don’t forget to plan for your future needs as well. Specific licenses are required if you want to operate a tour bus and go on bigger trips abroad. Make sure you get these before embarking on long hauls.