Beginner’s Guide on Starting a Bus Company in the United Kingdom
Buses are a major part of the United Kingdom’s public transportation system. When you think of London, the instant image of the red double-decker bus pops into mind. But of course, there are a lot more bus company service niches than that. A niche is something you need to think about when starting a bus company here.
Some examples of niches you might come across offered by bus companies in the United Kingdom include school bus services, party buses that take guests to their venues, and luxury vehicles that involve executive coaches. Some other niches include bus services that offer day trips and intercity travel, as well as buses for tourism. There is also a niche for buses that cater to care homes, offering transport from care facilities to associated locations.
Before you commence your company registration in the UK, picking your niche is something that you need to think about. Like many other businesses, focusing on a niche will allow you to better target your preferred customer demographic. To pick the niche you want to specialize in, consider what your strengths and your passion are. Do you prefer to cater to schools in the neighborhood? Or are tourism and party venues more your scene?
Industry Practice for Starting a Bus Company
As the bus company owner, you would use public service vehicles (PSV) to ferry your passengers. Your passengers would then pay the appropriate fee based on the distance they travel. Depending on what time of niche you choose to specialize in, your route lengths will vary between passengers.
In the UK, starting a bus company is for anyone who meets the required criteria. To operate such a service, you must hold a PSV operator’s license and a community bus permit. If you wish to operate a school bus service, then you should be a local education authority that wants to provide the community with a local service. The school bus needs to belong to you in this case.
Before you begin your company incorporation process, determine the route that you intend to travel. You’ll need to ensure the route is suitable and have a timetable record of the traffic conditions on this route. You will also need to ensure that you have replacement vehicles in store if any of your other vehicles happen to be off-road. You would then need to obtain a Quality Partnership or Quality Contract Scheme from your local transportation authority.
The Business Registration Process
Once you’re ready to register your business, you will need to inform the local authority in England. This must be done at least 28 days before you attempt to apply at the traffic commissioner’s office. Applications for the traffic commissioner must begin at least 42 days before you launch your business. If you’re servicing Wales, then this would be 56 days.
Besides the traffic commissioner, you must also inform all the local councils your route is going to pass through. If you need to start your business earlier, you would need to submit a supplementary form to the traffic commissioner. The traffic commissioner will decide whether to accept or deny this. Starting a bus company in the UK is £60 if you are registering for local bus service. Community bus services are £13 to register.
A corporate service provider like 3E Accounting can assist you with the entire process to make it less daunting. Once you have gathered your paperwork, we will help you complete the following business registration checklist:
- Research and choose a name for your business
- Decide on your preferred legal structure
- Gather your documents and prepare for the registration process
- Prepare your business plan
- Secure the adequate funding needed
- Buy the necessary business insurance
- Organize a professional services provider like 3E Accounting to handle your taxes
The business registration process is straightforward. The documents, however, may vary slightly depending on the business entity you choose to go with. Some business entity options include sole proprietorship, limited liability partnership, and a limited liability company.
What Happens After That?
Once submitted, you will have to pay a fee. In some cases, you may be required to publish a notice in the local paper. Once you have registered your business name with the appropriate local authorities, you will have the option of deciding whether you want to trademark your name or not.
Before commencing your business registration process, ensure that your business plan is in place along with the required funding you will need. Ideally, you should have enough funds to last your business six months or more, allowing time for your business to gain momentum and stabilize before you turn a profit. The six months or more of funding should be enough to cover your monthly operational costs.
Licenses and Permits That You Need
You will need a London Service Permit to operate your business in the UK. This permit will last five years. You will need to start your application process for the permit at least three months before you launch your business.
You must also hold an Operating License (also known as an “O” License). You must be registered with the Vehicle and Operator Service Agency under this license.
Launch Your Business with The Experts
At 3E Accounting, we know how valuable knowledge and insight can be. This is one of the many reasons we have remained the leading company incorporation specialists for decades. Our clients trust the future of their business to us, and we can help you launch your future in the UK on a strong foothold.
For more information about our UK company incorporation services and for advice about starting a bus company in the UK, contact 3E Accounting today.