School pick up shuttles can earn you some money

By David S. Mukooza

Some parents especially those with young children often need assistance in transporting their children to and from school, daycare, appointments, baby seaters or other locations during the day.

These are often working parents who cannot take time off to pick their children from school.

A professional transportation business can help these parents feel more confident and secure in knowing their children are being transported safely. Here are a few tips on how to start a child transportation business.

What is required?
According to Robina Gulyetonda who operates a private shuttle company in Muyenga Bukasa, you will need to consider several things before starting. First, decide on the type and size of vehicle you will need. Mini-vans commonly known as super customs or Toyota Noah, are easy to handle but limit the number of children.

Small buses can carry many passengers but some parents prefer a small number vehicle because then the children will not spend a lot of time on the way. Next, consider your area of operation. For Gulyetonda, Bukasa is a high stake residential area. Therefore, many parents can afford the service.

You have to determine the geographic areas you will serve, establish your hours of operation and a fee structure and create a marketing plan for promoting your business.

Mr Gulyetonda advises that you can market this service with the help of the school through notices. Developing a flier or brochure and a website for parents to review your information will be an added advantage.

Screen and hire drivers together with the support staff .You should aim to hire professional drivers. A thorough drug screening and background check for all employees would be good when operating a child transportation business. They should handle children well with a lot of care.
A good transportation business will necessitate you to use professional bus drivers with proper driving licences.
It is also advisable to secure an insurance cover for your vehicles, employees and the children you will be transporting.

According to Ms Gulyetonda, the business can be profitable especially if you deal with financially disciplined parents who pay on time. Sometimes, the charges depend on the distance covered when dropping off and picking the child. But on average, one can make a profit of close to Shs3 million in three months that cover the academic term.

The transport business is challenging because of the risks associated with it such as accidents.

“We have so many reckless drivers so as the owner of the business, this puts you at a high risk of injuries and loss,” Ms Gulyetonda says.

Secondly ,the high cost of fuel also has a bearing on your profits. Considering that this is a daily requirement for your business to operate, the higher the cost of fuel the lower your profits.

Intermittent cash flow brought about by uncooperative clients who pay half the price or nothing at all, affects the business’ competitiveness. This can eventually cause financial loss to the business.
According to Ms Gulyetonda, winning parents’ trust is one of the biggest challenges.

Considering the history of child kidnaps in the country, many parents do not trust anyone with their children. So, it takes a lot to convince them.

Much as this business is capital intensive, it can be a very serious money generating venture. With about 20million shillings for starters one can get a good condition second hand van that can later lead to buy others.

Make a few brochures and fliers to advertise the business and also hire approximately two employees a driver and a helper. With those few the business will be ready to start.

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