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Chartering Tips
When chartering a motor coach from ANY company, it is important to discuss pertinent information that might sometimes be overlooked. Many groups are initially interested only in price. Remember that your safety, the need to depart and arrive at your destination at preset times and the friendliness and quality of your chauffeur will play a very large part in the success of your trip. Price should only become a concern between two companies that truly provide the same level of value and quality that will be best suited for your group. The answers to the following questions should give you and your group greater insight into the quality, reliability and safety consciousness of the motor coach company you are speaking with.

TIPS FOR CHARTERING A MOTOR COACH – provided by the National Motor coach Network


TIP #1 – Ask how long the company has been in business. A ten year or longer track record is generally desirable.

Heartland was established in 1988, to provide premiere quality, service and value to groups seeking motor coach transportation.


TIP #2 – Request the company’s DOT number. A DOT (Department of Transportation) number is assigned by the U.S. Government and is required to operate legally. By utilizing the company’s DOT on the SAFER Web website – http://www.safersys.org/CompanySnapshot.aspx – you can view the companies safety performance over the past 24-months online.

Heartland’s USDOT number is 181153.


TIP #3 – Ask about their DOT Safety Rating. The highest possible rating is Satisfactory.

In the most recent audit conducted by the USDOT, Heartland scored a rating of Satisfactory. To see a copy of the Safety Rating audit letter from the USDOT Click here.


TIP #4 – Request a Certificate of Insurance. Your carrier should supply a Certificate of Insurance. This certificate shows the carrier’s levels of insurance and effective policy dates. Minimum levels of insurance call for $5 million combined, single-limit liability coverage.

Heartland carries $10 million in liability insurance, twice the industry standard. To view a copy of our current certificate Click here.


TIP #5 – Ask for references. Request and contact references from similar group types traveling on similar type programs. Never charter from a company unwilling to provide references.
Please feel free to review our Testimonials page or for additional references please call 800-279-1734.

TIP #6 – Inquire about the size of their fleet. Overall charter fleet size is important. It provides a gauge to the operator’s ability to supply alternate vehicles in the event of a mechanical problem, for multi-bus movements, on weekends or during peak seasons.

Heartland currently has 23 late-model coaches in the fleet. To view the fleet and age of the coaches, along with links to interior and exterior pictures and amenities, visit Our Equipment page.


TIP #7 – Ask if the company is available for inspection. You should inspect a carrier personally whenever possible. Inspect the motor coach equipment, general offices, and garage facilities. You can tell a lot about a company just by looking.

Potential and current clients are encouraged to visit our facilities if able. The locations of our facilities can be found on the Contact page.


TIP #8 – Inquire about the average age of the equipment operated. Vehicles that are more than 10 years old, unless properly maintained on a preventive maintenance basis, can have a greatly diminished reliability factor. Ask about the companies preventative maintenance policies and the extensiveness of such maintenance.

89% of the Heartland fleet is under 10 years of age, 55% is under 5 years of age and ALL of the coaches are on a rigorous preventative maintenance schedule (replaces or repairs normal wear items that cause breakdowns BEFORE the part’s normal wear period ends for your added safety) and aesthetic rejuvenation schedule (interiors and exteriors are kept in top condition for your comfort, safety and enjoyment).


TIP #9 – Determine if the carrier is a full service company. Do they have their own maintenance facilities?

Heartland’s four full-time maintenance personnel have over 60-years combined experience in motor coaches and heavy equipment. With this level of experience, Heartland is frequently called upon to assist other companies when their coaches needed repair while on the road.


TIP #10 – Ask about the company’s driver training program from initial hiring to on-going training. Remember…the driver can make or break your trip.

Heartland’s chauffeurs are trained PRIOR to being allowed to take a group by themselves. In addition to initial training, ALL of Heartland’s chauffeurs are required to attend on-going mandatory training, focusing on safety, security and customer service issues.


TIP #11 – Clearly spell out your schedule and what is involved in detail. Be prepared to provide the company a detailed itinerary for your trip. This information allows the company to quote on your trip accurately. For your safety, drivers hours are limited by Federal regulations. In addition, specify if your driver must stay in the same hotel as your group.

Providing as accurate an itinerary as possible when requesting the quote will allow not only for a more accurate pricing, but will reduce the chance for major cost adjustment just prior to departure with receipt of your final itinerary or upon return from your trip.


TIP #12 – Ask who pays for the driver’s room. Is the driver’s room included in the charter cost? If not, ask if you are responsible for the driver’s room.

99% of all groups provide the lodging for the driver. Doing so is not only less expensive than having Heartland setup and pay for the lodging, but also allows the chauffeur and the coach to be with the group at all times. Many hotels will even comp or reduce the rate for the chauffeur’s room.


TIP #13 – Determine if the company has a website. Often the quality of a company’s website is a direct reflection of the quality of the company itself. Often a company will allow you to view their equipment online. Many companies are even offering the ability to submit a request for information online for your convenience.

Of course you have seen ours and we hope that through it you see that at Heartland…Quality, Service and Professionalism is what we are all about. To request a quote simply click Request a Quote.

Call Us Today At ♦ (800) 279-1734

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  • Toll Free: 800-279-1734

    Home Office: 816-279-7800

    Fax 816-279-4552


    Our Address
    Heartland Trailways
    2209 Empire Lane
    St. Joseph, MO 64503



    In Business Since 1988

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