Jack Hays, Owner of the Bus Barn of Texas, talks the school bus secondary market.
Please excuse any typos in this hasty transcript.
Jay Curry: Hello, Texas. Welcome back to Texas Business Radio. We’ve got a great program going today. Matt had to step out for this segment, he’ll be right back for the next one, and we have a very special guest, but before we get started, let me remind you to go to Texas Business Radio. Everything we do is there, all of our guests, our videos, all of our speakers, all of our sponsors, you name it, it’s all there in beautiful high definition. TexasBusinessRadio.com. We also have a 24 hour call in. You can call us any time, 24 hours a day. We really don’t care. We’ll get the answers for you, and we will get it on the air. That number is 844-814-8144. We also monitor #TBR, as in Texas Business Radio if you want to send us a tweet, #TBR. We’re ready to get started again. We have a special guest. Jack Hayes is president of the Bus Barn of Texas, and we are talking about getting down and building a business, right?
Jack Hays: Yeah. Yes, sir.
Jay Curry: So tell me, Jack, first of all, thank you for coming on the program.
Jack Hays: Well, thank you for having me.
Jay Curry: What the heck is Bus Barn of Texas? What do you do?
Jack Hays: Well, we sell used school buses and day care buses, been doing that since 2007. Been working on the buses since 1982.
Jay Curry: Wow. So you’re the specialist when it comes to the bus.
Jack Hays: Well, we like to think so.
Jay Curry: I’m thinking of the big yellow school buses, but you were talking about the day cares. Is that a special?
Jack Hays: Well, the day cares carry anywhere from 14 to 32 passengers. We deal mainly in the 14 passenger because they’re non-CDL.
Jay Curry: Okay.
Jack Hays: The day cares like those.
Jay Curry: So you’re getting them used, I presume from schools?
Jack Hays: Well, we get them from school districts, transportation companies, individuals, wherever they come up for sale.
Jay Curry: So the big part of your business is trying to know what’s going and have people out there. You mentioned you had somebody in Kentucky or some place?
Jack Hays: Yeah, Taylor Bus Sells. We’re affiliated with them.
Jay Curry: So they keep you up to date on what’s going on there, and then you pretty much know what’s going on in Texas. And how is that? Is it published? Do the independent school districts put out a notice, or you just know that they’re coming? How’s that work?
Jack Hays: Well, they’ll send out notices whether it’s a sealed bid or it’s an auction coming up, and the auction companies will, if the auction has been turned over to them, they’ll contact us and let us know.
Jay Curry: Okay, so you’re on some kind of a list?
Jack Hays: Yes.
Jay Curry: All the school districts know that. Why would they sell? I can understand they have a wreck or they might have one that’s just a clunker, but that’s not going to provide you with very many buses.
Jack Hays: Correct, and you don’t want to spend all your time working on them, but we go out and check every bus that we buy, and they sell off the older equipment. They sell off buses that after they reach a certain age, they’ll get rid of them.
Jay Curry: All right. You also mentioned sometimes the independent school districts have their own, they buy their own buses, and then sometimes in Texas at least, there are companies that specialize, and they maintain the buses and they rent them then to the school district so that the school district has no liability on that?
Jack Hays: Correct, yeah, and out of state, a lot of them are by these independent transportation companies. Okay, like in Louisiana, the drivers themselves own the buses.
Jay Curry: Oh, really?
Jack Hays: Correct.
Jay Curry: So every state’s different?
Jack Hays: Every state’s different.
Jay Curry: Wow. But part of your big deal though is you’ve got to get out and you’ve got to know what’s going on every place, and you’ve got to get on that list.
Jack Hays: Correct.
Jay Curry: Okay, so you buy a bus, it comes in. Are they usually in pretty good shape, or does the school district … I imagine …
Jack Hays: Well, most of the buses that we look at, all of them that I look at are going to be in good shape or we don’t buy them. Not to say there’s not some things that are wrong with them, but we try to minimize that so we don’t spend all our time having to work on them and spend a lot of money on them. But we do get them all up and running in good shape so that the customers won’t have a problem with them.
Jay Curry: There’s a lot of things people are doing with these. You’re selling them, then though to what? Are you selling them to individuals, to day care? You’re not selling them back to the schools?
Jack Hays: Sometimes we sell them back to the schools. If they have an accident or if they have a bus that broke down that they can’t fix, then they’ll buy one back until they can get funding for a new bus.
Jay Curry: So when we were talking, when I was talking to Matt about you coming on and we were looking at your website, he got all excited about what you could do with these things as RVs. It’s pretty amazing what you can do with them, because the buses are pretty good size.
Jack Hays: They’re good size, they’re built sturdy as long as they’re not rusted out. Texas buses, unless they’re down on the gulf coast, they’re in real good shape.
Jay Curry: You probably don’t but them down there, right?
Jack Hays: Correct.
Jay Curry: So tell me a little bit about how the industry’s changing from the point of view, you’re having to deal with independent school districts and their product, they’re required by law, there’s a lot of regulations and things to get involved in that. How’s that impact you and how’s that changed?
Jack Hays: Well, the main thing is the emissions that they’re putting on buses now. The more they put on a diesel, the worse it’s going to be. Some of the schools are getting rid of the newer buses because they’re having so many problems with keeping them running, and so we, there are certain buses that we’ll stay away from.
Jay Curry: And that is certain manufacturers?
Jack Hays: Yeah, certain manufacturers, yeah.
Jay Curry: Okay, because if they’re putting a lot of electronic, of course if the law’s telling them they have to have this …
Jack Hays: Yeah, they’re all going to have it.
Jay Curry: Yeah, they’re going to have it. Do you take it off then because it becomes a problem or you leave it?
Jack Hays: No, it’s got to be left.
Jay Curry: Okay, if you’re selling it, but if you’re selling it to, say, somebody for an RV, it could have it or not have it, huh? Is the requirement, it’s not that it’s being used as a school bus, but as a vehicle.
Jack Hays: Well, the emissions.
Jay Curry: Oh, the emission type stuff.
Jack Hays: The emission stuff, that’s federal.
Jay Curry: The diesel, yep.
Jack Hays: Yeah, that’s federal. You can’t mess with that.
Jay Curry: Wow. You sell them to churches, you sell them to day care, you sell them to people that want to turn them into RVs.
Jack Hays: Right. We sell them to people to turn them into food trucks, concession stands, you name it. Even mobile retail stores, boutiques. I mean, it’s amazing what they come up with.
Jay Curry: Now, you’re located where? In northwest Houston area?
Jack Hays: Northwest Houston, right off 290 in Huffmeister on Hempstead Road, just west of Huffmeister.
Jay Curry: And you have, at any time, what, 25, 30 buses?
Jack Hays: Yeah, 25 to 30 buses on the lot any given time.
Jay Curry: Do they all look the same as they did? They look like school buses, right?
Jack Hays: They look like school buses, except for the day cares. Used to do the painting, but I’m getting too old for that.
Jay Curry: Well, folks, we’ve been talking to Jack Hayes, President of Bus Barn of Texas, very interesting business, very unique business, and congratulations on turning this into a success. You’ve been doing this for how long? Ten years just on your own.
Jack Hays: Ten years. On the dealership for ten years.
Jay Curry: But in the industry for …
Jack Hays: Since ’82.
Jay Curry: Since ’82. It’s been a while.
Jack Hays: It’s been a while.
Jay Curry: Jack, thank you very much for joining us. Folks, we’re going to have to take a break. We’ve got a few bills we have to pay ourselves, and we’ll get Matt back into the studio, so don’t go away. We’re going to be right back.
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Jay W. Curry
Along with hosting “Texas Business Radio”, Jay is a Professional Certified Coach and Master Chair facilitating four Houston-based Vistage peer groups. In addition to being a best selling non-fiction author, the 2015 release of his award winning novel, Nixon and Dovey: the Legend Returns, adds novelist to his title. Jay holds a BS in Mathematics from Oklahoma State and an MS in Computer Science from Kansas State. You can learn more about Jay HERE.