Chris Ackerman saw a vital transportation need he thought he could fill. It seemed that most people living on the eastern shore of Maryland rarely made the trip to the western shore, especially to visit the landmarks of Washington, D.C. or Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, or to enjoy the casinos and wineries in the area. Moreover, Chris realized that a lot of people didn’t like driving across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and renting a limo or other transportation was expensive.
“All of these places are an hour and a half or better from this area,” says Chris. “A lot of people don’t like to drive across the bridge. So I decided it would be a good thing to see if people would want to take the opportunity to just get on the bus and ride. There was just no one here on the east shore who was doing that.”
As a side job, Chris bought a bus in May 2018. It took several months of planning, getting insurance and licensing, and dealing with other hurdles before he could accept passengers. He also registered his business as E. Shore Bus Tours LLC, operating out of Cambridge, Maryland. Finally, in the second half of 2018, Chris started booking tours and boarding passengers.
In addition to providing safe, fun, and economical transportation to the places above, E. Shore buses transport happy passengers to sporting events, concerts, plays, outlet malls, and more. Some families use the service to take their kids to Six Flags amusement park. As of now, Chris drives some tours and has a second driver for others.
Running a new business has certain challenges, like how to best book passengers for each trip. Another challenge is bookkeeping and tax preparation. “I can organize a trip, but actually handling the paperwork and all the details that come with the business side of this thing, I need some help.” That’s why Chris has teamed up with 1-800Accountant to assist him with organizing his business receipts and paying his taxes.
Chris has a clear vision for where he wants to take his business. Once he starts to see a profit, his next goal will be to turn that profit into a second bus. Chris would also like to expand to other cities and start providing an airport shuttle service. Eventually, he’d like to leave behind his day job and make his company the work that takes him all the way through retirement.
For now, though, Chris carefully plans each of the E. Shore Bus Tours. “I’m just good at it,” he says.