Three brothers and their father have worked together to start a party bus business.
John, Jeff, Ben and their father, Mike Stover, formed 4 Guys Enterprise LLC, and they purchased and renovated an MCI motor coach bus.
John, the second-oldest brother, said he would drive past the bus while it was for sale while driving to Bowling Green.
“It was there for like a year, and I finally said something to my dad,” John said. “He was like, ‘Yeah, I know those guys; I’ll give them a call.’ So, let’s buy it and turn it into a party bus. It was kind of spur of the moment.”
John said they bought the bus for $7,000 and the combined costs of buying and renovating the bus was between $25,000 and $30,000.
“When we bought the bus, it was a 49 passenger (vehicle),” he said. “We gutted the whole thing. We did the whole ceiling. We did everything.”
John said they did a lot of research before buying the bus, including looking at costs for liability insurance. He also said there are not many party busses in the area.
“We just kind of looked around the area, and realized there’s a couple of buses (in the area), but they don’t have a bathroom,” he said. “We’re like the only one from here to Toledo that has something like this.”
John said they also formed a limited-liability corporation and got a vendor’s license, but there were no problems with having a bus that allows alcohol consumption.
“As long as there is a wall between the people (on the bus) and the driver, then we’re good to go,” John said. “So that was a major thing we had to do.”
Jeff, the youngest brother, said people can rent the bus for a wide variety of events, inlcuding weddings, trips to casinos, birthday parties and sporting events.
John said the maximum number of people on the bus is 30 people.
He said in addition to the driver, the bus will have an attendant to serve as a bouncer and to keep things running smoothly.
The person who rents the bus will be required to sign a waiver that will cover 4 Guys Enterprise for any damages or injuries that may happen on the bus, John said.
John said working on the bus with his dad and brothers also has served as a bonding experience and has given them an opportunity to see each other more frequently.
Ben, the oldest brother, lives in Sandusky, where he coaches baseball at Sandusky St. Mary’s and teaches at Ehove Career Center in Milan. Jeff is a junior at Ohio Northern University, where he is studying pharmaceutical business.
The two brothers will drive to Tiffin to their dad’s business, Mike’s Truck Repair, where John also works, on the weekends and help work on the bus.
“Every weekend, we probably put in 35-40 hours,” John said. “Last Saturday, we were here until 2:30 in the morning.”
John, who has lived in Tiffin and worked with his dad since last May, said he sees his brothers more now than he did when he was in school at the University of Dayton.
“I see them every week now but in the past, it wouldn’t be strange if we didn’t see one another for two months at a time,” John said.
He said he chose to work with his father because his dad has a shop and knows the mechanics involved in repairing a bus.
Jeff said money also played a factor in working with each other because none of them had enough funds to do the project by themselves.
“Obviously, we disagree. We’re family. But it probably brought us closer together in the end,” Jeff said.
John said Mike Wertz, Jon Ranieri, Bucky’s Machine Shop Andy Ritzler and Bob Goshe all also helped work on the bus.
John said the biggest difficulty the brothers faced while starting their business was getting a loan approved.
“We struggled getting a loan for a while,” Jeff said.
“(Jeff’s) still in school, and I have a million loans,” John said. “We tried to go in together and get it, but we didn’t get it approved because of us two. So, Ben went by himself and got one.”
He said they already have a few clients booked for birthdays and weddings, and he said they have a lot of people who are interested in renting the bus for trips to Cleveland for Indians games.
“We got quite a few for just starting out and nobody really knowing us,” John said.
John said he thinks the summer will boost their business.
“We just hope the Tribe keeps winning,” Jeff said.
The bus can go anywhere in the state, John said; 4 Guys Enterprise would have to get special permits to travel out of Ohio.
John said if business goes well, 4 Guys will look into getting more buses or buying a limo.
The bus has a built-in cooler, a bathroom, surround-sound stereo, a television, a karaoke machine and other amenities.
The brothers will provide tables and chairs, but the bus has plenty of storage for grills and anything else people want to bring, Mike said.