Child Transportation Service: Kid Cart

views updated

Child Transportation Service



1224 Tea House St.
Royal Oak, MI 48068

February 16, 1996

The founders of Kid Cart realized that their own struggle to balance their children's schedules with their own was a widespread problem today. Inspired by children's commuter services starting up around the country, they knew they could create a convenient, safe and reliable resource for busy parents. This plan highlights the founders' preparation, management skills and dedication to safety which rest on their solid reputations as trustworthy community members.

  • mission statement
  • management
  • executive summary
  • survey results
  • introduction letter results
  • break even analysis
  • loan summary statement
  • business information
  • marketing
  • marketing mix strategy
  • rate schedule
  • operations
  • household needs
  • letter of introduction
  • child transportation survey
  • financial data


The mission of Kid Cart is to provide a safe, licensed transportation service for children at a reasonable price to parents. By achieving our goals, we will become a trusted, viable transportation source to parents and children in Oakland County.


Lulu LaQuentin is a lifelong resident of Royal Oak. She graduated from The University of Michigan with an Associates of Arts degree in 1975. Lulu's professional background covers 20 years of management, customer service and training. Lulu, her husband Ed and their two children recently bought a new home in Royal Oak.

Mickey Beneville was born in Pennsylvania in 1960. Later, Mickey's family moved to Royal Oak where she graduated from Kimbal High School in 1978. Her background includes marketing, management and sales positions. In 1993 Barbara graduated from Oakland Community College with two Associates in Applied Science Degreesmarketing and management. Mickey and her husband Casey live in the Berkley area.

Lulu and Mickey have known each other for 26 years. They worked together professionally from 1980-1987 and again in 1994-1995. Their wide range of skills includes communications, marketing, budgeting, customer service, training and general office procedures.

Over the years, Lulu and Mickey discussed owning some type of business. In the spring of 1995 Lulu was unable to transport her eight-year old daughter to an after school activity due to her work schedule. The idea for the children's transportation service was born.

Their professional background along with the care and commitment to the Royal Oak area will enable Mickey and Lulu to provide parents with the comfort of knowing that their children will be shuttled in safe vehicles by licensed, screened and insured drivers.


Brief History of Children's Transportation Services

During the past several months, we have researched the rapidly growing industry of children's transportation. With the busy schedules of dual working parents, there is a conflict in getting their children to day care, preschool, sports activities, appointments, etc. More and more parents are looking for alternative ways to transport their children without affecting their work schedule.

Approximately 300 children transport companies exist across the country. In February 1995, the National Child Transport Association was formed in Naples, Florida. There are currently 220 members. This association is working to set standards for the children's transportation industry. They produce an informative newsletter 4 times per year. NCTA also has their 2nd annual conference set for May 1996 which we plan to attend.


  • To provide a safe, licensed transportation service for children at a reasonable price to parents.
  • Enhance the business by becoming a trusted viable transportation source to parents and children in Royal Oak.
  • Contract with area service agencies, day care, preschool and recreational services that do not provide transportation.
  • Create jobs for Royal Oak by hiring trained drivers and office staff as our business grows.

Brief Description of Kid Cart

Kid Cart is a transportation service exclusively created to transport children to and from school, day care, after school activities, recreational programs, etc.

Unlike a taxi service, Kid Cart will provide transportation exclusively to children. All of our drivers will have a background check through the Michigan State Police for any infractions of the law.

These drivers will possess a chauffeur's driver's license and a Red Cross First Aid and CPR certificate. They also must genuinely care about the welfare of children.

How It Works

Below are five simple steps for parents to follow when registering their children with Kid Cart.

Step 1:You decide Kid Cart is for you.
Step 2:Call us to schedule a meeting with a Kid Cart representative at your convenience. We want to meet you and we're sure you would like to meet us.
Step 3:Fill out the Kid Cart registration and emergency forms.
Step 4:Go over your child's schedule with us.
Step 5:Prepay the fee.

That's All There Is To It!

Kid Cart will possess insurance above that required by law.

Bodily Injury100,000/300,000
Property Damage100,000
Comprehensive$100 Ded.
Brd Collision$500 Ded.
Uninsured Motorist20,000/40,000

The 1996 Sportster Minivan we have selected will meet federal safety standards for passenger cars. These features include dual airbags and adjustable height shoulder harness for front and second row seats. All seatbelt latch plates incorporate the capability to help secure child car seats. For added safety, anti-lock brakes are standard and steel side guard door beams are built into all the doors. All drivers and passengers will be required to wear a safety belt regardless of age or weight.

Short Description of Projected Market

The projected market will be focused on middle class, single and dual working parents. This group is very active and so are their children with sports, day care and summer activities etc. Also these parents comprise the majority of respondents from our surveys and introduction letter.

Expected Growth and Rationale for Projections

Starting with two vans, the sales receipts will be based on a five dollar cost of an average trip totaling fifty trips per van per month. The anticipated growth each month would be twenty additional trips per van. Using this formula, our break even point would be $41,124 in sales receipts, or approximately 8,825 total trips. This is projected to occur in January of 1997. At this rate of growth we project one additional van in September of 1996, and 2 additional vans in 1997. We have based this information on our survey and introduction letter results. Following is a breakdown of the results.


Survey Results distributed by Kid Cart

Total Surveys mailed out:200
Responses received:82(55%)
Parents currently transporting children:57(70%)
Total parents who would hire our service:47(82%
Total parents using the service daily:16(34%)
Total parents using the service weekly:31(66%)

Using the numbers from the survey, we can surmise the following:

Daily UseOne-way
47 × 34% =16 Children×$5.00 =$80.00×5 days =$400.00
47 × 66% =31 children×$5.00 =$155.00×l day =$155.00

The potential earnings for one week would be $555.00


Total letters mailed out150
Total Responses13(1%)
Total parents using the service daily4(31%)
Total parents using service weekly9(70%)

Using the numbers from the phone calls we received, we can surmise the following:

Daily UseOne-way
13X31%=4 children×$5.00=$20.00×5 days=$100.00
13X70%=9 children×$5.00=$45.00×l day=$45.00

The potential earnings for one week would be $145.00

We were pleased at the initial results of our attempts to inform parents of this new and unique service. There is much to consider (on the parents' side) when entrusting a transportation service to deliver your children safely.

If all these parents that responded positively did hire Kid Cart immediately, our monthly revenue potential would be $2800. We have taken the conservative approach however, estimating that 18% or 10 out of 60 parents would actually hire us immediately. This would give us our first monthly income of $500. We also were conservative on our pricing. We have based all trips from our responses to be one-way or $5.00 per trip. We know that a small percentage of these parents would in fact hire us for round-trip service. Also, there is no consideration for charter services because the information we have received has been based on spring and summer charter trips.

We are currently receiving at least one phone call a day from parents as well as businesses.


Projected Costs and Sales
1996 Fixed Costs$22,207
1996 Variable Costs$15,229
1996 Sales Revenues$33,260

Break-even = fixed costs (sales variable costs in%)/100
22,207 divided by (100%46%)×100%=$41,124
41,124 divided by $5 per trip = 8,225 trips

This scenario shows a break even point of $41,124 in sales or 8,225 trips at $5 per trip. During our first 12 months in business, we have calculated $33,260 in sales or 6,652 trips at $5 per trip. Based on the break-even analysis, it would take approximately 13 months to break even.

Total Revenue

March 1996$1,000
April 1996$2,500
May 1996$4,000
June 1996$7,000
July 1996$9,000
August 1996$13,000
September 1996$15,000
October 1996$19,500
November 1996$25,500
December 1996$34,000
January 1997$40,000
February 1997$41,124


Kid Cart is seeking a loan of $39,737 for five years to purchase two vans to successfully launch a children's transportation service. This loan, together with an equity cash investment of $10,000 will be sufficient to finance the business so it can operate as a viable profitable enterprise.

Business Information

Name of Company: Kid Cart

Building Location: 1224 Tea House St., Royal Oak. After careful consideration, Kid's Cart will operate out of Lulu LaQuentin's house for the first year of operation. Most of our time will be spent in the vans and not in an office. This is the most cost effective way to operate in 1996.

The Nature of the Business

Kid Cart is a transportation service exclusively for children. We will be transporting children to and from activities in a safe and responsible manner.

Date Business Projected to Open: March 1, 1996

Legal Form of Organization: Partnership

Owners: Lulu LaQuentin and Mickey Beneville


Know The Product

With today's busy lifestyle parents are often faced with scheduling conflicts and transportation dilemmas for their children. The children's transportation industry was started to help solve those dilemmas. Since the early 90s, 300 such services have been started in cities across the United States. One such company, Merry-Go-Round in Maryland started in 1991, today has eight vans and projected income of over $250,000.

Know Your Target Market

The 1990 Census Bureau reported there were 21.5 million women in the work force with children under 18 and 28.4 million dual income households with kids under 18. This is the segment of the population we will be targeting.

In 1992 Oakland County had 161,980 residents. The largest segment of our population are residents 24-44 which is 31%. Second largest, 28% or 45,354, is kids under 18.

The average income in Oakland County is $25,617.

In February 1995 the National Child Transport Association was formed. This group is working to set standards for the rapidly growing Child Transport industry. NCTA currently has 220 members. We have applied to be members.

In Oakland County we have been working with several agencies and individuals. First of all the people of the Oakland Expansion League have gone to great lengths to help us in our pursuit of the business. Patricia Kumar, our accountant, helped us get started in the right direction. Lena Isenberg, a personal friend, helped with some of our financial decisions. Since Juliet Thornton of Children First Development Center, just opened last year she has had some great suggestions for us. Billie Gooding who is opening a child care facility and Frances Rush of Birmingham Montessori have assisted us in promoting Kid Cart. Geoffrey McDormand of Childland Resources, put us in touch with the group Care Support, which is a group of individuals representing all the agencies dealing with children in the county. We attended their January meeting and were invited back for their February meeting. All of these initial contacts have provided information and help for us.



Kid Cart will provide the highest quality of children's transportation available. Children will be transported in 1996 Sportster Minivans with the latest safety features, including dual airbags, child safety features, including dual airbags, child safety locks, shoulder harnesses and seatbelts.

Customer service is a priority for Mickey and Lulu of Kid Cart. We believe in the old saying "Treat others as you would want to be treated". This is the Kid Cart philosophy of customer service. To achieve and maintain excellent customer service, proper training and monitoring of employees will be critical.


The other transportation services available to Oakland County are: city cab, public busses and The Shuttle. Kid Cart is unlike these transportation services because we cater exclusively to children. It is this fact that makes us different than these other transportation services. We offer parents the convenience of the service and the comfort of knowing their children are being driven by licensed, screened and insured drivers who genuinely care about the welfare of children. Unlike other transportation services, parents will have the opportunity and are encouraged to meet the staff of Kid Cart at any time. Also the staff will make every effort to meet area school teachers and administrators so they will be familiar with our vans and drivers. Our vans will be clearly identified by the bright red color and the Kid Cart logo. All drivers will be issued a company identification card. Our company's focus is children, therefore, the safety and welfare of the children we transport will be our number one priority.


Introduction Letter

This is our first mass mailing. The letter contains a formal introduction, explanation of our services and a request to respond if interested. This letter was sent to pediatricians, dentists, pre-schools, elementary schools, day care owners, attorneys and beauty salons. One Hundred and Fifty letters were mailed on January 16, 1996 (see survey and intro letter results).


Our brochure will contain all of the operational information needed for our customers. It will include hours, rates, rules and regulations, a mission statement and features and benefits of using our service. The brochure will be available at various locations including human service agencies, schools, day cares, etc.


The Examiner will allow a free human interest story. When we purchase the vans, we'll call to schedule a photo and story. We will also advertise in the clippings.

Childland Resources

This is a viable source for anyone looking for day care. The children's resource network has already provided us with a list of licensed day care providers in the area. We will receive their newsletter and they will hand out our brochure.

PTA/School Involvement

At part of our personal selling, we will make appointments with key personnel in the school district. It is our goal to be able to contract for group activities, but also to make the schools and parents aware of our existence in the community as a viable source for safe delivery of children.

Care Support

This is another important source in Oakland County. Once a month participants from area agencies dealing with children meet. They discuss how to make things better for children in the county. It is also a great way to network with these 200 members.


  • Our service will be sold directly to users.
  • Our site location is suited to customer proximity because it is close to major roads and highways. Effective routing, which is essential, will be made easier because of our location.


All rates are based on serviceable areas. Our vans will be driving in a seven mile delivery radius.

  • Fees must be paid in advance.
  • Fees may be paid by check or cash only.
  • $25.00 service charge on all return checks.
  • As the business grows Kid Cart will consider accepting credit cards if there is a need and it is cost effective.

Any changes or withdrawals of ride schedule will require immediate notification to Kid Cart. In the event that we are not notified, the normal fare will be charged.


Daily Rates Based on 7 Mile Radius and Pre-Scheduled Appointments
Type of RideOne Child
Same Stop
2nd-3rd Siblings
Same Stop
4 or More Siblings
Same Stop
Round trip$7.00$5.00$4.00
Extra Miles.50permile.50permile.50permile
Non-scheduled one-way$7.00$10.00$3.00$2.00
Non-scheduled round trip$10.00$15.00$3.00$2.00

One Way

Your child is picked up at one locations and transported to destination. For example: We pick up your child at home and transport him/her to day care. Cost: $5.00


Your child is picked up at one location, transported to his/her destination and picked up and returned to original location. For example: We pick up your child at home, transport him/her to school, pick back up at school and transport back home. Cost $7.00

Extra Miles

If there is an occasion where your child needs to be transported a few miles outside the radius, there will be an additional charge based on mileage. For example: We pick up your child at home and transport her/him to dance lessons and it's an additional 5 miles. Cost: $5.00 + 3.75 = 8.75 one way.


A non-scheduled pick-up can also be described as same-day service. If you call on the same day that your child needs a ride, we will do our best to accommodate you. The fare will be based on van availability and mileage.


When your child rides with us 5 days per week, you save 15%! Save 10% when your child rides with us 3 to 4 times per week!


Kid Cart's business address is 1224 Tea House St. in Royal Oak. Our regular hours of operation will be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. We will also be available for charter services. Children will be transported in 1996 Sportster Minivans.

Our quality control systems will include background checks on all potential employees. All drivers must possess a chauffeur's license and have Red Cross CPR and first aid training. They will also be properly trained in customer service and our driving and office procedures. We will monitor our employees by speaking with parents who use our service to maintain ongoing customer satisfaction. Kid Cart will adhere to a stringent auto maintenance schedule to ensure safe reliable vans for children to ride in.


The service Kid Cart will provide is safe responsible transportation exclusively for children. We will be transporting children to after school activities, day care, preschool, dental appointments, etc.

We will begin with two vans that will hold six children each. To best utilize these vans we have established peak transportation periods. These periods are early morning (7-8), mid afternoon (11-12), and late afternoon (3-5). We will establish routes with maximum passengers and close destinations. The summer season will bring in more charter trips as indicated by our initial responses. During non-peak periods we will be taking children to appointments or making emergency pick-ups (when a child needs to leave school due to illness). We will also use this time for administrative and marketing work.


Principal Suppliers

  • Standard in Ferndale for vans
  • Citizens in Royal Oak for gas
  • Cord in Ferndale for office supplies
  • Briar Printing in Berkley

We sent letters to thirteen area auto dealerships inviting them to submit bids on vans and service. After reviewing the bids, driving the vans and speaking with the sales people we chose Standard as the auto dealership we will use. Based on price, auto service and customer service.

Citizens was chosen as our supplier of gasoline because of their convenient locations and their reporting capabilities. They will supply us with a report each week that indicates how many miles each van was driven, the driver of the van and cost per mile.

Cord will be our primary supplier for office supplies because of their low prices. We have applied for our tax exempt status with them.

We received three quotes from area printers. Briar gave us the best price and the quality of their work is excellent.


A three-person staff, Lulu LaQuentin, Mickey Beneville and a third driver will be providing transportation for children to and from school and after school activities. All drivers will posses a chauffeur's license, as required by law, and will be trained in CPR and first aid.

Lulu and Mickey will initially be driving most of the time as well as marketing and administrative work. As the business grows, more drivers will be hired and Lulu and Mickey will focus on marketing and administration.

Job Description: To transport children to and from activities in a safe, responsible, timely manner.

Position: Driver

Reports To: Mickey

Duties and Responsibilities: To transport children to and from various activities in a safe, responsible, timely manner. Must like children and have an excellent driving record.


Lulu has not been working outside the home for a few years. Her husband Ed's salary is enough to cover their living expenses.

Mickey's husband Casey is the main contributor to the household. Mickey has been working part time since October 1995 and she will continue to work weekends through May of 1996 when the draw is budgeted.


Sent out to Royal Oak Residents

January 15, 1996

Allow us to introduce ourselves. We are Lulu LaQuentin and Mickey Beneville, partners for Kid Cart. This is a children's transportation service that we are developing in Royal Oak. Our purpose is providing affordable, safe, licensed transportation for children.

Kid Cart is registered with the Royal Oak records office and we are using the resources of Oakland Expansion League to assist us in getting our business up and running. Our goal is to be servicing the Royal Oak area within the first quarter of 1996.

This is where we need your help.

Our research has shown that there are area parents interested in hiring a transportation service exclusively for their children. We would like to hear from parents, teachers, recreational counselors and anyone interested in hiring such a service. This will allow us to develop a client list and focus on specific geographical areas.

Please call us and Lulu or Mickey will be happy to talk with you about Kid Cart. You may also send any questions to Kid Cart, 1224 Tea House St., Royal Oak, MI 48068.


Lulu LaQuentin & Mickey Beneville


Dear Parent, Guardian or Day Care Provider:

This survey has been assembled to help us create affordable child transportation in your local area. Please take a few moments to fill in the information below and return to the person you received it from or Oakland Expansion League at the address/fax below. Even if you don't plan on using the service, your information may help someone who needs such a service.

Deadline for information: January 31, 1996!!


Use of Proceeds

Partner Investment: Lulu LaQuentin$5,000
Partner Investment: Mickey Beneville$5,000
Commercial Loan$39,737
Purchase two 1996 Sportster Minivans$39,737
Working Capital$10,000

Start Up Costs

Office Supplies$160.00
Business Phone Line (1)$118.00
Cellular Phones (2)$140.00
Business Telephone (1)$100.00
Oakland Expansion League Membership$225.00
Nat'l Child Transport Assoc. Fee$175.00

Pro Forma Balance Sheet February 23, 1996

Current AssetsCurrent Liabilities0
Total Assets$10,440Total Liabilities0
1996 Cash Pro Forma
Pre-Srart Costs
March 1, through December 31, 1996
Cash On Hand$10,190$8,737$5,804$4,843$4,267$3,266
Cash Receipts-Sales$500$1,400$1,800$2,200$2,600
Total Cash Receipts$500$1,400$1,860$2,280$2,680$3,310
Total Cash Available$10,190$9,237$7,204$6,703$6,547$5,946
Cash Paid Out
Gross Wages$240$240$240$240
Payroll Expenses$24$24$24$24
Supplies - Office$200$50$50$50$50
Auto Maintenance$120
Auto Gas$200$180$180$180$180
Insurance - Auto$1,575$525$525$525$525
Capital Purchase
Membership Fees$400
Magnetic Signs$200
Total Cash Paid Out$1,453$3,433$2,361$2,436$3,281$3,036
Cash Position$8,737$5,804$4,483$4,267$3,266$2,910
1997 Cash Pro Forma
January 1 through December 31, 1997
Cash On Hand$6,104$6,743$5,157$6,523$6,417
Cash Receipts-Sales$7,200$7,200$8,640$8,640$8,640$8,640
Total Cash Receipts$7,345$7,345$8,820$8,850$8,850$8,850
Total Cash Available$13,449$14,088$13,977$15,373$15,267$14,811
Cash Paid Out
Gross Wages$1,240$1,240$2,200$2,200$2,200$2,200
Payroll Expenses$250$250$440$440$440$440
Auto Maintenance$250
Auto Gas$300$300$300$300$300$300
Insurance - Auto$1,050$1,050$1,050$1,059$1,050$1,050
Capital Purchase$2,500
Membership Fees$500
Total Cash Paid Out$6,706$8,931$7,456$8,956$9,306$8,381
Cash Position$0$5,157$6,523$6,714$5,961$6,430
1996 Pro Forma Profit and Loss
March 1, through December 31, 1996
Cash Receipts$500$1,400$1,800$2,200$2,600
Total Sales$500$1,400$1,860$2,280$2,680
Monthly Van Payments$1,000$1,000$1,000$1,000$1,000
Vans Maint. & Gas$200$180$180$300$180
Total Cost of Goods Sold$1,200$1,180$1,180$1,300$1,180
Gross Margin($700)$220$680$980$1,500
Operating Expenses
Gross Wages$240$240$240$240
Payroll Expenses$24$24$24$24
Capital Purchase
Membership Fees
Magnetic Signs
Total Expenses$2,233$1,181$1,256$1,981$1,856
Net Profit (Loss)($2,933)($961)($576)($1,001)($356)
1997 Pro Forma Profit and Loss
January 1, through December 31, 1997
Cash Receipts$7,200$7,200$8,640$8,640$8,640$8,640
Total Sales$7,345$7,345$8,820$8,850$8,850$8,850
Monthly Van Payments$1,360$1,360$1,360$1,360$1,360$1,360
Vans Maint. & Gas$300$550$300$300$500$300
Total Cost of Goods Sold$1,660$1,910$1,660$1,660$1,860$1,660
Gross Margin$5,685 $5,435$7,160$7,160$6,990$7,190
Operating Expenses
Gross Wages$1,240$1,240$2,200$2,200$2,200$2,200
Payroll Expenses$250$250$440$440$440$440
Capital Purchases$2,500
Membership Fees$500
Total Expenses$5,046$7,021$5,746$7,371$7,446$6,721
Net Profit (Loss)$639($1,586)$1,414($181)($456)$469