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Sterling Transportation DBA Top Shelf Tours

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86dd08hh

Time left to invest


$1,500

amount committed 

$10k - $1070k

funding goal 

Regulation CF

exemption used 

$2,000,000

pre money valuation 

$200.00

min investment 

2

investors 


Security Type
Common Stock
$1.00 per share

Pitch

Who are we

We bring you to where your fun is! 

 

Either as a private or a public brewery or winery tour, or as a private bus rental for proms, weddings, birthdays, or any other special occasion, Top Shelf Tours takes you there!

 

With an excellent reputation for high customer service, high word-of-mouth appeal, and a company poised for growth, Sterling Transportation doing business as Top Shelf Tours is ready to take on the post-Covid world and make a big impact!

 

The hard work has been done and the foundation is set. Top Shelf Tours can grow to be the dominant force in the Central Indiana area for entertainment travel with a little help from our friends.

 
Problem

There is no market leader for party bus services in the Indianapolis area. Not only is the market highly segmented among many providers, but the different types of services Top Shelf Tours offers are spread out among several providers as well.

 

This has led to a degree of commoditization in the market, with customers calling as many services as they can to make their decision based merely on ads and Google listings.

 

Solution

Top Shelf Tours wants to be the one entertainment-related transportation company that people think of in Central Indiana. Need a party bus for a bachelorette's night out? Top Shelf Tours. Want a special winery or brewery tour for all of your friends, or just for two people? Top Shelf Tours. Prom transportation? Wedding transportation? Top Shelf Tours. Do you want to reward your sales team mid-week with a day trip? Top Shelf Tours.

 

Top Shelf has been formed with a customer service mindset. In fact, we think of ourselves more as a customer service company that happens to be involved in transportation. That has helped us to achieve a very high satisfaction rating, as evidenced by our online ratings and repeat customers.

 

We strive to underpromise and overdeliver as much as possible. In fact, this should be a tenet of all service businesses.

 

One issue we've discovered in the business operation was its seasonality. We will be looking for an opportunity to horizontally or vertically integrate if the right opportunity presents itself. This will help us smooth out revenue dips during the sometimes-difficult winter months.

 

Achievement & Traction

Top Shelf Tours is in its fifth year of existence and has already weathered the typical start-up troubles. Everything is in place now for fairly rapid growth.

 

The barriers to entry into this business are substantial, so the risk of any newcomers entering the market is low. Post-COVID, any new operators will find it next to impossible to find affordable vehicle insurance if they can find any carrier at all. This is an expensive business to get off the ground, with high maintenance, labor, and fuel costs after the initial vehicle purchase and various insurance and regulation expenses. Top Shelf Tours has successfully navigated through these areas and is ready for expansion.

 

Top Shelf considers itself not just a transportation company, but a customer service company that happens to specialize in transportation. That's why out of 440 online reviews, 432 of them are 5 out of 5 stars.  We strive to hire drivers who can become a positive part of the experience and we've done a great job so far. 

 

We get calls for our service from a wide area of the central Indiana region and it's getting hard to provide the level of service we need. We need to have buses and drivers in downtown Indianapolis to better serve those market segments, and we need a separate set on the north side of Indy as well. We already have a good presence, but we can and will make it stronger.

 

Market

According to recent statistics by IbisWorld, the party bus rental industry in the United States of America is worth about $5 billion, with an estimated growth rate of 2.3 percent between 2011 and 2016. That number can only go up as limo companies face increasing pressure from rideshare companies like Uber and a shortage of acceptable cars to stretch into limousines. 

 

The past year has certainly lead to a shrinking of the available party bus companies in the Indianapolis market, as Covid has seriously dampened people's ability to go out. That places a company like Top Shelf Tours at an advantage, as the barrier to entry into the party bus market has become extremely high. Due to Covid, the number of insurance companies that handle the party bus market has shrunk as well. It is very, very difficult to get vehicle insurance at a competitive rate unless a party bus company has a current track record with a good rating.

 

Top Shelf Tours is in a very good place for 2021...positioned for high growth with less competition, with little chance for newcomers into the market, during a year expected to be very busy!

 

Competition

There are two companies offering brewery tours as their primary service:

  • Indy Brew Bus
    • This is the first Indy brewery tour company and the market leader
    • Based out of Zionsville
    • Operates at least five small converted school buses, all seat 14
    • Hires craft beer enthusiasts as drivers/guides
    • Picks up at Northside, Broad Ripple, Downtown, and Southside
    • Takes customers to three breweries and pays for a pint at each stop for $52
  • The BrewsLine
    • Based out of Fishers
    • Operates a schoolbus/shuttle bus
    • Picks up at Northside and Southside

 

There is one local company offering winery tours exclusively:

  • deTours Indiana Wines
    • Mainly in the southern half of the state
    • Usually has packages of three or four wineries plus a lunch stop
    • $175 per person
    • Shuttle bus

Several companies market themselves as “party bus” companies:

  • Ale Force One
    • Ran by Indiana On Tap
    • One very nice bus, with two TVs and a bar
    • $550 for four hours
  • Broad Ripple Party Bus
    • Some buses bigger than 14-passenger
    • Old buses and not very good reviews
    • Cash only, and must pay the driver in full for the whole trip

One of our competitive advantages is we are highly diversified. We provide excellent service on our public brewery tours like Indy Brew Bus and Brewsline, we are well known for our public winery tours like deTours, and have a great reputation as a party bus company. Not only these things, but we are the only company offering public concert shuttles, which has been in high demand since we started.

 

We plan upon strengthening our hold in the market by developing new offices in the Central Indiana area, where we will store additional buses and go after these markets a lot harder. Trying to market to the entire area from one location has proven to be a little difficult, and this would help us dial-in.

 

Business Model

The Business Model -- The Action Plan 

  • Concert shuttles: This is a large, virtually untapped market. Top Shelf has several stops picked out to pick up single-seat purchasers, and we take them to Ruoff Music Center in Noblesville. There has been a lot of demand for this service, and it is a big revenue generator in the warmer months. We have been filled to capacity for many shows, and we have other venues that we could pursue as well. It is our most labor-intensive effort due to the number of hours. Top Shelf charges $40 per seat for each show. These are offered at $40 per seat.
  • Brewery Tours: The craft beer industry in Indiana is maturing, but people still love the idea of visiting locations that they have never been to before. Top Shelf really needs to pursue this market better, as more hits to the website are for brewery tours than any other service offered. We typically get too busy with our full bus rentals to pursue this effectively. We currently offer a public brewery tour seat on Friday nights and Saturdays for $40, and we go to four breweries. Also, if the customer rents the entire bus, the price is $570.
  • Winery Tours:  While most Indianapolis area transportation companies offer these types of tours as full bus rentals, very few actually stress them.  No companies handle these tours on a per-seat basis as they do the brewery tours, instead a whole bus needs to be rented by one group. We currently offer a public winery tour seat on Sundays for $40, and we go to three wineries. Also, if the customer rents the entire bus, the price is $570.
  • Day Out/Night Out:  This segment is a large one for Top Shelf, and consists of birthday parties, anniversary parties, or just getting a group of friends together to go out. They may want to go to breweries, wineries, bars, restaurants, or any number of things, but they rent the whole bus. We currently offer bus rentals any time during the week for $570. Our biggest opportunity is rentals bus rentals during the week for corporate events.
  • Weddings: Weddings are sometimes a bit difficult for us due to the nature of the rental. A lot of times, the customer doesn’t want four hours in a row so we try to work out something with them. Generally, we charge $570 for four hours.
  • Proms: These are $570 for four hours. Sometimes these may go a bit longer.
Team

 

Rob Zajac has been in the IT field as a programmer since before the days of Y2K. Shortly after the first of many layoffs in the industry, he decided to map a way to fulfill his dreams of business ownership. The dream finally became a reality with the formation of Top Shelf Tours in 2016. Mr. Zajac has had many years of experience in both customer service and sales positions prior to IT, so a business with high customer expectations is a perfect fit.

 

He started by doing everything himself, then hiring his first part-time driver at the beginning of 2017. It's been a steady climb since then, though 2020 has proven to be a temporary setback. This year, 2021, is going to be a great year, with businesses opening back up and people wanting to get back out of the house to be with family and friends.

 

Top Shelf Tours now has up to 10 part time drivers, and recently decided to expand its team by creating administrative and operations positions. 

 

Use of Funds

Top Shelf Tours is very entrepreneurial! To fulfill our goals, we want to raise as much money as we can. Below is a breakdown of how we anticipate using the funds we raise:

  • Add Offices/Garages - Our fleet is currently located on the south side of Indianapolis. We recognize that most of our current clientele is located on the north side of the city. Having buses there would lessen our drive time, increase our response time and, as a bonus, allow us to keep some of our great Northside drivers. Having a portion of our fleet there would also allow us to start offering public brewery tours in a location we know has a lot of untapped demand. Additionally, we need some buses in the downtown Indy area. We need to be more aggressive with our public brewery tour offerings downtown, and a great way to facilitate our vision is to have at least three buses dedicated to these tours parked downtown. Presently, it is difficult to achieve this while having all our buses located at least 30 minutes from the action. We waste time cleaning and driving back to our location for driver changes. This location would also allow us to attract more drivers, which is a constant struggle. After we get these two offices built out, we are looking at the college towns of Bloomington, Lafayette, and Muncie. Currently, we are making lots of drives down to Bloomington presently as there are no competing businesses in that location.
  • Upgrades/Additions to Fleet - We anticipate a dramatic increase in our services after the COVID-19 scare is over. People have been forced to stay inside for too long and will want to get out of the house to gather with friends as soon as they can. We need several new buses to meet this demand, especially when coupled with our increased advertising. We have five buses at present, and we would like to trade three of them up as soon as possible and buy at least five additional buses.
  • Advertising and Marketing – We have been promoting mostly via targeting marketing via social media and word of mouth. Though this has been effective, it has been awfully slow. We realize the need for aggressive and public relations campaigns. We have experimented with different media, but we need a cohesive and well-thought-out plan from a professional.
  • Hire Management – Transportation companies of a certain size need an operations manager to take care of the fleet, drivers, and offices. They also need a customer service manager to answer the phones. We need both positions filled. This would allow the owner to get away from day-to-day operations and move into higher-level planning.
  • Disrupt Seasonality – Top Shelf Tours’ business has some seasonality, and it is in our interest to find a way to even it out. Our busiest months are in the late summer and early fall, and our weakest months are in the coldest months. We are always on the lookout for ways to level the months, and we will continue to do so. This may take the form of adding new services or possibly horizontal or vertical integration. We will take every opportunity seriously, either growing it in-house or by making a strategic purchase.

 

Updates


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Documents

Start-up Valuation Download
Offering Statement Download

Other Disclosures

Read the Form C filed with the SEC for other important disclosures, like financial statements, Directors, Officers, shareholders with more than 20% of voting rights, and more.
Irregular Use of Proceeds
The Company may make Irregular Use of Proceeds. Such Irregular Use of Proceeds, which may be in material amounts in excess of $10,000, may include by way of example and not limitation: Vendor payments and salary made to management, business associates, relatives, related parties and/or affiliates thereof; expenses labeled "Administration Expenses" that are not strictly for administrative purposes; expenses labeled "Travel and Entertainment"; and expenses that are for the purposes of intercompany debt or back payments.

Without limiting the above, the Company may elect to vary from the proposed use of funds as circumstances or assessments of circumstances following the closing change.
Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This offering contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. We caution investors that any forward-looking statements presented in this offering, or which management may make orally or in writing from time to time, are based on the Company’s beliefs and assumptions made by, and information currently available to, the Company. When used, the words “anticipate,” “believe,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “might,” “plan,” “estimate,” “project,” “should,” “will,” “would,” “result” and similar expressions, which do not relate solely to historical matters, are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Such statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions and are not guarantees of future performance, which may be affected by known and unknown risks, trends, uncertainties and factors that are beyond the Company’s control. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those anticipated, estimated or projected. While forward-looking statements reflect the Company’s good faith belief when made, they are not guarantees of future performance. The Company expressly disclaims any responsibility to update forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

Moreover, we operate in a very competitive and rapidly changing environment, and new risks emerge from time to time. It is not possible to predict all risks, nor can we assess the impact of all factors on our business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements we may make. In light of these risks, uncertainties and assumptions, the forward-looking events and circumstances discussed in this offering may not occur, and actual results could differ materially and adversely from those anticipated or implied in the forward-looking statements. We undertake no obligation to revise or publically release the results of any revision to these forward-looking statements, except as required by law. Given these risks and uncertainties, prospective investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements.
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