Buying a Bus

Work/Life Balance: Buying a Bus – It’s the New Tiny Home

Are you able to work remotely, or take life by the horns and get work as you find it while traveling and living life?  Many people are doing just that these days, preferring to ditch the hum-drum nine-to-five lifestyle with an endless mortgage for a more adventurous and exciting journey. You may even find that travel-blogging is exactly what you’ve always wanted to do.

Buying a Bus

Well, before you get too carried away spending heaps on overseas travel, try it out in your own country by getting a sturdy old bus. You may have to think about getting a special license to drive one, but it will be worth it for the experiences heading your way.

Depending on your budget, you could either get one that has already been renovated and converted into a tiny home on wheels (which would cost a fair bit for a good one), or you could go cheap and get one that needs your own personal touch and design flair. You will find that retired school buses are relatively cheap to buy and have the most robust steel frames and floors. There are three main sizes when looking for a bus (short, mid-size, and full-size). Physically go and have a look and walk through of each of these different buses to get a feel for the space and which would suit you and your needs. Also consider how easily you will be able to drive and steer such a beast. Other essential things to look for when purchasing a bus are the condition of the engine, the suspension & tires, and the body. Steer clear of rust-filled floors or broken axles. If you are buying the bus in a fantastic condition except needing a new engine, then factor all costs associated with that into the price you pay. You will also need to consider how much it will cost to convert into a home/office. Above all, get a professional bus mechanic to look over the bus in question, get their evaluation and quotes for any work that needs to be done so you can use this information to get the price down.

Buying a Bus

Where do I look for a bus? There are plenty of options such as online auctions, local classifieds, and bus dealerships. You may even find the odd one for sale near you on the side of the road, or even ask around.

What about bus conversion plans? There are plenty of online tutorials, plans, and free advice, and there is a book called ‘Bus Conversion Floor Plans’ by Ben Rosander which features more than fifty plans and drawings to help get you started.  

Once you have the basics done like the layout, walls and floors sorted, you can look at fitting out and furnishing. Now, this doesn’t mean go out and spend up on brand new appliances and décor if you’re on a budget. It means, you get to source quality pieces from various sources such as online auctions, closing down or end-of-run sales, yard sales, friends & family, or even local scrap yards. Think laterally, this could be a really exciting project that will form the basis of your fun new life.

Think about who and what will be included in the bus. If you have pets, consider them into the plans. A dog or cat may need a door flap to go outside to do their business, or if you have a hamster or kitten, you may want to put in a run that surrounds the interior up high so they can entertain themselves and have options of where they want to be. You may need additional storage for gas cylinders, deck chairs, or other goods, or perhaps bicycle racks added onto the rear.

Buying a Bus

The exterior is the real statement of your bus. So think about colors, patterns, imagery, and text when you design the outside. It’s a blank canvas just waiting for you to put your own stamp on it.   

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