After deciding to go with converting a bus for our trip, along with what promises to be an incredibly rewarding build, yet huge pain in the ass, it was time to start looking around.  But where the hell do you buy a school bus, and how can you get the most bang for your buck? If you don’t do your research you could end up with a deal that may seem good, but will bite you in the ass with hidden costs.  There are a lot of good options out there when you’re looking for a bus, here’s a look at how we landed our cool bus.

 

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Be wary of the deals

EBay

We looked around on EBay in the beginning, but quickly found that it wasn’t going to be for us and our budget.  It was a great resource for looking around at the different options that are out there, but it came with too many problems if we were to actually purchase one from there.

Pros:

  • Certified sellers can put your mind at ease with a quality bus
  • EBay offers vehicle purchase protection on vehicles bought through their website, up to $100,000, or the price paid for the vehicle. However, this protection does not cover any damage on vehicles 10 years or older, so this protection would only cover you on newer and almost definitely more expensive buses.  You can read more about EBay’s Vehicle Purchase Protection here.  While a great plan, this is most likely out of the realm for smaller budgets

Cons:

  • Delivery or pickup can be far away. Traveling to pick up your bus, or using a delivery service can offset the money you may save.  But who knows, check out the listings and you could get lucky.
  • Bidding can drive up the prices on buses quickly, so in order to get a good deal you may have to be very patient.

 

Bus Listing websites

Similar to EBay, we found these websites to be more for window shopping and ideas rather than realistic purchasing options for us.  Many websites have great buses for affordable prices, but again, no delivery made the end cost of the bus to be quite a bit more expensive.  This isn’t to say that you should prematurely give up on them, you very well could get lucky and find a bus close to you in great condition and for a good price from a reputable seller.

Pros:

  • Certified sellers can help ensure you’re getting a bus that’s worth buying
  • Can be great to find an affordable bus that runs, or needs minimal repairs
  • You can set-up monthly payment plans to avoid one large payment upfront for your bus

Cons:

  • Again, delivery or pickup can be far away and can offset the money you may save
  • Prices, while sometimes fair, can be marked up quite a bit. This may be worth it depending on your budget, as you are more likely to get a realistic idea of what is and isn’t working with your vehicle, but this option is highly based on your budget

Some reputable websites to get you started:

 

Craigslist

We landed our bus on Craigslist and it was pretty much exactly what we were looking for.  It was within our purchase budget, had a very solid body with minimal rusting, and most importantly, only had 115,000 miles on it.  We had it inspected by two separate bus mechanics, just to be sure it was running fine and help ease our minds (at least a little bit) that we shouldn’t run into many problems with proper upkeep.  Be sure to check listings around your area frequently, and be sure to set up a meeting if you find one you like as some listings will go fast.  If you’re looking for a possible steal, this is the place you’ll find it.

 

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Channel your inner douche and be this guy when dealing with sellers on Craigslist

Pros:

  • Cheap and able to search for areas near you
  • Negotiable prices. Some people need to get rid of them fast and would be willing to sell it cheaper for a full cash payment
  • Lots of options with new listings every day for all different models

Cons:

  • You will have to be patient. Lots of listings are posted daily, some good, others not so much.  If you have a specific model in mind be sure to check daily on new listings
  • As a lot of things with Craigslist, it can be risky. Be sure to have your bus inspected by at least one bus mechanic that you choose, not your seller

 

Final Thoughts

There are a ton of options out there, each with their own pros and cons depending on your budget and time-frame for getting your bus.  If you’re looking for a good economical deal and don’t mind being a little patient, Craigslist is a great place to start.  But use caution and be sure to use your own mechanics to ensure your bus is in good condition and won’t break down when you drive it off the lot.

 

 

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