We get a lot of funny looks when people find out we live in a converted school bus. After a moment of pause and head scratching there are usually many questions. The conversation typically goes like this:
Them: “You live in a what?”
Us: “A school bus, we converted it into our home.”
Them: “Did it have kids on it?”
Us: “Yes, it was a school bus.”
Them: “Does it still drive?”
Us: “Yes, we even took it up to Charlotte last April”
Them: “Did you drive it here?!”
Us: “…No, we have cars”
Them: “Where do you even buy a school bus?”
I’ve spent a lot of time answering that last question because frankly, there are a lot of places to buy a school bus that most people don’t know about. So if you’re looking to buy a bus, this post is for you.
A Bus Dealer
Yes, bus dealers really do exist. We bought The Just Right Bus from BGA Buses, one of the largest auto dealers in Florida; and they sell mostly retired school buses. Located in Hudson, Florida and owned and operated by Greg Archambault and his family, BGA buys buses from school districts all around the county and personally drive each bus found on their lot. We highly recommend BGA to anyone looking to buy a bus. Greg has over 40 years of experience in the bus business and continues to work with us to this day on any questions we have about our bus.
Dealers frequently know the history of the buses they buy. Greg knows which school districts in the country take really good care of their buses and which to avoid. This knowledge and experience does come at a bit of a cost, dealers need to charge customers more than they pay for their products in order to make money and stay in business. It’s just a matter of how much this knowledge and experience is worth to you. I recommend reading reviews about a dealership or speaking with someone who has worked with them before committing to one.
If you know a thing or two about buses and truck engines, another way to buy a bus is at auction. This is a good way to save a little money on your bus but it is a bit of risk if you don’t know the bus’s history. If you have a local auction house, sometimes it’s possible to see or learn about the buses before bidding on them. An online auction like publicsurplus.com is another way of finding large numbers of buses available for auction at one time. There is a risk that the bus you buy may not be local and you have to travel to bring it home, but this may be well worth it if you score a quality bus at a great price.
Classifieds and Social Media
Many people turn to social media or the classifieds to find a bus to convert, some even buy buses that have already been converted. The purple double decker “Ditch Life” Bus was found on craigslist and renovated into a beautiful home. Converted buses are also for sale frequently on Tiny House Listings. You could also purchase a bus from a local business or organization by looking at your local classifieds.
Ditch Life Bus. Photo by Bryce and Valerie Phelps
There are also many online groups dedicated to the discussion of bus conversions. Many of these groups are run by experienced converters who are often eager to help or answer questions. The simple truth of the matter is that the more you put into researching and exploring options on how and where to buy a bus, the better chance you have of being satisfied with your purchase and finding a bus that’s just right for you.
Kelly Ross is a contributing writer for Tiny House Listings. She lives in a converted school bus that is neither too hot nor too cold with her husband and two dogs. You can learn more about Kelly and her “Just Right Bus” at her website or Facebook Page.
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