Buying a bus

School Bus Buying Guide

3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying A Bus

Are you searching Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and the internet for a school bus to purchase? Have you done your research and you know what bus will best suit your needs? Before backing a bus down your driveway or parking it at a family members house, here are 3 questions to consider before purchasing a bus.

Buying a bus

#1 What Size  Bus is Right for Me?

There are many different types of buses on the market to purchase. Knowing which bus style and length is best for you is key before buying a bus. So, how do you decide what length and body style is best. Purchasing a bus seriously, it comes down to 3 things: Space, Purpose, and Plan.

Know your Space

Knowing how many people you would like to sleep in the bus along with how tall is the tallest person that will be living/camping in your bus is important before you purchase.
Answer these questions:

  • Could a family of 5 live in a 30ft bus? While it is possible it may not be comfortable.
    The number of people that will sleep in the bus is a factor when determining the length of bus that is right for your family.
  • What floor to ceiling height will you need? Most buses have a ceiling clearance of 6’2”. You can find buses that are between 6’3-6’5”. If you have a family member that is 6’5” or taller you many need a roof raise.

Know Your Purpose

The questions to answer when it comes to knowing your purpose are:

  • Is this going to be your fulltime home? If so, you may want to have extra storage, more space to move about, and a place to work remotely. Therefore, even though your family size is 2 and could fit in 30 feet or less you may want to consider buying a longer bus.
  • Are you using this as a weekend warrior camper? If so and you are going to travel to cold climates in the winter you may need more space for a wood stove. Or you could need less space because you are not going to need a full size kitchen.

Know Your Plan

Knowing where you plan on traveling and how many miles you are going to put on your bus in a year is extremely important when purchasing a bus.
Here are a few questions to answer:

  • Are you going to travel frequently moving from place to place often? You could put 20k-30k miles on your bus in a year and would need a bus that has less miles and maybe cruise control.
  • If you are going to stay in one place for a longer time, will you need to tow a car? If so, you will need to get a bus that will have this ability.
  • Do you want to stay in National Parks or live off grid? Some National Parks have length restrictions of 30 ft or less. Therefore, you will need a shorter bus.

#2 Do I have a place to park the bus during the conversion?

For many people parking a bus in their drive is not a problem. For others, there may be HOA rules to follow. The zoning laws may prevent a school bus for being parked in a yard or driveway.
Before purchasing a bus and backing it down your drive, make sure you have done your homework to find out if there are any restrictions or laws preventing you from parking and working on a bus in your yard.

#3 What skills do I need to learn before deciding to convert a bus?

When converting a bus into a home on wheels, you do NOT have to be an experienced carpenter, a certified electrician, or a welder. Of course, if you or someone you know has these skills the conversion could move along at a faster pace.

All that said, it is helpful to have basic wood-working skills and you MUST know how to read a tape measure.
During the conversion, you will use a variety of tools. Take a realistic look at your skill level and decide if any project will need to be out-sourced.

In conclusion, once you have determined the size of bus you will need to fit your family, you have a place to park your bus, and you know your skill level, it is time to start searching for a bus.

If you want some DIY help, we have a great DIY Skoolie Master Class. 


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3 thoughts on “School Bus Buying Guide”

  1. Howdy! I live in Kingsport and I was just looking into getting a short bus for adventure weekends. Im glad you guys are right down the street if I need assistance. I’ll probably end up getting your master class because I’ve never done anything like remodeling a short bus before. First things first, I better find a bus!

    1. Hi Heather, I love meeting local skoolie enthusiasts. Did you know that the DIY Skoolie Master Class goes over places to purchase a bus, things to look for during the bus inspection, and how to determine what size and style of bus would best suit your needs. I also offer a Bus Purchase Consultation if you would like some one-on-one help when purchasing a bus. Let me know if you have any questions, happy to help. Missy

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