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Old 02-13-2016, 02:20 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2016
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I Need A Bus Converter! :)

Hello everyone!

My name is Sarah, and I've been interested in having an off grid skoolie for several months now. My husband and I are looking to be moving around quite a bit for school and work over the next four years, but I want to have a stable home for our two daughters. A school bus seems like the perfect option for us, since we are already living small, but that would give us more mobility as well as flexibility on finances(which are a bit strained right now).
However, neither my husband or anyone else in our family has the time, resources, or knowledge to convert a school bus, so we're kind of stuck right now.

What I'd like to know is if any of you know of an individual or company who would be willing to build a skoolie for my family and I. I have a design planned out already, and we could figure out financing(bank loan, payments directly to the person/company, etc.). We have fairly good credit that is trending upwards, as well as having a steady income right now. I would prefer someone who would allow us to make payments to them directly, but that can be discussed later.
I would be buying the bus, of course, but I don't have one yet. When we connect to discuss and get a quote, I will ask what the best type of bus/RV would be best for what I want.

I really appreciate all your help in advance, and I look forward to hearing from you all!
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Old 02-13-2016, 03:16 PM   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 297
Year: 2003
Chassis: E-450
Engine: 7.3 Turbo
I'm sure he'll find his way to this thread, but I believe charlesm does work like this. He's a very frequent contributor on this forum and seems to be (we're newish) one of the most knowledgable as well.

He has a website called wouldyoulookatthatbus that has a 'build' page if I recall correctly. Maybe check that out!
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Old 02-14-2016, 09:09 PM   #3
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Rated Cap: 78
This doesn't really help much but your situation is interesting.

I would probably need 5-6 folks like you in order to stay profitable enough to do bus conversions. For a while I was building unimogs, which is holding stock, tearing down, refinishing, return, etc.

It was a niche market that is tough to be in. What are your plans for a build out? I have come to see two types of folks when working on a build out.

The first kind will come up with extensive design criteria and plans, but tend to base it on existing experience and are not aware of techniques and options beyond what they know.

The second kind tends to design the proverbial "dream tree fort" (I used to do this) without a specific knowledge of the cost, time and effort required to see the plan through.

Without knowing more about your situation, as it relates to school bus rv conversions, avoid aiming for either end of those spectrums. Don't expect the school bus to be a prevost rv with all the technology and expense it comes with, and don't be so ambitious with the "super eco recycle found materials zero emission footprint" mindset either.

It's a big sturdy safe dirty metal box with an engine at its heart. Respect its foundation and original intent and I think you will find many people who can give you a fair trade in money and time who can help realize your ambition.

Besidrs busses and unimogs, I have seen a lot of t2 and t3 Vanagon conversions - the ones that were always successful long term were the ones that built for the near future, but provided an open canvas for future expansion.

This probably sounds like a ton of air quotes all over the place so sorry for that.

This community is fun and has a lot of smart ambitious people building their projects. Take the time to read any of the threads with a lot of pages and you will see common themes:
  • didn't really have all the bus specific skillset when starting
  • Previous mechanical experience
  • had to sacrifice time we would rather be doing other things
  • Did a lot of stuff ourselves
  • Had a sense of when to slow and ask for help
  • Patience
  • Set specific goals with reasonable timelines

Anyway we all can give good advice, its up to you to decide how to use it most effective.

Welcome to the community!





Quote:
Originally Posted by Curious View Post
Hello everyone!

My name is Sarah, and I've been interested in having an off grid skoolie for several months now. My husband and I are looking to be moving around quite a bit for school and work over the next four years, but I want to have a stable home for our two daughters. A school bus seems like the perfect option for us, since we are already living small, but that would give us more mobility as well as flexibility on finances(which are a bit strained right now).
However, neither my husband or anyone else in our family has the time, resources, or knowledge to convert a school bus, so we're kind of stuck right now.

What I'd like to know is if any of you know of an individual or company who would be willing to build a skoolie for my family and I. I have a design planned out already, and we could figure out financing(bank loan, payments directly to the person/company, etc.). We have fairly good credit that is trending upwards, as well as having a steady income right now. I would prefer someone who would allow us to make payments to them directly, but that can be discussed later.
I would be buying the bus, of course, but I don't have one yet. When we connect to discuss and get a quote, I will ask what the best type of bus/RV would be best for what I want.

I really appreciate all your help in advance, and I look forward to hearing from you all!
aaronsb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2016, 09:21 PM   #4
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Join Date: Apr 2015
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Where are you located?
DT Rutledge is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2016, 09:53 PM   #5
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I'm in Alabama.
Curious is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2016, 02:07 AM   #6
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Denver
Posts: 489
Year: 1982
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Chassis: International S1800
Engine: DT466 Trans: MT643
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I do this for a living now after running a school bus company for 10 years.
I live for buses and I get better everyday I do all phases of the project here at my bus yard in Denver CO.
Welding, carpentry, bus mechanical, electrical, solar-- all of it. I also do consulting for other skoolie builders and tv shows if you can believe it. I live in a bus and have been off and on for years. Ive done 5 conversions with 2 more that should be done this spring. Im lucky that I get to do this, but its hard work and every project somehow manages to make me scratch my head for at least a few hours trying to make mew things work.
Id be happy to talk more, my blog is embarrassingly behind. You can email me at lookatthatbus@gmail.com
My instagram @lookatthatbus had good pics too
Happy bussing!
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