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Old 11-02-2019, 11:08 PM   #1
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Re-sale value

I've read both on this board and in other places that often times you don't get the value what you put into the bus. I just got done reading a post from 2016 from a woman who was asking about starting a business 'flipping' converted buses. My question isn't really related to starting a business. Since 2016 the tiny house and skoolie living has only bloomed more.

So, a few years down the line, do you all still think that you rarely ever get back the value of what you spent in the bus? I've been pursuing lots of Craigslist ads and such and you see people that are probably obviously loosing some money, and then you have other people potentially making a profit.

I am considering financing with a personal loan the conversion part of my bus. I don't have the skills, or the time it needs to put into this conversion, so I'd probably hire out most - or all - of it. But I may try to save some costs by supplying my own materials but I need someone to handle the technical stuff. So that's the background of my question, but I think it's a good renewed question to ask after a few years.
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Old 11-02-2019, 11:21 PM   #2
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The resale value is not there, even with the growth of the community. The reasons are as varied as the buses. A custom conversion is built for the personal needs of the bus owner. My wife and I have considerable time and effort into our conversion. We plan on living in HF full-time. We're looking at work camping to give us something to do as well once we're done with the main build. However, we would take a major bath if we were to sell HF. We had to GIVE AWAY our previous bus to a new owner. We spent about $5K on that bus and the conversion. HF is almost 10 times the investment so far with all the equipment and prep-work.


You are better off to work a little here, a little there, and save your money for the expensive parts of the bus like hiring an electrician if you are not comfortable with such systems. The reason why so many of us work on our own rides is because we 1) want to learn how to do a build, 2) want to save money, and 3) be able to diagnose problems when we're out on the road and something happens.


Just my two cents.....


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Old 11-02-2019, 11:49 PM   #3
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I think it’s related to being a vehicle that the resale is often less than the sum of the parts. It’s the same with classic cars and motor homes. And all labor is free too.

Of course there are always exceptions.

I knew this going in. The second you take an angle grinder to something...

There was a huge argument caused by some guy who came on this site and said, “what’s with these people trying to get paid for their time?”

Of course those weren’t his exact words but I think a lot of people on this site, myself included, saw the anti-labor, lack of appreciation of craftsmanship sentiment that showed through of however he said it.

I’d rather strip the parts and send it to the crusher than to sell it to someone like that.
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Old 11-02-2019, 11:51 PM   #4
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and 3) be able to diagnose problems when we're out on the road and something happens.
That's exactly why I'm doing everything myself, even the stuff I'm not proficient at.........might be hard to get help in some of the places I'm planning on traveling to.
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Old 11-03-2019, 01:21 AM   #5
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We could in no way recoup ALL that we have put into our bus. That is counting the money alone, forget the labor. We are also building ours with multiple purposes in mind. First as a moving vehicle, but with a certain level of creature comforts for the driver and navigator (me and my wife). Second as a "bug out" vehicle in case of natural disasters. Third as a pleasure craft ... i.e. an RV. It is indeed a specialty build with only OUR needs in mind. I'd expect we might get 20% to 30% of the money we have put into the build should we stop right now and sell it. Perhaps we do not hold much stock in the resale potential, but that is what we believe.
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Old 11-03-2019, 01:29 AM   #6
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The way I see it is why is it any different than a car. A new car depreciates 20% in the first year, something like 10-15% the day you drive it off the lot. It is now a used vehicle. When you sell your skoolie with $20k in it 5 years ago, surely you can't expect to get new value for it. I think if you build a new one and sell it as new and unused, there's no reason a profit can't be made.
I was thinking about it today. I see people paying $5-$16K for a roof raise. Then I see a bus that has a raise done and they say it's only worth The price of the bus, I don't get it. I suppose I'm looking for the individuals who want one, have the money, yet no skill or knowledge to build one. Then I should be able to get the value of the bus, $3K, and the value of a raise, ($3k?), no?
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Old 11-03-2019, 04:02 AM   #7
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The "conversion companies" seem like genuine ripoffs to me. Fifty grand gets you a steel tent with lowes cabinets.
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Old 11-03-2019, 06:58 AM   #8
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The "conversion companies" seem like genuine ripoffs to me. Fifty grand gets you a steel tent with lowes cabinets.
I've probably put something like 500 hours of labor into my bus so far (and that's probably a wild underestimate ). If I was instead paying a "professional" to do all the work, I'd already be at fifty grand -ish. Skoolie building is just so labor-intensive (at least when you're incompetent and working on a rusted hulk) that I just don't see how you could make money off of it without screwing people.

On the flip side, it means that buying an already-built skoolie means you're getting a huge bargain almost regardless of what the price is.
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Old 11-03-2019, 03:20 PM   #9
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resale is a relative thing.. its all about market and who your target buyers are.. if someone says to ME "here is an awesome classic bus for sale.. I even started the conversion.. took out the seats and the interior".. I myself am going to look at it and say "this bus is destroyed and ill give you $ for it".. someone looking to make a conversion may look at it and say "wow what a great bus here is $$$" for it...



taking a gutted bus and marketing it to bus collectors will just turn them away.. taking a gutted bus and marketing it to people who have just been WOW'd at the latest tiny home show where they are all gung-ho and excited will likely bring you a much better resale esp if you can get someone into impulse buying it....


fully converted busses to me are like custom classic hot rods.. amnytrhing custom automatically reduces your pool of buyers.. as it has to "click" with the buyer.. in the car world customs done right can brong lots of money but it all is dependent on marketing to the largest pool of buyers you can in hopes you get that one guy who is "this is exactly what ive been looking for".. custom motorhomes are no different.. you build your bus for what you want in it.. your lifestyle, your preferences and needs.. if you didnt build that way you may as well go buy a used motorhome..
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Old 11-03-2019, 06:43 PM   #10
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The "conversion companies" seem like genuine ripoffs to me. Fifty grand gets you a steel tent with lowes cabinets.
Couldn't have said it any better.
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