Originally Posted by beachhousebus
Hello all! After much lurking on this forum my husband and I started looking seriously into conversions and have even looked at a couple buses in the area, particularly a nice '91 International (72 seater?), DT360 that we can't stop thinking about.
We are in our mid-20s and are tired of throwing many thousands into the wind for rent. We move often, yet we want a place to call our own, many rentals in don't allow dogs, etc etc, so we feel like this is a good alternative living situation until we are settled ~5 years. We have savings to do this project, but the budget would be tight and I'm worried it will be a black hole of unforeseen expenses. We are looking in the ~$6-7k range.
Although that may not seem like much to some of y'all, we have a talented family who are willing to help not just with labor but also materials: carpenters, furniture builders, mechanics, etc.
Thus I am asking you honest people of skoolie, is this a realistic venture? Or are we being hopeless romantics?
I will give you my costs at where i am at right now no BS, just upfront real prices.
I spent $4k on a 30ft IC CE 2003 skoolie(that included taxes, registration, NO plates)
I have spent about $300 on tools, as i already had most of what is needed already. I assume most of your friends will have a lot of what you'll need. Make sure you have an angle grinder or 2.
I have spent close to $200 on assorted grinding angle disks and other assorted items.
I am still in tear down phase of the bus, i just started to expose my metal floor and have found rust. (i suggest you pull the flooring too). I have found rot in the floor and will have to remove the sections over both wheel wells. I expect that to cost me about $100-200, maybe more
Then another $100 to rust convert and paint the floor.
my skoolie is in good running conditions with no issues. so i didn't need anything fixed as of yet. i was lucky and had a mechanic friend who works on semi's check mine out.
Assuming i can scavenge scrap 2x1's for a floating floor with . it will cost me about $150 in insulation $175 in sub-flooring 1 board being marine grand(shower and bathroom area).
the insulation for the roof and side i suspect will cost me $350-400 more based on my measurements
that will be a total of about $5,400 before i add any framing, before i add any appliances, before adding any electrical, before any solar or battery banks, a generator, plumbing, heating/cooling, or a finished floor. those items can range depending on what you can get for free, what you can scavenge from CL, and a lot of other things. If you want all brand new items add at least another $5k. that's not including a sizable "well F, that just broke" fund. And if you plan to tow a more economical car behind your skoolie, that will be another $500-2,000 for the tow kit and instillation.
the real question is this:
Do you want somewhere you can live comfortably for the next 3-5 years, or do you want to live somewhere in which its ok, but not great and you have most of what you need. one will feel like your camping and one will feel like home.
It really depends on your tastes in the end, but my guess is unless those friends and family are super awesome. You will not be able to get by on $6-7k and have everything you want. However, i think you could get to everything But solar, battery bank and composting toilet. I suspect my cost will be between $8-10k by the end of it all. with everything i plan to have for myself and my travel companion(s).
So here is what i suggest, make a list if everything you want, EVERYTHING, all the bells and whistles and price that out. after your shell shock is over, then make a second sheet and see what you can and cannot live without. segment each phase of the build and estimate costs. remember your not only investing money but a sizable amount of time as well. Also be willing to accept the fact that for the most part it will be just you and your partner doing all the work. This isn't to scare you or anything but its to be straight forward an honest. I notice not a lot of people put prices up on any skoolie sites. so i figure this would give you an idea what a project skoolie could cost.