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Old 03-02-2019, 03:44 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
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What would YOU pay for a bus?

Hi all, I realize this is a very general question with a lot of variables, but in general, what is a reasonable price to pay for, say, a 15 year old bus with no special features (no lift, AC, etc.) thats still set up as a school bus? The auctions are no help, those prices tend to be all over the place depending on what bus fleet company is bidding at the time, and Craigslist always trends high. Currently Iím seeing between $2500-$5000 for buses with Cummins or international engines and any kind of Allison transmission, ranging from the old 545 all the way to the MD3060. I would think that $2000 is more or less reasonable for an as-is bus, maybe $3000 if itís pretty rust free on the underside; less than $2000 if it is rusty or if it has the AT545.

Hope I donít get run out of town on a rail for this post, just trying to see what everyone thinks. A used bus will often need a lot of general maintenance at first, so overpaying is never a good idea, so Iím looking for some advice on whatís actually reasonable.
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Old 03-02-2019, 04:35 PM   #2
Bus Nut
 
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I think I'm around the same place with your numbers - a basic, bare-bones decent bus, I'd pay $2-$3,000 for.

Something a little fancier (rear AC, better transmission, mileage, etc.) I might go up to $5,000 for.


Prices do vary, and later spring/early summer is a better time to be looking - since that's when most of the old buses go up for sale. The pickins be slim right now.

There are a few people on here who've gotten screamingly good deals on auction buses - but only a handful. (Not a majority of members.)
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Old 03-02-2019, 05:15 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
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it totally depends on the number of miles and hours, hours is a biggy that gets overlooked that's the amount of time the bus or equipment that the meter is attached to has been running you might get a bus with 50,000 miles on it but its been idling nonstop for ten years 2000 hrs / yr x 10 years is 20,000+ hrs id call that junk in my book! if a bus has been run for 10 yrs and it hasn't had any troubles the chances of having bad troubles are pretty low unless you go changing its habits from the way it was broken in towing cars behind it running it up and down 6% grades these school buses are built for the district they are going to that's why there is hardly one the same! if you're going to be going all through the Rockies towing a car yes get the most heavy duty one you can get but if you're like me when I buy a bus I look at the service manual and the area it was used in it says a whole lot! just another thought to go along with the other information ~happy trails~����
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Old 03-02-2019, 06:09 PM   #4
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Hello all,

My first post so pardon the new smell.

Based on this post I wanted to ask a question.

I see a lot of talk about a $2-3k bus but everything I am finding on Craiglist seems to be $4500-7000. Every person I have contacted on there has several buses to sell so it seems they buy them up and jack up the prices.

So where do you buy besides the auctions for a fair price?


Thanks,


Joe
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Old 03-02-2019, 06:14 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by RememberTheFallen View Post
Hello all,

My first post so pardon the new smell.

Based on this post I wanted to ask a question.

I see a lot of talk about a $2-3k bus but everything I am finding on Craiglist seems to be $4500-7000. Every person I have contacted on there has several buses to sell so it seems they buy them up and jack up the prices.

So where do you buy besides the auctions for a fair price?


Thanks,


Joe
What's wrong with the auctions? That the most likely place government entities will off their surplus. You are exactly right on people buying at the auction then jacking the price to flip it. There are still LOTS of buses at auctions at fairly low prices. People keep saying there's nothing out there, yet we keep posting buses for sale regularly.
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Old 03-02-2019, 07:58 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Bar Harbor Maine
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Year: 2005
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: Vision
Engine: C7 caterpillar Allison automatic heavy foot
Rated Cap: 72
does it have a low hour c7 cat engine for an example say with 6000 hrs on it look up on Craig's list or eBay what just the engine is worth you're talking in the $8500 range so just because someone buys it cheap doesn't mean it isn't worth more than that!

quick note: these engines fit in other forms of equipment as well!
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Old 03-02-2019, 11:26 PM   #7
Skoolie
 
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The first bus I bought from a church for $300 had it for about 7 yrs, the second bus is diesel, still using it and I paid $700 for it right out of service, sold the lift for $300 has needed just standard maint for the most part. I would be hesitant to pay more than $1k for a bus and the prices most people talk about are astronomical to me. The key is avoid bus dealers and buy from the same auctions they do. I have had great success in buying at auction and church. I would sell my bus on craigslist but wouldn't buy one there, prices are too high and likely the bus has been sitting and not maintained, buy them right after they have been surplused
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Old 03-03-2019, 03:11 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
What's wrong with the auctions? That the most likely place government entities will off their surplus. You are exactly right on people buying at the auction then jacking the price to flip it. There are still LOTS of buses at auctions at fairly low prices. People keep saying there's nothing out there, yet we keep posting buses for sale regularly.
No issues at all with auctions. I would prefer them but they are very unfamiliar to me. I also know very little about buses so get nervous about bidding on something that seems to have little info or pictures. I have read a lot on here but it seems I to continue to research.
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Old 03-03-2019, 03:22 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Bluespoet View Post
The first bus I bought from a church for $300 had it for about 7 yrs, the second bus is diesel, still using it and I paid $700 for it right out of service, sold the lift for $300 has needed just standard maint for the most part. I would be hesitant to pay more than $1k for a bus and the prices most people talk about are astronomical to me. The key is avoid bus dealers and buy from the same auctions they do. I have had great success in buying at auction and church. I would sell my bus on craigslist but wouldn't buy one there, prices are too high and likely the bus has been sitting and not maintained, buy them right after they have been surplused
When did you buy your $300 and $700 buses? I have not since I started looking at buses seen any for $1000 (that's not true, I actually bought one for $900, sent it to the scrap yard). I'm seeing a huge boom in Skoolies and the days of $1k buses is getting fewer and far between. I bought a brand new 1986 Mustang GT, loaded, out the door for $12,900. You now what you get for that money today? Absolutely nothing, but for $1k more you could own a new Chevy Spark LS.
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Old 03-03-2019, 06:11 PM   #10
Skoolie
 
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answer about when

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Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
When did you buy your $300 and $700 buses? I have not since I started looking at buses seen any for $1000 (that's not true, I actually bought one for $900, sent it to the scrap yard). I'm seeing a huge boom in Skoolies and the days of $1k buses is getting fewer and far between. I bought a brand new 1986 Mustang GT, loaded, out the door for $12,900. You now what you get for that money today? Absolutely nothing, but for $1k more you could own a new Chevy Spark LS.
If you need to find an auction google this phrase "auctions near me" call up the Bus maint dept for transit and schools, ask "how do you surplus your busses?" not being snarky, but if you can't figure out where to buy, I would rethink buying and converting a bus since "figuring things out" is key or you end up with $30k into a $1k bus

How long ago doesnt matter, surplus bus yards are still in business and they buy at auction and mark up the prices astronomically high compared to what they paid. Then buying from private party is bad since it is likely the bus has had no or very little maint and sat without being used which can cause everything including mechanicals to rust and rodents to nest and eat wiring.
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