Hello Skoolie Crowd!
I'm a 20-something from the midwest who has been lurking all over the forum for a while now. I figured I should probably get around to introducing myself!
I suspect you run into my type every once in a while. I've got no bus, and I've got NO (legitimate) experience working with metal (and only a bit with wood), but I'm hoping to change all of that. I run an expeditionary learning program in Michigan taking kids out backpacking, boating, and the like and after running for a few years out of a space smaller than a bus, I came to the conclusion that the best way to run an accessible, low-cost outdoor program would be to turn the rear half of a bus into the actual gear warehouse and facility and simply run the program from the road.
A few budgets, idea testing, late night conversation and months (really years) later, I'm thinking of getting started within the next year by forming a non-profit (my current organization is for profit) and getting a bus. This site has been an invaluable resource in planning out what this could look like and determining the logistical feasibility - on behalf of what I imagine are many lurkers out there, much gratitude to those of you who post frequently with the trials and tribulations of bus ownership!
Any thoughts and ideas are welcome right off the bat - I've found great stuff on roof racks here, and other forms of creative storage (or bus types) are welcome. I'm thinking we would want want a Type C 12-row/48 passenger. It seems like an RE is preferable for drivers, safety, but not sure how this effects cargo/gear/rear access, and the FE certainly has a better "feel" - any thoughts on that from the peanut gallery?
I'll be continuing to search the forums religiously, as it seems many questions have already been asked - and you all seem great at gently redirecting folks to the best answers they can get. To that end, a few questions I have (that I haven't found answers to, yet) while I'm getting rolling:
Reliability of a used bus - since a movement-stopping failure would impact clients and not just patient ol' me, do you think most used school busses could pull something like this off? How often are you downed by mechanical issues?
Business use - any of you using a bus to run a non-profit or for-profit business, and did you find that experience than using a bus for personal use? How did your insurance feel about it?
Bus help - for those of you who may have had little to no experience in building or design, where (or to whom) did you go for help? I bet I could raise money for the operation, and would be willing to pay folks, but I'd also like to have enough basic skills to be able to contribute usefully - especially for the manual labor elements (I've seen many stories of the seat removal process, for example, and I bet I could pull at least that off).
Anyways, thanks for your time all - and for anyone willing to push me along towards this pipe dream! Seems like the right audience, you all are doing some cool stuff.