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Old 05-17-2019, 08:50 PM   #1
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Smile Who sells Skoolie Shells?

Well, I have finally figured out how to start a thread. I am a new member and trying to find a source for Skoolies which have already been gutted. I am aware that the best buses are from the south, or any place which rust is not an issue, and rather than purchasing a school bus which is all intact, I would prefer to find some buses, yes multiples, which have already been gutted out. Is there such a thing? Any input will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
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Old 05-17-2019, 09:02 PM   #2
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I have yet to see anyone with an inventory of gutted buses ready for sale.

We do see a bus here from time to time that someone started on their own skoolie project and decided to sell it incomplete. A number of those that have shown up here have seats removed and the floor pulled up.

Pulling the seats and floor is not the most pleasant part of the build but it really is not that bad. It took two of us about two days to get it done and haul off the trash.
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Old 05-17-2019, 09:02 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Jacknbuster View Post
Well, I have finally figured out how to start a thread. I am a new member and trying to find a source for Skoolies which have already been gutted. I am aware that the best buses are from the south, or any place which rust is not an issue, and rather than purchasing a school bus which is all intact, I would prefer to find some buses, yes multiples, which have already been gutted out. Is there such a thing? Any input will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
you sometimes see someone who has lost the dream of building their skoolie once they got to the stripped stage - they come up once in a while
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Old 05-17-2019, 09:10 PM   #4
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I have yet to see anyone with an inventory of gutted buses ready for sale.

We do see a bus here from time to time that someone started on their own skoolie project and decided to sell it incomplete. A number of those that have shown up here have seats removed and the floor pulled up.

Pulling the seats and floor is not the most pleasant part of the build but it really is not that bad. It took two of us about two days to get it done and haul off the trash.
Hey Steve, thanks again for your reply. Good to know that it is not that bad, gutting, stripping, etc. We are planning a new business of design and personal finished visual builds of several buses at the same time and will specialize in the finishing. We are in Massachusetts so most buses in this area will come with some rust issues. That is why we may be looking for a supplier of raw buses which are already gutted out. I think this may be a new concept and if so, I would love to know. Perhaps there are other people doing this type of business. Again, I am doing some research here. Again, thanks!
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Old 05-17-2019, 09:29 PM   #5
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Now and then you'll see a $2k bus that they removed the seats and now they want $4k for it.
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Old 05-17-2019, 10:15 PM   #6
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I have a few different thoughts on this but let me start by offering the resource which you are seeking. Check out www.wesellschoolbuses.com aka BGA in Tampa which offers Southern buses in whatever stage of conversion you desire. Now, here's the part you may not like... they are going to charge you for all that prep work and paying for stuff is not in the skoolie lexicon. Their website is very straightforward and simple cafeteria style so if you decide what needs done that you're not wanting to do yourself then go shopping, you're going to find out that you'll be paying them more money for the prep work than the purchase price of the bus alone AND you'll already have more money in it than anyone is going to be willing to pay and that's BEFORE you've even done your value-added service. But that's the best resource I can offer you for what you requested.

I know where you're coming from on several fronts. I've had the same idea about a 'bus prepping' company but I couldn't make the math add up to make it a viable business model geared towards financial success. I've outlined a 6-stage menu of conversion-ready preparations but it all comes down to the reality that people who want to do these types of conversions want to do it for themselves and on a budget so paying someone else to do it is anathema. I even designed a DIY roof raise kit but until I build one for demonstrations no one's going to buy it. So that's the two-strike bad news.

I would also suggest that just getting a clean Southern bus already gutted is a smaller part of the equation than what is the right bus for the potential customer. Do they want to count mileposts in every state or setup a primitive off-the-grid lakeside retreat? Do they want to take the entire family and pets on vacation or are they looking for an empty-nesters mobile home? Towing a car or boat or racing trailer? What's their state going to require in order to re-title the vehicle as an RV? The variables are numerous and that makes finding the right bus for them the first challenge, then comes the gutting and prep work.

I don't want to seem like I'm being a downer on your idea but I'm offering some of my past experience in the hopes that it may help you decide if you're on the right path with your biz idea. As far as I have been able to surmise there's no one out there doing skoolie builds-to-order on any large scale that could be called a actual custom skoolie business although there are a number of members here who have the experience and skillsets to do a heckuva nice build for the right price. It's just important to remember that this is a niche market and is notoriously thrifty, frugal, and creative whereas the type of people who are in the market for a finished RV product they can just drive aware are simply going to go to an RV dealership.
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Old 05-18-2019, 03:15 AM   #7
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Now and then you'll see a $2k bus that they removed the seats and now they want $4k for it.
For some folks, that might be quite a deal as long as the flooring was also removed. They get to see what the floor looks like before they buy it.
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Old 05-18-2019, 06:46 AM   #8
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Well, I have finally figured out how to start a thread. I am a new member and trying to find a source for Skoolies which have already been gutted. I am aware that the best buses are from the south, or any place which rust is not an issue, and rather than purchasing a school bus which is all intact, I would prefer to find some buses, yes multiples, which have already been gutted out. Is there such a thing? Any input will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
I've never seen any dealer offering already-gutted buses, although I did see one skoolie-aware dealer (in Jersey, I think) who would remove the seats for a fee (I don't know how much) after the sale. I would personally rather see a bus dealer do all the basic maintenance (replace fluids and filters and air driers etc. and check everything out) and make sure the bus is mechanically sound.

Seat and floor removal seems daunting at the beginning because it's the first major thing you do, but it's really not that big a deal, especially if you have two people working together.
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Old 05-18-2019, 08:59 AM   #9
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I'd throw out there that taking a typical school bus down to its shell is just a couple hours with 2 people. If you remove ceiling and wall panels you should figure a day using air tools (or an cordless impact if it's a Thomas). I would put very little value on someone doing these tasks for me. If you're doing these tasks the "wrong" way, it will take much much longer. I've seen people spend a week just on their seats because they thought the right tool for the job was a grinder.
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Old 05-18-2019, 12:36 PM   #10
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For some folks, that might be quite a deal as long as the flooring was also removed. They get to see what the floor looks like before they buy it.
Unfortunately the flippers trying to double the price merely remove the seats and don't do any of the hard labor stuff.
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Old 05-18-2019, 01:22 PM   #11
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OP: Where are you located?

You may want to fill out your user profile. That will aid us in better answering your questions.

I expect that there are members here who would be willing to pick your bus up, strip the interior and deliver it to you for reasonable compensation. I would do it if the details work out.
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Old 05-18-2019, 11:32 PM   #12
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My thoughts exactly, Steve!
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Old 05-19-2019, 06:48 AM   #13
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Who sells bus shells down by the seashore?
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Old 05-19-2019, 06:52 AM   #14
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ouch...
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Old 05-19-2019, 09:25 AM   #15
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Who sells bus shells down by the seashore?
Since I don't see my first reply to this topic which answered this very question, I'll attempt a repost. BGA in Tampa offers a cafeteria-style bus prep service and will help you get an idea of what it's going to cost in real dollars to get someone else to do the 'dirty work' for you. Check out their website, www.wesellschoolbuses.com to learn more.
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Old 05-19-2019, 01:16 PM   #16
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Who sells bus shells down by the seashore?
she sells bus shells down by the seashore but she looks like she pulled the bus shells out of the sea
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Old 05-19-2019, 01:22 PM   #17
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For some folks, that might be quite a deal as long as the flooring was also removed. They get to see what the floor looks like before they buy it.
^...Right on!
It would definitely pay for a newbie to the hobby doing that, as it's just way too easy to get burned on a rust bucket that might or might not be salvageable...
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Old 05-19-2019, 02:19 PM   #18
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To me this is a no brainer. The mark up on a bus freshly gutted is way out of line usually with what it actually costs to gut one. I would hire a couple of $10/hr kids to do nothing but remove seats. I paid a single 20yo and it took a good part of 19hrs for him to remove them and the floor and walls and ceiling, For $190. Anyone seen a gutted bus only go up $200 after gutting? Not usually, they ask $1k more.

HIRE SOME STRIPPERS
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Old 05-19-2019, 02:51 PM   #19
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Particularly if it's like that one newbies' bus, that came with a brass pole already installed...
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Old 05-19-2019, 05:48 PM   #20
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Bigdogrvservices.com we keep buses in stock as we build tiny houses on the chassis so from time to time Iíll have busses that are gutted, but most times we cut the body off behind the driver to build our tiny house on so we donít bother removing seats as we sale the entire body as scrap. But we do buy some that have seats removed. You can visit the web sight or social media sights for inventory.
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