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Old 02-16-2017, 11:21 AM   #1
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What companies exist that help with school bus conversions?

I'm thinking about buying a bus, and converting it to a cozy home. The only problem is, I definitely don't have all the skills required to do it. Even with the help of friends, I think I'll need some professional over site.

Can anybody recommend some companies that offer help with school bus conversions?

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Old 02-16-2017, 11:36 AM   #2
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Welcome!!

You have wandered into a great community with quite a number of very bright, talented and generous folks.

If you don't know how to do it you will find folks here that can show you how.

Where are you located?
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Old 02-16-2017, 11:42 AM   #3
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Hi - thanks!

I'm in Cambridge, MA, right outside of Boston.
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Old 02-16-2017, 12:41 PM   #4
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Can anybody recommend some companies that offer help with school bus conversions?
I think the services most people use are Harbor Freight, Home Depot, Amazon, and whatever mental health provider their medical insurance will pay for .

No, seriously, the topic has come up before about commercial services. The main issue tends to be that, while most of the tasks needed to convert a bus do have parallels in many industries, the hours tend to make it cost prohibitive to outsource. For instance, the cost of doing a roof raise by yourself or with a couple buddies could potentially be as low as the cost of the metal for the rib extensions and some beefy bolts to stick them in place. If you paid a shop to do something like that, you would be looking at a professional operation with a garage big enough to house a school bus. $100 an hour? Probably more? I'm not even sure. And that's assuming they'd be willing to take on a job like that despite the fear that eventually someone will get injured while walking in the general vicinity of the bus and decide to sue the shop that did the mod.

Now, while we're on that topic of roof raises, there are people who get metal shops to create the brackets and extension pieces to their specs and then do the install themselves. That is a reasonable and economic use of outsourced skills - just hiring people to do tricky fabricating jobs or other things you absolutely don't have the tools or knowledge for while keeping most of the back breaking... er, less skilled labor for yourself.

Like any project, you're looking at a constant compromise between time and money. The difference here is that bus conversions are still a little off the wall. If you were restoring a classic car or souping up a hotrod, you'd find a shop in every town. Services would be at least a little bit boilerplate. Bus building, well, there are no standard services or fees. It's all custom. In business terms, that means all expensive.
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Old 02-16-2017, 01:16 PM   #5
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Hi - thanks!

I'm in Cambridge, MA, right outside of Boston.
I am in western mass and about to start my own. I am sure there will be times we could help each other out, if need be.
I am no expert, but I stayed at a holiday inn express one time..

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Old 02-16-2017, 01:23 PM   #6
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I've seen the name Charlie Kern mentioned in Denver. https://wouldyoulookatthatbus.com/

There's a bus on youtube called The Great American Farm Tour. They had their bus built by various people in NC I think.
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Old 02-16-2017, 01:33 PM   #7
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Somebody here just did a roof raise and claims to have a bus conversion company. I don't remember his screen name.
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Old 02-16-2017, 02:50 PM   #8
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I've seen the name Charlie Kern mentioned in Denver. https://wouldyoulookatthatbus.com/

There's a bus on youtube called The Great American Farm Tour. They had their bus built by various people in NC I think.
Cool Thank you!
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Old 02-16-2017, 02:52 PM   #9
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This discussion reminds me of the house building experience that my sister and her husband enjoyed.

Michael is a general contractor. His buddies are: framers, plumbers, electricians, cabinet makers etc. So, Michael & his buddies got together and built Michael a house.

When that was done they all got together and built a house for the plumber and then the cabinet maker. And so on....

I may be simplifying it a bit but they worked together as a community and all wound up with homes that they would not have been able to otherwise.

I can see some of that working well in this community.
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Old 02-16-2017, 02:52 PM   #10
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Jeff and Missy at Discoveringusbus.com has helped me a great bit.
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