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Old 11-02-2019, 10:08 PM   #1
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Re-sale value

I've read both on this board and in other places that often times you don't get the value what you put into the bus. I just got done reading a post from 2016 from a woman who was asking about starting a business 'flipping' converted buses. My question isn't really related to starting a business. Since 2016 the tiny house and skoolie living has only bloomed more.

So, a few years down the line, do you all still think that you rarely ever get back the value of what you spent in the bus? I've been pursuing lots of Craigslist ads and such and you see people that are probably obviously loosing some money, and then you have other people potentially making a profit.

I am considering financing with a personal loan the conversion part of my bus. I don't have the skills, or the time it needs to put into this conversion, so I'd probably hire out most - or all - of it. But I may try to save some costs by supplying my own materials but I need someone to handle the technical stuff. So that's the background of my question, but I think it's a good renewed question to ask after a few years.

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Old 11-02-2019, 10:21 PM   #2
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The resale value is not there, even with the growth of the community. The reasons are as varied as the buses. A custom conversion is built for the personal needs of the bus owner. My wife and I have considerable time and effort into our conversion. We plan on living in HF full-time. We're looking at work camping to give us something to do as well once we're done with the main build. However, we would take a major bath if we were to sell HF. We had to GIVE AWAY our previous bus to a new owner. We spent about $5K on that bus and the conversion. HF is almost 10 times the investment so far with all the equipment and prep-work.


You are better off to work a little here, a little there, and save your money for the expensive parts of the bus like hiring an electrician if you are not comfortable with such systems. The reason why so many of us work on our own rides is because we 1) want to learn how to do a build, 2) want to save money, and 3) be able to diagnose problems when we're out on the road and something happens.


Just my two cents.....


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Old 11-02-2019, 10:49 PM   #3
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I think it’s related to being a vehicle that the resale is often less than the sum of the parts. It’s the same with classic cars and motor homes. And all labor is free too.

Of course there are always exceptions.

I knew this going in. The second you take an angle grinder to something...

There was a huge argument caused by some guy who came on this site and said, “what’s with these people trying to get paid for their time?”

Of course those weren’t his exact words but I think a lot of people on this site, myself included, saw the anti-labor, lack of appreciation of craftsmanship sentiment that showed through of however he said it.

I’d rather strip the parts and send it to the crusher than to sell it to someone like that.
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Old 11-02-2019, 10:51 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by M1031A1 View Post
and 3) be able to diagnose problems when we're out on the road and something happens.
That's exactly why I'm doing everything myself, even the stuff I'm not proficient at.........might be hard to get help in some of the places I'm planning on traveling to.
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Old 11-03-2019, 12:21 AM   #5
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We could in no way recoup ALL that we have put into our bus. That is counting the money alone, forget the labor. We are also building ours with multiple purposes in mind. First as a moving vehicle, but with a certain level of creature comforts for the driver and navigator (me and my wife). Second as a "bug out" vehicle in case of natural disasters. Third as a pleasure craft ... i.e. an RV. It is indeed a specialty build with only OUR needs in mind. I'd expect we might get 20% to 30% of the money we have put into the build should we stop right now and sell it. Perhaps we do not hold much stock in the resale potential, but that is what we believe.
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Old 11-03-2019, 01:29 AM   #6
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The way I see it is why is it any different than a car. A new car depreciates 20% in the first year, something like 10-15% the day you drive it off the lot. It is now a used vehicle. When you sell your skoolie with $20k in it 5 years ago, surely you can't expect to get new value for it. I think if you build a new one and sell it as new and unused, there's no reason a profit can't be made.
I was thinking about it today. I see people paying $5-$16K for a roof raise. Then I see a bus that has a raise done and they say it's only worth The price of the bus, I don't get it. I suppose I'm looking for the individuals who want one, have the money, yet no skill or knowledge to build one. Then I should be able to get the value of the bus, $3K, and the value of a raise, ($3k?), no?
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Old 11-03-2019, 03:02 AM   #7
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The "conversion companies" seem like genuine ripoffs to me. Fifty grand gets you a steel tent with lowes cabinets.
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Old 11-03-2019, 05:58 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
The "conversion companies" seem like genuine ripoffs to me. Fifty grand gets you a steel tent with lowes cabinets.
I've probably put something like 500 hours of labor into my bus so far (and that's probably a wild underestimate ). If I was instead paying a "professional" to do all the work, I'd already be at fifty grand -ish. Skoolie building is just so labor-intensive (at least when you're incompetent and working on a rusted hulk) that I just don't see how you could make money off of it without screwing people.

On the flip side, it means that buying an already-built skoolie means you're getting a huge bargain almost regardless of what the price is.
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Old 11-03-2019, 02:20 PM   #9
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resale is a relative thing.. its all about market and who your target buyers are.. if someone says to ME "here is an awesome classic bus for sale.. I even started the conversion.. took out the seats and the interior".. I myself am going to look at it and say "this bus is destroyed and ill give you $ for it".. someone looking to make a conversion may look at it and say "wow what a great bus here is $$$" for it...



taking a gutted bus and marketing it to bus collectors will just turn them away.. taking a gutted bus and marketing it to people who have just been WOW'd at the latest tiny home show where they are all gung-ho and excited will likely bring you a much better resale esp if you can get someone into impulse buying it....


fully converted busses to me are like custom classic hot rods.. amnytrhing custom automatically reduces your pool of buyers.. as it has to "click" with the buyer.. in the car world customs done right can brong lots of money but it all is dependent on marketing to the largest pool of buyers you can in hopes you get that one guy who is "this is exactly what ive been looking for".. custom motorhomes are no different.. you build your bus for what you want in it.. your lifestyle, your preferences and needs.. if you didnt build that way you may as well go buy a used motorhome..
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Old 11-03-2019, 05:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
The "conversion companies" seem like genuine ripoffs to me. Fifty grand gets you a steel tent with lowes cabinets.
Couldn't have said it any better.
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Old 03-29-2024, 10:17 PM   #11
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Skoolie conversion pricing

Quote:
Originally Posted by M1031A1 View Post
The resale value is not there, even with the growth of the community. The reasons are as varied as the buses. A custom conversion is built for the personal needs of the bus owner. My wife and I have considerable time and effort into our conversion. We plan on living in HF full-time. We're looking at work camping to give us something to do as well once we're done with the main build. However, we would take a major bath if we were to sell HF. We had to GIVE AWAY our previous bus to a new owner. We spent about $5K on that bus and the conversion. HF is almost 10 times the investment so far with all the equipment and prep-work.


You are better off to work a little here, a little there, and save your money for the expensive parts of the bus like hiring an electrician if you are not comfortable with such systems. The reason why so many of us work on our own rides is because we 1) want to learn how to do a build, 2) want to save money, and 3) be able to diagnose problems when we're out on the road and something happens.


Just my two cents.....


M
Honestly, so many talking about a hole lot of non sense. In EVERY thing that is done there is a high price that needs to be looked at. The time it took you to get it done and the tools to get it done.

When you look at Every profession out there, IE. Mechanics, 2-3 times the parts cost for labor. Electricians, 2-3 times material, Plumbers, 3-4 times material, HVAC, 4-5 times material. If labor isn't worth anything I wanna see anyone get there job done for free and it be safe fore everyone. including all of us on the road.
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Old 03-30-2024, 06:57 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrwhodini2003 View Post
Honestly, so many talking about a hole lot of non sense. In EVERY thing that is done there is a high price that needs to be looked at. The time it took you to get it done and the tools to get it done.

When you look at Every profession out there, IE. Mechanics, 2-3 times the parts cost for labor. Electricians, 2-3 times material, Plumbers, 3-4 times material, HVAC, 4-5 times material. If labor isn't worth anything I wanna see anyone get there job done for free and it be safe fore everyone. including all of us on the road.

he talks a lot of sense.. have you seen the used RV market? have you ever paid attention to the classic car market?



resale on RVs and vehicles of most types are not going to even begin to cover the "labor cost" you assign to it at build.. meaning if you "paid yourself" your labor rate while building.. it isnt eve ngonna come close at re-sale unless its something really special or happens to grab someone in the heart-strings in the right way..



if you could 100% document a build as to everything being perfectly diagrammed, well labelled, 100% inventory of the items used.. pumps, A/C units, toilets, appliances, solar and battery controllers etc etc.. then MAYBE you could snag a decent realse value..



one of the biggest things about re-selling a skoolie to a new person who ahs never seen it is how do they maintain it and fix it? the bus part is easy but the conversion part.



the reason people pay for RV's and "custom Coaches" the big bucks is that they can be repaired.. everything is documented and most are standard parts.. and serviceable..
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Old 03-30-2024, 11:09 AM   #13
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Just to add a little credence to Caddy's thought here is a quote from the owners manual I wrote for Honeysuckle Rose. "It should be pointed out that no attempt was made to match wire colors in any 12 volt circuit and wire color will vary repeatedly in several circuits. The use of a volt meter and a continuity tester will make tracing circuits a fairly simple task. Oh Oh there went the resale value!
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Old 03-30-2024, 09:54 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbogie View Post
I've read both on this board and in other places that often times you don't get the value what you put into the bus. I just got done reading a post from 2016 from a woman who was asking about starting a business 'flipping' converted buses. My question isn't really related to starting a business. Since 2016 the tiny house and skoolie living has only bloomed more.

So, a few years down the line, do you all still think that you rarely ever get back the value of what you spent in the bus? I've been pursuing lots of Craigslist ads and such and you see people that are probably obviously loosing some money, and then you have other people potentially making a profit.

I am considering financing with a personal loan the conversion part of my bus. I don't have the skills, or the time it needs to put into this conversion, so I'd probably hire out most - or all - of it. But I may try to save some costs by supplying my own materials but I need someone to handle the technical stuff. So that's the background of my question, but I think it's a good renewed question to ask after a few years.
Well the way it was explained to me is simple. If it was popular when it was new it will likely popular when itís old. At least thatís with cars and trucks. The value of a new bus and a 10 year old bus is dramatically lower. I would say a %85-%90 drop from new.
So donít buy it for the resale value. Buy it because you like it.
Remember you only make a profit if it was gifted to you and you just look at it in your yard.
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Old 04-01-2024, 10:22 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrwhodini2003 View Post
Honestly, so many talking about a hole lot of non sense. In EVERY thing that is done there is a high price that needs to be looked at. The time it took you to get it done and the tools to get it done.

When you look at Every profession out there, IE. Mechanics, 2-3 times the parts cost for labor. Electricians, 2-3 times material, Plumbers, 3-4 times material, HVAC, 4-5 times material. If labor isn't worth anything I wanna see anyone get there job done for free and it be safe fore everyone. including all of us on the road.
First post and this is where you chose to leave your mark?

Your opinion on it and the reality of the situation are completely opposite.

I've been trying to sell my bus for a year now. It's not a high dollar conversion, nor does it have the fanciest cabinets and shiplap ikea has to offer. Just a bare bones steel tent on wheels with some mechanical maintenance and upgrades.

Your pricing would have my bus at the 20+k dollar mark based off the time and things I've put into it. I'm asking 8k, and even then I'm still getting offers less then half of that.

So yeah, you're not correct on those thoughts. Yes, the reality of that is mind blowing and difficult to swallow. Especially when you see people getting swindled for 10's of thousands of dollars by the "conversion" companies ran by experts.

For 100k, I'll take my bus and swap in the drivetrain from a semi truck, shiplap the interior front to back(it's all the rage in skoolie builds, right?!), wire and plumb it out so that it's actually safe and functional(an upgrade over some of those professional jobs) and then hand you several thousand back as a thank you.

Now that I say this, I might even advertise my bus this way. Pay the price and we'll design and build out my school bus for you
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