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Old 01-15-2014, 02:08 PM   #1
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Florida registration for new conversion

I just bought a 21' 16 passenger (including driver) shuttle bus that i'm converting to use for road trips with family and friends. I didnt want an RV as much as I wanted the space for enough friends, plus camping or tailgating gear. After reading alot of these forums about Bus to RV conversion, I decided that's the simplest and most affordable option for me to have my little bus. I thought I had all the research out of the way and I was in good shape to legally operate how I wanted, but when I went to register it, they said I need to have it inspected at the DMV. I called the DMV to find out more about the inspection, fees, appointments, etc. THEY told me that it won't be registered as a motor home, but as an "assembled from parts" vehicle. They're basically giving me a salvage title, and everyone that drives it will still be required to have a CDL because it's over 15 passenger by 1 lousy seat. I thought it would be titled as an RV and that the RV's were exempt from the passenger endorsement, but I could be wrong. I didnt find anything specific to that online.
If anyone has registered a bus to rv conversion on Florida, please post or email me and tell me how you did it and what your title shows it as. Also, if you need a CDL to drive it or have more than 15 people in it.
Thanks for whatever you can tell me. I'm on a deadline to get this done before April for a big trip we have planned.
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Old 01-15-2014, 04:17 PM   #2
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Re: Florida registration for new conversion

ugh.....take out most of the seats and then it's not a 15 passenger vehicle anymore

and do not do a salvaged title, worst case register it like a kit car, rv or motor home would be best, ever state is different

email is your friend, copy and save/print all responses between dmv and you
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Old 01-15-2014, 04:19 PM   #3
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Re: Florida registration for new conversion

1. The first thing I would suggest is to talk to someone else at the DMV. Maybe even go to a different county to see what they say. Someone, somewhere will be able to give you the list of conversion requirements and an affidavit that youíll simply need to sign and return with the title you got from the previous owner. They will probably have to see the VIN on the vehicle to verify the numbers, but they shouldnít need to inspect the vehicle to make sure it has what you say it has in the affidavit. When I was researching this same thing for mine, I had the list, but when I found my vehicle already titled as a motorhome in Tennessee, I didnít need to do anything other than register the vehicle in Florida.

2. Remove the seats you donít need. If it doesnít have 16 seats, they canít say itís a 16-passenger bus. It doesnít matter how big or heavy it is, if it seats only four people, itís a four-passenger vehicle. On the other hand, even if you manage to get it titled as a motorhome, if they subsequently find it has 16 or more seats, theyíll say you need a CDL to drive it ... even if you only ever carry 4 people. I would expect youíd also pay fines for not properly registering the vehicle.

3. Once itís (properly) titled in Florida as a motorhome, you donít need a CDL to drive it. There are no weight restrictions for motorhomes and a standard driverís license is fine.
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Old 01-15-2014, 04:55 PM   #4
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Re: Florida registration for new conversion

The most important question is what does your title say the vehicle is? Does it say it's an F350/F450 van? If so remove a seat and register as a van....
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Old 01-16-2014, 09:24 AM   #5
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Re: Florida registration for new conversion

The title does show it currently as a bus. It's the DMV that told me I will still need a CDL because they will give me a salvage title and it will still be rated in the system as a 16 passenger bus, whether i leave the seats in it or not.
I think I just got the wrong person when I called. I will try contacting another office. Thanks for the input. If anyone has done this in Florida though, I would love to hear from them about the process they went through.
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Old 04-18-2014, 12:52 PM   #6
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Re: Florida registration for new conversion

Hey KJones, how did it turn out with registering in FL? I'm in the same boat, about to try and register my bus in West Palm Beach. How about an update!
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Old 04-21-2014, 06:11 PM   #7
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Re: Florida registration for new conversion

When I re-titled mine from a school bus to an Rv in texas I got different answers from everyone I spoke with at the DMV and the tax assessors office,
I suggest you get a copy of the DMV manual and the tax assessors manual for vehicle titles,
You will need to find the sections that apply to you and be able to reference them when you go back,
I had talked to many at the DMV and none of them had ever dealt with a converted school bus before, the same with the title people, they are saying what they think but they are wrong,

I remember looking into the florida manuals a few months ago for someone else and they seemed similar to texas,
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Old 05-15-2014, 03:54 PM   #8
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Re: Florida registration for new conversion

Florida turned out to be pretty easy. I had to get a notary to verify the VIN on a form the DMV gave me, then I took that to the DMV along with my affidavit that I printed myself stating I added one of 3 conversion things (gas, water, or electricity) and walked out with no hassle at all with my registration. I just told them that I wanted to "register this as a motor home" and handed her the title and other paperwork. Never said the word "school bus" but it doesn't seem like they would have cared. It helps to smile at the DMV people sometimes and I carried all the paperwork in a nice blue folder. Easy peasy. I was prepared for more of a hassle.
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Old 09-25-2014, 10:54 AM   #9
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Re: Florida registration for new conversion

That's good to hear TwilitFox. I just bought our bus yesterday so I have all of the paperwork to look forward to now. Thanks for sharing your experience. What county are you in, if you don't mine my asking.
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Old 10-09-2014, 09:22 AM   #10
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Re: Florida registration for new conversion

back in 03 when I did my 87 Ford bus it was fairly easy. It took an hour of haggling and getting supervisors but I don't even recall having to fill out any affidavit.
Glad it still isn't too bad. Insurance is a bit tricky.
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Old 10-09-2014, 10:20 AM   #11
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Re: Florida registration for new conversion

Find a different person. I have had more than my share of stories of DMV employees telling me things that conflict with what their statute says, even handing out brochures of how they interpret the law (not legal official state papers). I have been tempted to record them, "so I can remember what they say because I am confused."

PS--"I am confused" is what a good friend and mentor told me to say in professional settings when I really want to shout "BULL$!!T"!
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Old 10-10-2014, 02:12 PM   #12
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Re: Florida registration for new conversion

So I just got back from the Orange County Tax Office in Downtown Orlando (on Jackson). I worked with Raymond for half an hour. He was confused at first but went out of his way to lookup the appropriate info in DMV forms TL-13 and TL-10 when I brought them up. So, if you're in Orlando, we have someone here that knows his stuff now. He actually said he was glad to learn how to do something new and different! The only thing I was missing was a weight slip. I was issued a 10 day temporary tag though which means I CAN FINALLY DRIVE MY BUS HOME!!!

So, here is what you should bring.
  • Vin/Odometer Verification Form (notarized)
    Title
    Proof of Insurance
    Conversion Affidavit
    Drivers License
    Weight Slip
    Patience (optional but recommended)
    $$$

Helpful links:
TL-10 http://www3.flhsmv.gov/DMV/Proc/TL/TL-10.PDF
TL-13 http://www3.flhsmv.gov/DMV/Proc/TL/TL-13.PDF
VIN and ODO verification http://www.flhsmv.gov/dmv/forms/btr/82042.pdf
Weight Slip Affidavit http://www.flhsmv.gov/dmv/forms/BTR/82105.pdf
Conversion Affidavit - There is sample wording in TL-13 page 5

Hope this helps!
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Old 10-10-2014, 03:05 PM   #13
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Re: Florida registration for new conversion

nice. First I've heard of a weight slip being required in Fl. Also the vin form...
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Old 10-10-2014, 04:04 PM   #14
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Re: Florida registration for new conversion

I saw on a sign in the lobby that said vehicles must be present for inspection and my heart jumped. The agent that helped me said "Yeah... I don't think a bus will fit into the parking garage" and we both had a good laugh. Luckily the VIN/ODO verification form took the place of an on-site VIN verification. The way I see it, the more paperwork you come in with the better!
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Old 10-11-2014, 12:14 AM   #15
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Re: Florida registration for new conversion

who did you find to insure it unconverted?
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Old 10-11-2014, 11:23 AM   #16
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Re: Florida registration for new conversion

I have a friend who is an insurance agent. She got me a commercial auto policy from Progressive. It's expensive at $950 a year, but it's legit coverage and I didn't have to lie about anything. I got a good quote from GMAC of $43 a month once I convert it, but they wanted me to send pics to underwriting. Once I'm done converting I'll switch over. If anyone in Florida wants to go the same route, you can call Char at Blanchard Insurance (407.788.8640). Tell her Mike sent you because I get a free toaster-oven/CD player combo unit if you do!
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Old 11-06-2014, 01:55 PM   #17
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Re: Florida registration for new conversion

Good to know...
I keep bidding on buses and no matter how high I go someone always outbids me. Every time.
When I finally do land one, I'll need someone to definitely give me a policy. Thats always been a problem in the past.
Thanks for the contact info, may just need it.
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Old 11-06-2014, 02:40 PM   #18
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Re: Florida registration for new conversion

Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB
who did you find to insure it unconverted?
I had my friend help me get a commercial policy through Progressive. It's expensive, but the only way I could do it. I could of probably stretched the truth and submitted fake pictures to get coverage but I like to be on the up and up.
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Old 11-13-2014, 02:48 PM   #19
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Re: Florida registration for new conversion

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtunderwood
I have a friend who is an insurance agent. She got me a commercial auto policy from Progressive. It's expensive at $950 a year, but it's legit coverage and I didn't have to lie about anything. I got a good quote from GMAC of $43 a month once I convert it, but they wanted me to send pics to underwriting. Once I'm done converting I'll switch over. If anyone in Florida wants to go the same route, you can call Char at Blanchard Insurance (407.788.8640). Tell her Mike sent you because I get a free toaster-oven/CD player combo unit if you do!
I called her up, thanks so much for providing the contact info... Great gal to deal with. She's working up a quote now!
I laughed when she asked my occupation... I haven't worked in two years. I jokingly asked if "bohemian or hippie" counted.
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Old 11-13-2014, 06:34 PM   #20
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Re: Florida registration for new conversion

No Problem Charles. Char is a really great agent and she's not afraid to take on "out of the box" projects like this. She's actually a friend of mine I would always run into around town. Then one day I found out she did insurance and the light bulb went off in my head. If you work with her I'm sure she'll come up with some options. She's one of us "bohemians" at heart
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