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Old 11-28-2020, 01:27 PM   #1
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
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Year: 1995
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Chassis: E-350
Engine: 7.3L Powerstroke
Short Bus Costs and Resale Value

I'm planning on reinsuring my bus with a declared value, so I added up all the big expenses for my conversion. Purchase price, registration, transmission/rear diff rebuild, solar panels, oil changes, refrigerator, batteries/inverter/charger/mppt, sink, new suspension, etc... all the big items. I did not include things like wiring, screws, plywood, fittings, paint, tools, insurance, that kind of thing. The rough grand total for the cost of my shortie conversion is $25,000 which is $5,000 more than what I originally had hoped for when I started this conversion.


This is a little disheartening, because the actual cost is probably closer to $30,000 when all the other items are added up, not to mention my time. I'm sure I could've gotten a really nice Class C RV for $30,000-40,000 and saved a bunch of time. I know there's the "fun" of converting, and I certainly learned a lot of skills, so there's more to it than just money and time. And everything on my skoolie is new.



But it got me thinking, what would I be able to sell my shortie for? If professionally made used RVs are going for 30-40k, what on earth could I get with a 4 window E350 conversion? I certainly doubt I could sell it for what I've put into it, and I know it's not an investment, but still... what kind of resale value do short school bus conversions have?


I'm not thinking about selling Argo, since we just finished her, but I almost wonder if maybe I should list it for a price that would work for me and just keep using it until someone bites, even if that takes years.
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Old 11-28-2020, 03:44 PM   #2
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Year: 1997
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We think the same way on the building cost & resale. I come at it from a slightly different angle. I mainly just like to build things. I like learning. My wife seems to think what we got invested that we can get it back on resale. I just don’t think any way possible. I have just a couple of more high dollar items to deal with and then we’ll be finished. Including the cost of the bus, we are right at $20,000. Does not include any repairs on engine and/or transmission repairs. I guess my sobering bottom line is I hope to get at least 10 good years out of it. I’m in great health but I am 65. ONWARD !!!
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Old 11-28-2020, 07:37 PM   #3
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An agreed value through insurance on a self-converted school bus is going to be, at best, a sh*tshow borne of a guessing game. It really comes down to what you can prove from receipts in this situation, unfortunately, and the higher the insurance company has cover said vehicle, the more they are gonna quote you to cover it (or just flat refuse to).
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Old 11-28-2020, 07:47 PM   #4
Bus Crazy
 
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For insurance like this, it reminds me of "Collectors car" insurance, which for similar reasons, it's almost impossible to put a book value on a collector's car. So most will insure based on a declared value, pricing the policy accordingly.
One story goes that a fellow insured his car for (I forget the exact amount but let's say) $15000. Garage burns down, car's a total loss. Insurance offers 15K payout. Guy claims car is worth more for "sweat equity". Case goes to court, insurance says they'll pay the 15K, if it was worth more he should have insured it for more. He loses the extra value claim, still gets the 15K.
I would look for a similar policy if you can find one.
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Old 11-28-2020, 08:55 PM   #5
Bus Nut
 
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Thatís exactly what my insurance company did. I declared the value based on my receipts. Sweat equity never enters into it. I was able to increase the value of based on an estimate of payload.
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Old 11-30-2020, 03:37 PM   #6
Bus Nut
 
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What do you mean “estimate of payload?” Like you increased the declared value by estimating how much your bus could haul? Like 1/2 ton payload or something like that?
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Old 11-30-2020, 03:39 PM   #7
Bus Nut
 
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Also, did anyone include receipts for building materials like plywood and or wiring? I definitely don’t have receipts for anything I got at Home Depot, but I do have receipts for all the wiring and electrical gear, which added up. How about tools purchased specifically for the conversion?
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Old 11-30-2020, 04:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheArgobus View Post
Also, did anyone include receipts for building materials like plywood and or wiring? I definitely don’t have receipts for anything I got at Home Depot, but I do have receipts for all the wiring and electrical gear, which added up. How about tools purchased specifically for the conversion?
That was what I asked about payload. My agent explained like generator, clothes, camping gear and various other things. Kinda confused me too. We came up with $2000. I didn’t argue. As far as receipts, I have kept a running tab with all the receipts for insurance purposes. I offered them and they did not care. Just wanted a an estimate.
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Old 11-30-2020, 04:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheArgobus View Post
I'm not thinking about selling Argo, since we just finished her, but I almost wonder if maybe I should list it for a price that would work for me and just keep using it until someone bites, even if that takes years.
Don't be 'that guy' who wastes peoples time cluttering up listings
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Old 11-30-2020, 06:19 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by BeNimble View Post
Don't be 'that guy' who wastes peoples time cluttering up listings
When I was looking at buying sailboats years ago, there was one listing for a 27’ folkboat that was loaded—it has everything I was looking for plus some, including a water maker, self steering tiller, autopilot, a full set of sails, excellent navigation aids, everything. It lacked a proper head, instead using a pull out composting toilet, but it did have a full length keel and had plenty of blue water miles in her log. The biggest problem was that it was ridiculously too expensive for my budget. I kept scanning Craigslist for boats and every day this one was still listed, and every day I looked at the listing and the photos and imagined myself sailing to Cabo in it, using the nav station to pull into a secluded and empty bay on the way down, and deciding to stay at that bay for a few days fishing and swimming. But it was simply too pricey for what I was looking for.

It stayed on Craigslist for a few years (I still checked it even after I bought my boat) and then finally it disappeared. I wonder what happened to it and if the current owner was living out the fantasy I had every time I saw the listing.
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Old 11-30-2020, 08:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheArgobus View Post
When I was looking at buying sailboats years ago, there was one listing for a 27’ folkboat that was loaded—it has everything I was looking for plus some, including a water maker, self steering tiller, autopilot, a full set of sails, excellent navigation aids, everything. It lacked a proper head, instead using a pull out composting toilet, but it did have a full length keel and had plenty of blue water miles in her log. The biggest problem was that it was ridiculously too expensive for my budget. I kept scanning Craigslist for boats and every day this one was still listed, and every day I looked at the listing and the photos and imagined myself sailing to Cabo in it, using the nav station to pull into a secluded and empty bay on the way down, and deciding to stay at that bay for a few days fishing and swimming. But it was simply too pricey for what I was looking for.

It stayed on Craigslist for a few years (I still checked it even after I bought my boat) and then finally it disappeared. I wonder what happened to it and if the current owner was living out the fantasy I had every time I saw the listing.
The owner passed away, and it was sold for 1/10th the price by the estate is my guess.
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Old 11-30-2020, 11:32 PM   #12
Bus Nut
 
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Originally Posted by BeNimble View Post
The owner passed away, and it was sold for 1/10th the price by the estate is my guess.
I would gladly offer a two-for-one deal like that!
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Old 12-12-2020, 09:57 PM   #13
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You will never get your money out of a rebuild. The only folks that make money out of a rebuild are the rare cars auctioned to people with more money than brains. Trucks just don't rate that. The "expedition vehicles" that sell for big money are very different from a converted school bus, as are professional conversions and purpose built RVs.


$30K is a huge amount of money to spend on a school bus conversion with used running gear.
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Old 12-12-2020, 10:44 PM   #14
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Our insurance company had no problems insuring our bus at a declared value. The cost did increase significantly, of course.
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