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Old 12-04-2022, 12:38 PM   #1
New Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2022
Location: Texas
Posts: 1
Looking for Guidance

Hello Everyone!

Iím brand new to the Skoolie community and currently hunting the auction sites for a bus of my own but I could really use some friendly advice and am really hoping to find a few friendly faces with the experience to help guide me through this whole adventure.

A little bit about me:
Due to a previously undiagnosed, long term chronic condition, I unexpectedly found myself permanently disabled at 35. Iím now two years down the road (and 2 years into my SSD application) and even once all the paperwork clears I need to figure out a way to live on what could essentially be as little as $1,100/month. I have struggled and lived paycheck to paycheck my whole life and I consider myself to be an expert at living on little to nothing but even I can't see any way to sustain a life on so little.

After giving it a LOT of thought & research (not much else to do these days) and trying to be extremely realistic in what my limitations and needs are due to my disability, I really think building a Skoolie is the way to go. In fact it's the only way I could ever see myself breaking even financially, let alone maybe one day have the potential to start saving money again.

That being said, I am obviously extremely limited on my budget. I would need to plan the build out in stages and tackle it bits at a time for financial reasons. And while I still may have the heart of a DIYer, due to my disability, I will have to hire & recruit for any and all work I need done which I understand will most likely cause its own unique challenges and costs.

I don't have a bus yet but have started regularly watching some of the auction sites, once again needing to go as cheap as possible. I am looking for a 6-7 windowed type A or B bus with no wheelchair lifts. Beyond that I am flexible and welcome advice and opinions on what I should keep an eye out for, stay away from, or possibly sellers to check out. The only reason I lean towards a type A over a type B is the ability to get in/out of the cab and so stairs are also usually lower. Going up and down stairs can be hard/painful but I could reasonably handle a couple if needed, type Bís just seem to be steeper entries to me.

Iíve got my general design nailed down and a rough idea of how Iíd like to set up the plumbing but absolutely zero clue when it comes to planning out my solar/electric system. My main goal is to set my Skoolie up to be as off-grid as possible and eventually boondock as much as I possibly can.

Like I said any and all help and advice is GREATLY appreciated! (Iím located in the central Texas area near Austin for now, until at least next August so most bus work would probably need to be handled locally until then.)

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Old 12-04-2022, 01:13 PM   #2
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Suburbs of Winterset, OH
Posts: 602
Year: 2005
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: FS65
Engine: Mercedes 6.4L
Rated Cap: just the 2 of us
First, welcome to the site. There are a lot of helpful, knowledgeable people here willing to help.
Second, I know that SSI completely sucks. (I have a disabled family member)

Expences associated with a bus include, but are not limited to, purchase price, $2500 to $5000.
Cost of renting a place to keep it.(that would allow you to work on it as well}$?? general maintenance cost, depends on the vehicle but it won't be free, insurance, and general operating cost, hiring out conversion work ? wow!
I'm almost done with my somewhat minimalist conversion and have over 2 years and $20,000+ in it. No solar, nothing fancy at all as it is just a camper...not planning to live in it.
With such severely limited finances, I question the idea of a skoolie. I do applaud your desire for independence but would suggest that you investigate the availability of HUD section 8 housing. Doing that, while likely not your preferred living arrangement, could allow you a little financial breathing room so that you could set aside a little money each month with the hope of doing a skoolie at a later date.
I know this isn't the reply you hoped for. I really wish you luck.
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Old 12-04-2022, 01:23 PM   #3
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Suburbs of Winterset, OH
Posts: 602
Year: 2005
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: FS65
Engine: Mercedes 6.4L
Rated Cap: just the 2 of us
I forgot, a word of caution. There is (was) a bus conversion company located in Texas...I don't remember the company name, I do remember that they did some really crappy, unsafe work. So, if you do go the skoolie route, research the heck out of any conversion companies...I guess it's still a pretty unregulated field. There was a thread about them on this site.

Maybe another site member can remember who they were....
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Old 12-04-2022, 01:45 PM   #4
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Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Northern California (Sacramento)
Posts: 994
Year: 1999
Coachwork: El Dorado Fiberglass
Chassis: Ford E450
Engine: V10 Gas
Quote:
Originally Posted by BarnYardCamp View Post
First, welcome to the site. There are a lot of helpful, knowledgeable people here willing to help.
Second, I know that SSI completely sucks. (I have a disabled family member)

Expences associated with a bus include, but are not limited to, purchase price, $2500 to $5000.
Cost of renting a place to keep it.(that would allow you to work on it as well}$?? general maintenance cost, depends on the vehicle but it won't be free, insurance, and general operating cost, hiring out conversion work ? wow!
I'm almost done with my somewhat minimalist conversion and have over 2 years and $20,000+ in it. No solar, nothing fancy at all as it is just a camper...not planning to live in it.
With such severely limited finances, I question the idea of a skoolie. I do applaud your desire for independence but would suggest that you investigate the availability of HUD section 8 housing. Doing that, while likely not your preferred living arrangement, could allow you a little financial breathing room so that you could set aside a little money each month with the hope of doing a skoolie at a later date.
I know this isn't the reply you hoped for. I really wish you luck.
I second the above comments. Skoolie is not the way to go. But don't take my word for it-search this forum for many great discussions of the pros and cons and pitfalls.

Having said all that, my preference is for a late model shuttle bus with less than 150K miles so you don't have to worry about the drive train.

You might also consider mobile homes already in a park-they are less expensive to own and you still can do the fun conversion stuff to make it your own.
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Old 12-04-2022, 04:09 PM   #5
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Join Date: Jul 2021
Location: Southern Oregon
Posts: 1,334
Year: 1996
Coachwork: AmTran (Now Navistar)
Engine: DT444E (7.3L) International
Rated Cap: 31,800 pounds
Quote:
Originally Posted by BarnYardCamp View Post
I forgot, a word of caution. There is (was) a bus conversion company located in Texas...I don't remember the company name, I do remember that they did some really crappy, unsafe work. So, if you do go the skoolie route, research the heck out of any conversion companies...I guess it's still a pretty unregulated field. There was a thread about them on this site.

Maybe another site member can remember who they were....

Wasn't it "Lone Star Skoolies" and weren't they outside of Austin?
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Old 12-04-2022, 05:35 PM   #6
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Grayson County, VA
Posts: 1,392
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466
Rated Cap: 65
Not to be Mr. Buzzkill, but I don't see being able to live a skoolie life on 1100 a month. Even after the build, just the act of moving these things will cost a pretty penny. And unless you have private land to park on, you will have to move at least every 2 weeks. Then there's maintenance...any kind of mechanical work will break your budget for sure. We thought we'd save money living in the bus being nomads, but we ended up spending just as much as when we lived in our house in the suburbs.
I'd look into moving out of the Austin area to where the rents are affordable and you can drive as little as possible to do what you need to do.
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Old 12-04-2022, 07:48 PM   #7
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Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: Near Flagstaff AZ
Posts: 1,600
Year: 1974
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HamSkoolie View Post
Wasn't it "Lone Star Skoolies" and weren't they outside of Austin?
Yup, Lone Star Skoolie Conversions out of San Antonio.
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