Free 7 Day Trial RV GPS App RV Trip Planner Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Free 7 Day Trial ×


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 08-21-2021, 07:06 PM   #1
New Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2021
Posts: 3
Bus Conversion out-sourcing?

Please forgive me if this topic has already been discussed but...

Has anyone had any experience with contracting out their bus/short bus conversion? My current situation is that I live in an apartment and I have no yard/garage access in order to do ANY of the work myself (currently anyway). Has anyone here bought a bus of their own and then hired someone else to do the conversion work? I realize it is kind of running contrary to the DIY nature of skoolie life but I just do not have any space to do the work myself so I thought this might be a viable option. Anyone that has experience/advice on this please let me know how it went for you and if you think the cost was worth it in the end. I really appreciate any feedback!

BZWaters is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2021, 07:56 PM   #2
Bus Geek
 
o1marc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
Posts: 10,409
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
Rated Cap: 77
I see one build completed here after 2 years by a member, wanting $50K+ I imagine one professionally built will be that or more. A $30k build would cost you $50k from a contractor.
__________________
I Thank God That He Gifted Me with Common Sense
o1marc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2021, 08:18 PM   #3
Bus Nut
 
T-Bolt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Lafayette, Indiana
Posts: 321
Year: 2003
Engine: DT530
Rated Cap: 84
Where do you live? Prices are vastly different depending on where you are.
__________________
https://eternitybus.com
T-Bolt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2021, 10:07 PM   #4
Bus Nut
 
DeMac's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: Florida
Posts: 558
Coachwork: Integrated Coach Corp.
Chassis: RE-300 42ft
Engine: 466ci
Rated Cap: 90
Maybe a little more perspective in what you're intending to farm out. There are several tradesman who work for $$. Welder, Electrician, Mechanic....

Do you intend to hire a professional business to modify the coach, such as Skoolie.com?
Then off to a custom RV facility who maintains a staff of Carpenter, Electrician, Plumber, paintbooth, etc......?

Or were you looking for a less expensive route. Commision an unemployed, jack of all trades, with a big backyard?
Maybe just keep him stocked up with fresh materials & new blades. Write weekly paychecks.

Several members of skoolie.net will work on buses for compensation (or free/trade). Watcha lookin' ta do?
__________________
Frederick Douglass:
“To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker. It is just as criminal to rob a man of his right to speak and hear as it would be to rob him of his money.”
DeMac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2021, 10:15 PM   #5
Bus Geek
 
musigenesis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 6,099
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Chassis: CE 300
Engine: DT466e
Rated Cap: 65C-43A
I think without question the biggest expense in a skoolie conversion is the labor, so unless you're paying someone $5 an hour (and somehow getting quality work for that price) a farmed-out conversion is going to cost you an enormous amount of money. Someone with all the skills needed for a conversion (welding, carpentry etc.) could expect to be paid $25 an hour and with the overhead of a business (rent, tools, utilities, insurance etc.) that's at least $50 an hour (and really I'm greatly underestimating what a capable tradesman would charge for this kind of work). With a 50 hour work week, that means your burn rate as the customer is $2500 a week or over $10,000 a month. And that is just for the labor, not counting all of the materials costs. I sometimes see a conversion estimate of $50,000 and I'm shocked but then I do the math and realize that even a price like that would involve a lot of shortcuts.
__________________
Rusty 87 build thread
musigenesis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2021, 05:10 PM   #6
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 157
Year: 2009
Coachwork: Girardin
Chassis: Chevy
Engine: 6.6 turbo diesel
Rated Cap: ?
Although you may desire a skoolie, circumstances like a very expensive prospect as well as a typical long time line on a build may have you considering a small motorhome as a viable option. I dont want to sound negative at all, just thinking it may be a more practical option. Best wishes, Liz
Buster Junior is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2021, 11:12 AM   #7
Bus Nut
 
Bert06840's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 638
Year: 2009
Coachwork: Gillig
Chassis: G27E102
Engine: Cummins ISL 280
Rated Cap: 26,000 lbs
I agree with all of the above.

Each skoolie is bespoke. Custom. Unique. You cannot templatize this - because if you did, you'd end up with a cookie-cutter motorhome. You don't get three times as efficient doing it the third time - assuming you have some basic skills and you don't need to learn everything from scratch. This is why there isn't an industry doing skoolies.

The hours that go into a conversion is in the several hundreds to several thousands.

Conclusion... unless you are flush with cash or really, really, really lower your standards, this can only be a labor of love. Assuming the value of anyone's time would be a couple dozen dollars an hour, a conversion costs tens of thousands of dollars - not including any materials or the bus.

Yourself. Your partner. Your family. Your friends. If it costs beer and pizza it's ok. If it costs favors it's ok. If it costs token money, it's ok. If you need to pay market rates... you are going to get a shitty job or a very big bill.

If money is no object, you can definitely get it done, but you'll be spending nice Ferrari money (see https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/f...paign=atempest )

If you just need a home on wheels, a used motorhome for, say, $12k is a "much smarter investment", not something you'll ever hear anyone say about an RV. https://www.rvtrader.com/listing/199...DER-5017532256

edit: it has a quarter the miles of the typical skoolie, too. Not that this is exclusively a good thing, but that is another matter altogether.

Skoolies are very much not cheap. The buses themselves are cheap. The materials are cheap. Relatively speaking, because I just remembered that I still need to get some plywood.

You are going to pay in money, or in time.

It doesn't mean they are not within reach.

And living in an apartment isn't a reason not to do it. I converted ours while we were living in the heart of New York. I just took the train 2.5h out on Fridays, put in 30-40h over the weekend, and before you know you have a few hundred hours in it and you're good to go. On minimum-viable level. We're living it it, so person saying it can't be done shouldn't stop person doing it.
Bert06840 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2021, 11:17 AM   #8
Bus Nut
 
Bert06840's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 638
Year: 2009
Coachwork: Gillig
Chassis: G27E102
Engine: Cummins ISL 280
Rated Cap: 26,000 lbs
Quote:
Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
...And that is just for the labor, not counting all of the materials costs. I sometimes see a conversion estimate of $50,000 and I'm shocked but then I do the math and realize that even a price like that would involve a lot of shortcuts.
That is absolutely correct.
Bert06840 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2021, 04:21 AM   #9
New Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2021
Posts: 3
Thank you for all the responses. It is all confirmation of what I basically already figured. I suppose I am just frustrated about living in a city and not having any space to do the work myself. Apartment life sucks for yet another reason...
BZWaters is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2021, 11:40 AM   #10
Bus Nut
 
T-Bolt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Lafayette, Indiana
Posts: 321
Year: 2003
Engine: DT530
Rated Cap: 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by BZWaters View Post
Thank you for all the responses. It is all confirmation of what I basically already figured. I suppose I am just frustrated about living in a city and not having any space to do the work myself. Apartment life sucks for yet another reason...
Never heard back about where you are located. This is something that I would be interested in.
__________________
https://eternitybus.com
T-Bolt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2021, 06:01 PM   #11
New Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Posts: 2
Quote:
Originally Posted by BZWaters View Post
Thank you for all the responses. It is all confirmation of what I basically already figured. I suppose I am just frustrated about living in a city and not having any space to do the work myself. Apartment life sucks for yet another reason...
Don’t give up! Reseach Vocational/Technical schools or colleges in your area. Contact them to see if they would be interested in your bus build. It might be a great opportunity for their students to learn their trades while working on a unique build. You pay for materials & the labor might be free. It may or may not turn out exactly like you wanted but it will get you on the road.
judykerfoot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2021, 09:26 PM   #12
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: GA
Posts: 17
Year: 2006
Coachwork: Setra
Chassis: S 417
Engine: 12.7 L
Rated Cap: 56
Have you tried renting work spacei.e. warehouse/storage space where you could lok up your vehicle and supplies inside and work inside of there? Many on Youtube have had to go this route with success. Some rent space on another's property(farm land, open nlot) One guy on Youtube rented a 40-foot container to house workspace, tools, and supplies and parked it next to his bus on a lot he rents in the country. If you really want to do this there is a way!!!
Jimot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2021, 10:07 PM   #13
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 677
Year: 2003
Coachwork: Blue Bird All American
Engine: 8.3 Cummins
Rated Cap: 2 adults and two pigeons
Let me add that living in Mesa AZ where labor "used" to be cheap, I had several fabricators come look at my bus. The cheapest was $125 an hour and the most expensive was $150 an hour. I agreed but neither of them showed up. The other three were going to give me quotes but I never heard from them. So even if you do find labor prepare for the task not getting complete or them asking for more as you progress.
__________________
--Simon


Found my Bus at AAAbus in Phx!
Bus'n it is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2021, 10:44 PM   #14
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 2,449
Year: 2007
Coachwork: Thomas Built
Chassis: Minotour
Engine: Chevy Express 3500 6.6l
Quote:
Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
I think without question the biggest expense in a skoolie conversion is the labor, so unless you're paying someone $5 an hour (and somehow getting quality work for that price) a farmed-out conversion is going to cost you an enormous amount of money. Someone with all the skills needed for a conversion (welding, carpentry etc.) could expect to be paid $25 an hour and with the overhead of a business (rent, tools, utilities, insurance etc.) that's at least $50 an hour (and really I'm greatly underestimating what a capable tradesman would charge for this kind of work). With a 50 hour work week, that means your burn rate as the customer is $2500 a week or over $10,000 a month. And that is just for the labor, not counting all of the materials costs. I sometimes see a conversion estimate of $50,000 and I'm shocked but then I do the math and realize that even a price like that would involve a lot of shortcuts.
25 an hour isn’t enough to even get out of bed. For someone with the tools and skills, at least 50 an hour.
Danjo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2021, 12:42 AM   #15
Almost There
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by BZWaters View Post
Thank you for all the responses. It is all confirmation of what I basically already figured. I suppose I am just frustrated about living in a city and not having any space to do the work myself. Apartment life sucks for yet another reason...
We live in a small city so we had to convince (with many drama strings attached) my in-laws to let me use their large property for the conversion. Its a short drive but long enough to be a hassle when you forget something or run out of drill bits etc.

There are a couple of storage warehouses in our town though, and some have rv lots that are usually empty. We considered going that route if we had to but it would be tricky as well just food for thought.

Where there's a will (and money) there's a way!
IC08 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2021, 03:14 AM   #16
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2021
Location: Baja often, Oregon frequently
Posts: 206
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Our hot little hands...
Chassis: Ford CF8000 ExpeditionVehicle
Engine: Cummins 505ci mechanical
Let's see your RequirementsStatement.
.
How much conversion do you think you need?
Destinations?
Number of souls aboard?
Mechanical background?
Experience in caravans?
.
After a dozen or so conversions over several decades, we honestly truly believe 'SIMPLER IS BETTER'.
.
As a should-be-committed too-much-time-on-my-hands DIYer, I am constitutionally unable to allow some dis-interested third-party to fiddle with my beloved home.
.
I inquire about your RequirementsStatement because, after my Very Significant Other got sick in 2003, we scribbled our RequirementsStatement on a brown grocery-bag.
High on our list:
* hitting the road instead of every spare minute 'converting the rig', until, months/years later, exhausted, we dump the part-conversion on Craigslist, 'thousands invested, best offer'.
.
I know and trust a few crafts-people, they charge a hundred bucks an hour or more.
As you might expect, their work is exquisite.
.
Our rig had/has no need for perfection.
As we trundle up rough logger tracks to remote mountain lakes or across track-less deserts to isolated Baja beaches, we scuff through branches, bushes anoint our sides with 'pin-stripes', and rivers leave their high-water marks.
.
Our latest conversion in 2003 took less than a week... while selling everything.
Less than a week after diagnosis, we hit the road.
.
What do you want?
.
High on our RequirementsStatement -- holding hands while watching the sunrise.
LargeMargeInBaja is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2021, 12:49 PM   #17
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 15,798
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Quote:
Originally Posted by LargeMargeInBaja View Post
Let's see your RequirementsStatement.
.
How much conversion do you think you need?
Destinations?
Number of souls aboard?
Mechanical background?
Experience in caravans?
.
After a dozen or so conversions over several decades, we honestly truly believe 'SIMPLER IS BETTER'.
.
As a should-be-committed too-much-time-on-my-hands DIYer, I am constitutionally unable to allow some dis-interested third-party to fiddle with my beloved home.
.
I inquire about your RequirementsStatement because, after my Very Significant Other got sick in 2003, we scribbled our RequirementsStatement on a brown grocery-bag.
High on our list:
* hitting the road instead of every spare minute 'converting the rig', until, months/years later, exhausted, we dump the part-conversion on Craigslist, 'thousands invested, best offer'.
.
I know and trust a few crafts-people, they charge a hundred bucks an hour or more.
As you might expect, their work is exquisite.
.
Our rig had/has no need for perfection.
As we trundle up rough logger tracks to remote mountain lakes or across track-less deserts to isolated Baja beaches, we scuff through branches, bushes anoint our sides with 'pin-stripes', and rivers leave their high-water marks.
.
Our latest conversion in 2003 took less than a week... while selling everything.
Less than a week after diagnosis, we hit the road.
.
What do you want?
.
High on our RequirementsStatement -- holding hands while watching the sunrise.

thats just it.. its an awesome thought to build a perfect build.. and there are examples of such in here and they are stunning to say the least..


while my requirements are different than 99% here I still suffered from the "perfect build" syndrome..



I knew when I got my DEV bus I had grand ideas about what id do with it.. then i realized I had a real purpose, a mission or several to complete.. so I sat down and figured out that i would need A/B/C to complete my first mission realistically..



I had the bus painted where I got it (work was already started befire I came along).. as i knew I couldnt paint in any timely fashion so it was worth it to hire out..



I got the bus home and quickly built in what I needed and within a month it was going all over the country and doing excatly what I wanted / needed.. sure I changed things along the way and each time I stopped home.. however I was ENJOYING my bus and COMPLETING my missions with it..


now ive had the bus 5 and a half years and guess what im still enjoying it and still completing missions.. yep ive made some mods and will make more.. but the simplicity of its build means that I havent really permanently altered the bus in too many ways to change course.. granted I dont Live Aboard (other many days im in it for everything but sleep)..


the fancy build in my dreams? probably never will build that..



its entirely possible to spend the rest of one;s Life building a Perfect bus that they never get to drive.... (or finish building)..
cadillackid is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:09 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.