So I Bought A Bus... with @mackontheroad.co
Names: Tim, Jessica, Kona, and Ember Anderson
Youtube: Mack On The Road
What inspired/led you to buy a school bus?
We were in a place in life where our plans didn’t work out and we were searching for something more. We made the decision to sell our house without really knowing what was next. With our house on the market, I stumbled upon the Skoolie life and showed Tim. We were hooked instantly, we knew this was our next step. So we sold our house and are now working on the build.
Did you have any criteria for what you were looking for in a bus?
We knew that we wanted a 40ft pusher engine school bus but other than that we had no idea what to look for in a bus.
Where/how did you find the bus?
We searched many places for our bus. Craigslist, dealerships, school auctions, you name it! The search ended on Facebook Marketplace though. Our bus was in Dallas, TX and we purchased it for an AMAZING price from the nicest, most helpful couple!
How long were you searching before you found the one you bought?
About 6 or so months. It takes a lot of research and digging to find the right bus for your personal build.
Did you look at multiple buses before buying the one you did? If so, what stopped you from buying the others?
We looked at 5 buses in person and countless online. When we started looking we didn’t know there were so many choices! Dog nose or flat nose, length, pusher or puller, etc. We ended up liking the general idea of skoolies that were flat nose pushers. The decision came down to what fit our family best.
Did you do research on what to look for in a potential purchase beforehand?What are some good resources that you used?
Yes! So many videos, blogs, articles, and Pinterest black holes. However, the most helpful resource has been forums on skoolies through google searches.
When you first saw your bus was there anything that concerned you about it?
Our bus was in great condition mechanically, the previous owners really put love into it to make sure everything was in working order. That being said, there was a lot of rust, which concerned us. We actually almost walked away but after some long conversations with friends who have experience with this, we felt we could tackle the rust. Also, the sellers talked us through exactly how to treat it too. It was just a little scary because everything you see or read says to run away if you find rust but it worked out for us and now our bus is rust free!
Was there anything that excited you about the bus you bought when you first saw it?
Yes! It was way more bus than we thought we could afford. It was also a lot newer than we were expecting to get. With our budget, we were expecting anywhere from 1990-1999 but we ended up with a 2006 International that runs and drives great!
What did you learn during the buying process? What would you do differently if you did it again?
We learned a lot about not only buses but ourselves. After the novelty of living tiny wears off, you are left with this big decision you’ve made and now have to keep making the choice every step of the way. What do you really need? What is most important to you? How does your family fit into this lifestyle? It can be daunting at times but every time we work on it, it gets exciting again. If we were to do it again, we would do a lot more virtual correspondence with sellers before driving. Also, we would make sure the bus was ready for us to test drive.
Do you regret getting the bus that you have instead of a different one?
Not at all, I believe that we came upon this bus because it was perfect for us. Now that we have an idea of our layout and we are getting more projects done, the bus feels more and more like a perfect fit!
What was the registration process like for you in your state?
We got lucky. The ladies at our local tag agency were super helpful and it was pretty cheap. We aren’t at the point yet to reclassify the registration to an RV yet, but the way we are set up now it should be pretty easy to get it switched over. (famous last words haha)
Did you drive the bus home? What was it like driving it for the first time?
Tim drove it home and I followed with our car. It was really hot that day and there was no air conditioning in the bus so we made a lot of stops for him to cool off and get water but otherwise the bus made the trip with no issues! Tim says it took a bit to get used to it because the driver seat sits in front of the tires, however, he likes it now.
Did you need any special licenses or have to jump through any legal hoops?
We have been super lucky and haven’t run into any issues like that thankfully!
How did you insure your school bus and what was the process like?
Currently, it is not insured. We aren’t driving it right now because of the build but we are having trouble finding an insurance agency that covers something like a skoolie so any suggestions would be great because I have only come across dead ends.
Is there anything else you want to share for those that are in the buying process or will be in the future?
All that truly matters is that you are doing what feels right for you and your family. Definitely do your research, but, ultimately, when you find the bus that fits you, you will know it!