Buy a Bus with the help of the Bus Buyer’s Guides listed below:
Buy a bus with the help of the bus buyers guide’s listed below to help you in making an informed decision that serves your business or organization’s unique needs, fits your budget for short as well as long term, complies with state and federal regulations, and does not come with administrative headaches or unnecessary red tape.
The information in this buy a bus guide will assist you in making an informed decision thus avoiding headaches. Many first-time buyers get confused in the Bus Buying Process. The reality is that even tenured operators of large bus fleets can get frustrated in the buying process. There are a few important questions that you need to ask and get answers when buying a bus.
Throughout this guide, you will find several questions that will get you thinking about what is the purpose and use environment of the bus. Thinking diligently and realistically about your business or organization’s needs is the only way to select a bus that satisfies your needs and offers the best overall solution.
Purchasing a brand new bus can be a huge investment for most individuals, businesses, and organizations. Prices can vary from $45,000 for a very basic new 15 passenger shuttle bus up to $500,000 or more for a deluxe coach bus with all bells and whistles. However, the price of a fully reconditioned used shuttle bus for sale will vary from $10,000 up to $40,000 or more depending on the vehicle’s age and mileage. As a general rule, there are no reconditioned and serviceable used buses available for less than $10,000 and those are rare!
Remember the purchase price of any bus is only a part of its total cost. Other expenses such as maintenance, fuel, repairs, driver’s wages and benefits, storage, licensing and insurance fees can put the real cost of owning a bus at a level you may not have anticipated. Knowing these additional factors will help you make an informed decision when buying a used bus.
ACCESS YOUR REQUIREMENTS
Before you seriously start thinking about buying a bus, there are a lot of factors to consider, especially your budget and the number of passengers you intend to carry. Since buses are used to transport large groups of people, you should focus on the actual use of your bus and the requirements of your passengers. For example, totally different regulations apply if a bus is used to transport children to a school than if a similar bus took the same children somewhere else.
This is about the number of passengers you plan to transport on a daily basis. Suppose that you carry an average of 30 passengers a day, then a bus with a seating capacity of 30 passengers may look like an ideal solution. However, possibilities are that 2 buses carrying 15 passengers each can be a better solution or one bus making 2 trips. How will you decide which option is better for you?
Obviously, you don’t want anyone left behind. But, good business economics for optimal ridership is when they are three-quarters full. You may need additional seating for growth, yet you don’t want too many empty seats because they can be more problematic than having too few seats in the bus and employing an additional van or car for the trip. Accounting for growth is especially important for startup businesses and organizations like schools, childcare organizations and senior centers that aren’t operating at full capacity.
Consider the following:
- When picking up passengers from various places and bringing them to a single location. How large an area do you want to serve and the cost of driver time and fuel involved?
- If your bus will be used for field trips, outings, and other activities. Will all the passengers be going to the same place on the same route? If not, you may need an additional bus or vehicle.
- When making multiple trips, can a single bus limit your options?
- If your passengers like to stay together, can a bigger bus accommodate more passengers to participate in various activities?
- If you plan to buy two buses, do you have the staff ready to drive and maintain the buses on a regular basis?
In simple terms, your bus should have sufficient space to accommodate all passengers and make sure nobody is left behind. Your bus should be compliant with all state and federal regulations, it should accommodate all your passengers even those with special needs and it should make the optimal use of your financial resources. Also, remember that every person is not of the same size. Some people take more space than others. If your bus has to accommodate passengers with special needs or disabilities, then you will have to reduce the number of seats for other passengers and make space for wheelchairs. Ideally, one wheelchair requires the space of at least 2 full passenger seats. Finally, keep the growth factor in mind. 15 passengers today can be 25 in less than 2 years, so ask yourself how long you want to use the bus before trading it in.
HOW MUCH STORAGE IS REQUIRED?
A bus can be configured with luggage storage overhead, inside the passenger cabin and rear storage is available with or without a rear wall. Undercarriage storage is available only on coach buses with a large passenger seating capacity. This is important if your bus will be used for overnight trips or for long-distance travel. Passengers traveling long distances tend to carry more luggage with them. An SUV or trailer is an acceptable occasional solution. Try not to over equip your vehicle for a once a year excursion.
Buses carrying seniors, passengers with disabilities or special needs will require additional space for wheelchairs, walkers, oxygen tanks and more. If the bus carries seniors on shopping trips then consider room for purchases and merchandise as well. Always discuss your requirements in detail when you talk to a bus dealer.
Providing storage space means you may have to sacrifice the number of passenger seats on your bus. This may force you to buy a bigger bus, add a luggage rack, overhead storage or multiple vehicles.
Once you have accessed your storage requirements, there are three main storage options to consider:
- Front or Rear storage compartments: These compartments are available inside the passenger cabin and can come with our without rear walls. They are appropriate for medical equipment, books, backpacks, bags, wheelchairs, collapsible walkers, luggage items and more.
- Undercarriage storage compartment: These compartments are available under the floor of large deluxe touring coach buses and are good for full-sized luggage, equipment, etc.
- Overhead storage compartments: These compartments are available inside the passenger cabin above the passenger seats. They are appropriate for small items like backpacks, purses, coats, bags, books, etc.
HOW MANY MILES WILL YOUR BUS TRAVEL – PER TRIP/PER YEAR?
Will your bus be used for several short trips or occasionally for longer trips? In addition to the number of buses, understanding the wear and tear your buses will encounter will help you choose the right power plant for your bus and whether you need a new bus or a used bus for sale.
If the bus will be operating at lower speeds with frequent stops and idle time then counting the hours of operation will be more important than calculating the miles. An experienced and repute used shuttle bus dealership can help you with this.
HOW LONG WILL YOU USE THE BUS?
How long do you plan to keep the bus in operation?? Owning a bus for a longer duration of time can reduce the annual cost or depreciation, however, maintenance costs rise with age and mileage. Remember, buses require more maintenance than automobiles. If you don’t have easy access to affordable repair shops and service facilities then consider how far the dealership is from your location in your bus buying strategy. Extended warranties on buses do not cover the vehicle from bumper to bumper so for many, the extra cost of a warranty may give a false sense of security.
WHAT TYPE OF WARRANTY WILL YOUR BUS NEED?
The bus industry differs from the automobile industry in several ways and one of them is the way they handle warranties. Most buses do not come with a single and all-encompassing warranty plan. The body, chassis, air conditioning, tires, video systems can have separate warranties and a long list of contacts to deal with in case of a problem. It’s advisable to choose a dealership that is capable of helping you through the warranty maze or better yet guide you to service providers in your local area. Every warranty differs on length and mileage and coverage, so get a detailed explanation on every warranty plan offer for the bus you plan to buy.
Major Vehicle Exchange is one of the only used bus dealerships that offers comprehensive advice on extended warranties.
WHERE TO PARK YOUR BUS?
An oversized barn, garage or shed will improve the trade-in value and appearance of your bus several years down the road. It will also increase the service life of your bus. If your bus is exposed to the elements day-in and day-out, it will have a shorter life span. Always park your bus on a paved surface.
IN WHAT CLIMATE WILL YOUR BUS OPERATE?
Both heating and air conditioning systems should be a real concern for bus buyers depending on the climate it operates in. Almost all minibuses are equipped with front and rear air conditioning for maximum passenger comfort. Remember, there is more to look for in an air conditioning system than its cooling output. The climate control system may be either a tie-in or a dual compressor system. Dual compressors always have additional costs and underhood heat output. This gives greater cooling capacity than a tie-in system an obvious advantage for buses that operate in warmer geographical regions. Tie-in systems with OEM compressors and additional condensers and evaporators are more affordable and work for small and medium sized buses operating in most climates but take more time to cool the bus.
WHAT ARE THE OPERATING AND MAINTENANCE COSTS OF A BUS?
The cost of fuel can vary depending on the bus. As a general rule of thumb, newer buses offer greater fuel economy compared to older models. This is an important factor in calculating the total cost of owning and operating a bus or fleet but not nearly as important as the cost of insurance. The net cost of operating a gas engine bus is relatively equal to a diesel engine bus since the lower cost of gasoline offsets the higher efficiency of diesel power plants.
When comparing buses, remember to calculate the average mileage in both highway and local miles. Then look at the fuel efficiency of each bus. Now, compare that expense to the difference in monthly installments you have to pay. This will help you figure out the annual fuel consumption and expenditure of each bus. This, in turn, will help you make a more socially and financially responsible decision for your business or organization.
Bus mileage varies greatly depending upon:
- Bus type – Is it a small minibus or a large coach bus? Is it a gasoline engine or diesel engine?
- Geography – Will the bus operate in a flat or hilly region ???
- Route – Will the bus make local trips around town or will it be used on highways for longer trips?
- Capacity – Is the bus occupied by many passengers or few passengers???
A fair estimate of fuel economy for mid-sized shuttle buses is approximately 12mpg (diesel) and 10mpg (gasoline).
TYPE OF ENGINE
Several engines and chassis configurations are available for buses. Some people think that diesel engine buses are better. This is not true. There are many gas engine buses available that give satisfactory fuel mileage and last as long as most diesel engines.
Gas vs. Diesel Engines
Buying a gas engine bus is always the most affordable option at the time of purchase. In fact, a gas model bus costs $4000 to $10000 less than a diesel engine bus. Moreover, its easier to find mechanics who work on gas engines because they are the most dominant engine types in North America. Diesel engines are much more complicated now and harder to maintain than in the past due to extensive equipment required to mitigate air pollution and to conform to state and federal standards.
The life of larger diesel engines is longer than that of a gasoline engine and they give better fuel economy. The question is, does the use of a diesel engine justify the extra up-front cost. Diesel engines give better fuel economy than gasoline engines, sometimes up to 2 miles per gallon. And, diesel engines require less maintenance and repairs until they have logged more than 100,000 miles so it is important to get a realistic view on how you plan to use the bus before you start counting its fuel economy. The cost-to-benefit ratio of diesel engine buses may be almost negligible unless you are planning to buy a larger bus.
A wheelchair lift is often necessary (but sometimes costly) if you are transporting a large number of seniors or passengers with disabilities. In fact, many operators require a wheelchair lift in their buses to fulfill the specific needs of their passengers. The cost of a bus equipped with wheelchair lift increases by roughly $5000 and takes the place of five fixed seats unless flip seats are added to the passenger cabin. To make an informed decision, consider your state’s regulations, the specific needs of your passengers and expected growth in the future. Manufacturers rebates sometimes offset this initial cost differential on new buses and wheelchair vans. Of course, if your business or organization is transporting a large number of senior citizens and handicapped people then you will have to buy a bus that is equipped with a wheelchair lift. When buying such buses you are comfortable that it has sufficient space for storing wheelchairs, walkers, oxygen tanks and other equipment necessary for your passengers.
Major Vehicle Exchange can help you finance your used bus from 3rd party funders. Call or click to check out our used bus funders here.
WHY SHOULD YOU BUY A USED SHUTTLE BUS FOR SALE?
It depends on the cost. A preowned bus that has been reconditioned from bumper to bumper can cost almost half the price of a brand new bus. Most businesses and organizations can’t afford to buy new buses hence there is a thriving demand for used buses in the market today. Moreover, new buses depreciate faster on the road compared to used buses. And sometimes the depreciation can be as high as 40% in just the first year. When you buy a used bus for sale, it has already gone through the depreciation process and you pay for what you get.
However, before buying a preowned bus for sale you need to find a repair shop that can maintain your used bus on a regular basis, find any spare parts needed and perform repairs. When buying used buses always ask the dealer about the availability of spare parts.
Many bus owners tend to sell their vehicles because spare parts were either not available or were impossible to find. You should always take great care when buying used buses and avoid this situation at all costs.
SOME TIPS FOR BUYING USED BUSES
- The bus can be easily modified to meet all state and federal regulations.
- Maintenance and fuel costs don’t outweigh savings.
- If the used bus is financed, then it should not have a high-interest rate because this will negatively impact your monthly payments.
- The used bus should have a longer life than you want to use it. Otherwise, you will be shopping for another bus sooner than expected.
OTHER TIPS ON BUYING USED BUSES
- Always ask for maintenance and fuel records. This will let you know if the bus was well cared for and will help you understand the operating costs of the bus. It will also assist you in forecasting services that need to be performed in the near future.
- Ask questions about the warranty since used bus warranties can be difficult to find.
- Buy used buses with the biggest engine. Your bus will need more engine if it’s transporting more people and gets heavier. In fact, there is no real alternative for a powerful engine.
- Buy shuttle buses that do not require a commercial driver’s license to operate and have automatic transmission. Such buses are fine for long trips and will make the driving experience more pleasant. Remember, most domestic buyers prefer buses with an automatic transmission that is all that is available in the USA.
OTHER COSTS AND MAINTENANCE
If you buy a used bus that needs immediate modification or repairs, get the exact estimate of the cost and the time required to make the necessary adjustments. If you plan to modify the bus and don’t mind spending on customization, then you may be able to save some money when purchasing the bus. Get an accurate idea of how much the repairs will cost and how much time will it take to complete. The time frame should include the time it takes to track down the spare parts and anticipate that bus shops are not on every corner. A timeline should be created and planned accordingly for completing the repairs. Get the bus inspected by professionals. Inspections should focus on air conditioning, electrical systems, engine, transmission, and body frame. Endeavor to find a licensed inspection company that is experienced with buses. Make sure the inspector is thorough with the bus and gives you a detailed report on it. Listen carefully to their advice on potential problems and never let your need for a bus cloud your decision. Look at the body carefully for signs of damage and rust. Buses are made of steel, aluminum, caulk, and fiberglass. Make sure the seams are intact and don’t leak during the rainy or winter season. Also, check the interior for water damages. Never buy a used bus that has current leaks of any kind. There are plenty of used buses in the market that do not leak. Evidence of water on the floor does not necessarily indicate a leak as passengers often bring in the water on rainy days.
CONSIDER THESE WHEN BUYING PRE OWNED BUSES:
- Buy the bus according to its overall condition and not by its age or mileage. Remember, newer may not always be better.
- Buses are customizable and no two buses are alike even if they have the same model, make and year.
- Just because the bus operates in a warmer climate does not mean it has no rust. Every bus will have some rust somewhere. Hence carefully inspect every bus from the bottom up. Many buses are constructed of premium quality materials that are weather resistant.
- Ask if rust related problems were ever treated and repaired. If the bus comes from a rust-belt environment, ask where on the body and when the repairs were performed. The main chassis of the body should be your primary focus because that’s where repairs are the most expensive. Be careful because rust shortens vehicle life.
- Ask for service records. These would include major as well as minor repairs. If records are not available then ask to speak with the primary driver, mechanic or shop foreman of the bus operator.
- Ask about mileage on the transmission and the engine. Many used buses have high mileage, however, commercial vehicles can easily handle 300,000 miles if they are properly maintained.
- The odometer reading on a bus is not reliable unless purchased from a licensed dealer. Check Carfax, AutoCheck or similar services.
- After checking the drivetrain and body frame focus on interior condition, paint condition, and body damage. Bus sellers often paint, change seats and flooring because it’s easier to remarket the freshest looking vehicles. However, it’s more difficult to repair the engine and carry out extensive work on the undercarriage and they typically avoid it.
- Warranties on engines can be tricky. Most warranties require deductible when you make a claim and you should expect an inspection by the warranty company before paying a claim. Always fully go through the details of the warranty and the omissions in coverage and delays involved in making a claim. Also, find out if the maintenance files are up to date. Engine warranties require that you use a certain type of oil and keep the bus on the required maintenance schedule. You may think all warranties are similar to new car warranties but that’s not true.
- Once you have selected a bus, ask if you can get an independent inspection or mechanic for a non-biased opinion.
- Always ask a private seller “why” he wants to sell his bus because you don’t want to buy someone else’s headache. The bus may indeed be a good buy because many times companies sell their buses because they are upgrading or going out of business. Don’t let a dealer pressure you.
- Finally, deal with someone who can give you references and their business history.
Making the right buying decision is very important in today’s rapidly changing regulatory and economic environment. We hope this bus buyers guide will help you in making an informed buying decision. We regularly add helpful tips and information to our website. Please visit https://GetAnyBus.com
Major Vehicle Exchange is a business built on reputation, referrals and repeat customers. Our team of expert bus professionals can help you in many ways and always answer important questions. Contact us or call at 516-333-7483 today!