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 used bus guide will assist you in making an informed decision and avoiding headaches after the purchase. Many first-time buyers are uninformed about the Bus Buying Process. The reality is that even experienced operators of large bus fleets can get frustrated in the buying process. There are important questions that you need to ask and get answers to when buying a used bus.
Throughout this guide, you will find several questions that will get you thinking about the purpose and use requirements of the bus. Planning diligently and realistically about your business or organization’s needs is the best way to select a bus that satisfies your needs and offers the best overall solutions.
Purchasing a brand new bus can be a huge investment for most individuals, businesses, and organizations. Prices can vary from $60,000 for a basic 15 passenger shuttle bus up to $500,000 and more for a deluxe coach bus with luxury options and accessories. However, the price of a fully reconditioned used shuttle bus for sale will vary from $15,000 to $45,000, depending on the vehicle’s age, size, and mileage. Generally, reconditioned and serviceable used buses are not available for less than $15,000, which is quite rare!
Keep in mind the purchase price of any bus is only a part of its total cost. Other operating expenses such as maintenance, fuel, repairs, driver’s wages and benefits, storage, licensing, and insurance can put the 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.
Here are a few common considerations about owning a bus in the initial planning stage:
- Where can the bus be parked when not in use?
- How many passengers do you need to transport?
- Do you need a wheelchair lift on your bus? If so, how many handicapped positions are needed?
- Do you prefer a gas engine bus or a diesel engine bus? Are there local rules?
- How often will you use the bus? More than once a day? daily? weekly? or Occasionally?
- What type of seating is best for your passengers, vinyl or cloth?
- What are the air conditioning and heating needs for the bus?
- Should you buy a new or a preowned bus?
- Will you need a commercial driver’s license to operate the bus, including special endorsements for air brakes and heavyweight vehicles?
- How long do you plan to use the bus?
- Are repair shops and spare parts available for the vehicle of your choice?
- Can you obtain insurance for your intended use?
Before starting a serious bus search, assess your needs comprehensively. If you plan to use the bus for daily and high mileage applications, you may need to consider purchasing a new bus for sale. However, if you plan to use the bus for in-town trips, occasional outings, weekly services, school, team, camp schedules, or special occasions, you should first consider using preowned buses for sale. The best way to decide whether a new or used motorcoach is best for you, calculate the number of miles the bus will have to travel from the starting point to the endpoint, including the return trip. If the total number of miles is more than 40,000 a year, you should consider a new one if your finances permit. However, if the mileage is less than 30,000 miles annually, you should consider a used vehicle. Most churches use their buses weekly or bi-weekly, and mileage is typically quite low, while commercial transportation operators can reach 50,000 miles per year or more. If you represent a church or not-for-profit group, then a preowned bus is usually the ideal vehicle to transport your group.
Many shuttle bus operators obtain a spare preowned or two for when their vehicles break down, need regular service and inspection, or are sidelined due to accidents. In any case, if you want to own a shuttle bus for any transportation need, we strongly recommend adopting a scheduled maintenance policy and service the bus at least every six months, even if the bus seems to be in good operating condition or has not been in regular operation. In addition, have drivers or supervisors prepare a daily written report and log book to report any malfunction, maintenance item, inoperative light, or dashboard warning signal. Missing safety equipment should also be reported. Train your drivers to use the log or checklist and examine the vehicle as per your needs before and after every trip. This is a safe operating practice and will allow you to be aware of many conditions that may put your passengers or vehicles at risk.
Ever since the old school 15 seat church van was deemed unfit for the public by the US Department of Transportation in 2012, there has been an increasing demand for non-CDL passenger buses by both churches and the general public. Non-CDL vehicles are generally vehicles having a capacity of 15 persons or less. Since then, the insurance companies made matters even more difficult for van operators by either refusing to cover them or substantially increasing insurance premiums. This is one of the main reasons why many Churches and organizations have opted for passenger buses rather than vans, aside from the added comfort of shuttle buses. The added safety of the buses with dual rear wheels is substantial, particularly when the vehicles are fully loaded.
The demand for new and pre-owned buses has been growing rapidly since the regulations changed. Even entry-level new vehicles for sale are expensive and many cannot afford the high prices, which do not include extra-cost options such as upgraded seating, storage areas, electric passenger doors, backup cameras, phone chargers, and other accessories.
New buses depreciate rapidly in the first years of service. The depreciation can be as high as 40% in the first year or two of ownership, irrespective of whether the bus is being used frequently or not. Additionally, new buses sales taxes and insurance premiums are higher. Insurance costs are partially affected by the replacement cost of the vehicle, so include that factor in your decision-making process. On the other hand, used buses for sale are relatively affordable. You can often purchase 2 used buses for the price of one new one, which may enhance your group’s transportation options. Used buses allow savings, leaving more money in your budget to cover other expenses. It’s easy to get faster and greater returns on investment (ROI) on used buses than on new ones because purchasing them requires a substantially lower initial capital expenditure.
Major Vehicle Exchange is a used shuttle bus, wheelchair bus, and wheelchair van dealership serving American customers for over three decades. Special support is given to dealers to assist them in obtaining vehicles for their customers and we are always available to complete a dealer-to-dealer sale. Our management team puts all the knowledge and experience gained through the years into every bus we sell to ensure our valued customers get the best bus closest to their needs. Every pre-owned vehicle is systematically evaluated and provided with a thorough and rigorous reconditioning process, increasing its reliability, longevity, and serviceability. Many satisfied customers have traded their buses to us if their needs and priorities have changed. Examples include the need for a wheelchair lift-equipped bus and increasing or decreasing passenger capacity needs. Used buses for sale are the perfect vehicles to transport small and large groups of people comfortably and affordably.
Since used buses and vans for sale are more affordable than their new counterparts, many of our customers for used buses do not require third-party financing. For the rest, many pre-owned bus buyers qualify for financing and we have quality relationships with third-party funders and insurance companies who can help you get your vehicle financed and insured at competitive rates. Please discuss this option with us before contacting any of the funders mentioned on our used bus links page so that we can suggest which funder is most suitable for your needs.
Our goal is to make the purchasing and ownership experience less stressful and costly for every customer. We do the reconditioning, make the transportation arrangements as needed, and recommend financing and insurance options provided by outside funders and insurance brokers. We believe our easy-to-navigate website has simplified the entire process for our prospective customers and allows us to share our extensive experience in the shuttle bus and wheelchair van industry of more than 3 decades with our customers.
Whether you want to buy a bus for shuttle, church, charter, or tour use or modify it for your unique needs, we are here to help. With more than 25 used buses and vans for sale in stock, we often have the bus that will fit your budget and requirements. Complimentary airport pickup is available or we can assist in delivering anywhere across the USA and assist with arrangements to Canada and foreign ports of call. With thousands of satisfied customers across North America, we hope you will be our next customer. Recommendations and endorsements are always appreciated.
This is one of the largest used bus and van sale websites in the United States. Our inventories of reconditioned used buses and vans, including shuttle buses, coach buses, mini-buses, handicap wheelchair lift-equipped buses and vans, transit, ADA and mobility buses, and wheelchair vans, as well as tour and charter buses and coaches. Our listings for preowned tour bus sales, minibus sales, limo bus sales, shuttle bus sales, adult and senior bus sales, used buses for sale, and buses for DOT are comprehensive, well photographed, and complete. We sell all makes and models of used buses, wheelchair vans, and motor coaches. Our market includes pre-owned buses, custom coaches, bus conversions, band buses, commuter buses, team buses, assisted living buses, executive buses, dog grooming buses, tailgating buses, and school buses, including Ford E-350, E-450, F-450, and F-550 buses, GMC buses, Chevrolet G3500, C4500, C5500 buses, Freightliner coaches, International, Bluebird coaches, Krystal coaches, ElDorado buses, Diamond buses, Goshen buses, Starcraft buses, Startrans buses, Champion buses and offer many tips and buyers guides to help you find the right bus for sale. You can have your preowned bus delivered to your door anywhere in the United States and Canada and as a bus dealer, we offer individual financing and leasing advice on all of the vehicles we sell.
ACCESS YOUR REQUIREMENTS
Before you seriously start shopping for a bus, there are a lot of factors to consider, particularly your budget and the number of passengers you intend to carry. Since buses transport large groups of people, you should focus on the actual use of your bus and the requirements of your passengers. For example, 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 daily. Suppose 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?
You don’t want anyone left behind. But, good business economics for optimal ridership is when they are more than 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 on 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 go 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 regularly?
Simply put, your bus should have sufficient space to accommodate all passengers and ensure nobody is left behind. Your bus should comply with all state and federal regulations, accommodate all your passengers, even those with special needs, and make optimal use of your financial resources. Also, remember that every person is not of the same size. Some people take up more space than others. If your bus has to accommodate passengers with special needs or disabilities, 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 is used for overnight or long-distance trips. 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, etc. Consider room for purchases and merchandise if the bus carries seniors on shopping trips. Always discuss your requirements in detail when you talk to a bus dealer.
Providing storage space means you may 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 use multiple vehicles.
Once you have accessed your storage requirements, there are three main storage options to consider:
- Front or Rear storage compartments: These are available inside the passenger cabin and can come with or 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 operates at lower speeds with frequent stops and idle time, counting the hours of operation will be more important than calculating the miles. An experienced and reputable used shuttle bus dealership can help you consider 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 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, consider how far the dealership is from your location in your bus buying strategy. Extended bus warranties 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, one of which is how they handle warranties. Many buses do not come with a single and all-encompassing warranty plan. The body, chassis, air conditioning, tires, and video systems can have separate warranties and a long list of contacts to deal with in case of a problem. Choosing a dealership capable of helping you through the warranty maze or, better yet, guiding you to service providers in your local area is advisable. Every warranty differs in length, mileage, and coverage, so get a detailed explanation of every warranty plan offered 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 your bus’s trade-in value and appearance several years later. 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 mini buses have front and rear air conditioning for maximum passenger comfort. Remember, an air conditioning system has more elements than its cooling output. The climate control system may be 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 than 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.
Remember to calculate the average mileage for highway and local miles when comparing buses. 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 each bus’s annual fuel consumption and expenditure. 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 a 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. Many gas engine buses give satisfactory fuel mileage and last as long as most diesel engines with fewer maintenance issues.
Gas vs. Diesel Engines
Buying a gas engine bus is always the most affordable option at the time of purchase. A gas model bus costs $4000 to $10000 less than a diesel engine bus. Moreover, it’s easier to find mechanics who work on gas engines because they are North America’s most dominant engine type. Diesel engines are much more complicated now and harder to maintain than in the past due to the extensive equipment required to mitigate air pollution and conform to state and federal standards.
The life of larger diesel engines is longer than that of a gasoline engine and gives better fuel economy. The question is, does using 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 sometimes require less maintenance and repairs until they have logged more than 100,000 miles so it is important to get a realistic view of 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 plan to buy a larger bus.
A wheelchair lift is often necessary (but sometimes costly) if you transport many seniors or passengers with disabilities. Many operators require a wheelchair lift in their buses to fulfill the specific needs of their passengers. The cost of a bus equipped with a 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, your passengers’ specific needs, and expected future growth. 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 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 regularly, 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 unavailable or impossible to find. You should always take great care when buying used buses and avoid this situation.
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, it should not have a high-interest rate because this will negatively impact your ownership costs.
- 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 when available. 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 shortly.
- 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 power if transporting more people and getting heavier loads. 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 transmissions. Such buses are fine for long trips and will make the driving experience more pleasant. Remember, most domestic buyers prefer buses with automatic transmissions, which are universally available in the USA.
OTHER COSTS AND MAINTENANCE
If you buy a used bus that needs immediate modification or repairs, get the exact cost estimate and the time required to make the necessary adjustments. If you plan to modify the bus and don’t mind spending on customization, you may save some money when purchasing the bus. Get an accurate idea of how much the repairs will cost and how much time they will 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. Ensure the inspector is thorough with the bus and gives you a detailed report. 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. Ensure the seams are intact and don’t leak during the rainy or winter season. Also, check the interior for water damage. Never buy a used bus that has current leaks of any kind. There are plenty of used buses in the market that does not leak. Evidence of water on the floor does not necessarily indicate a leak as passengers often bring in the water on rainy days, and windows are sometimes left open.
CONSIDER THESE WHEN BUYING PRE-OWNED BUSES:
- Buy the bus according to its overall condition and not by 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 unavailable, ask to speak with the primary driver, mechanic or shop foreman of the bus operator or dealer.
- 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 properly maintained.
- The odometer reading on a bus may not be 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, and 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 a 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 be a good buy because companies often sell their buses because they are upgrading or going out of business. Don’t let a seller pressure you.
- Finally, deal with someone who can give you references and their business history.
Making the right buying decision is important in today’s rapidly changing regulatory and economic environment. We hope this bus buyers guide will help you make 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 expert bus professionals can help you in many ways and always answer important questions. Contact us or call 516-333-7483 today!