Posts Tagged ‘buying a bus’
Every small bus for sale is subjected to “rust” which is the oxidation of metal when it comes in contact with moisture, air and salt. It’s an electrochemical process that every vehicle is susceptible to over time. It’s important to stop rust in its initial stages in order to prevent it from spreading all over the vehicle as it severely weakens the metal and can cause accidents leading to potential injuries of passengers as well as others on the road. When buying a bus, the buyer should thoroughly inspect it before making a final decision. The bus buying process is tedious, time consuming and every buyer including experienced operators have to go through this grinding process to get the best deal on the vehicle. There is no point in buying a low mileage bus if the previous owner did not perform regular undercarriage washing and roof seal checking and resealing on a regular schedule and let water penetrate the vehicle. It should be remembered that body rust only grows and does not stop unless treated. So a tiny small rust patch today can turn into a big hole penetrating through the metal body rapidly. There are no strict rules to follow. A bus that has been in use for 5, 7, or even 10 years and has acquired thousands of miles is bound to have some form of superficial rust on undercarriage but that is normal wear and tear until the body structure, frame, or sidewalls are compromised. Always expect a used vehicle to have some rust on the undercarriage, just like any other preowned vehicle.
A small bus for sale in snowy and mountainous region tends to have more rust than those from other regions because of the high amount of salt present on the roads during the winter season and in the atmosphere. When salt comes in contact with the metal on the short bus, it accelerates oxidation that causes rust. If untreated, it will spread, bubble the paint coating and ultimately weaken the strength of the metal causing an unsightly appearance. The electronic and hydraulic systems are also vulnerable to rust since they are made up of metallic components susceptible to oxidation. For example, the brake discs and brake lines, a part of the braking system can get rusted too, resulting in poor braking and potential brake failure.
On the other hand, it should not be assumed that a small bus for sale from dry or warm region will have little rust. This is untrue, most rust comes from under the bus and is caused by dampness rising from unpaved parking lots and damaged seals on the roof. Always ask the owner for previous maintenance records and that if any rust repair work was ever done on the vehicle. If the minibus has a history of rust problems, then it’s a sign of caution and demands close inspection.
If the bus is heavily rusted and obvious to the eye, then it’s better to ignore it at first sight and move on to the next bus. Many times this is not the case because the sellers are smart enough to repaint the damaged areas of the bus and even change the soft spots on the wood floor just to make it appear normal. They may even label the vehicle as mint or like new to make a quick sale. Since some sellers are sometimes disingenuous, buyers have to be aware, smart enough to get a qualified independent inspection. They have to understand that rust can be hiding inside or underneath the bus, not outside, the biggest rust issues are often not visible to the untrained eye. Buses are manufactured from the ground up, first the chassis then the body. So the inspection too has to be performed from the ground up. Since it’s the chassis that holds the critical parts of the vehicle like engine, transmission, floor, dashboard, wheels, radiator, brakes, etc., it’s important to thoroughly inspect the chassis as any damage here can endanger the lives of people riding it and others too. Moreover, fixing rust or changing parts in this area of the small bus for sale after purchase can be expensive and wreak havoc with your budget. Incidentally, the engine and transmission are bolted together and kept in position with the help of engine mounts, one for the transmission and 2 or 3 for the engine. So if there is too much rust or wear on the engine mounts then it’s time to replace them. Check with the owner if he is ready to replace the mounts or get an estimate as to how much it will cost you to get it replaced. The selling price of the bus should be discounted accordingly.
Most first time buyers are neither qualified nor experienced enough to inspect a bus “in-depth”. Therefore, a thorough inspection by professional inspectors is desirable to inspect the tiny bus from the outside, inside, and underneath and even into the exhaust system components. The inspector should focus on all major parts of the bus like engine, transmission, radiator, engine mounts, air conditioner, braking system, electronic system, hydraulic system, and floor system, etc. and give you a detailed report. Listen to his advice carefully and don’t let your immediate need for a bus or a good deal cloud your buying decision.
Buyers should have a qualified repair shop in sight beforehand should they decide to fix the small bus for sale by themselves. Bus repair shops are just not available everywhere. Repairing a rusty vehicle can be a time consuming process and can potentially cost $3,000 or even up to $4,000 to fix them depending upon the affected area. What’s expensive is the labor cost because it takes hours and hours to complete the restoration process. If this process includes replacing parts then the total cost will be even higher. It’s better to stay away from such a mess unless you have an in-house bus repair mechanic that can do the work. However, if the buyer is ready to spend extra and take on the responsibility of fixing the bus by themselves then they should create a detailed plan and make a step by step timeline to fix it. The plan should include:
1. How much has rust spread on the bus body, its exterior, and in undercarriage areas?
2. Can the problem(s) be fixed?
3. How much will it cost to repair the rust on the bus?
4. Will damaged parts have to be replaced or repaired?.
5. Are the parts available locally or will they have to be shipped from other states?
6. If the parts are available in local markets then what is their cost and where exactly to get them from? eBay, bus repair shops, manufacturers, dealerships, etc.
7. How much time will it take to complete the repairs including any replacements? 8. Finally, will the bus be fully functional through the end of its useful life or safety be compromised?
Rust builds up gradually in 3 main phases and some proper ways to fix it:
1. Surface Rust: This starts from cracks or scratches on the painted surface of the bus. There are several layers of coating on the body of the vehicle to prevent it from getting exposed to moisture and salt present in the air. On the body, first, there is a thick layer of Primer Coat, then Color Coat. All these layers of coating prevent the air from coming in direct contact with the metal body of the vehicle. But when there is a crack or scratch, these layers break and give an opening to the air to reach the metallic surface which causes oxidation leading to rust. This is the initial stage of rust on the body, it’s important to fix it immediately or else it will start spreading. Use a sandpaper or grinding wheel to buff out the layers of paint and corrosion until the bright metal appears, then apply a primer coat and finish coat properly. Buff it again to blend as needed. Buses with fiberglass bodies do not suffer from surface rust because they are made of nonmetallic substances like fiber and glass which are stronger and more durable than metal. While they do not rust, cracks can appear over time due to changes in temperature.
2. Scale Rust: Surface rust can quickly become scale rust if not treated in time. What was initially a scratch or a crack may spread to cover a larger area of the metal body. Because rust has a tendency to spread, it may also affect the floor and steps of the small bus for sale. The affected region will rust and corrode thus weakening the strength of the body. Use a wire brush and grinding wheel to remove the rust and then use sandpaper to smoothen the surface. You may have to weld in new metal or piece in new plywood to the steps or floor and then use paint, primer coat, and finally color coat to finish off the task.
3. Penetration Rust: When scale rust is left unattended for too long the metal body starts developing holes and becomes weak. A quick way to identify if scale rust has developed into penetration rust is to light a torch on the other side of the affected region in a dark room or a garage. If light penetrates the metal sheet and is seen on the other side then its penetration rust. The owner will have to take the bus to a repair shop, the mechanic will first remove the corroded region, then weld in a metal part of equal thickness, then apply paint, primer coat and clear coat. This is a time consuming process and can be expensive too.
The easiest way to avoid rust is to act as quickly as possible and get rid of it before it starts to spread. A shuttle bus in cold or wet areas should be washed frequently, it should be rinsed and left to dry off completely to remove any traces of salt that might have accumulated on the exterior and underneath the bus. The driver should avoid driving the vehicle through potholes. Any signs of cracks, scratches, and paint openings should be fixed immediately. Check for signs of rust under the vehicle and use rust converters and protective undercoating and primers. The purpose of stopping rust is to prevent the electrochemical oxidation on the bare metal, as long as there is a good solid coating it will not rust.
Buses are purchased with the sole intention of transporting people “right now” and most buyers don’t want to get into the nitty-gritty to buy a bus that is damaged and then spends thousands of additional dollars to fix it. It’s better to buy the second hand bus from a licensed bus dealer as they should be expected to recondition their used buses for sale from bumper to bumper before selling them to the next buyer. The reconditioning process requires the inspection of many components. Any part that fails the inspection by professionals is either repaired or replaced. This process gives a new life to the small bus for sale and they are even certified “Ready-to-hit-the-Road” in America by those technicians. Such fully reconditioned and DOT certified buses can cost more than those being sold by private individuals but it gives buyers the assurance and satisfaction that their vehicle will not break down on the way home or incur unexpected catastrophic failures and repair costs. Many private sellers indulge in deceptive practices like repainting the bus with house paint, mismatching its seats, or labeling it as a “money maker”. Most frequently they say that it rides like new but ignores the details. This is not a safe way to purchase a bus as a bus requires the inspection, repair, and replacement of many components. Private sellers neither have the budget nor the expertise to fully recondition their buses and often they indulge in misrepresentation to make a quick sale. It’s better to buy the bus from licensed bus dealers that are bonded by state automobile dealer regulations. Buses purchased from such dealerships don’t need to be repaired and can be driven home right away. They last for years and many dealers are even ready to buy back the bus at a reasonable price several years down the road when it’s no longer required by the owners. This is one of the quickest and easiest ways to update the vehicle.
A minibus for sale is one of the smallest buses that can be purchased on the market today. It can seat up to 15 passengers including the driver as a Non-CDL vehicle and can be configured for up to 28 passengers. A minibus can operate within a radius of 2 – 2000 miles. Their dimensions usually fall in the range of less than 25 feet in length, 8.0 feet in width, and 9.5 feet in height. Due to their small size, they require less parking space and can be easily maneuvered through both busy city streets and narrow lanes. They open up business opportunities to startup entrepreneurs that larger buses can’t due to their wide turning radius. These short buses are often used to transport the handicapped or simply to reduce walking time, for example from large parking lots to the town business center. First-time bus buyers often start their business with these small buses because it will give them the knowledge and first-hand experience of handling a bus, the operational requirements as well as how to maintain them. One of the key benefits of owning a minibus for sale is that it can often be operated with a regular license if less than 15 seats, they do not require a commercial license to operate them. This advantage is a boon for startup churches, businesses, and not for profit facilities. These users can operate their entire fleet of minibuses with a regular license. Drivers with commercial licenses often require a higher wage than those without and maintaining a resource of commercial drivers can become a financial burden for many startups and small businesses and organizations.
So what is the solution? On one hand, we have new minibuses for sale that cost $50,000 and up, and on the other hand, minibus rentals can cost up to $1,700 a day. Both these options are not good for startups and for those with limited budgets. So how do we solve the problem of regular group transportation? The answer is simple, buy them preowned and their cost will fall by more than half of their original price. Is buying a used minibus for sale a good option for the long term? The answer is yes because minibuses have a lifespan of up to 15 years or more and up to 300,000 miles. Most buyers with deep pockets do not need them that long and often resell them in less than 10 years and since these vehicles were used just a few times a week, often they don’t log more than 100,000 miles on their odometers during their first period of ownership. This simply means these used short buses for sale are typically good to use for another 5 years or more and up to another 200,000 miles. So even if they are being sold preowned, they have a lot of life left in them which can result in sizable savings for thousands of churches, businesses, and organizations with limited budgets across the United States. This is the stage when owning a bus becomes really easy and affordable to a much wider group of buyers in America. The price of a minibus for sale with one previous owner can range from $10,000 to $35,000 depending on several factors like age, mileage, seating capacity. engine size, engine type, comfort features, and much more.
People generally think that buying a bus is expensive which is true but when people think of buses, they often think about the large buses that are difficult to manage, park, drive and maintain. What they don’t realize is that buses can be of smaller size too and these smaller styles are called minibuses, short, small or even shuttle buses. They are much cheaper and affordable than a full-sized luxury coach bus. The average starting price of a basic 15 passenger bus for sale is roughly around $50,000 plus tax if applicable. Now that is a relatively small price to pay for a bus but its still more expensive than an extended van and many startup businesses and organizations with limited budgets can’t think of spending $50,000 for a bus. So what these companies and institutions do is hire a bus whenever they need to transport groups of several people. Bus rentals can be a good solution for group transportation if it’s a one-time event like a birthday party or a wedding ceremony. But when groups of people need to be transported regularly then bus rentals can become a financial burden because the average hourly cost of hiring a minibus is $125 to $160 and the daily cost is $1,300 to $1,700. For example, if a church wants to offer pickup and drop off services to its congregation every Sunday then it will have to hire a minibus for several hours every Sunday, this will be very expensive considering the fact that there are roughly 52 Sundays plus extra days for retreats, events and other activities in a calendar year and the Church will require the bus service year after year.
Evaluate the differences:
A new minibus for sale has a lifespan of 15 years and up to 300,000 miles and costs around $50,000 or more.
A used mini bus for sale has a lifespan of more than 5 years and up to 200,000 miles and has an average cost of around $25,000.
The financial advantage is more than obvious.
Owning a minibus is typically much more affordable.
Previously, a church may have to spend as much as $1,700 every week to transport 15 members of its group. The used bus requires a one-time investment of $25,000 to transport the same number of people for many years.
The long-term savings are obvious?
Bus rentals could have potentially cost the organization $88,400 a year for transporting 15 persons i.e. $1,700 (avg. cost of hiring a minibus) X 52 (number of Sundays in a year) = $88,400.
Buying a used minibus for sale will cost the group only $25,000 for many years of service for transporting the same number of people. It’s a one-time financial investment (plus maintenance and insurance of course).
The same story goes with every business and organization out there. The math remains the same irrespective if its a church or a construction company that frequently needs to transport its employees from company headquarters to the construction site OR it’s a party venue that needs to pick up and drop its customers every weekend OR it’s a corporate business that needs to pick up and drop its employee to the parking lot and attending corporate meetings OR its an Airport Shuttle that needs to transport passengers from the home to the airport.
The possibilities are limitless on how an affordable used small bus for sale can be employed to solve the problem of group transportation across all sectors and industries.
But did you know that apart from solving the problem of group transportation in businesses and organizations, a minibus for sale can also be used as a Recreational Vehicle by private individuals OR as a Mobile Shop or Office by a smart entrepreneur?
A recreational vehicle has a comfortable living space for the driver and their family or friends inside the vehicle and is well suited for long trips. Often called an RV, they are used by travel enthusiasts to fulfill their wanderlust and journey across the countryside and even the continent. Sometimes, a pickup truck and trailer combo are used to tow an RV trailer, where the truck was used to drive and the trailer was used for accommodation. Manufacturers through the years have replaced the truck + trailer combo with Custom RV’s sometimes costing $500,000 or more. The occasional traveler now has the option of outfitting buses for much the same purpose for a small fraction of the cost with one vehicle being used to drive as well as for accommodation, this innovation is far more convenient than the truck and trailer combo. However, a new RV for sale is expensive and costs are out of reach for most in today’s economy which makes it impossible to own by most travel enthusiasts.
But people got creative once again and started purchasing fully reconditioned used buses for sale in the range of $15,000 to $35,000 and converted them into Recreational Vehicles. When the passenger seats are removed from a minibus, one gets an empty space of roughly 210 sq feet that can be fitted with basic living requirements like a bed, couch, water tank, refrigerator, microwave, gas stove, storage necessities including, seats, tables, etc. Installing a power inverter will help power the fridge, microwave, and other electrical applications with standard AC wall outlets on the bus while on the road. Minor plumbing will allow the bus to be hooked up with water supplies available at campgrounds or rest stops available across the USA. The owner can do this conversion all by himself or outsource it to a professional carpenter or handyman. With the use of new or recycled materials, the conversion process should not cost more than $10,000, in either case. Travel enthusiasts can now be the proud owner of a converted RV bus for less than $35,000. Compare this amount to spending hundreds of thousands on buying a brand new RV. Their dream to travel across the North American Continent from New England or Florida to California is now a reality. Families can use this bus conversion to visit every attraction, zoo, and national park across the USA. When you own an RV bus, you can use it for any purpose you wish to use it
Considering the huge demand for affordable recreational vehicles across the United States, travel enthusiasts can spend $25,000 to $35,000 to buy a used minibus for sale, then spend another $10,000 to convert it into an RV bus, use it for years and resell it to another travel enthusiast for almost the same amount that they spent initially to buy and convert the bus. Many curious people will question “is it really possible to resell the RV bus conversion for the same amount it was purchased for initially even after 5 years in use?”, the answer is YES. As we discussed earlier, used buses for sale have up to 200,000 unutilized miles on the odometer. When the vehicle is used to travel from Florida to California, it has acquired just 6,000 -10,000 new miles including the return leg and it still has 190,000 miles left to be used for the next adventure or by the next owner. Even if the present owner uses the RV bus for 50,000 miles over the next 5 years, the vehicle still has 150,000 miles left on its odometer which can be used by the next owner to fulfill their wanderlust. The bottom line, the owner of a converted RV bus can resell his or her vehicle for the same amount even after 5 years.
Just like the passenger seats can be removed to fit bed and couches in the minibus. Similarly, office equipment can be fitted in the empty space to convert the bus into a mobile office. Equipment such as computers, laptops, printers, fax machines, telephone, wifi routers, mobile charging units, etc. will equip the bus with everything to make it a mobile office. The installation of a power inverter should be sufficient to power all these items while the engine is running and a generator or plug-in adapter will work well when the bus is not in motion. These mobile offices are extremely useful for business executives who are always on the move. For example, when the distance between the airport and office spreads across several hours, most executives work on laptops from their cars. But cars are too small, they can neither equip other applications required by a regular office nor do they have the space to let executives move around comfortably. In such situations, mobile offices can be used to save and optimize thousands of business hours as executives travel from one destination to another. Mobile offices can also be used at locations far away from the city centers like a construction site which lacks the basic facilities enjoyed by offices in modern cities. Used buses for sale converted into Mobile Office perfectly fit the corporate jargon “Work as you travel”. They make life easier for the executives as well as save thousands of hours that would have otherwise been wasted and recorded as “downtime” or “travel time”.
Traditionally shops are set up where customers can come and buy merchandise. But when the need arises to reach out to every customer individually, then there needs to be a better solution and no other vehicle fills this demand than a used bus for sale. For example; after removing the seats the passenger cabin can be fitted with mirrors and some furniture to convert the bus into a mobile barbershop, nail salon, or chiropractic office. Similarly, the passenger cabin can be outfitted with gym equipment to convert the bus into a mobile gym or physical therapy vehicle. Buses are often used as mobile medical clinics or first responder headquarters in disaster-struck regions. They can also be used as mobile classrooms, exam centers, blood testing centers, etc. A mirror and specialty seating can also convert the bus into a mobile beauty salon shop. The possibilities are limitless on which type of special use you want to set up if you own a minibus. They can also be used as a mobile food commissary, restaurant, ice cream, fast food truck, recruiting center, or a mobile showroom.
Many marketing executives have reported that a mobile shop gives them the advantage to communicate and focus on their customers by disconnecting them completely from the ambient environment which increased their overall sales.
These mobile shops can be used to sell merchandise or professional services. During the 2020 CoronaVirus pandemic in the United States, many cities were locked down with shops and businesses shut for several months. People were not allowed to gather in public and were advised to maintain a distance of 6 feet from each other. During this lockdown period, many Barbershops and Beauty Salons got creative and instead of asking their customers to visit their shop, they purchased a used bus and converted it into a mobile barbershop or beauty salon to proactively reach out to customers who needed their service and maintain their clientele. This was one of the ways many small business owners got creative and used a converted minibus to reach out to their clients in times of need.
Major Vehicle Exchange is a licensed and bonded used bus dealership that has been selling its 15 passenger fully reconditioned used mini buses to buyers across the United States for more than 35 years. All our vehicles have clear title, one previous owner, clean CarFax or AutoCheck report and are certified ready to hit the road by DOT technicians. For more information visit our website at www.GetAnyBus.com and call the owner Mr. Charles Kaufman at 516-333-7483 today!