Depends on how you look at it. Fundamentally, I’m looking at the overall condition of the bus (particularly regarding rust damage), the type and condition of the engine and transmission, and the condition of the tires. The amount and type of rust damage play a big part in the suitability of a bus. Different types of engines and transmissions are better suited to different things. Mechanical engines are easier to work on than electronically controlled ones. Tires for a bus are expensive.
More superficially, I’m looking for a bus in the 30-35 foot range. I prefer a Thomas at this point, but I’m somewhat flexible if the right bus comes along. I’m going back and forth between favoring a conventional (dog nose) bus and a flat nose front engine bus. I’d rather have the emergency exit in the rear. Beyond that, I’m relatively flexible still!
I put a lot of thought into this before deciding on a skoolie. For nostalgic reasons, the idea of a skoolie has always appealed to me. On the other hand, both vans and tiny houses have points in their favor. In the end, it came down to a few simple rationalizations.
Vans are small
Yes, I’m looking for something “small,” but vans push it a little farther than I’m willing to go at the moment. I’m not looking for something to live out of for a while; this is going to be my permanent home. As such, I want a few creature comforts… like the ability to comfortably stand inside and a traditional shower.
A THOW isn’t self reliant
In my current position, I’m struggling to get the money together to build a bus… let alone buy a trailer, build a house, and then buy a vehicle capable of pulling it all. A bus has the advantage of being self-contained.
The price is right
A decent condition used school bus is cheaper than both a van and a trailer to build a tiny house on. Additionally, being entirely enclosed allows me to build in stages while still living in the bus (once a certain point is reached in the build process).
Vans are more mobile than a bus, but a bus is more mobile than a THOW. Given the other considerations, a bus seems like the right compromise for me.
The laws regarding licensing for a bus vary by location. In Nebraska, no special license is necessary if you aren’t carrying passengers. Additionally, many states consider a bus an RV once it has a toilet installed and the seats removed.
I’m sort of between jobs at the moment. I’m a freelance web developer and copy editor, but I’m not doing any consistent work lately. I’m hoping that changes soon!
Yes! I don’t have a real home at the moment, so the bus will be home!