How much do Skoolies cost?

In this article, we will answer the following question: How much do Skoolies cost? We will discuss other essential aspects such as how to buy a conversion bus and what are the essentials in converting a Skoolie. 

How much do Skoolies cost?

Market prices for retired school buses vary based on the location, age and condition of individual buses, but for a baseball figure, a standard 72-seater Skoolie starts at around $2,240.

You can expect to sell a Skoolie anywhere from a few thousand dollars to $75000+. Let’s see in the table below a few popular Skoolies that are now on the market. 

Popular Skoolies Selling Price*

Skoolie ModelSelling Price
1994 Ford E350 Short Skoolie$23000
2007 Thomas Off-Grid Skoolie$45000
2001 International IC 40′ Gutted Bus$6500
1996 Ford E350 Short Bus$22000
2000 Ford E-450 Finished Shuttle Bus$65000
1999 GMC Blue Bird$39000
2000 Ford E450 Finished Shuttle$16500
1976 Vintage Chevy GMC V8 6000$7500
2005 Ford E450 Super Duty$72000

*All prices are actual for September 2021 and were collected from skoolielivin.com. 

How much does it cost to build a Skoolie?

The DIY cost of a Skoolie, with all the comforts of home like a working kitchen and bathroom, can cost anywhere from $7460 to $ 22400.However, reusing building materials and a lot of sweating can significantly reduce the costs of conversion.

Much of the construction involves standard building materials, such as insulation board, plywood, flooring, and trim. Plumbing and electrical systems can be equipped with RV and marine products for optimum compactness and portability.

What equipment do I need to build a Skoolie?

For the transformation of the bus into a viable home, several elements must be integrated into the interior of the vehicle. First of all, insulation is one of the essentials to achieve with the installation of a floor. Once this step is completed, you will have to think about the electrical and plumbing equipment. 

These require special knowledge and skills. It is strongly recommended to call in professionals. All the more so since it is essential that everything be up to standard if you want to have the bus approved as a specialized self-propelled vehicle with a GVWR of less than or equal to 3.5 tonnes.

Note that it is quite possible to have solar panels installed on the roof of the bus for your electricity supply. Once all these steps have been completed, you can start the procedure to have the bus approved as a motorhome, which is not an obligation even if strongly recommended.

It happens regularly to see advertisements for the sale of vehicles whose transformation is not completed. The project can turn out to be a money pit if any unforeseen events arise.

Where to buy a bus for conversion?

There are some common places to look for buying a used school bus:

  • Bus dealers: One of the largest in Creative Bus Sales. You can search for what’s in stock on their website.
  • Online Auctions: eBay usually has many listings for second-hand buses.
  • Local classifieds: Craigslist is a good place to start.

Before bidding or buying a bus, review vehicle maintenance records and inspect the bus inside and out. Look for significant rust on the undercarriage/chassis, bodywork and floor inside the bus. A few localized rust spots aren’t a big deal, but widespread rust is a sure headache.

Before you start looking, think about the size and type of bus you prefer. There are short, medium-sized and full-sized buses. Larger buses offer more space but can be more complicated to drive. Also familiarize yourself with engine and transmission types, which can have a big impact on bus longevity and maintenance issues.

There are many online sources where you can find bus conversion construction projects, tutorials and tips, including:

  • Skoolie.net – A forum for Skoolie enthusiasts and DIY builders and a comprehensive site for bus conversion information.
  • Doityourselfrv.com: A good source for basic tutorials on bus conversion and Skoolie furniture projects.
  • Goodnewsbus.com: details converting a family’s bus into daily posts that include video tutorials and thoughtful lessons learned.

How to buy a partially converted Skoolie?

Partial conversions are usually sold as RVs with no bathrooms and/or kitchens. A partially converted 34-foot school bus costs around $10,000. 

By opting for a partially converted Skoolie you can cut down on the amount of backbreaking demonstration work you’ll have (for example, removing dozens of bus seats) so you can start with the fun stuff: remodelling and decorating.

You can find Skoolies like these for sale on the following sites:

  • Tiny House Listings
  • Skoolie Livin
  • Skoolie.homes

How long does it take to build a Skoolie?

Building a Skoolie can take anywhere from a few months to a few years, depending on your level of training, the time you have, whether you will have help or not, and of course, your resources.

Several steps must be taken successfully before obtaining a vehicle totally transformed into a motorhome.

  1. Disassembly: After the acquisition, the first step is to dismantle the interior of the vehicle. Exit the seats, only those necessary are kept. Depending on the vehicle, the other interior components are also removed: luggage racks, handrails, etc.
  1. Renovation: During their transformation, it is often necessary to renovate the vehicle, both mechanically and in terms of bodywork. Smoky engine, rusty bodywork, these obstacles do not discourage the adventurers of transformation.
  1. Installation: Insulation, heating, partitioning, installation of sanitary facilities, fitting out of a bathroom, a kitchen, laying of beds, water management (clean/dirty), electrical connections …: the fitting out requires knowledge in many trades. These arrangements must meet certain standards for the vehicle to be approved.

How much does it cost to get a Skoolie painted?

Getting a school bus painted can cost anywhere from $1000 to $3000, depending on the type of paint you choose, the size of the bus, and whether you hire a professional or do it yourself. Here are a few options:

  1. Get the bus painted at a body shop: $2000
  2. Get the bus painted at RVs repair maintenance place: $1600
  3. DIY: $200 to $400 

How much does a Skoolie roof raise cost?

If we add all the numbers, the costs of a Skoolie roof raise totals $3930 on average. Of course, the final bill will highly depend on you doing it yourself or asking for professional help on the way. 

For raising a Skoolie roof you will need to put money aside for:

  • Tools and various consumables;
  • Preparing and cutting the metal sheets;
  • Removing/adding/framing the windows and the doors of the bus;
  • Having the galvanized steel professionally cut;
  • Paying someone for help. 

Done by a professional, the raise of a Skoolie roof can cost you $10,000. We recommend you to read our article about: “How much does a Skoolie roof raise cost?” for more details and a breakthrough of all the real costs. 

Conclusions

For all those who are passionate about travel, a Skoolie offers a way to always be on the go without sacrificing the comforts that a home offers. School buses are also a blank canvas – once the seats are removed the possibilities are endless. The design will depend on the number of people that will be accommodated on the bus, as well as their lifestyle and needs.

Would you dare to build a Skoolie? If you have any questions, comments or tips on the content, please let us know!

FAQ on How much do Skoolies cost?

Are Skoolies a good investment?

Skoolies are a good investment as long as you are willing to commit to the conversion process and are ready financially speaking. A Skoolie can become a great RV or even a more permanent home. 

How much is a Skoolie worth?

A Skoolie is worth $20,000 to $30,000 for the initial build-out. Depending on the number of amenities and modifications that you are going to make, the worth of your Skoolie will increase significantly. 

Is a Skoolie considered an RV?

Yes, A Skoolie is considered an RV. They have become popular recently and are nothing more than converted school buses. They are spacious and offer plenty of room to decorate and furnish as you may please. 

How well do Skoolies sell?

How well your Skoolie will sell depends on various factors: the size of the converted bus, the quality of the craftsmanship, the number of amenities installed, whether it’s furnished or not, the bus engine size, number of miles, in one word: the condition of the bus itself. 

Where can you sell a Skoolie?

There are several options to sell your Skoolie. After all, a converted bus is considered an RV, thus many RV selling places will deal with Skoolies as well. It’s all a matter of market research, after all. 

References