Bus Conversions dot Com Bulletin Board
December 21, 2014, 07:03:38 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: If you had an Online Subscription: You can zoom in to make the text larger and easier to read.
   Home   Help Forum Rules Search Calendar Login Register BCM Home Page Contact BCM  
Pages: 1 2 3 [All]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Bus Conversion Business  (Read 3843 times)
viking1
Viking
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 75





Ignore
« on: August 30, 2011, 12:02:20 PM »

So here is a question to all you wise bus nuts.

I am recently furloughed from my job and I am looking for something to do. I have a small 2 acre ranch outside of Los Angeles CA with a pretty decent sized shop, and lots of parking. I have been contemplating what I can do from home working in my shop to make a living. So it came to me, I have a bus, I love buses and over the last 3 years I have learned allot about buses. I have a lot of local talent that I can hire in, like painters, body guys, interior guys, electrical guys, welders etc. So I am wondering if it might be a good idea to start a small business converting buses. Maybe commit to completing 2 a year or so and also maybe doing some repairs on the side.

Any advise or comments would be greatly appreciated. How would I go about advertising, where would my customers come from?Huh?

Also my own bus is approx 65% finished, it is a 1989 MCI 102C3
Logged

Price is what you pay.  Value is what you get
Busted Knuckle
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6447


6 Setras, 2 MCIs, and 1 Dina. Just buses ;D


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2011, 12:12:24 PM »

I have always been told the way to make a small fortune in ____________ (fill in with what you want),
is too start out with a big one!
Grin  BK  Grin

I know it has worked for me with trucks & charter buses!

Start out with $ in your pocket and before long you'll be @ the nearest exit with a card board sign saying "Will work for food!"

Now hey that is one enterprise that is thriving and it don't cost much to get in to it or much overhead to keep it going!
Grin  BK  Grin
Logged

Busted Knuckle aka Bryce Gaston
KY Lakeside Travel's Busted Knuckle Garage
Huntingdon, TN 12 minutes N of I-40 @ exit 108
www.kylakesidetravel.net

Grin Keep SMILING it makes people wonder what yer up to! Grin (at least thats what momma always told me! Grin)
prevosman
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 185





Ignore
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2011, 12:36:18 PM »

I no longer work for a living, but when I did I went from a real job to being in my own business. The shift is enormous and by all standards I never should have survived in my first stand alone business. But I did survive and got a lot smarter. With the second business I learned a lot more, and buy the time I have my third business I actually knew what I was doing.

So if I am going to offer any free advice (worth what you are going to pay for it) it is to rub the stars out of your eyes and look at this in the most realistic possible way. You have a lot of questions to answer and you have to answer them honestly.

The most important is where will your business come from? And if there really are customers out there beating down your door are they going to be willing to spend the $100 an hour you need to charge to be able to survive? (If you think $100 an hour is too much insert your own number but only after you have priced insurance, utilities, supplies, advertising, the cost of doing the job over because you made a mistake, etc. etc.)

Once you have a solid answer as to where and how you are going to get customers that will pay your price, start looking into all that is required to convert your 2 acres into a commercial property with all the permits, licenses, approvals, zoning changes, etc. Then get the prices for everything you need to run a business including insurance, legal assistance, accounting assistance, etc. If you need employees don't forget to figure in everything they are entitled to such as insurance, workemen's comp, disability, holidays, vacations, payroll taxes. etc. Figure in the cost of compliance with all environmental and OSHA regulations. Make sure the local building inspector will not require major changes that cost money you did not anticipate. You get the picture.

Then be honest with yourself. Are you really as good and as smart as you think? Or is your expertise very limited, such as to a single model bus? If the answer is you need additional training or employees with specialized skills to offset yours you need to make sure you have that covered. Customers usually do not like paying for on the job training.

As every business man on this and every other forum will tell you your 40 hour workweeks are over. Are you ready to work all day, every day, and then sit at the kitchen table trying to do cash flow analysis to see if you can meet next week's payroll or if you can afford to buy a new compressor to fix the one that just broke? Are you prepared to be getting phone calls at home after you are in bed? As unreasonable as customers can be they are still customers.

All the above is the down side.

If you can see clearly that it will work, even if it means you barely have money for food some weeks, the good news is nothing is more satisfying than owning your own business. And once you succeed (survive) at one each succeeding one becomes easier and you become much more proficient as a businessman (not as a skilled tradesman). But before you take such a huge risk you really need to be honest with yourself.

I would be scared to death to try to start a business in CA. But then again all of my businesses were in NY which is just as anti business as CA.
Logged

Jon Wehrenberg
Knoxville TN
1997 Prevost Liberty
jjrbus
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2313

MCI5C/N Ft Myers FL




Ignore
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2011, 12:55:30 PM »

I have always been confused by one person in the conversion business.  No matter what happens he ends up back in business with a fresh supply of suckers er victims no I mean customers.

 Why can't an honest person come up with the same marketing strategy and actually do the work that is paid for??

 http://www.busconversions.com/bbs/index.php?topic=559.0
Logged

Remember, even at a Mensa convention someone is the dumbest person in the room!

http://photobucket.com/buspictures

http://photobucket.com/buspictures
thunderstruck
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 42





Ignore
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2011, 01:00:36 PM »

Unfortunately, "small business" in this country is a endangered species...
Logged

PREVOST H3-45 Featherlite Vantare
Ft.Lauderdale, Florida.
bigjohnkub
pd4903-188 and now pd4107
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 246




Ignore
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2011, 01:32:50 PM »

You did not give your age. If you are young , go for it  I have started 3 businesses. two that survived, one burned down. I did not get rich. I made a good living and sent both children through college> UT if you are wondering. I worked 10 to 12 hrs a day. 1st wife left and got most of the money. I am getting ready to retire from 3rd business with two rent properties and my home on 300 acres of land. You will have to work til you cannot stay awake, but you can do it. There is only 2 ways to get money in America, Inherit it or earn it.

Big John
Logged

Big John  Tyler Tx PD 4903-188 & 4107
871 dd, 4 spd Fuller.
LOVE MY BUS!!!!
9035304497
Lin
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 4604

1965 MC-5a




Ignore
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2011, 02:01:33 PM »

Do you plan to build a bus on spec, or sell your services to someone that wants a conversion?  The first option is easy to do, if you have the money, but may be to hard to sell in this market.  You would have to work out what the conversion would cost and how much you can get selling it compared to what's on Craigslist already.  I am not sure it would pay now.  The second option is less risky, but you would need a way to find a flush customer.
Logged

You don't have to believe everything you think.
bevans6
Hero Member
*****
Online Online

Posts: 4878


1980 MCI MC-5C




Ignore
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2011, 02:07:01 PM »

Do piece work, not projects.  Try to get them on an hourly rate plus materials basis.  $30/hr, less $10 for overhead, work ten hours, use maybe $200 in material at a 20% markup, you got a days wage.  And people actually pay you for it, as opposed to promises, I'll get you next week, and now lets talk about the discount on the whole job...

I do project work for very very few people.

Brian
« Last Edit: August 30, 2011, 02:32:20 PM by bevans6 » Logged

1980 MCI MC-5C, 8V-71T from a M-110 self propelled howitzer
Spicer 8844 4 speed Zen meditation device
Vintage race cars -
1978 Lola T440 Formula Ford
1972 NTM MK-4 B/SR
Lonnie time to go
Lonnie
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 301

Saginaw, Michgan




Ignore
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2011, 02:23:45 PM »

I could not agree more with what others have posted.

Dealing with employees when you turn  your back no work done or tools gone.

Calls every holiday trust me thanksgiving is a big one.

Work long days and 7 days a week big time.

The big thing is people want a firm price not by the hour.  once you give that price any changes are hard to get money for ( you want the customer happy)

Dealing with people is not easy some just don't think the way the rest of the world does.
People will tell you how to do it, and blame you if it don't work.

A plus is money can be good but after you get it organized.

Cost of advertising can be crazy.  I had yellow page lead ad 2 in x 4 in listed first cost  $6000.00

A big one is getting people to spend money knowing the dollar value of a bus is gone.

Take what you think it will cost and X by 4

Take estimated profit and divide by 3

Good luck

Lonnie

Logged

1976 4905
viking1
Viking
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 75





Ignore
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2011, 03:49:14 PM »

Thank you for all the valuable information. I am 43 and yes I know what business it takes a million bucks in to turn it into 100K. Aviation!. U gotta start a billionair to become a millionair!

I have been in aviation all my life as a pilot as well as an owner. I used to own a very successful Aviation Charter company both in the US and in Europe. I employed over 45 people and had 14+ airplanes at the height of the business. After 911 it has been hard to do any thing in aviation, so for the last 8 years+ I've been a pilot for a major organization but even they laid of people. So I am thinking it is time to be in control of my own destiny again and why not combine it with something I love and am good at. I am not afraid of hard work or long days. I am not looking to convert my property in to the next Marathon Coach workshop. I just want to do one or two buses a year, maybe hire one guy to help me and work on my own schedule. Nothing to big, just enough to pay the bills, do good honest work and turn out a good product.

Thanks for the input and any thing else you got will be much appreciated.
Logged

Price is what you pay.  Value is what you get
Utahclaimjumper
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 853




Ignore
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2011, 04:02:58 PM »

The one hardest thing to accomplish is to get the customer to pay what he owes AFTER you have all YOUR money and time invested in HIS job,, they allways think that is the time to negotiate.>>>Dan
Logged

Utahclaimjumper 
 EX 4106 (presently SOB)
Cedar City, Ut.
 72 VW Baja towed
belfert
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 5475




Ignore
« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2011, 04:24:17 PM »

If you're thinking about converting used buses you have to realize you may be married to that bus forever.  If the engine blows 6 months down the road the customer will claim you sold them a piece of junk even though you may have sold the chassis AS-IS.  You might be better off converting a bus the customer buys themselves.

New buses are going to be a tough sell as someone will wonder what you offer versus Marathon and the other big boys.  You may have problems even getting a new shell as they won't want to sell a new business one on credit.  Again, I guess you could have the customer pay for the shell up front.

There is a little company locally that was fixing and upgrading buses, but not sure if they are still in business.  I don't know if they did any full conversions or not.
Logged

Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
John316
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 3309

MCI 1995 DL3, DD S60, Allison B500.




Ignore
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2011, 04:26:33 PM »

The one hardest thing to accomplish is to get the customer to pay what he owes AFTER you have all YOUR money and time invested in HIS job,, they allways think that is the time to negotiate.>>>Dan

That is one thing that I always am careful of. Seriously, I always have a signed contract (with amounts) up front. Even then, I get enough up front to cover all of my hard costs. One thing I always try hard to do, is never dip into my own pocket for hard costs. Does it limit my pool of customers (before the economy went down I was a contractor, now I do computer work, I really don't miss the construction), maybe. However, I have found that I really don't want to work for the folks that don't want to pay some up front.

FWIW

John
Logged

MCI 1995 DL3. DD S60 with a Allison B500.
Dreamscape
Dreamscape
Global Moderator
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 3322


1968 Silver Eagle Model 01 8V71 Allison 740 #7443


WWW
« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2011, 04:27:18 PM »

One thought. Get at least 50% up front, balance when complete. Just so you have enough cash flow to support the cost of materials and enough to keep the lights on.

After you take a hard honest look at it, then think realistic.

Good Luck, it's tough out there, but live the dream if you can.
Logged

Becky and Paul Lawry, On The Road
Travel Blog - http://dreamscapetravels.wordpress.com/
Bus Blog - http://dreamscapesilvereagle.wordpress.com/
______________________________________________________

Our coach was originally owned by the Dixie Echoes.
RnMAdventures
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 408





Ignore
« Reply #14 on: August 30, 2011, 04:54:05 PM »

I have been in aviation all my life as a pilot as well as an owner. I used to own a very successful Aviation Charter company both in the US and in Europe. I employed over 45 people and had 14+ airplanes at the height of the business.

Why not stick with what you know? I was in a partnership years ago, but nothing like you describe that you have done. A startup is a rough endeaver and more fail than succeed, especially in todays market. Personally, I do not see a lot of money flowing into bus conversions. It's a niche market. If I were in your shoes, I would seek a niche in the aviation field.

With all that said... if it is your dream, then do it.  Wink
Logged

Mike & Rosemarie
1964 PD4106-2626
DD8v71 & Allison v730
Busted Knuckle
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6447


6 Setras, 2 MCIs, and 1 Dina. Just buses ;D


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #15 on: August 30, 2011, 05:10:32 PM »

IF and I said IF you were to get into it. The only way I would do it is if the customer brings you their shell/bus and both you & the customer do a complete job list together.
Then set a reasonable goal for X amount of work to get done & have them pay that amount up front.
Once that part is done they can inspect what you've done, an then the 2 of ya can line up the next "phase."
That is what a good friend of mine that builds custom hot rods, race cars and does custom fabrication does and he says it's the only way to do it and survive.
He has in the past done work for customers who call and say do X # of hrs and I'll be by next week to pay you and bring you this or that for the next project. And one Chevy II he did that way is still in his shop 8 yrs later and still not done and the guy still owes for the work done so far! (many of his customers are "biz" professionals, Dr's, lawyers, pilots and other non-mechanically inclined folks that don't know which end of a screwdriver to use where! And he says even they are hurting and cutting back on their "toy" $ !)

Grin  BK  Grin
Logged

Busted Knuckle aka Bryce Gaston
KY Lakeside Travel's Busted Knuckle Garage
Huntingdon, TN 12 minutes N of I-40 @ exit 108
www.kylakesidetravel.net

Grin Keep SMILING it makes people wonder what yer up to! Grin (at least thats what momma always told me! Grin)
robertglines1
steam nut
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 4064





Ignore
« Reply #16 on: August 30, 2011, 06:23:04 PM »

Need to finish the one you got first. See if you can sell it then build another for your self with the intention of selling it or using it. This experience will tell you where the market is and how your abilities stack up. Think the market is in the repair or upgrade area now and not in the conversion market.  You need product to display your abilities.   You need a hook(something special) to get people to come to you.  Slides,  super paint jobs, wow interiors. all of the above.
Logged

Bob@Judy  98 XLE prevost with 3 slides --Home done---last one! SW INdiana
luvrbus
Hero Member
*****
Online Online

Posts: 13128




Ignore
« Reply #17 on: August 30, 2011, 06:33:05 PM »


Just do a little repair work, here you are thinking about a full blown business that even the big boys are dropping like a rock  most of the small converters have been long gone only a few hanging on by doing repair work and they don't have any employees










 
Logged

Life is short drink the good wine first
wal1809
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1339




Ignore
« Reply #18 on: August 30, 2011, 06:41:53 PM »

I think Clifford is correct. The falling bus prices would indicate what you can and cannot accomplish.  However working on them is a different story.
Logged

1984 Silver Eagle Model 10 6V92 Allison auto tranny
www.snakebreaker.com
niles500
Niles500
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1203


ROSIE




Ignore
« Reply #19 on: August 30, 2011, 10:30:19 PM »

robert and clifford pretty much told it all - FWIW
Logged

(\__/)
(='.'=)
(")_(")  

- Niles
blank
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1929




Ignore
« Reply #20 on: August 31, 2011, 02:23:33 AM »


  I used to own a very successful Aviation Charter company both in the US and in Europe. I employed over 45 people and had 14+ airplanes at the height of the business.

  As others have said, go with what you know. The mere fact other small companies have dropped out of Aviation is all the more reason to use your talents and know how to make something work. Aviation is not dead, is just in a state of refinding itself.

  I personally feel the Bus market is about dead, and will be remain dead indefinetly, and I think anyone who has thoughts its coming back anytime soon is smoking something. The market is flooded with Buses. And there are many more out there stacked up, half done projects, repos waiting for a sea change thats not coming, its going to get worse before it gets better. But people still need, or want to fly.

  I keep thinking someone should organize a private club for flyers, so they dont have to go through all the security BS. Make everyone a part owner, or figure out a way to make them a shareholder. Gotta be a way to make that work. I think many people would just about pay double to get out of the slow lane and away from hands up their skirts or people fondling thier little kids.

  Anyway, id stick with Aviation myself, I think youll go nowhere with the Bus thing.
Logged
boxcarOkie
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1453





Ignore
« Reply #21 on: August 31, 2011, 02:50:01 AM »

Artvonne:  I personally feel the Bus market is about dead, and will be remain dead indefinetly, and I think anyone who has thoughts its coming back anytime soon is smoking something. The market is flooded with Buses.

  I keep thinking someone should organize a private club for flyers, so they dont have to go through all the security BS. Make everyone a part owner, or figure out a way to make them a shareholder. Gotta be a way to make that work.
  
Anyway, id stick with Aviation myself, I think youll go nowhere with the Bus thing.


Buses, whether or not lower-end or top drawer, are in the dumper and most likely will not make a comeback.  Look at the RV Industry, companies with over 40 years experience and sales, bellied up and now long gone, over 35 of them in one year.  A new term was coined to cover the folks with their products ... Orphans.

We no longer build things in this country, we service them (service economy) and that is the bottom line.  The days of being out in front of the pack and doing what you are contemplating doing, well frankly, they are long gone.  Established bus or coach manufacturers are far and few between today.

The club for private flyers is already in place, charter air fare is doing well, it saw a marked increase in service after 911 and continues to be a healthy viable alternative to the majors, if you can afford it.

Which is basically what all of this comes down to ... Whether or not you can afford it?

BCO
« Last Edit: August 31, 2011, 02:55:50 AM by boxcarOkie » Logged

pipopak
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 187


I am the 99%




Ignore
« Reply #22 on: August 31, 2011, 04:17:30 AM »

. There is only 2 ways to get money in America, Inherit it or earn it.

Big John
You are forgetting politics and lawyers, but I guess you meant just honest ways...
Logged

Linux, when Windoze just will not measure up.
Ace
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1330





Ignore
« Reply #23 on: August 31, 2011, 04:42:43 AM »

I've been a small business Irene fire a long long time and although its just a service business in peoples homes, it has gone way down from what it once was. People just don't need my services like they used to. Oh sure I still keep busy but nothing like it was.
Ask yourself this. Do people need your services? Look at this board and see how many do their own work. Most everyone here do and the most they would want from an outside source is help or questions answered.
Personally as others have stated, buses and converting them is a hobby. Something the owner can do on their own, spending what they want, at their , and doing it their way. Its been proven, that everyone does a conversion without following any codes so there its no right way.
Look at and compare other hobbies. Actual hobby shops have all but closed up with the internet being available. The example bring the internet is the first pricing source for people these days. They look there first, then decide if the local guy or store is worth going or not.
If your only looking to do 1-2 buses a year then you must have a pretty good bank roll to carry you. The guy helping you is going to want something as in pay, regular! Each week, you will have money going out with nothing coming in until you deliver. But something i would'nt want to have hanging over my head. I like to get in, do my job, get paid, and get out! Go on to the next one. Coverting a bus isn't that easy or quick. You would have to get a substantial deposit to cover your cost/expenses and there isn't a lot of people that are willing or CAN for that matter, fork out big money and wait for the results!
Good luck in whatever you decide....
Logged

Ace Rossi
Lakeland, Fl. 33810
Prevost H3-40
MEverard
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 114





Ignore
« Reply #24 on: August 31, 2011, 05:49:54 AM »

I am a General Contractor in California, and I have a Cabinet Shop. It is hard enough to get people to spend money on their houses right now. I can't believe many people are going to spend a lot of money on conversions, especially with the market in the tank. The people with monopoly money are going to buy brand new coaches at any cost. I would love to convert busses for a living. However, I don't see that as a reality. As it is now, I am converting one with free labor, but that's what happens when you own one.

I know you will make whatever decision you feel will work out best.

Good Luck.

Mike
Logged

Mike Everard
1960 GMC PD4104-4520
Antioch, CA
belfert
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 5475




Ignore
« Reply #25 on: August 31, 2011, 05:50:31 AM »

So far we haven't seen foreign motorhomes or bus conversions entering the American market except from Canada.  

Bus conversions are still built in America, but the problem is there are few buyers for them.  Some of the buyers of million dollar conversions lost a lot of money in the economic crash and can't afford one now.  In some cases fuel costs are an issue.  Big buck entertainers and politicians will still lease buses as the fuel is a small part of the overall cost.
Logged

Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
ccbmster
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 89




Ignore
« Reply #26 on: August 31, 2011, 09:32:52 AM »

I have known people that flip houses as a side business.  They buy one that needs work and live in it while doing the work.  Then they sell it and use the proceeds to do it all over again.  Yes, this economy makes selling tougher for them but it also provides better deals on the next project too.

So perhaps one way to gauge start your business would be to finish the bus you are working on and then see if you have any success selling it.  If so, use the money to do the next one.  If at any point you cant see one, you are no worse off than you are now.  Actually better off because you have a bus finished to enjoy yourself  Smiley

Combine that with doing some repair/remodeling work and you might make a few bucks with little to no risk.
Logged

86 MCI 102A3  MI/CA with SoCal being primary. 6V92 with Allison 740 Auto
82 MCI 9 8V71N with Allison 740 Auto..soon to be parted out or scrapped
happycamperbrat
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1813





Ignore
« Reply #27 on: August 31, 2011, 10:48:16 AM »

I'm with most of the other people in this thread. The market has pooped and I don't think will ever make a come back until there is a better answer for the cost of fuel. The only thing else I would suggest is maybe a niche potential market in customising a bus to be completely self sufficient in a time of Apocalypse or some sort disaster. IE. making it camouflage, having secured food and water storage for longer term survival, making it to run on veggie oil or kerosene or even chocolate bars, etc. Survival type stuff, I think, would be about the only angle that "might" be good.
Logged

The Little GTO is a 102" wide and 40' long 1983 GMC RTS II and my name is Teresa in case I forgot to sign my post
Len Silva
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 4086


Angle Parked in a Parallel Universe


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #28 on: August 31, 2011, 01:12:19 PM »

Now that is brilliant, out of the box thinking.

That is one niche market that will only get better as the economy gets worse.

An armored, weaponized bus, completely sealed, able to convert urine to drinking water, oxygen canisters, sovereign citizen license plates, run flat tires.

Man, you are going to make a killing in Arizona and Montana.

Logged


Hand Made Gifts

Ignorance is only bliss to the ignorant.
prevosman
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 185





Ignore
« Reply #29 on: August 31, 2011, 01:38:16 PM »

Actually there are several factors at work at the same time.

The folks who can buy a new coach are starting to return. They hunkered down when the economy and the market went in the dumper, but they are coming out of hiding and actually new coaches are selling. Not in the larger numbers of four or five years ago, but compared to the last few years things are looking good.

That means trades. That market is starting to come alive also. It doesn't mean coach values are going up, but if they are going down it is much slower and coaches are selling. The problem for owners who wish to sell is that the buyers know they are in control and those with cash or who can get financing are driving the market and it is still depressed but at least not plummeting.

At the low end of the market, coaches with 8V92 engines, or 20 years old I think I am seeing this segment continue to get slammed. Buyers who are capable of paying cash or financing even older or less expensive coaches want things like the Series 60 and that adversely impacts two stroke coaches. I have seen a 1997 H3-45 Vantare Conversion that should have been in the $200,000 range go for $103,000. That coach has a series 60 and the six speed Allison. I have seen a early 90's Country Coach that looked really well maintained go for $50,000. That coach had an 8V92 and the five speed Allison. When professional conversions by established converters are given away for far less than their replacement cost, then any coach that started life as a seated coach is really going to suffer in value no matter what the quality of the work.

I long ago stopped worrying about what my coach is worth and I value it as a hobby that allows me to travel and exercise my limited mechanical skills when it is in the garage. There is no way with the selection of used coaches of every description that have been on the market forever that making a new conversion or even extensive upgrades can be justified unless the owner does it himself and treats his time as having no value.

I see some fantastic coaches on this site but I seriously doubt if anyone could do the conversion and recover what they have invested in the coach. Unless and until the used coaches dry up and unless and until financing institutions start lending money we all are faced with the reality that we can never justify building a conversion and expect its value to equal what we have invested, not counting our time. If I were to start a business in bus conversions I think I would aim toward chassis work and conversion systems repair. I suspect a businessman who can create a following can do OK replacing air bags or brake chambers or Norgren valves or ride height valves or shocks than he could justify what he has to charge to redo an interior.
Logged

Jon Wehrenberg
Knoxville TN
1997 Prevost Liberty
luvrbus
Hero Member
*****
Online Online

Posts: 13128




Ignore
« Reply #30 on: August 31, 2011, 01:56:25 PM »

FWIW I bought a 2002 H-45  Vantare from Newell for under a hundred, Star Coaches leased it for me on their program I got 6 months rental at a good fee and sold the coach to the guy that had leased it for the months just no way would I try and convert and sell buses for a business.
Prevost has some buys on new shells old stock some are 4 years old but new the salesman told me they sold 20 total shells in over a year and most of those were entertainer shells he told me Marathon would take 60 a year 5 years ago  

good luck
Logged

Life is short drink the good wine first
Pages: 1 2 3 [All]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!