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Author Topic: Crazy idea for old unwanted conversions? Keep them in use!  (Read 4576 times)
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« on: March 31, 2012, 04:56:06 AM »

Ok so Christi and I bought this rv park in Dixon, Missouri to host Festivals and Rallies (Bus Rallies). We are getting requests for rentals but we don't have any at this time. We were looking into building them but the cost is, well you know. So we were looking at restoring RVs for rentals when I had this thought, How about busses? Old convs as rentals?
Let me shoot this one across you bow. You have a bus, running or not that is and old conv, the inside still in use-able and or can be put into use as a fixed rental. And you for what ever reason can't/don't want to finish it but don't want to scrap it. How about a deal? You/we bring it here, set it up as a fixed rental, you get so many days per year for you and your family to come stay with no fee, save elec., and we get a cool bus rental. I know there are some details to workout but I think this would be a great way to keep Bussing when for what ever reason you have to quit. Note: you would have to transfer the ol' girl over to us in trade for so many days a year for so many years.
So what do you think? Could this work?
All the Best, M&C
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« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2012, 05:18:20 AM »

I'd pay to stay in a nice (emphasis on "nice"!) converted bus, the earlier the better for me.  Here is something to give you ideas - the Train Station Inn is just down the road from me in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia.  They took the old abandoned train station, turned it into a tourist attraction, added several dining cars and made a high end restaurant, and placed several cabooses and freight cars around the place and remodeled them into nice accommodation.  They are only open in the summer, so the outside walk to your "room" isn't an issue.  They seem to be quite successful.

http://www.trainstation.ca/

Brian
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« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2012, 06:35:45 AM »

Lemee See.  First you buy a bus and convert it.  Now you've bought an RV Park.  Next thing, you'll be publishing a magazine.  I hope you have mental health insurance.

Sounds like a crazy enough idea, it might just work. Try a couple of units.  If you've got the space, the downside risk is minimal.  Figure out some sort of "escape" clause so you're not providing perpetual storage. Cheesy
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« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2012, 06:58:59 AM »

I'm wondering if customers would be more comfortable with a traditional RV than a bus?  A homebuilt conversion may be cheap or free to start with, but you might be tearing your hair out trying to troubleshoot problems down the road.  A lot of older conversions can be quirky and the appliances tend to be older.  Customers pretty much expect everything to just work and might not come back if things are in disrepair or break down often.

It seems like a lot of rental units are newer park models.  Park models are designed for simplicity and drain waste directly into the sewer so renters don't have to worry about emptying tanks or anything. 

It sounds like you'll actually own the units, but allow the previous owner a certain amount of free nights.  Hopefully your agreement with the previous owner allows you to terminate the agreement if the unit just isn't renting or needs more repair in the future than is economical.  Your agreement could offer to transfer the unit back to the previous owner if you no longer have a use for it.
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« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2012, 07:07:28 AM »

There is a small rv park in Bisbee Az. that has about a half dozen antique trailers and even a boat that are fixed up and rented out. I think that the name of the place is Shady Dell?  Az. Highways magazine has done a story or two on them in the past.
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« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2012, 07:10:37 AM »

Just found it.  Just google Shady Dell rv park.   Smiley
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« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2012, 07:20:21 AM »

I haven't checked this out, but.. i would think that converted busses for rentals might be harder to get liability insurance on than an s/s when the insurance agent came for a look...
In the apartments that i own, only the old ones which dont meet the current code requirements, i've had to change  a few things to make the agent happy...that's why i think they might look harder at a conversion for a rental...
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« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2012, 07:30:20 AM »

I think a park that rents out cool buses could be really awesome, similar the Shady Dell for vintage trailers - and become an attraction all of its own.

But do agree that there are probably logistics that running this as a business that could make it tricky and/or expensive - as they would all need to be up to code to get proper insurance on them. And need to be nicely finished to be rentable.

 - Cherie
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« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2012, 01:40:38 PM »

Sorry Mike, I don't have a spare bus laying around however I'd like to congratulate you two on putting that deal together. I know you worked hard and long to get it done.

Since you're not right down the street from us anymore, seeing you will be more difficult. Nina and I wish you success and with your work ethic I'm sure it will come to pass.
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« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2012, 02:55:41 PM »

Now this is what I'm talkin' about! Great comments from all of you.
So, after reading and somemore thinking, heres the deal (as I see it);
The approved bus arrives on the park and is placed in a great spot. The contract is done and the bus becomes the parks and you have time share-ish rights for whatever/how many years (maybe say what the bus is worth=rental days per year X ?years, the better the bus...) Now we block the frame and tie it down, remove the holding tanks, change the toilet, drain the fuel, oil, water, up grade as needed and add a theme. Its not going anywhere and is now a park model with sponk. This would be good for both parties. win/win save a bus. PM me.
As Brian said "they are doing this with trains and others with rv's, why not a bus? same/same.
I have to the Bisbee park and love it.
Thanks Mike, its been a long time coming.
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« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2012, 04:21:24 PM »

if you are going to drain the fuel and oil, why not sell off the motor and tranny and or parts to who ever needs them (Busnuts) maybe even good tires if there on the bus and put on caps on used older good looking ones. any of the Bnuts would pay 200.00 each for good tires, Tanks etc. to off set your costs of fixing them up?
Just my way.

Dave5Cs Grin Cool
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« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2012, 05:19:50 PM »

I like the fully-restored vintage travel trailer (or railway coach) idea, but a huge amount of investment required there I suspect. Not sure about the idea of basing a business around using worn out, mis-matched, home-built buses though. I think the "upgrade as needed" phase you used would involve far more work than you expected.

Possibly a different approach would be to use modern RVs and professionally converted buses instead - not buying them yourself but operating a system whereby you rented out good quality, little-used RVs on behalf of their owners, for the 50 weeks or so of the year that the RV would otherwise be sitting idle. It gives you decent vehicles to rent out, and it gives the owners a small income (say 25% of the rental), solves their storage problems, and gets their RV regularly cleaned, maintained and generally looked after.

I wouldn't contemplate allowing inexperienced renters to drive my bus when it's finished, but I'd have no problems at all renting it out as 'stationary' accommodation. I've even already thought about how I might be able to do it - within a 30 mile radius of my house is a motor racing circuit and two large 'event' venues - potentially I could see myself delivering my bus to one of those places on a Friday afternoon, setting it up, handing it over to renters for the weekend, and then collecting it back on the Monday. If I could leave it at a campsite instead for several weeks or months, and have someone else manage everything for me, that would be a very attractive proposition.

Jeremy
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« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2012, 07:09:59 PM »

I think it will work.  Go for it!!

TOM
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« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2012, 03:01:10 AM »

" Build it and they will come "   seems to be a appropriate quote for your idea.

I have the ideal bus for that type of idea but i'm too far away to particpate. Angry

there should be busnuts closer to you that may want to " retire " to a theme RV park.

Rentals availables, as well as  owners buses permanatly set up for weekend excursions.

Create a  I slept in a  1947 bus, 1950, 1953,  next time i go it's going to be a 1960  Smiley

good idea   whats the worst that can happen you already have the RV park.

Paul
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« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2012, 03:38:29 AM »

There's a huge gulf between what we, as enthusiastic owners of old buses, consider to be acceptable accommodation, and what the general public would consider acceptable. Show the average man in the street a down-at-heel 60-year-old bus, with a gone-to-seed 30 year-old-conversion inside it, and he will wonder how such a thing can exist. Suggest to him that he and his family stay in it for a holiday - and pay for the privilege - and he'll laugh in your face and walk away shaking his head.

Just my opinion. I do have a holiday cottage that I rent out, incidentally, on a similar basis to that which I described earlier; before buying that I looked very hard at various schemes which exist for renting-out privately owned boats.

Jeremy
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« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2012, 06:04:23 AM »

Our provincial parks which have super camping facilities have also recently started renting out basic 'cabins' called yurts.
Campers provide their own bed and bedding, kitchen utensils, toilet paper... pretty much everything. Only the structure and a refrigerator are provided. Simple, self-supporting, with indoor plumbing (toilet and sinks)  and one 15amp receptacle.

The yurts here have ribbed steel roofs for longevity, although there are many variation ( check Google ). Relatively cheap to erect, and really popular with campers. They are reserved a year or more in advance.

........If you build it, they will come....................it happened here!



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Mark Morgan    near Brandon, Manitoba, Canada
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« Reply #16 on: April 01, 2012, 12:27:12 PM »

Thats the ticket Mark, we rent out the park models in St. George that way. We are looking at the yurts, PMs, RVs and cabins of all shapes and sizes. I like the bus idea so we are setting 7 sites aside and see what comes of it. Hey if nothing else maybe someone will laugh in my face. ; }
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« Reply #17 on: April 01, 2012, 07:20:30 PM »

  mike go for it but keep it simple like the guy in az retro flat screens cd players ect and do a theme maybe
  a grayhound  theme  there is a guy heer in costarica that put a old army [ i think ] plane up on a bluff
overlooking the ocean the cabin hangs over the side no frills  bedroom bath and a sitting area i have been
told its hard to get a reservation and its big bucks plus there is a resterant that has a dc3 in side he bought it at airport sale and got a aircraft school to remove the moters cut the wings off plus other stuff to get it inside
then the school to put it back and make flyable in other words the winges are back on and it could fly they even
fired it up and checked it all out the plane is vip dinning and the school and students wher very happy so
go for it crazy stuff people go nuts over good luck john
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« Reply #18 on: April 01, 2012, 07:27:33 PM »

Wasn't Kyle looking to find a home for a senicruiser or two a while back?  And there is a guy that just showed up on the other board that has a driveable 4104 shell that he doesn't know what he is going to do with since he just bought a converted 4106 or 07. Wink
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« Reply #19 on: April 01, 2012, 07:46:00 PM »

Great words John, i think I saw that one on hist or disc channel.

Hey Ed, let me know if you find out who he is. Can you smell the cinn rolls?
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« Reply #20 on: April 02, 2012, 05:37:30 AM »

Mike,

Go for it!  On our Utah trip last year(sorry we didn't stop--went in Jeep-Bus not ready) we stayed in Tucumcari at the Blue Swallow Motel.  While it is not busses or train cars, it is nostalgia. They only have 16 units I think, and the price was competetive with the big name hotels, but with all the charm and nostalgia of old RT 66.  You don't need thousands of customers to be successful.  A good internet site, and a few reviews in travel magazines/travel websites is all you need to get the ball rolling.  There are also busnut wannabes that would come (again as long as the price is competitive with a cabin rental or discount motel.)

Since these busses wouldn't have to be roadworthy, you could build/modify the interiors to be like park models w/all electric, no holding tanks, etc to simplify maintenance.  Spend the money making the outside look very good, and the inside durable. 

Just my thoughts!

Steve Toomey
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« Reply #21 on: April 02, 2012, 06:15:08 AM »

Just think of the possibilities for using the space in the engine compartment w/o eng/trans.

Huge slide out grill or smoker, storage, rear entry way & steps or wheel chair ramp, HOT TUB!?!?!
I say go for it.
And shoot if you just start out with some shells you can out fit them modern and anyway you want!
Grin  BK  Grin
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« Reply #22 on: April 02, 2012, 06:37:27 AM »

In a recent Texas Monthly magazine, the was an article on a park that has old "vintage" travel trailers as a motel. It is in Marfa, at the end of the world, and is booked up. On an aside, when I blew up my 4905 engine in Terlingua last November, I sold it to the High
Sierra bar, grill and hotel. It is set up and being used for a rental condo. Much better than scrapping.

Big John
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« Reply #23 on: April 02, 2012, 07:21:46 AM »

Do board members get priority parking when visiting?  Bob
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« Reply #24 on: April 02, 2012, 09:18:41 AM »

Mike,

Not that you'd be doing this with Buses....but if you put your mind to it - Anything is possible.



As others have stated - If you take the time and do it right, it would be a pretty cool thing to do. 

And - If we had a bus rally there, family and friends that are non-bus owners would have a place to stay Smiley

-Sean
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« Reply #25 on: April 02, 2012, 01:16:14 PM »

Yeah, More good comments. The I think about and hear your points of view, I am loving this more and more! Now I just need some............ Grin
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« Reply #26 on: April 02, 2012, 01:18:08 PM »

Bob, we love Busses and board members can come too. M&C
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« Reply #27 on: April 03, 2012, 04:15:35 PM »

Michel, check the Eagles board, could be your first high rollers suite.
Matt
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« Reply #28 on: April 03, 2012, 04:43:07 PM »

If any still have their destination signs box in them, you could get the roller printed (there is a company that still does this, anything you want on it to fit your box)up to say example,"Hollywood & Vine", "Boston Garden", "Fenway Park", "Broadway", etc then you could add to the inside with something that might be from that area or theme!

Dave5Cs
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« Reply #29 on: April 12, 2012, 08:38:04 PM »

Well, it seams like a good idea Smiley NO TAKERS YET
M&C
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« Reply #30 on: April 23, 2012, 05:53:09 AM »

We picked out 4 spots with a great view of the stage.  Shocked This is going to be so cool. Anyone thinking about it? Michael
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« Reply #31 on: December 16, 2012, 12:51:54 PM »

Hello All, now that we have our 1st season under our belts I wanted to bring this topic back to the top one more time to see if anyone would like to give it a try. We have 12 prime spaces set aside for this program
All the Best, Michael & Christi
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« Reply #32 on: December 16, 2012, 01:09:15 PM »

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« Reply #33 on: December 17, 2012, 08:37:55 AM »

This sounds like a cool idea to me. A few years back, there was a Scenicruiser shell at I-44 bus sales in Saracoxie, MO. (about 150 miles from you). That would make a great candidate for what you are describing. Several years ago I made my son a playhouse from a salvaged Scenic. (See photos.) He's now a teenager and not exactly into the playhouse anymore. I'm considering making room inside my building for it as an office area. Just can't bring myself to get rid of it!

Tom
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« Reply #34 on: December 17, 2012, 08:57:02 AM »

This sounds like a cool idea to me. A few years back, there was a Scenicruiser shell at I-44 bus sales in Saracoxie, MO. (about 150 miles from you). That would make a great candidate for what you are describing. Several years ago I made my son a playhouse from a salvaged Scenic. (See photos.) He's now a teenager and not exactly into the playhouse anymore. I'm considering making room inside my building for it as an office area. Just can't bring myself to get rid of it!

Tom

That has to be about the coolest thing I have seen in a long, long time.  A bus exiting a shop as an office.  What a terrific idea.  That looks incredible in the photo.

Kudos

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« Reply #35 on: December 17, 2012, 10:47:55 AM »

Tom,

Is the rest of the bus inside?  If not just leave it where it is, put a door thru the side of the building and add some heat!

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« Reply #36 on: December 17, 2012, 11:32:47 AM »

Thanks guys

Only front 1/3 is attached to building. Rest is gone. I would leave it alone like you say, but I hate to see it sit outside forever. The Illinois weather is very hard on vehicles. I thought about a lean-to addition over the bus to preserve it. I may do a lean-to addition (full 60 ft. length of building anyway) because I need room for my new silversides I bought in California. Believe it or not, there would be room for the Scenic "playhouse" inside (Northeast corner of building) and still leave room to get my 4104 in and out.

Merry Christmas !
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« Reply #37 on: December 17, 2012, 05:15:57 PM »

I thinks this will work. We "worked" this summer not 20 miles from you on an Ozark Farm that has primitive cabins that rent for $100/ night 2 night min. Spilt your own wood, pump your water, Showers are solar bags in the trees ANS a privy. So I think a Bus sounds good.
LeRoy
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