Sweet Bea came into our lives in October of 2018. Before that purchase, we spent quite some time trying to decide what kind of vehicle would best suit our mobile living dreams. We scoured Craigslist and considered all of our options from the traditional cargo van (sprinter-type) to full-size school buses–even a Sara Lee bread truck! Ultimately, we settled on a short school bus for two primary reasons:
1. The price was RIGHT! Finding a bus in good shape that costs less than $5000 is not only possible, but actually relatively easy.
2. You get a ton of space. We didn’t want to feel crammed into a van where Andy couldn’t really stand up, or we had to reconfigure our bed into a table every morning. For us, the happy medium was a Midbus (since neither one of us wanted to stress about driving or filling the gas tank of a full-size skoolie). The midbus offers a roughly 8′ x 12′ living space behind the cab area, which feels like just enough for us to live comfortably.
Once we knew what type of vehicle we wanted, we started looking locally. Ayana reached out to a conversion company based out of Denver and asked if they had any rigs we might be interested in. They had a midbus with a van front which was exactly what we were looking for. We timidly test drove her (getting behind the wheel of a bus for the first time is anxiety-inducing for sure!), had her checked out by a mechanic, and within a week we had purchased our Bea for $4700.
A little bit about Bea:
She’s a 2001 Chevy Midbus, a short bus chassis powered by a Chevy Express van front.
She spent the beginning of her life at a school district in Texas, meaning issues with rust are virtually nonexistent
She’s a 6.5l V8 Turbo Diesel
When we picked her up, she had about 120,000 miles on her.
Mechanical work–$1,500 (despite a pre-purchase mechanic visit, when we bought her she had a busted turbo and needed her rear shocks replaced)
All in all we spent about $26,000 getting the bus running well and built out! There are certainly ways you can build a bus for MUCH less, a lot of which comes down to personal preference, budget, and timeline. We chose to have a lot of the carpentry done by a professional, which certainly increased our cost. However, we were able to continue working full time during the build, slowly putting money into different bus projects!
Some of our main features include:
Queen sized bed
Walnut table on lagun swivel arm
For more specific information regarding our build check out our resources page. There you can find links to our appliances, paint choices, etc. You can also click through to our Amazon storefront, where you will find a list of our appliances and many of our other favorite buslife items. If you have additional questions feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or shoot us a DM on the insta @letsliveeverywhere. Happy buslife to you all, and thanks for checking out our Sweet Bea!
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