I pondered this question for months. What size bus? I decided to go for a mid-size bus. These are usually 24-30 feet long.
The short buses fit into lots of places easily but with a wheelchair I felt cramped inside.
The long buses (35-40 feet) are hard to park and have fewer campground options. These negatives make the additional interior space not worth it to me.
Next I needed to find a bus with a wheelchair lift door. I don’t care about the lift just want the door. Ideally I wanted the lift door to be near the front entrance so I could put the bed in the back (some lift doors are in the back corner).
The big question became a balancing act of money versus level of conversion. The prices are all over the place. One seller had a bus with just the seats removed and wanted $7,000. Another seller with the same level of conversion wanted $4,000. When other factors such as electrical, plumbing and solar systems get added in the price ranges went from $15,000 - 70,000.
I wanted a bus that had the seats already removed and if possible, some good insulation on the floor, walls and ceiling. School buses are basically metal cans. For full-time living, good insulation is necessary.
When I found the right bus for me it had the seats removed and insulation in the floor and walls, a wheelchair lift door near the front of the bus, a ‘flat face’ design (think city buses), and a strong engine and transmission combination.
The bus is purchased and I am arranging to get it transported to me. I found a great place for building the conversion - an outdoor storage place with rain protection that also has a wood shop and metal shop.
I am interviewing experienced skoolie builders to find someone to work with me to implement my design.
I invite you to follow along on my adventure to Building Joy.