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| Venmo: @JaxAustin Vlog #416: My experience hunting for and buying a school bus for the second time. This is my opinion of what you need to know before you buy a school bus to convert into a tiny house or skoolie conversion.

#1: take your time to look and educate yourself
#2. don’t be in a rush
#3. know what engine and size you want
#4. calculate costs to get it back home and what repairs and expenses it needs (like tires)
#5. see #1

ABOUT ME: I sold all my possessions, blocked my boss and quit job, purchased a school bus, converted it to a skoolie, and hit the road to daily vlog to document my travels and inspire others to travel more, chase your dreams, and share the joys of living the #VanLife #BusLife ๐ŸšŒ Find me everywhere @JaxAustin

16. VENMO: @JaxAustin

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buying a bus is a lot harder much much harder than you would think right now before we get into this informational advice type video we got a couple people thank for joining patreon so I want to thank Keith Dharma darborn thank you very much and the next one will be bubble Warbucks I see you in the comments all the time thank you so much I really appreciate it up next we got Terry minion Wow that's very generous of you thank you so much I really appreciate that and let's see next one Jared guy I think that's how I pronounce it thank you very much it's almost like juries you should check out their channel if you're not familiar but it is much appreciated next one we got Darcy done thank you very much Darcy it's much appreciated and going on the list here we got Georgina someone edited their patreon pledge Georgina thank you so much for that I really appreciate it and we have last but not least Dave Herald thank you very much thanks for joining the family join the club and you know thank everyone for the support and if you don't join the patreon many many ways to help out the channel if you like just you know word of mouth is great tweet it tell your friends about it I put a whole funny list of things you can do down in the comments so let's get right into this next video I just need to sit down and take a break my gosh you know I thought this was gonna be easier the second time around so here's here's what's happening I don't have a bus and that last bus I looked at was the asking price is 3,500 several days after I went to look at that bus mysteriously a service invoice was found and they supposedly did three thousand dollars of work on it so they basically called me back and said oh yeah it's not 3500 bucks anymore it's sixty-five and the only thing I could think was wow these guys are trying to rip me off and that I think is a fair logical next step right in your mind if this happened to you I mean what other business sends you a counteroffer higher than the original price so which by the way I don't think I'm gonna recommend them so I'll probably not mention their name because I don't still don't know if I can recommend them I don't know if this is a good company or if it's another first student type shady place where they just tell you whatever you want to hear just so they can sell a bus one thing to keep in mind when you buy a bus from a you know like a bus servicing company or not just servicing mechanically but servicing like provide the drivers and routes and all that stuff and they kind of team up with school districts and things like that is that these buses after a certain amount of years they can't use them there is zero value outside of people like me and you and other people who want to purchase one to use it as an RV or a tiny house or whatever you want to call it bus life and life so that is something to keep in mind they just want to get rid of these things a lot of times are trade ins and the if there's something wrong with them they will wrap them because it's cheaper than trying to fix them and then sell them and all the headache and stuff so just keep that in mind this isn't like you know that one auto place that takes in a bunch of used cars I can't think of it as a blue and yellow logo Carmack's it's not like a place where you can go and and you get something and it's like it's also so so just keep that in mind and let me tell you also that if you have any sort of time restraint or rush forget about it just just forget about it something's gonna go wrong just just factor that into your budget take your time learn about the buses even the engines learn about it as much as you can get on the forums watch videos ask people who have converted a bus because you it will benefit you in the long run so that part is on you if you want to buy a bus what else can I recommend you know find a good engine there's a bunch of different engines out there and so you will you will learn that when you google it I'm gonna try and find a dt 466 as an inline six version of the 7.3 powerstroke which I had before which is made by international was made by them and it's known as at44 for e those are good there's also Cummins and other ones but do your homework research the engines cuz you could get a really bad one so here's the situation right now I test the bus I test drove right so there was another bus I couldn't test drive and that one was the same price so when I got the message when they said oh by the way we're jacking up the price but we'll give you this great deal of fifty five hundred which is still two grand more than they were originally asking and since I have since found out the work they did on that and it is not even worth two grand more so they said oh we're also bumping up the other bus which you didn't drive the reason I didn't drive it because it didn't start imagine that hey yeah I know you test drove this great bus and a run great you were very happy with it but you know we're gonna bump the price on that and we want to sell you the one that wasn't starting so that's why I'm not gonna mention this company cuz it could have been an auto sick I don't know I can't say that for sure I'm gonna take that sales lady seems like a nice person it also seems like they got more turnover that a bakery in there so usually that comes from the top in companies can you know upper management the owners it could be real assholes I don't know I haven't met him I know they didn't respond to my email once I countered to me with a higher price I countered to the owners with hey you should give me free bus it didn't work out they don't see the value in it and I don't think that's there yeah anyway so here's good so so this is what I'm gonna do I'm gonna drive up there tomorrow and I'm gonna check out the bus that did not start the reason is the other bus it's not worth the price their chart they want to charge me for the labor that they did it's it's not my fault that they lost the paperwork and apparently it could have been caused by an unhappy employee just trying to you know kind of cost the company more money so can I Drive up tomorrow I have a cashier's check for 3500 bucks plus tax and hopefully it runs and sounds great if it doesn't we're eating me back to the drawing board but the good news is these buses there's a dime a dozen the only problem is you have to factor into your purchase price where the bus is and proximity to you this one is a couple hours out of the way another bus I found which had a mechanical engine which is better for the oil apparently well that was a couple flights away and would probably cost me a thousand dollars just in diesel to get it back also there is a considerable amount of rust these are all things to take in consideration I since I am now for more familiar with engines I asked a ton of questions about this we called the two flight bus with a Cummins 5 912 valve in it and it was just when you're doing a conversion you don't want rust Michael navigation nowhere was like dude don't get the rust bus I called badge and I said badge hey that preferred engine it's a little bit on the rusty side he said oh no no we don't want rust so that's why I am choosing to go against my initial thought my initial feeling my mental reaction I guess was to stay away from someplace that wants to charge me more but all things considered you know if it's just a couple batteries which they say I mean at some point you'd have to change the batteries anyway so that could be like 300 bucks and thankfully that you know I know a mechanic if there's anything wrong with it we can fix it right so so number one important thing when you buy a bus give yourself time and don't jump to conclusions remember this is a depreciating asset from a business and it's a numbers game that's it it's not some emotional thing like all I got this really cherry you know 1956 you know Chevy whatever you know people care about these things they just want to get rid of them it's a balance sheet thing it's not a we got to make sure it runs for the next owner thing if there's some kind of problem with the bus and the problem cost more than the bus they're just gonna auction it off perhaps or scrapped it it's just not worth it and then they take a loss on that with their business so give yourself plenty plenty of time research the buses try to find one with the least amount of rust and also factor in the cost of transporting that bus to you also you should need to get familiar with the size of the buses and you need to call your local licensing place insurance place if there's any sort of modifications that you need to do if it's rusty and you need to replace the metal that's gonna be really expensive also you should probably know how to weld so there's a lot of factors that are gonna go into this so I'm trying to get the best bus that's available in a reasonable proximity which has the best longevity and also the best bones the frame the least amount of rust because the other bus if I flew to Indiana to get that Cummins 5 912 valve to drive it over here it cost me about a thousand dollars in diesel so that one also was listed at 3500 bucks so then it bumps up to 45 then you have a rusty bus at 4,500 bucks see them saying yeah and also a lot of people who are reselling these things online if you're looking for one you're gonna see some effed up prices I saw several dozens of buses people trying to sell these things for $12,000 fifteen twenty thousand dollars even higher do not pay for a bus which has 100,000 miles plus you do not want to spend anything more in the like six thousand dollars plus right if it's in fantastic condition if it has low rust sure spend five maybe six on it right has AC everything works cruise control there's no problems yeah that's okay cuz it's gonna cost you to repair it if you get something that's really effed up right these buses can go as low as 1,500 bucks 2,000 bucks and the auction there's several auctions there's gov planet gov deals so just look up government auctions if you want to find a steal of a deal but give yourself ample time I mean months three to six months and search that thing every single day for buses so what some people do is they buy them off the auctions for a couple thousand bucks and then try and flip them they put some outrageous price on there like eight to ten or twelve thousand dollars I saw one one price it was always a thousand dollars less for cash price like look you already know it's overpriced if they're knocking down every single bus by thousand bucks for cash right it just doesn't like they don't take credit cards anyways it's not like they're missing out on some three percent credit card fee so give yourself plenty of time and and don't overpay do not overpay there's no reason to buy a bus in the ten thousand up or six thousand and up price range the shorter bus is bizarrely I've noticed they're more expensive than the big buses because there's a bit more demand you can also find shuttle buses and things like that they have tons of vans on the government auction any government vehicle is there so if you're looking for a school bus or the shuttle bus that's those are good options yeah I just yeah and what just watch out just be careful if you don't know vehicles take somebody with you pay a mechanic you know to check it out I mean really inspect it ask him why it was taken out of service ask him what is wrong with it and demand to see the records if if it comes from a dealership or or a district or something like that because they have to take meticulous meticulous detailed records by law they have to they have to inspect it they have to get it checked and all this stuff it's transporting children do you know the liability that would happen if they didn't do the servicing so ask for the records if you don't get one from a dealership or a service place or something like that if you get an auction bus fat chance you're probably not going to get it if you get it from a reseller not gonna happen so keep all these things in mind and and just be smart do not be in a rush do not jump to conclusions try not to get frustrated with people because it's very easy to do and if I let my mind jump to conclusions with this or with other things I could probably take out my frustration with a person who wants to help me and that person is really the messenger you know what I mean when in fact the higher ups have more say than the person that you deal with sometimes right it's like getting mad at the cashier for something at Walmart is something you know it's not it's not their fault that the prices of apples are 50 cents more than already esterday or something but those are my those are my suggestions take what's helpful leave what's not and they're you know I mean there is a bigger life lesson here stay calm you know if you think you're something's not right just wait to the next day sleep on it calm down and just you know and just like when when they said oh we had servicing done great ask him what was done to it you know if there's a problem there's always a solution it's you know instead of getting upset and assuming that they're trying to screw me over I said okay price went up by three grand please tell me why what are the upgrades that you did to it and she read me the whole list of upgrades and it was laughable and that's why I'm not gonna buy that bus now if they put in things like a brand new fuel pump and parts I would happily have paid for new parts because at some point I would have to replace those anyways right but not the labor because I can do it myself but more but most importantly like I mentioned is that I think there was some internal sabotage going on by a former employee he was trying to screw over the company or get back to them retribution or something because I don't that's my guess I've kind of heard some things but I I specifically said it's not my burden to pay for a mistake that was made intentionally by an employee because of ill-will or something so yeah just be careful take your time and eventually something will come together and in about a week or so I should have Michael flying out here I've kind of taken a little break with some of the videos because honestly it's more drama than I like to deal with and to talk about I'm trying to give it to you real but also I am not trying to get you guys emotionally invested in my problems I'm just trying to alert you guys in advance of potential problems if you're trying to purchase this or something else this could apply to something else as well so anyways it's finally a nice sunny day here in Portland area across the river around the Washington side for those who have asked and yeah cross your fingers tomorrow so our driving two and a half hours up there and I'm bringing my jumper cables so we'll see you shortly and the videos will be more coming more frequently very very soon and I can't wait to show you what happens with this mystery bus the saga continues


  1. its 3500 for Legit bus people, 6500 for Schoolie people.

    Its amazing some of the prices people try to get for these buses, Even converted ones they want 45k and it looks like a moldy second-hand store inside.

  2. Do you have recommends for forums? ( Gah! I'm out of order with your videos)…I am milking every avenue I can not knowing a thing. ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿฝ

  3. Good advice!!!! Jax, you should put your Pearls of Wisdom into an ebook. Seriously, if some came for a friend (give them credit in the book).
    PS: What is the length of your former bus and the one you are shooting for?๐Ÿค—

  4. Vegas Vegas Vegas….good bus companies and auctions out here. Rust free all day too. Check it out. Do not buy from that company your talking about on here! Yoyr gut says no.

  5. Why buy from anyone who raises the price as well as buys a used school bus from a bus dealer? Most of the skoolie crowd buys from the auction…much better deals…You aren't buying a certified Lexus with a warranty!! All you get for paying double the price is a clean detailed bus!! Sorry to sound soo harsh but I guess those who do buy like this and pay the premium price just have money to burn!!

  6. I get it you want to be a nomad but to me it is pure insanity to have everything all the time on the road. Go about it this way ? Own a home-base. Then you travel out your Prius you converted to a RV. JUST FUEL ALONE you will save money this way . I own land that I currently live on in a moderate city that is more a village than a city. You can get along in this town with a bicycle if you want but I happen to own a Prius and since I am already there with this car why tamper with anything. I can take the passenger seat out the car and literally in minutes I am ready to roll anyplace in the country. I use a cargo rack on the rear that I can carry cool stuff like clothes spinner and stuff I need to get by on. I hate laundry mats I rather mix my clothes to wash while drive rinse then hang them to dry. Call me cheap but I can wash my clothes by hand just the same? I am here to tell you you don't HAVE to have a shower/toilet with you if you have gym membership you can shower at the gyms nationwide. Too many ways to get clean to invest in a rig that will be a liability the greater fuel cost get.

    One night I was out fishing at a place that had campers? It cost $1 for me to park there but if I had a RV/tent it would have cost me over $15 IDK I forget the price when I know I will not pay it. The Prius is not expected to be a RV and as long as I keep my mouth shut about sleeping in the car they are none the wiser. Besides I have handicapped tags meaning I can park for a spell and not be bothered by law for a period of time, Some handicapped people must take medication that limits their time to drive.

  7. Yes! I think by law they have to give U the 1st price??? I've also noticed that buses have gone up because of the popularity…I've been looking for a year, I could be wrong? Also Jax, keep quiet about YouTubing๐Ÿ˜ณ They know U're in a hurry and/or they're watching Ur channel and know U're knowledgeable. I say No to that company and if U've had bad experience U should also let us know, so we don't shop with them! I bet their prices go down then!!! AND U are sooo right about all Ur advice!!!!! Also, calling the actual School District Transportation Department, the Transportation Director is a great resource! I got awesome help in the state of CA. U're only gonna find small buses in CA because the state is paying the Districts to crush them๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜–. Good Luckโฃ

  8. JAX this is the first time we have replied to one of your vids HOWEVER we watch you all the time. As matter of fact we started in a van (never finished it) and thanks to watching you we are now building a skollie (check out our channel) we had great luck in getting a killer deal we live in Dansville NY and purchased our Bus from "Matthews Bus" in the same town. They have so many sizes and in good shape at good prices. I would recommend them to anyone. If you get aย  chance call them, they may be able to really help you out. I know they did a bang up job for us. Hope to see you on the road sometime soon. Charlie & Sally aka "Vanishing Nomads"

  9. Don't be surprised if the government gets involved and makes it law that buses can't be sold for less than $6000. This is similar to the real estate"boom". Everyone wanting to get rich off housing cost inflation. If all Americans would stop paying rediculas prices for any type of housing, including buses, the prices would come down. Many more people who are nomads by need and not by want, could live the style of life they really want.

  10. The company you are trying to deal with sound like scammers. Run, don't walk away from them. Why don't you contact all the school district transportation departments and school bus contractors in your area and ask them if they have any surplus busses for sale. Every year, at the end of the school year they sell off some of their surplus busses. That wayย you don't need to deal with a middleman.

  11. Hi Jax, I would be extremely cautious about buying anything from that company now :(, isn't it illegal to say a thing is one price and then up the price from the original advertisement ??? I would look into that. Stay safe and calm, I am sure the right bus will present itself to you when the time is right so don't do the old trick of " I really wanted that, oh well I will settle for second best because I really wanted the first one". Take care. xx

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