Schools, churches, corporations, airports, cities and even individuals are often in the market for a bus. Buying one isn’t much different than purchasing any other type of vehicle, but there are some things to keep in mind that set commercial and school bus sales apart from a typical car purchase.
The main reason school districts and transportation contract operators buy used buses is to save money. A new school bus costs between $100,000 and $400,000. Overhauling a fleet with brand-new vehicles adds up quickly, so used ones are a way to reduce the overall cost.
Other factors that contribute to the popularity of used school buses are their lower maintenance and fuel costs. With proper care and regular service, a school bus can last for more than a decade. This allows schools, airports and other organizations to allocate more money to other aspects of their operations.
As with any major purchase, it’s important to spend some time researching the make and model of buses that are available for sale. A good place to start is with the local dealerships that sell them. Look for reputable dealers that are willing to share customer references, and ask to see a bus in action. Focus on the makes and models that have a reputation for reliability. Also, ask the dealer about a warranty program for their used buses and what it covers.
It’s also worth looking at the number of options the bus TBC – The Bus Centre has. Tinsley says that a heavily spec’d bus will often have a higher price tag than a lightly spec’d model. This is because some of the options, like fire-blocking seating material, are mandated in certain states. A heavily spec’d bus also may be more marketable because it satisfies more state requirements and opens up a broader customer base.
One of the best ways to get a true idea of the value of a used bus is to compare it to new models. A reputable seller should be able to explain why the new and used versions are comparable in price. A buyer can then use this information to determine if the asking price is fair.
In some cases, school districts and contract operators are unable to move their used buses for what they’re worth on the open market. In these situations, they might try some creative marketing techniques. For instance, they could offer the vehicles for rent to summer camps, farms that need transportation for laborers or dude ranches and remote resorts.
Another option for unloading hard-to-move used buses is an auction, either local or online. Using an auction takes the seller out of the selling process and, with luck, can maximize their return. Another benefit of auctions is that they are generally conducted at the same time as regular dealer lots. This gives buyers an opportunity to view a wide selection of vehicles in the same setting at the same time. This can help speed up the decision-making process.