Purchasing a bus or coach for your small group, school, hotel, or fleet is a huge investment, and to an extent, you get what you pay for. But, many don’t realize you can still get a vehicle that will provide reliable transportation on a tight budget by buying used. In fact, it may even be the most fiscally responsible decision in some situations.
Not being able to provide transportation to members of your group or your clients can hold you back from growing. But, having to pay out money to a third-party transportation provider can be incredibly expensive in the long run and could quickly rack up more costs than a new or used vehicle would cost you.
Of course, the key to making buying a bus a fiscally responsible choice is to make sure you get the best value for your dollar. Here are some tips to make sure you get the most bang for your buck when you decide you need a vehicle for your group.
Start with a plan
Chances are you already have a general idea what you are looking for. You aren’t just searching for a used bus, you’re trying to find something specific like a church bus, activity coach, or school bus. That is a good start, but it doesn’t narrow down the selection all that much. Take some time to come up with a specific idea what features and options you need beforehand, so you don’t get oversold on flashy features you don’t need or want. Begin by considering some of these options:
Capacity – How many people do you plan on transporting on each journey? Do you see that number growing in the near future? If so, you might want to plan on getting a bus that can accommodate your needs now while allowing for you to bring more people on board when needed.
Purpose – What do you plan on doing with your bus? Matching your bus to your plans can help ensure you get the best fuel efficiency. Some engines perform better for regular short-distance trips while others are optimized to get the best performance on long-distance drives.
Comfort – If you plan on taking longer journeys, you should plan to include features like A/C or even entertainment capabilities to keep your passengers comfortable the entire way to your destination.
Accessibility – Do your passengers have special needs, disabilities, or limited mobility? Make sure your vehicle is prepared to accommodate their needs with wheelchair lifts and other accessibility features.
Don’t buy from individuals
Searching for a used bus on a site like Craigslist can seem like a great way to get an incredible deal on a vehicle, but buying from individuals comes with massive risk. First of all, when you purchase from individuals you have no one to turn to and no recourse if your vehicle isn’t all that was promised. Even worse, there are plenty of scam artists who sell stolen vehicles or defraud people of their money on sites like those. Even if you don’t buy from us, we encourage you to always purchase from a reputable dealership so you can guarantee you don’t get ripped off.
Don’t just look at the price
Price is a serious factor in nearly every bus purchase, but don’t let it be the defining factor. An attractive price can be an indication that a bus was poorly maintained or has lurking problems waiting to cause you big problems in the near future. If that’s the case, you will wind up paying way more to keep your bus running than if you purchased a reliable vehicle to begin with. Make sure to have your vehicle thoroughly inspected for signs of problems and double-check the service history to make sure the bus has been properly maintained.
Work with someone you can trust
Investing a huge chunk of your money in a bus can be daunting and stressful on your own. Find a dealer you can trust so you don’t have to go through the process without an experienced and knowledgeable partner. It will make the process significantly easier and you can feel more confident with the vehicle you choose in the end.