Five Reasons NOT to build a Skoolie
I wanted to write a blog post to try and dissuade you from building a Skoolie haha. Most people see the romanticized version on social media and don’t realize the massive commitment.
That being said . . . if you can get to the end of this article and still have the itch . . . you should read my Top Five Reason to Build a Skoolie.
- This is probably the most important reason to not build a Skoolie. You will work A LOT on your bus and give up A LOT of your time. Time is a limited resource and must be used wisely. We bought our bus in January and left on our trip in June. We even left without a shower installed cause we ran out of time haha. That is six months working on the bus!! When you aren’t actually working on the bus you will spend a massive amount of time doing research on the internet to figure out how things work and what you need to finish your project.
- When you consider that Nate and I build things full time, it may take upwards a year and sometimes even two to completely finish your Skoolie. So my first reason to not build a Skoolie is time. If I haven’t dissuaded you yet, move on to number two.
2. Everything is custom
- At first I didn’t realize this, but you are making a school bus into a house on wheels and EVERYTHING is custom!! Don’t worry, there are thousands of forums, discussion boards, and friendly people to help you along the way. But at the end of the day it will be YOU that mounts an air conditioner to your Skoolie. I wrote an article HERE on the tools we used to builds our Skoolie. The list was way bigger than I thought. So if you cannot think on your feet, figure out custom solutions, and hate multiple trips to the Home Depot, a Skoolie may not be for you.
3. Skoolies Cost Quite a Bit of Money
- One of the first reasons people think of skoolies is because they think they can do them cheap. Building a Skoolie is NOT cheap, but a Skoolie can be cheaper than other options. When Nate and I decided to go on our Charity Build Tour across America our first option was to buy a big RV. After being discouraged about how much they cost, the skoolie dream was born. While our skoolie is substantially cheaper than a comparable sized RV, it was NOT cheap.
- We bought our bus and got it registered for $7,350. Spent about $5,000 on tires, new brakes, new filters belts, oil changes etc.. ($5,000 is LUCKY on this category many spend up to $10,000 if you bus has major mechanical problems) Then we spent about $10,000 on the actual renovation and everything we needed to get on the road. So all added up we are into our skoolie about $22,000 which does not include the amount of time for Labor. (This category is HUGE depending on your earning potential) Lastly, you can spend so much more on a skoolie and I have seen budgets of upwards $50,000. Just understand these numbers are not cheap, just cheaper than other comparable options.
4. Skoolies are Huge and Require a Lot of Space
- This one may not make sense until you drive an 84 passenger bus through your neighborhood and park it in front of your house. If you do not have the space, or somewhere to park it, do not buy a school bus. Take a really good look at your situation and you need to honest of the space you have to park and work on your school bus. We were really lucky enough to have a half an acre in a small town that is known for parking farm equipment, construction equipment etc… on the road. So a school bus went without notice. 🙂
5. Old Buses May Have Huge Mechanical Problems
- The romanticized drive down the road in your Skoolie never really captures the fear of your engine exploding in the middle of nowhere haha. At the end of the day, you bought a school bus that someone else decided wasn’t good enough for a bus anymore and may come with some massive engine problems. Nate and I are not mechanics and have to rely on others to figure that realm out. This can be very expensive. Do your research and bring along a mechanic when you buy your bus. You can blow your entire remodel budget on a bad engine.
I wish I had read this article before I got started. I wrote this to dissuade those who are not truly ready and to save them from spending their hard earned money on a skoolie.