As mentioned in a previous post, I’m pursuing a lifelong goal of mine: to make my home inside a vehicle. After extensive searching and shopping, I’ve decided that what I really want is a short bus or shuttle bus to be converted into my new home. I know buying an RV with all the amenities already set up would be so much easier, but I just wouldn’t be happy. I’m particular about how things are done. The only problem is, I don’t really know where to start or what all I need to make my dream a reality.
So I’ve started doing the research and I’ve developed a step-by-step “guide” (work in progress) for converting a bus into a home. However, I can only do so much research at a time. I have to actually purchase the bus before I start the rest of these endeavors. Remember, this is just preliminary research, and I’m certain I’ll be adding and amending steps as I go. Any feedback from those with experience is welcome!
Step 1: Buy the Vehicle
I’m currently shopping for a shuttle bus because they happen to be the perfect size for what I’m looking for. I’ve also been told they’re relatively easy to work on and find parts should something go wrong. I want one that’s in good condition, preferably under $5000 and has a door in the back.
Step 2: Make All Necessary Repairs
I’ll get the car checked out once I buy it. Hopefully the costs for repairs will be under $2000, but I want my vehicle to be running and in good condition.
Step 3: License, Insurance, and Other Legalities
My friend was concerned about insuring the vehicle. This didn’t even cross my mind until I started doing some research online.
I think I’ll talk to my insurance company in person first and see what kinds of plans are offered. It’s going to be a process getting the bus set up as an actual motorhome, so I’m not sure if I’ll just change insurance types after that or not.
Step 3: Clean and Gut
After I have the bus insured, titled, licensed, and repaired, I can begin the actual conversion process. The seats and other fixtures must be removed. I have a friend or two who can help me with this process. I also need to thoroughly clean out the inside and have any rust removed or grinded off. Finally, I’ll need to apply a layer or primer or anti-rust paint.
Step 4: Bus Layout
I’m going to need to set up the layout in order to determine where all the electrical fixtures, kitchen, etc. is going to be stored inside of the bus. I’m going to need to be able to accommodate the following:
- A bed
- Storage for items and clothing
- Kitchen with mini-fridge, sink, stove top, cabinets
- Bathroom with toilet and shower fixture
- Any other furniture can be put in afterward
After I determine the best layout for the van I can start planning the electrical and water system which I think will be the most complicated part of this adventure.
Step 5: Electrical Work
The electrical work is going to need to be done by a professional. I’m not sure how much power I can get from solar panels, so I’ll need to check into that.
I’m not sure how much it will cost to set up the electrical works in the vehicle, but it looks like I’m going to need a few key items:
Step 6: Water System: Bathroom and Kitchen
I want to have the simplest system possible to have running water, a bathroom, shower, and sink. I know I have some options:
Step 7: Insulation
Insulating the bus is important if I want to control the temperature. Here in the Midwest we have brutal summers and brutal winters. My comfort is important to me and I’m not going to live uncomfortably
Step 8: Flooring and Walls
I want the inside of the van to have wood paneling. I’m going to have to find someone who knows how to install that.
Step 9: Furnishings
I plan on buying my own furnishings from flea markets rather than custom building furniture for the bus. Anything I find will need to be small.
Step 10: Wifi
And finally, I have to have wifi for my job. I hope there’s a good option for portable wifi that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
Am I forgetting anything? Got any advice for me?