If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like and how much it costs to convert a bus into a home, keep reading!
Converting a bus into a home is a huge lifestyle change but can also come at a considerable financial cost. Let’s take a look at what you need to consider if you’re thinking about a bus conversion.
How much does a bus conversion cost?
Because people’s finances aren’t limitless, they often want to know how much bus conversions cost. The truth is, it depends. Many people prepare financially for years before they embark upon a bus conversion but it really depends on the bus you begin with and how much of the conversion you want to do yourself.
A bus conversion is not a simple task or one to begin on a whim. Bus conversions need patience and thorough planning as well as money.
Preparation and lifestyle
Moving from a standard home to a bus conversion is a huge lifestyle change that many need a lot of time to prepare for. It’s a good idea to begin this process without any debts to hold you back. Being able to save and manage finances means you develop financial habits that make your new nomadic life both stress-free and sustainable.
A preparation period can help you consider the differences between things you want over things you need. After all, even large bus conversions are usually smaller than an apartment. This period of preparation will help shape what your life needs to be meaningful and will be a good place to start your conversion.
Before moving into a bus, most people will need to downsize their belongings extensively. A lot of things will be worth selling on so don’t expect to be able to complete the downsizing task in one weekend. It’s a good idea to take a good few months even up to a year to get rid of things you don’t want or need. You’ll probably find that you don’t miss a lot of the things you get rid of! Things to keep are usually items that you use on a daily or weekly basis. It will depend on you what you think you need to feel happy on a day-to-day basis. Try to convince yourself that you are not entering deprivation but rather prioritisation.
Cost estimates (rough guide)
Bus conversions do cost money but just how much they cost depends on your wants and needs. Having said that, before you embark on such a project, it is a good idea to have an idea in your head just how much the project will cost before you reach the end. You can do a bus conversion for as little as £7500.
There will be certain areas that you’re not willing to skimp on but for others, you should consider second hand or free items and materials. One potential cost to consider is a place to park the vehicle while you’re working on it. Don’t forget, your friends and family might actually want to help you with this sort of project as it is something quite unusual that will get a lot of interest.
It goes without saying that you’ll need tools but these are a long-term investment and many of them could be rented or borrowed. You will need a huge variety of tools though over the time of the conversion and could end up spending £500 to £700 buying or renting the tools you will need.
Think here of things like insulation, caulk, hardware… all the things that are small costs but add up to quite a lot over the course. It’s a good idea to compare costs and price check things on sites like Amazon too so that you know you’re getting the best deal. Expect to spend a few hundred pounds on these miscellaneous supplies.
If you plan ahead, you’ll be able to buy in bulk to save money or you might have time to find some good reclaimed wood. You’ll probably need a variety of lumber including plywood, solid wood, framing etc.
You might find that you spend just as much money on paint as wood and other supplies. You can save thousands of pounds by choosing to paint the exterior of your bus yourselves. In fact, it’s not the painting that will take up the most of your time – it’s the preparation. Research your paint fully. You might want to use a three-part paint for vehicles that has a spray compressor for both priming and painting.
Appliances and furniture
You might need £1000 for this but it depends on whether you’re happy to make do or you want to go all out. Don’t be afraid to look in second-hand shops or online selling sites like Facebook Marketplace to find things that you need.
The things you’ll probably want to buy new include lighting, a mattress, a water filter and a butane cooker top. Also, you will need a refrigerator, which you’ll probably want new and safety alarms. You can pick up an alarm for around £30 these days and fridges cost as little as £60.
For soft furnishings like your curtains, couch fabric and cushions, expect to pay a couple of hundred pounds.
Hot water and plumbing
You might spend around £1000 on this. You can reclaim a bathtub or shower tray to cut costs. With plumbing and hot water, it’s essential to get it right or you could end up with a very expensive situation.
Here is an idea of things you might want to buy:
- On-demand tankless hot water heater
- Water pump
- Propane regulator
- Water tanks (fresh and used)
Don’t forget the cost of the plumbing supplies too – fixtures, tubing, connectors etc.
Your wood stove might well end up being your favourite piece of furniture in your bus conversion so make sure you choose carefully. Expect to pay a few hundred for the woodstove and more for the hearth too.
This is an area where many people don’t want to cut corners. Again, expect to spend up to £600 on a decent one. You really will be thankful for the investment if you choose wisely and have a completely odourless toilet on your bus!