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School bus conversion to Tiny Home or Motorhome

School bus conversion to Tiny Home or Motorhome

Have you ever experienced travel in RV, or it’s your dream to spend some quality time with your loved ones, or you want to surprise your wife this holiday with a motorhome or tiny home trip? Wait, before you start planning, check your pocket and you will find less money to buy a new or even a second-hand motorhome. So, now what are you going to do with less money? If you don’t have sufficient money to buy a luxurious motorhome or tiny home, then what’s your idea about building a hydra-class premium School bus conversion to a tiny home or motorhome on your own?

By the time you must be clear on what we are talking about, most of the people in the United States are purchasing retired school buses and are upgrading them into motorhomes or tiny homes to travel with their loved ones and explore the undiscovered. 

Why school buses and not any other commercial bus for tiny homes or motorhomes?

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School buses are maintained in the highest quality standards as they are built to carry children, which means nothing, can be compromised with safety. According to recent research, the diesel engines in school buses can last over one million miles. Moreover, the floors and body of a school bus are made from the best quality steel framework when compared to a commercial bus.

Converting a retired school bus into a motorhome sounds interesting; starting from scratch and not knowing from where to start can be daunting; hence we have got all the grey areas covered here. Stay tuned if you want to know how you can build a spacious, luxurious, and cost-efficient motorhome or tiny home from a retired school bus.

What all should you cover during the school bus conversion to tiny home or motorhome?

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Well, you have to consider various factors when you convert an old school bus into a tiny home. From NSW requirements to safety, here are all the vital considerations that you should cover while building a DIY tiny home from the school bus.

Sleeping berths:

Nothing can be more important than rest when you are on the go because nobody wants to invest in a home where you cannot sleep well. You can follow the universal formula of one sleeping berth per seat. For example, if you have six seats in your tiny home, then you must have six sleeping berths to ensure that all your partners have enough sleep during the travel.

Gas appliances:

You cannot sleep well until you have a good meal, and to have a good meal, you will need to install the entire necessary appliance in your DIY tiny home. Gas appliances like ovens, stoves, or any other hot water source must be installed by a certified and licensed gas plumber. Moreover, there are also certain rules on installing gas appliances in your tiny home, which you should strictly abide by. You have to park your vehicle at least 1.5 meters away from ignition sources like stoves, ovens, and hot water systems. The gas cylinders must be kept in a sealed environment, and you must have access only from the outside. At last, the gas plumber will also install a gas plate outside the vehicle to ensure that your vehicle abides by all the gas regulations. You will also receive a certificate once the installation is safely completed.

Electrical appliances:

You will need light in your motorhome; hence you will have to take help from a licensed automobile electrician as you will have the main connection installed in your RV. You will also receive a safety certificate which will conclude that you have installed all the electrical appliances by compiling the motorhome standards. However, you can install 12V to 14V connections on your own, but it is better to get the job done by the right technician.


It is essential for your conversion to have enough ventilation, or else you will be booked by the cops like the majority of other conversion owners. The size of the ventilation depends on the size of your bus, and according to the standard rules, your vehicle must have at least 50% of windows open. In motorhomes and RV’s, owners need to install a roof hatch at the rear for emergency exit. You can take help from your local caravan store with the right tools and men to complete the job accurately.


There is no doubt that all your toilet waste must be stored in a vented tank, and you cannot leave it directly on the ground. Similarly, sinks and shower water must also be diverted to a separate tank, and it should not be mixed with the tank which holds toilet waste.

Fire extinguisher and smoke alarm:

Undoubtedly, your conversion cannot touch the road until you have installed fire extinguishers and smoke alarms. Moreover, you will also have to ensure that the fire extinguisher is installed so that it is only 1.2 meters away from the living space. It is also a good idea to install a smoke alarm as you cannot risk up the safety of your loved ones. Most people install a smoke alarm along with a CO2 monitor for improvised safety.

Safety is a priority:

Well, it is your first project; hence it is recommended to take help from a certified engineer who has the right experience to install everything correctly. You can do it alone, but you will also have to bear the risk and loss, but when you have the right man for the job, you don’t have to take the stress of objects flying when you are driving the conversion on the road. From bed to seats and from TV to seat belts, you want everything in the right place.

And then, you will also have to ensure that your vehicle is compliant with standard vehicle requirements as you are changing a bus into an RV. For example, your vehicle must be a right-hand drive, and your installations and add-ons don’t exceed the vehicle’s weight limits. Also, check all your lights and reflectors are installed correctly, all your windows are transparent, and the tires are of the right size.

Now that we have covered all the basics, you will need to consider converting a school bus into a tiny portable home.

Let’s talk business!

We are sure you must be waiting for the section as you are excited to know how much you will have to spend on converting a retired school bus into a lavish motorhome.

How much do you have to spend for school bus conversion to Tiny Home?

The cost of converting a school bus into a DIY motorhome will charge you approximately 15000 USD – 30000 USD, including a working kitchen and toilet. You can also reduce the cost by bringing in innovative ideas and solutions. You will be spending the majority of your investment on building materials like plywood and flooring. You will have to also pay for services like plumbing, gas installations, and the engineer who will not leave your side until you complete the project.

However, a motorhome can help you save a lot of money on the go. You can also save a lot of money by outfitting tiny homes or motorhomes with marine electrical products by running them on DC electricity. You can also use creative ideas to reduce the overall cost of conversion.

How much does a retired school bus cost?

Although the market prices of a retired school bus vary depending on the location, age, and seating capacity of the bus, the average price of 34 feet long 72-seater school bus in the United States is 3000 US Dollars. The standard school bus with 72 seats is enough for you to build a 200 square feet elegant living space.

You can buy retired school bus directly from automobile dealers which are a straightforward way of purchasing a school bus. You can also buy a school bus from online auctions, but you have to ensure that you bid the right price and for the right bus. You can head to eBay if you are ready to bid the right price for the vehicle.

Before you bid a price or finalize a deal with your dealer, check the maintenance records and vehicle condition. If you are buying a bus directly from the owner, then don’t purchase the vehicle unless you have a professional appraiser on your side. However, you need an automobile appraiser if you don’t have the right expertise to judge the vehicle. There are also various types of buses like small, mid-size, and large sizes; therefore, you have to go for the one that matches your style. It is better to go with models that demand less maintenance and offer higher mileage.

Looking for a trusted and certified automobile appraiser for your Tiny Home in the United States?

Benchmark Auto Appraisers LLC is the leading appraiser in the USA, offering a diversity of appraisal services. The president and founder of Benchmark Auto Appraisers LLC, Daniel R Jendrowski, have over 42 years of experience in the appraisal industry. Whether it is a tiny home, truck, or motorhome, they are the best in the business. If you are looking forward to School bus conversion to a tiny home, call Benchmark Auto Appraisers LLC for an assessment of your plan. It provides its service across the United States.  So, what are you waiting for? Book your free consultation right now at 1-877-888-6113.

School bus conversion to Tiny Home or Motorhome

Daniel “Dan” Jendrowski

Certified Public Auto Appraiser Diminish Value Experts B.C.A.A. & I.A.C.P.

For FREE Consultation on Tiny Home or Motorhome Appraisals, call


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