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FAQ

What type of bus do you recommend?

We recommend the one that you like. The one that you feel will meet your needs. There are 3 different types of buses. The Dog Nose or Conventional, The Flat Front – Front Engine, and the Flat Front – Rear Engine.  Check out this post for more information.

Do you recommend a specific motor and transmission?

Our personal bus has a Cummins 8.3L and an Allison transmission. We also like the DT466 with an Allison Transmission. Either of these are durable and parts are readily available as well as easy to repair.

How much does it cost to build a Skoolie?

Our custom Skoolie conversions start at $35k. Keep in mind cost all depend on your needs, wants and aesthetic. Do you have a bus?  Then click to get a quote on your bus build.

Do I have to buy the bus and then bring it to you?

Each client is responsible for bringing their bus to our shop. However, we’re happy to assist in finding the bus of your dreams with our bus listing service. Click here!

How can I get financing for a Skoolie?

There are a couple options to get a loan for your skoolie.  Some clients have been successful financing their bus conversion through LightStream.   Apply for financing.

What about Insurance for my Skoolie?

State Farm, and Auto Insurance Specialist are bus conversion friendly. If you would like in-depth answers on how to insure your Skoolie our own Missy Miller has actually published an e-book on this topic. To give a price point, we often have been able to get people liability insurance (covering other people in the case of an accident) for under $10/month.

Do you have options for Solar and Off-Grid skoolies?

Yes, we do.  Check out our blog on installing solar in your bus conversion and how to live off-grid in a Skoolie.

Can I bring or ship you some items that I would like used in my Skoolie?

Yes! If you are a custom client, our designer will work with you on making sure that our team understands your Skoolie dream and will give you dates when you can ship your items.

Do you work with clients that are not local to your shop?

Yes, we work with clients all across the USA and Internationally. If you are local, we encourage you to come by our shop and check on the progress of your Skoolie and talk to the team. If you live away, we can send you videos, hold Facetime calls or have a video meeting to go over the progress of your conversion.

Do you raise a roof on a bus?

Yes!  We recently added roof raises to our services here at Skoolie Homes.  Roof raises start at $9,000, final price is determined by your desired design for windows and doors.

How many people can sleep in a Skoolie Home?

We do our best to accommodate families of all sizes! We have built Skoolies intended to sleep anywhere from two to nine people, the nine people were our family and we lived in it for two years! We explored the countryside, check out our blog post and hear what our kids had to say!

Can I keep my bus yellow?

Actually, many states have laws that say the “school bus yellow” has to go or get fined. In addition, all the school signage, stop sign, flashing lights, and safety bar must go. All of our Skoolie Homes are prepped and primed either white or gray. You get to choose!  

How much money can I save living in a Skoolie?

This depends on your lifestyle and your priorities. The short of it is, it’s possible to lower your cost of housing to under $300/month if you have free places to park, leaving gas and insurance as your only expenses. This is certainly easier to handle if you’re fully off-grid capable (solar panels + backup generator + wifi solution and water tanks) but of course, this depends on lifestyle.

What about safety?

Busses are built to be very safe in the case of an accident as they are intended to keep safe 40-70 kids that often aren’t wearing seatbelts. One example of this is that if they get flipped upside down they will roll over and stay intact instead of collapsing like an RV or other vehicles might.

 

With regard to protecting your home and family, the school bus door can be replaced with a secure RV door, the windows can be tinted. The back and side doors can have a deadbolt lock installed and we can install exterior cameras if you wish.

Can I have wifi in my bus?

Yes you can!

Check out your options here, we recommend using Verizon as it tends to cover even the most remote locations you will want to explore in your Skoolie.

Check out Verizon’s pricing options by selecting “Mobile Hotspot” here

How long does the conversion process take?

For a standard conversion we allow 4 months and a custom conversion up to 6 months. The time it takes truly depends on style, size of bus, and the complexity of the conversion. We have completed a conversion in 8 weeks.

What type of insulation do you use in a Skoolie Home?

Our clients get to choose the insulation type. We have used fiberglass, foam board, and spray foam. Our design team will discuss the pros and cons of each with you during the Design and Build Phase.

Can I choose my exterior paint color?

Yes, this is an option when you order your Skoolie Home.  Check our quote builder to get an estimate on the bus of your dreams!

Am I allowed to help with my conversion?

Due to insurance reasons, our clients are not allowed to participate in the conversion process at our shop. Therefore, we have a Skoolie Starter Home that may suit your needs. View DIY Skoolie options.

What about AC/Heat?

For AC we  recommend rooftop units or a mini-split unit. They cool very efficiently and keeps you comfortable. Both of these option can be equipped with heating as well.

 

Other options for additional heat that may make sense for you include a wood stove, propane wall heater, or pellet stove. We will work with you to find heating and cooling options that make sure you stay comfortable in your new home!

 

It would be an incomplete response to not mention that an amazing benefit of the Skoolie way of life is being able to travel to Florida in the winter and Boston in the Summer!

Where can I find mechanics to do maintenance work on my bus?

Truck stops will have diesel mechanics and any auto shop that works on RVs are able to service a Skoolie. Also, complete a Google search for  a diesel mechanic in the area. Besure not to forget to stop by your local school bus repair shop, often these guys are nice folks that are willing to help you out. They love buses!!

What if my Skoolie breaks down?

Roadside assistance, as well as many other benefits and discounts for the Skoolie way of life, are provided for the great price of $27/year for a membership to Good Sam Club

Do you deliver a Skoolie to your client once it is completed?

We prefer our clients to come to our Kingsport, TN shop to get their Skoolie. During the visit, one of our team members will go over all the systems of your new home and answer any questions.

In the event that this is not an option for a client, we can deliver the Skoolie. One of our team members, will be happy to discuss the details of our delivery service with you.

Do I have to have an RV Toilet?

Don’t worry, there are plenty of options and we will find one you are totally comfortable with! The options range from composting toilet, dry flush toilets to the traditional RV toilets. We will let you know the tradeoffs between these options and make sure you feel at home in your bus.

Is it possible to have a tub in a Skoolie?

There are many options for tubs and showers. They all work the same as in a traditional home. We set up a freshwater system and a city water system. Both include a hot water heater and water pump. You will enjoy your bus bathtime just like you normally do.

I love to cook. Can I have a full-size kitchen?

Yes, you can! You can have cabinets, a stove, oven, refrigerator and microwave that are either electric or propane powered based on your preference. Our design team will make sure your kitchen fits your love of food.

How soundproof is the bus?

Nothing more than you’d get in a regular home gets through several inches of insulation.

 

We can also install a sound barrier in the walls, ceiling and floor if you would like.

What are the power options?

Electricity on a Skoolie is as easy as flipping on a switch, just like it is now!

 

All of our Skoolies are equipped with a 50 amp converter. When you are on-grid, you can plug into any RV site or even connect to a family members house circuit (via an adapter).

 

We can install solar panels and diesel or gas generators. Solar panels can add significantly to your off-grid capabilities but do cost you around $4-$9K depending on your set-up as you’ll need a battery and inverter as well.

 

A diesel generator is a little bit pricier (varies but around $7-10K) but certainly ideal as we can connect that to the bus  fuel tank. A gas generator and tank can be installed. ($5 -8k) We recommend an Onan generator as these are quite and are rated for RV’s.

 

One final option is for us to install DC power which will run off battery power.

Do you install roof decks?

Oh Yeah!! We love roof decks, back decks and awnings. We have several styles for you to choose from.

Can I choose my exterior paint color?

Priming is no longer included in a basic package. It is an additional upgrade.

Can I live in my Skoolie year around?

Our clients get to choose the insulation type. We have used fiberglass, foam board, and spray foam. Our design team will discuss the pros and cons of each with you during the Design and Build Phase.

Is the Skoolie Life right for me?

If you are the type of person that can not deal with frustrations and do not like to face challenges head-on, then NO. If you live in a 2500 sq foot home or larger and what to rightsize your life, don’t jump aboard a Skoolie without preparing yourself and family. Life is a Skoolie is adventurous, simple in some way, but SMALL. Know your limits, personally, and what you need to stay healthy. Check out this post for more info

How will I stay fit?

The Skoolie life makes it easier than ever to go for a run and we can easily install pull-up and dip bars conveniently in your home to keep you fit on the go. If you’re going to be traveling around the country and it’s important for you to be able to work out in a full gym wherever and whenever you please we recommend Anytime Fitness, 24/7 gym with the most locations in the country, memberships are around $50-$60/month,

Where will I be able to park?

The three general categories are:

  1. National, state, and local parks, generally charge $25 or less per night
  2. RV parks, most allow skoolies in, price varies roughly between $30-60/night. Call ahead to make sure the park will accommodate/allow Skoolie parking. Get a Bus Pass and gain access to our members only directory of Skoolie friendly parks.
  3. Wherever it’s legal to park overnight! This is most of the US including urban areas, just make sure to check parking signs. Whereever an RV is allowed to park, a Skoolie is allowed to park unless it is private property and the owners have restrictions.

One incredibly useful app our community recommends is Overnight RV Parking(Phone Apps: iPhone, Android) great finds to be had.

What about laundry?

We can install either a washer-dryer combo or traditional stacked washer and dryer depending on the size of your family and preferences. You read that right, laundry in unit! An amenity that most New Yorkers can only dream of!

How do I deal with physical mail?

There are several services which will actually scan your physical mail and email it to you, an example of one is Anytime Mail

How do I receive packages in the mail?

In urban areas you can ship to Amazon Lockers for pickup wherever is convenient for you. Other options for non-Amazon orders include shipping to a local friend’s house, a retail branch of the place you are ordering from, or a Fedex location (if you order with Fedex shipping).

 

In addition, we have found that State Parks and RV Parks will agree to you receiving packages if they know ahead of time and you list your site on the shipping label.

How do I connect with other people living the Skoolie way of life?

We recommend connecting with other Skoolie and Tiny House owners through meetup.com or through our Discovering Us Bus blog’s facebook group or our women’s only Skoolie facebook group, Four Wheels and a Bra

What is the average fuel mileage for a Skoolie?

Skoolies get about the same fuel mileage as an RV. Our personal Skoolie gets about 10-11 mpg.