Buses: $800 - $20,000
As with anything, you get what you pay for. The bus you choose, is the only choice in your build you can never make again. You can paint the walls, but you can’t change the bus. Given the cost of upfitting a school bus, an extra couple thousand upfront can easily save many thousands down the road.
We usually recommend purchasing a bus model years 1990 - 2004. Later year models have an array of computer sensors and emission equipment that is difficult and expensive to maintain as a private owner.
There is no such thing as a good deal on a rusty bus and we never recommend purchasing buses with rust. Additionally, consider the condition of tires—six new rubbers for old yellow can easily run into the $2400 range and beyond!
There are many buses for sale online for reasonable prices, if you are looking for a bus that will be parked and placed on land. What you are really buying is the steel, roof, and frame. Many of these buses are heavily used field vehicles and usually running on borrowed time. Expect major mechanical repairs and tire replacements if you plan to hit the road.
Some buses are released earlier than expected from newly funded districts and some of these can be fully loaded with new tires, low mileage, extra braking systems, and automatic snow chains. Some even have luggage bays. School buses of this degree are in demand and you’ll notice a higher price, but it is almost always worth it, as adding these features after the fact is always more expensive.