Old horses you put out to pasture, they say. Old cars you restore and sell for a fortune. Old buses you sell to entrepreneurs and creative people who can transform them into something that turns heads and earns money. There are plenty of plucky entrepreneurs giving the humble bus a new identity and operating successful BUSinesses!
If you have a great imagination and a brilliant idea, you can do things to old buses. All it takes is the right combination of knowledge, funding and daring. Together with Stagecoach, we show you how these entrepreneurs sold more than just bus fares on their buses! Here are some of the best examples from around the UK and the world.
If we were as motivated as Oliver Kemp was, we might be able to solve the housing problem in the UK by transforming buses in hotels. Mind you, that might add to the traffic problem. He created BEDROAM – a functional mobile hotel for use at events such as festivals. The bus features 18 luxury sleeping pods, two bathrooms and an outdoor space.
The project cost him a reported £60,000 on the transformation, and BEDROAM has since been featured on the television show Amazing Spaces. It’s driving proof that you can turn space-saving ideas into mobile business success!
An Australian came up with the idea to turn a bus into a solution for the homeless. He converted a bus into a homeless sleeping shelter. These buses are designed to shelter rough sleepers overnight.
Figure 1: http://www.bedroam.co.uk/gallery/
Clever, innovative retailers like Lesley Tindle built her on shop on wheels when she converted a Fiat bus into a travelling mini boutique. The bus is able to display clothing stock with a clever invention of electronic pods that replaced the seating. It certainly showcases the versatility of buses, allowing an owner to easily transport stock and sell directly from their bus.
Figure 2: http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/13627031.Meet_the_entrepreneur_who_s_opened_a_boutique____on_a_bus/#
Another clever bus conversion was made by Rishi Chowdhury who converted a double decker bus into ‘IncuBus’, a business incubator that cost the price of a busfare to use. In some areas of the country, just having an area to focus on work can be costly as offices, hot desks and co-working spaces increase in price.
The bus is used as an office space and able to host up to five start-ups at any one time. It’s proof that an innovative idea can work well, if you’ve got the business sense to try it.
Figure 3: http://www.incubuslondon.com/about/
By converting a 1966 Leyland Titan into a bar, the owners David Humphreys and Alex Robinson overcame the problem of drinking and driving – in a way! They call the bus ‘Leyla’ and spent around £60,000 converting it into a fully equipped bar, complete with a lounge area upstairs. Run as a private hire event attraction, this is just one example of a bar renovation
Figure 4: http://www.route14.co.uk/gallery/xmas-market
In Russia, Alexander Berest’s party bus has become a destination for drinkers, dancers and partygoers to be driven around the city and served drinks. A real party on wheels. Instead of using a bus to get somewhere, this bus is a place you get to!
Creating your own bar bus business is a matter of finding the correct bus, paying for the cost of conversion, installation and the personal licence fee you’ll need to serve alcohol in the UK.
Not quite as risqué as a party bus, the restaurant buses have become quite popular in more places other than just UK. A very populr and cleverly named bus restaurant called Crust Conductor, which serves pizzas in its 34-seater restaurant. As a mobile business, it can visit festivals and food events but is primarily housed in London.
Figure 5: http://www.crustconductor.com/
A mobile workplace is worth considering If you want to run your own business with a bit of difference. Buses are traditionally used as transport vehicles but with some innovative thinking and a bit of money, they can be made into just about anything you want, within reason.