How to turn a bus into a business

You might’ve heard a lot about vans being turned into a business, but what about a bus?

If you want to get involved with a bus business, you need the right combination of knowledge, funding and creativity. Together with Stagecoach, we show you how these entrepreneurs have more than bus prices to contend with!

Creating a hotel

Want to create a place to stay like no other? Some plucky entrepreneurs have transformed buses into hotels, such as East Yorkshire businessman, Oliver Kemp, who has 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 hotel has even been featured on the likes of Amazing Space. Oliver Kemp spent around £60,000 on the project. Proof that with a bit of ingenuity, you can turn space-saving ideas into mobile business success!

Similarly, in Australia, a bus has been transformed to help out the homeless. It allows them to stay the night in a warm and comfortable environment. These ‘sleepbuses’ are designed to shelter rough sleepers overnight.

Creating a boutique

Create a new environment for people to do their shopping. That’s what Lesley Tindle did, transforming an old Fiat Ducato community bus into a mini boutique.

This bus expands too, allowing more products to be shown off. This idea shows the versatility of buses, allowing an owner to easily transport stock and sell it directly from their bus.

A quirky office space

Office space can be costly, especially for start-up companies. That’s where the IncuBus comes in. It is a double decker bus that was converted by Rishi Chowdhury. The bus itself cost around £12,000 and the conversion cost up to £30,000 – but the vehicle acted as the IncuBus office space, hosting up to five startups at any one time. It’s proof that an innovative idea can work well, if you’ve got the business sense to try it.

A bus bar

Ever thought about creating a mobile bar? One bus, christened Leyla, is the result of a 1966 Leyland Titan being renovated by owners David Humphreys and Alex Robinson. They 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.

Similarly, in Russia, there’s a VIP bus bar that takes people around town. Where some party busses in the UK are designed to get revellers from one location to another, Alexander Berest’s party bus is meant to be the destination.

If you do consider this idea, remember that you need to acquire a licence to serve alcohol in the UK. You’ll also need to pay concession costs for events you attend, which can be pricey.

A bus to restaurant

As opposed to the popular food van, consider creating a mobile restaurant. There have been a number of bus restaurant conversions in the UK – though one of the most popular is the 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.

Although traditionally kept as a form of transport, as we can see a bus can be transformed into a range of things. However, with most people’s renovations costing upwards of £30,000, you’ll need plenty of investment behind you. Crowdfunding, anyone?