Buying a church bus is a big undertaking, and one that comes with questions. What should you look for when considering purchasing a bus, especially if it is a used one? What are the benefits of buying new vs. used?
If you are offering bus services for an organization, your considerations are different than someone who wants to buy a bus for personal, casual use. Here are some helpful tips for church leaders looking to purchase a bus.
Things to Consider When Purchasing a New Bus
- As with a personal vehicle, the costs involved in purchasing a new bus will vary, depending on the options you choose. That being said, purchasing a new bus with amenities already installed (such as a custom sound system, premium seating, audio/visual capabilities, technology, and so on) may cost you more upfront, but it could save you a lot of time and money in the future. When installing these amenities on a used bus, the amount of labor involved to retrofit a used bus, and the time delay before you have the bus you really want, can be considerable. This can result in a more expensive bottom line when all is said and done.
- Warranties on new vehicles can offer you a sense of security and peace of mind, knowing that if anything goes wrong, the cost of repair or replacement is covered. With a used vehicle, you probably won’t have that same level of coverage and may have to go through insurance.
- New vehicles require less maintenance, enabling you to save on maintenance costs. Regularly scheduled service can mean you don’t have to budget for any major repairs, which may not be the case with a used bus.
- You can’t afford down time. Purchasing a new bus gives you an element of certainty that you can run your transportation ministry without unforeseen interruptions or delays.
- The benefits of saving money by purchasing a used bus may be outweighed by a shorter life expectancy. If your used bus conks out six months after you buy it, it didn’t last long enough to justify the savings. When you purchase a new bus, you can expect it to last longer than a used one. Without meticulous maintenance records, you have no way of knowing how many more miles your used bus has left.
Purchasing a new bus is a huge financial decision, but it does have benefits, one of which is lower risk than buying a used bus. However, there are benefits to buying a used bus, as well. Many organizations save money by purchasing used buses when they need to expand their fleet.
Things to Consider When Purchasing a Used Bus
- Buses have longer lifespans than ever today. Thanks to better manufacturing practices and technology, used buses can offer many years of reliable service. If you have access to a used bus in great shape, and with detailed maintenance records, you can save a significant amount of money and get a dependable vehicle for much less than purchasing a new bus.
- If your used bus is already equipped with the amenities you desire, you have just saved yourself a lot of time and money.
- If you are purchasing a used vehicle that was part of a fleet, there should be detailed maintenance records. If it was a personal vehicle, there may or may not be records; try to obtain them if you can, to provide an honest maintenance history. A well-cared-for used vehicle can deliver many years of great service if it has a history of regular maintenance (which you continue).
- There can be significant cost savings when purchasing a used bus. Just as with any vehicle, buses depreciate fairly quickly during the first few years. Insurance costs will be lower, also, saving you even more money.
- When you purchase a used bus, you can customize it with exactly what you want. Add any type of seating arrangement, storage solutions, stereo systems, etc. You can make a used bus into virtually anything you can envision.
These tips should all be considered before deciding on the type of bus that you would like to purchase.
When working with a dealer, be sure to ask questions that give more information about your specific needs, any amenities that can be provided, if used or new is best for you, what kind of maintenance and warranties are included, as well as including any of the above into the conversation.
Being prepared will make it easier to ensure that you get into the right bus for your needs and your budget.
This article is courtesy of Davey Coach, one of the leading dealers of new and used mid-sized buses and shuttles in North America, www.daveycoach.com.