The Great Bus Business Opportunity

What is the story?

For the past six months we have successfully rented out our school bus tiny home conversion on Airbnb. This is a fully equipped school bus RV conversion that can comfortably accommodate 1 – 4 people.

It was all going well. Until the city of Huntington Beach threatened us with fines if we continue to operate. So for this reason, we have stopped operating at this location.

We are now looking for a new home for El Dorado. This is an opportunity for someone who owns a cool spot that would like to monetize it. Does that sound like you, or someone in your network?

Keep reading…

Airbnb Success Story

Profitability

We successfully took in 86 bookings from January to July 2018. The total revenue for this time was $15,058. Operating expenses were very low, I’d guess around $200-$250 per month for consumables, software and propane.

Community

We’ve received a lot of really nice compliments on the bus.

“This little place is awesome! We were looking for a little place for a weekend getaway near the beach but off the beaten path, and we couldn’t be more pleased with our pick! The owners have made the place super unique with lots of little personal touches. The place is close to everything and a very easy come and go concept. Enough space for us and all of our things. Such a unique idea, and we are already planning a return trip! 5 stars, we highly recommend this place!!” – Anamarie (an Airbnb guest)

We had a total of 61 five star reviews. Here is another one:

“The skoolie was one of the most eclectic AirBNBs I’ve ever stayed in. It had amazing amenities. Shower, heated floor, washer and dryer, kitchen, and a surprising amount of space. I wish I could have stayed longer than one night! If I’m back in the area, I would definitely stay again and would recommend anyone to stay!!” – Julia (an Airbnb guest)

What we are Looking for Now

We are now looking for a beautiful place for the bus to live where it can continue to serve as a great vacation rental.

What the Bus Has to Offer

Welcome to our unique custom built Skoolie. We used epoxy industrial paint for the exterior because of it’s durability and longevity. It turned out great.

Here is the entry way.

A view from the front cabin, to the front entrance.

The sofa is made up of a 6″ high-density 2 x layered memory foam mattress, and the backside of the sofa is a 3″ memory foam. The sofa is super spacious and comfy to sit and sleep on!

This beautiful spacious living area is made up of a lounge and dining room, plus can be converted into a second bedroom.

Their are thermal insulated blackout curtains throughout the entire bus. You can close them for full privacy at night, and open them for natural sunlight during the day.

Linen and blankets for the forward cabin beds can be found stored inside this double ottoman.

The forward cabin has a collection of modular furniture which can be moved around. These 3 large ottomans, along with the sofa, create ample seating for the dining/lounge room, and can also be pushed up to the sofa to create a full size bed.

This is a custom made 3/4″ pine dining table. The table can easily be flipped down and stored away for more space. This is especially useful when making the sofa bed.

The dining table is a place where you can dine, work and entertain. If you have some spare time have a game of Babies vs Bears!

We used birch wood to wrap the ceiling of the bus. We used recessed LED lights which are solar powered to light the interior of the bus.

The kitchen countertop is made from reclaimed Philippine mahogany. They were originally pallets, used to ship plants. After breaking them down and running them through a table saw and a planer, the wood turned out to be stunning! Here’s a video of the final epoxy jobThe kitchen was designed with efficiency and comfortability in mind. Their’s plenty of counter top space for preparing and creating delicious meals on the bus.

This Ramblewood (LPG/Propane Gas) high efficiency 2 burner gas cooktop is super efficient and perfect for all your cooking needs. Cooking on the bus is a breeze. We have everything you may need to cook a delicious meal so we hope you cook to your hearts desire! 

Washing up is a breeze with this deep stainless steel sink and pull down sprayer kitchen faucet. WARNING: The 6 gallon hot water heater ensures that the running water gets very hot, very fast, so please take care!

The kitchen is stocked with pots and non-stick fry pans for all your cooking needs. And plenty of storage room for dry food.

All the herbs and spices you need to make a world class meal.

Cooking oils to ensure your Master Chef game is strong!

We offer tea and coffee.

You will find bowls, mugs, glasses, cutlery, utensils, plus plates, large preparing/serving bowls, strainer, toaster oven, a 3 speed hand blender and food storage containers for all your b’ouse needs.

This Norcold 6.3 cubic ft 2 Door Refrigerator is the best 2-Way AC/LP RV refrigerator on the market today. It is set at the perfect temperature, plus it’s super spacious and can hold enough food for four people for a week.

Plenty of room for storing delicious food and beverages. We hope you enjoy this full sized refrigerator as much as we do! It also runs on solar power, but it needs help from either propane or grid electricity on cloudy days.

The top device here is a solar controller. The solar controller fluctuates the amount of power which is sent from the solar panels to the battery bank. Their is also an inverter, 35,000 BTU furnace thermostat, fantastic vent fan and bathroom floor heating controller. Everything is set on a thermostat so all you need to do is sit back and relax. When cooking, you can use the ceiling fan for extra ventilation.

Our Mohawk rugs will help keep your feet warm on a cool night. Light oak vinyl plank flooring also spans the entire interior of the bus, besides the mosaic tiled bathroom.

This is a hipster-inspired image of the neat lights we have on the bus.

You will find soap, shampoo and conditioner in the shower. The entire bathroom floor also has a 15 square foot, 120v electric radiant in-floor heating cable system. This heating system has a thermostat with floor sensor and will help create incomparable levels of comfort.

The bus has a fully functioning toilet and shower. This Thetford aqua magic style II RV toilet has a lightweight china bowl with full-size customizable residential seat. It has a water-saving hand sprayer for a hand rinse wash down. A single-pedal flush offers convenience with a powerful flush and a 100% bowl coverage. There are many toilets like this, but this one will be all yours. The bathroom also has a 70 CFM (cubic feet per minute) exhaust ventilation fan you can use anytime you are occupying the bathroom.

This is a detailed image of the mosaic that V worked on for 1 month and a total of approximately 166 hours!!! It’s beautiful, but the pictures don’t do it justice. It’s a work of art!

This is a turtle mosaic. It’s part of the magic of the bathroom.

Adjust your water temperature with ease with this Moen faucet in your own bus mosaic shower. WARNING: The 6 gallon hot water heater ensures that the running water gets very hot, very fast. So please take care!

This is an example of the shower’s light show. The bathroom is lit up with a waterproof LED light strip, and a color changing LED shower head. It’s amazing. Warning: If you’re over 6′ tall, it’ll be a little short on head room. For those under 6′, it’s the perfect height. Regardless of your height, we hope you enjoy this amazing and unique space!

The countertop above the washer/dryer can be used as a charging station and/or a standing desk area. There is also a USB stereo system with handheld remote for nonstop entertainment on the bus. Just plug your iPhone in and play some sweet tunes!

The bus comes with a barometer. It’s fun to watch it change with the time. And this is a cool close up image of the bus’s woodwork in the evening.

In between the kitchen and bedroom you will find a vented combo washer/dryer in the bus for your comfort and convenience. You can put your dirty laundry in here, set the washing and drying cycles, and in a few hours, your laundry is fully washed and dried. It’s pretty amazing. Works best with small loads. This definitely does not run on solar power. The bus needs grid power for this baby to function.

In the bedroom you will find a low lying desk area, plus an open closet with ample hanging space. There are also 2 large drawers, plus open drawers for storing away all of your personal belongings. For full privacy there is also a curtain to divide the main bedroom from the rest of the bus.

In the rear cabin is the main bedroom, it has an exceptionally comfortable and sturdy bed with a Lucid 10 inch Queen size plush gel memory foam antimicrobial mattress. It is firm, yet plush. We hope you have a very deep, wonderful sleep during your stay. You’ll also find custom made redwood crates under the bed for extra storage.

The main bedroom is very comfortable and spacious. And when you close all of the curtains you’ll have full privacy from neighbors.

This is the rear cabin view from the main bedroom.

This is the back door. You can use this locking device on the right to lock the back door. It’s more secure than the U.S. mint.

This is the back side view of El Dorado. This is what it looks like when it’s all plugged in and operational.

Requirements to add the Skoolie to your property

  • Septic/sewer tank
  • Electrical connection (traditional 110v outlet is fine)
  • Water supply (normal garden hose is fine)
  • Zoning is dependent on location, city, county, state etc. If it’s a good fit, we will work with you or the property owner to ensure we meet all legal requirements

What would be ideal for our new Skoolie spot

  • A great view
  • A quiet space
  • An existing cleaning and booking team
  • A non-freezing climate

Please share this with your friends, or anyone you think would be a good fit for team El Dorado.

If you’re interested in the creation of El Dorado, feel free to watch the maker series of the school bus tiny home conversion adventure here on our YouTube channel.

El Dorado Skoolie Facebook page.

Our Skoolie is Complete

Today we announce our completed skoolie! It’s done. We hope you enjoy the video.

Final Silicon Touches in the Bathroom

V didn’t think I did a good enough job on the bathroom so she dove back in there to put even more detailed thought into little room of water. She sanded the grout and the ceiling down to a smooth finish, then used the stain to reseal the room. Finally, she went to war with a particularly sticky brand of silicone. It was a battle, but at the end of it, she was able to accurately explain, “the bathroom is done.”

V was happy to use silicone on the final day

Final Skoolie Electrical Upgrades

I upgraded some dangerous wiring I had set up. A few months ago I installed Romex 14/4 on a 20 amp circuit. Thanks to the YouTube community watching our build videos, I was alerted to the fact that my 20 amp circuit breaker is not of suitable restriction to limit the power to NOT burn up the 14/4 Romex, should an overvoltage event occur.

Now the 20 amp tandem breakers have been switched over for 15 amp single breakers. We now have a safe electrical system on the bus.

Final Skoolie Electronic Works

Next, I added a water heater switch to the internal house bus brain. The water heater switch is there for extended departures on the bus. Now we flip a simple switch to conserve gas. Huzzah!

Skoolie Spice Cabinet

We created the spice rack from Christmas tins. V painted the tin and I screwed them into our cabinet walls.

Final Skoolie Touches - Painting the Spice Rack

Easy Peasy.

Final Skoolie Touches - The spice rack cabinet

Look at those Happy Faces

We started this conversion in March of 2017 and it’s now December of 2017 as we declare the project as completed.

The smiles on our faces are testament to the relief we feel knowing this project is complete.

Ian and V are happy to take time away from the skoolie

Though it took us three times longer than we anticipated, we are happy that we can call the school bus conversion project, done.

It will soon be for rent on Airbnb. I will link the listing below once it is live.

Thank you for reading. Please let me know if you have any questions in the comment section below.

V Waves ‘Goodbye for Now’ to the Skoolie

Waving Goodbye to the Completed Skoolie

Wrapping the Skoolie Bathroom

In today’s video, I wrap up sealing the skoolie bathroom and I install the towel rack and the toilet paper dispenser thing. It’s a fairly swift video, but I hope it serves you well.

Urethane Application Supplies

Urethane | Brush | Sandpaper | Respirator

Spar Urethane Application Notes

Many tutorials online attempt to make this process seem much more challenging than it really is. I found the process to be very simple.

First I used a large sponge and wrapped the sponge with 220-grit sandpaper. This allowed me to sand the strange angles.

The first application sucked up a LOT of the urethane. The fresh wood inhaled the product so the first layer involved using half of the can’s contents. The second one probably used 1/16 of the can.

Many people talk about avoiding bubbles and doing a very careful job with this. I found that information to be stunting. At the end of the day, watching videos where people used a ton of caution just held me back. The material goes on clear and I didn’t have any bubbles. At first, I worked hard to be very delicate with the material, by the end, I was slapping it on and spreading it out. Both methods of application resulted in similar results.

Testing the Seal

To test the urethane, I splashed water on the wood. If it had soaked into the wood, I would have known that another coat or two would be needed. Luckily, after two coats, the water beaded up and dripped from the ceiling. After I dried the water off, there was no visual sign that the water had penetrated the urethane coat.

School Bus AirBnB – Final Upholstery Project and Driving the Bus to SoCal

When we started this school bus Airbnb back in March, we had no idea what was in store for V and me.

The Bus at Red Rock Canyon

We thought we would be able to wrap up the conversion in about three months. Back in that spring of 2017, we expected to finish the project in time to go on a tour of the country, attending the Burningman art festival in August, spending a few weeks on the road and finally bringing the bus to Huntington Beach where we would rent it out as an AirBnB while we left the country to visit Australia for a wedding and some surf.

If you’ve been following along on this journey via our YouTube channel, you’ll know our plans were laughably optimistic. Burningman came and went while we worked on the bus, then the weeks between the art festival and the Australia trip passed. V actually left me with the bus while she flew out in time to make her sister’s wedding. I was left alone to finish the bus.

So I pushed on for another month or two. Finally, all the systems were in and the bus was ready to go. Again, I had problems with mechanical stuff. The fuel pump needed to be replaced and the bus needed to be registered legally. I wrapped those two projects up in Reno while I watched my parent’s house while they were out of the country.

That’s where this video comes into play.

The first eggs cooked on the bus

What Now

Now the bus will become an AirBnB property in Southern California. That’s the goal.

You see, when I started, I wanted to drive the bus around to national parks and work online from the comfort of a dusty road. Now, I just want to leave the bus behind and start recouping a bit of the investment.

While driving from Reno to LA, I realized the bus has a new oil leak and the power steering leak became progressively worse. It seems that the more time I spend with the bus, the worse the problems get.

Therefore, it makes sense to allow the house to start taking care of its self.

The next few videos will be about getting the bus ready for a vacation rental. Once that is complete, I plan on having a point where we have no plans.

I’ve planned my life out for the last 5 years. It’s time to create an opportunity where I can wake up one morning and think, “Today we are free to do and go wherever it is that we want to.”

Recent Thank You

Mom and Dad -Mom your emotional support has fortified me through some very challenging times. Dad, if you didn’t teach me to build stuff, this project would have been 100% impossible.

Lauren – You’re a best friend sis’. Also, you’re able to sew like a pro, despite being an am. 😀

David Vu – Your excitement to take on business challenges and work with V and I is a life saver.

Scott Siller – Thank you for reaching out via the YouTube comments and supporting me in the Nevada Vehicle Registration process. I was afraid of the process until your calm explanation made it feel like a simple hurdle to jump over.

The Kinsinger Family – Thank you for keeping me at your Thanksgiving dinner. It was an absolute delight.

Registering a Skoolie in Nevada

Registering a skoolie in Nevada is not as challenging as I initially anticipated. It’s just like registering a salvaged car. Check out the video to get an idea of the story. I’ll add additional information related to costs and document types on the blog below.

How I Registered My Skoolie in Nevada

More to come shortly.

Soft-Close Ball Bearing Drawer Slide Installation and Building 3/4″ Plywood Drawers

This video is a more complete documentation of building the custom drawers and Installing soft-close ball bearing drawer slides.

If you’re finding this because you plan to do the project yourself, I suggest checking out my previous video on soft-close ball bearing drawers as well.

Additional Drawer Installation Video – Click Here

Custom Drawers

Notes on Installing Soft-Close Ball Bearing Drawer

The devil with installing ball-bearing sliding drawer rails is in the details. The reality is that I spent a lot more time contemplating and measuring. These videos appear as if it was a quick, easy process to plan what to do next.

Drawer Slides

Because the drawers are square and the hardware is straight, it is critical to measure carefully. I was off by 1/4″ in terms of square-trapezoid shape. That difference in sliding rail measurement differences was enough for the hardware to function improperly.

Installing Soft-Close Ball Bearing Drawer

Questions?

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to ask below. If you ask pertinent, important questions relating to the topic of installing drawer slides, I can respond below with my thoughts. Those comments are public to everyone else reading this post. With luck, we can build a great resource here for future people.

Ideally, I’d like to have a great resource for others while learning the ways that others can improve the installation process.