Ideas for a Unique Bus Business

When you think of a bus, you think of public transport getting you from A to B. However, they have the scope to be much more! We’re all aware of street food van vendors, but it’s time for the bus to pull up and get a new identity.

If you feel like you fancy a go yourself, all you need as a sprinkle of knowledge, splash of funding and dash of daring. Here are some of the best examples from around the UK and the world.

Hotel Bus

Feeling sleepy? You see many commuters or party-goers fast asleep on public transport, but some plucky entrepreneurs have taken it one step further and transformed buses into hotels. One example is 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.

It’s reported that Oliver spent £60,000 on the transformation project with his project being featured on the television show Amazing Spaces. Proof that with a bit of ingenuity, you can turn space-saving ideas into mobile business success!

Down Under, an Australian entrepreneur has converted a bus into a homeless sleeping shelter. These ‘sleepbuses’ are designed to shelter rough sleepers overnight.

Boutique Bus

If you’re fed up of retailing on the high street, then move to where the people are by building your own shop on a bus. That’s exactly what Lesley Tindle did, transforming an old Fiat Ducato community bus into a mini boutique.

By putting a host of electronic pods where the bus’s seats used to be, it can expand to display stock when it arrives at events and festivals across the UK. This idea shows the versatility of buses, allowing an owner to easily transport stock and sell it directly from their bus.

Co-working Bus

Bus conversions hold no limits – it’s simply all about the application. What does the bus need to do? 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.

To address this, Rishi Chowdhury decided to convert an old double decker bus into ‘IncuBus’, a business incubator that cost the price of a busfare to use. 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.

Bar Bus

Of course, drink driving is not legal or condoned, but that doesn’t mean a bus doesn’t make for a great bar conversion, thanks to the skilful ideas of entrepreneurs around the country. 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.

An entrepreneur in Russia managed to expand the experience – creating a VIP party bus in which bus prices aren’t for your commute to work, but instead you pay for per person, per night, to drive around the city serving drinks and allowing revellers to dance. 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.

It’s simply a challenge for 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 if you were thinking of creating your own bar bus business. You’ll also need to pay concession costs for events you attend, which can be pricey.

Restaurant bus

Toning down the idea of a bar bus is the restaurant bus. Serving meals from a converted bus takes a popular street food idea (mobile food vans) into the extreme. 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.

If you want to run your own business, considering a mobile workplace could be a wise move. Buses are traditionally used as transport vehicles – but as the future pushes innovation and conventions are challenged, it will come as no surprise to see more entrepreneurs stretching the limits of what can be achieved with a bus-borne business. However, with most people’s renovations costing upwards of £30,000, you’ll need plenty of investment behind you. Crowdfunding, anyone?

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Ive been blogging now for 5 years on various sites for the love of knowledge share. I decided to start my own blog a few years back to share everything from tech to business news. Follow me on twitter for more.