How to start a business from a bus — a look at who’s already done it

Many of us have heard of food vans, popular at events and festivals, but what about transforming a bus?

With the right combination of knowledge, funding and creativity, consider starting your bus business today. Here are some of the best examples from around the UK and the world:

A hotel experience like no other

Tourists today enjoy staying somewhere totally different, unlike a conventional hotel. 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.

This hotel has been featured on the TV on programmes such as 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!

A similar project is in place in Australia, where homeless people are invited to spend the night on the bus. These ‘sleepbuses’ are designed to shelter rough sleepers overnight.

A bus boutique

For a quirky shopping experience, take a look at what Lesley Tindle did — transforming an old Fiat Ducato community bus into a mini boutique.

The shopping bus expands too which allows a wide range of products to be on display. This idea shows the versatility of buses, allowing an owner to easily transport stock and sell it directly from their bus.

Quirky office space

For start-ups, office space can be very expensive. That’s where the following idea came from.

Converted by Rishi Chowdhury, the Incubus is a double decker bus/ office space. 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.

Creating a bar

Many people like to socialise with friends in somewhere different. 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.

Something similar has occurred in Russia too. It’s a VIP bus bar that drives around the city allowing people to drink and dance the night away. 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 are considering something like this, you must 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.

An eatery

Instead of the standard food van, what about a food bus? 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 buses are usually associated with public transport. 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?

This article was brought to you by Stagecoach, who have competitive bus fares.

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