Big BUSiness — how entrepreneurs have transformed buses

May 30, 2018

Instead of the standard street-food vans, have you thought of the different things you can do with 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:

Quirky accommodation

More travellers are looking for quirky places to stay, especially with the rise in sites such as AirBnB. 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 quirky accommodation has featured on TV on shows 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 bus has been used in a similar was in Australia too. Here, homeless people are invited to spend the night on the bus. These ‘sleepbuses’ are designed to shelter rough sleepers overnight.

Shopping on a bus

Take a leaf out of Lesley Tindle’s book and create a unique shopping experience on a bus. For extra space, you could opt for a bus that expands too. This idea shows the versatility of buses, allowing an owner to easily transport stock and sell it directly from their bus.

A new type of office space

Unfortunately for start-up businesses, office space can be costly to purchase. But, that can change with the help of this innovative idea.

Created 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.

Building a bar

As opposed to socialising in a bar, why not give people somewhere different to enjoy a drink? 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.

There’s a similar concept 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.

Thinking about something like this? 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 new type of restaurant

As opposed to the food van, consider a restaurant 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.

Buses are commonly 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 created by Stagecoach, providers of competitive bus pass prices.

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