Buses are used to get people from one location to the next, but they can be much more than that. We’ve all heard of street food van vendors – but there are plenty of plucky entrepreneurs giving the humble bus a new identity and operating successful BUSinesses!
Ever thought of joining in on the fun? All it takes is the right combination of knowledge, funding and daring. Here are some of the best examples from around the UK and the world. Together with Stagecoach, who offer competitive bus prices, we show you how these entrepreneurs sold more than just bus tickets on their buses!
1. The Bus Hotel
Need to take a quick nap? 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.
Featured on architectural TV shows, Oliver Kemp funded around £60,000 into the project and its conversion. Proof that with a bit of ingenuity, you can turn space-saving ideas into mobile business success!
The trend continued in Australia, with an investor creating a homeless shelter using a bus. These ‘sleepbuses’ are designed to shelter rough sleepers overnight.
Figure 1: http://www.bedroam.co.uk/gallery/
2. The Boutique Bus
Are the shops on the high-street the same every time you visit? Move where the people are by building your own shop on a bus. That’s what Lesley Tindle did, transforming an old Fiat Ducato community bus into a mini boutique.
For when the bus travels to different events and festivals, using electronic pods Lesley can display all of her products. This idea shows the versatility of buses, allowing an owner to easily transport stock and sell it directly from their bus.
Figure 2: http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/13627031.Meet_the_entrepreneur_who_s_opened_a_boutique____on_a_bus/#
3. The Co-Working Bus
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.
Rishi Chowdhury changed his double-decker bus into a business incubator to help start-ups thrive. 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.
Figure 3: http://www.incubuslondon.com/about/
4. The Bar Bus
Ideas and innovations are flooding the nation, but have you heard of this one? 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.
Figure 4: http://www.route14.co.uk/gallery/xmas-market
Have you ever wanted to dance the night away on a VIP party bus — whilst riding around the city and seeing the amazing sights. 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.
You’ll have to consider getting a licence to serve alcohol though — before investing in the conversion. You’ll also need to pay concession costs for events you attend, which can be pricey.
5. The Restaurant Bus
We’ve heard of street food vans, but have you heard of street food buses? 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.
Figure 5: http://www.crustconductor.com/
If you’re looking to set up a new space for your business, a bus might be worth considering. Although 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?