Converting a bus into a skoolie or a toy hauler is a monumental task, as we have alluded to in previous articles. Depending on how you want to go about it, you would need to be a skilled metalworker, welder, electrician, painter, etc., to do it all on your own.
A lot of those who convert their used school buses will have friends or partners who know a bit of this and a bit of that, but sometimes it's just easier to take the bus into a professional skoolie conversion service.
Surprisingly enough, the school bus conversion industry is quite a prosperous and lucrative business, and there are several highly rated companies out there that are great choices. If you’re down with the idea of jumping headlong into the van life, we’ve put together a list of 5 companies that are more than capable of getting you on the road.
5. Chrome Yellow Corporation
The Chrome Yellow Corporation is a fabrication company based in Denver, Colorado. They aren’t one of those fabrication shops that focus on one thing and convert buses into skoolies on the side either.
Skoolies are their primary focus, and if you want to do a full-out conversion, Chrome will dedicate 1,000 man-hours to the project. The result of these conversions isn’t the standard, RV aesthetic that you would expect.
Some of their designs will blow you away. Imagine real wood paneling from top to bottom, or tile floors, checkered black and white. They offer 8 styles that you can check on the company’s portfolio page.
Chrome Yellow covers everything you would expect when converting a school bus into a completely independent, liveable, and mobile home.
- Rough Ins
- Water system and plumbing
- All electrical wiring and receptacles
- Exterior and interior paint jobs
- Roof elevation
They even offer classes on driving a school bus, so you can learn the feel of driving one, especially when it's modified into a mobile home. The classes include regular and preventative maintenance tips as well.
With the number of packages the Chrome Yellow Corporation offers, you will spend anywhere between $800 to $20,000. It all depends on the level of complexity and how far you want the work to go.
4. Phoenix Skool Buses
If you prefer a little more color and style in a skoolie conversion, Phoenix Skool Buses should be on your list. Both the main players that provide the various builds are nuclear power specialists who served in the Navy.
Phoenix Skool Buses provides customers with three tiers of workmanship, with tier 1 being the cheapest option and the price increasing from there.
- Tier 1 costs $1,000 per linear foot according to the website and takes around three months
- Tier 2 costs 1,350 per linear foot and takes around three months as well
- Tier 3 involves decorative and customization options
Tier 3 is not necessarily the next level since tier 2 is a complete conversion. The difference between tier 2 and tier 3 is tier 2 is not customized. The wood is not stained, no paint, no decorations, and basically, no aesthetic add-ons.
According to Phoenix Skool Buses’ website, the total cost for tier 2 and tier 3 conversions will run anywhere from $20,870 to $41,870. These conversions include a lot more than just wooden floors and aesthetic customization.
Depending on the tire, you will get a full load out of solar arrays, propane water heaters and systems, LifePO4 batteries, gas generators, Diesel furnaces, inverters, combo washers and dryers, storage spaces, and a range of different size propane tanks.
It’s a lot of money—there’s no doubt. You could probably find a comparable RV that will cost you around the same amount or less without the headache of waiting on the conversion. However, there is just something about a homemade conversion and using a small business to get your dream project done that makes it all worthwhile.
Skoolie.com is another school bus conversion company based out of North Carolina. They aren’t as robust as the last two skoolie conversion companies, but they offer something more than either.
Not only can you get a school bus conversion done at skoolie.com, but you can also order custom parts, DIY conversion kits, and purchase school buses. Skoolie.com has a variety of small, Bluebird buses, large flat-nose buses, and even ambulances for sale.
So not only can you purchase your bus on their website, but you can also pay skoolie.com to convert it for you. If you check out their Projects page, you will get a pretty good visual idea of what they offer.
- 38’ Bluebird Build
- Roof Raises
- A Midwest Wanderer Bus
- A “Crow” Bus
- Small bus projects
- Promaster Projects
- Flowstate Bus Project
- Seymore Project
There’s a lot to like here, including full kitchenettes, tile or wooden floors, vinyl siding, propane appliances, wood deck upper platforms, solar panel packages, wood slat overheads, and more.
Their Services Page only includes welding and fabrication along with roof raises. However, as you can see with their several projects, they are expanding into a full-blown school bus to skoolie conversions. Based on the aesthetic looks they have to offer, they’re pretty good at it too.
2. Creative Mobile Interiors
Out of the skoolie converters on this list, Creative Mobile Interiors are the veterans, with over 20 years of conversion experience that includes skoolies and a variety of other vehicle types. On top of doing conversions, Creative also offers a range of service work for skoolies and any other vehicle conversion you want to bring in.
Their main office is in Grove City, Ohio, but they also have offices in Cincinnati, Louisville, and St. Louis. Creative’s conversions include everything from aesthetic customization options to electrical.
- Water system installation and tanks
- Fuel tanks
- Electrical wiring, receptacles, and installation
- High-quality structural wood
- Premium, lightweight cabinetry
- Multiple design options
Creative Mobile Interiors has the largest portfolio of successful conversions on the entire list. Everything is here, including vans, trailers, tailgaters, custom motor homes, school buses, custom mobile offices, special needs conversions, remodels, and medical units.
While Creative doesn’t necessarily have its own fleet of vehicles for sale, they are more than happy to work with you in a consultation role as you hunt down the perfect school bus for a skoolie conversion.
They don’t offer sets of floor plans for you to choose from. The reason is Creative prefers to offer a full range of customization. In other words, you get to work with them to design your floor plan.
What you choose to go with dictates the time for completion. The wait times are anywhere between 2 and 4 months but never longer or sooner than the maximum and minimum. In addition to professional craftsmanship, your skoolie will come with a full, one-year warranty.
Even after the warranty ends, Creative still offers a range of services to keep your skoolie on the road.
1. Epic Skoolies
We saved the best for last because Epic Skoolies truly has a lot to offer. Out of all the skoolie converter companies on our list, Epic Skoolies breaks everything down, with incredible packages, fully loaded builds, and cool names to go with each project.
Located in Spokane, Washington, Epic Skoolies offers custom builds and layouts with everything you would expect in a premium conversion service. They even offer a DIY consultation service in case you need a hand with your skoolie conversion project.
Epic Skoolies goes well beyond just a standard consultation service. They will sit down and help you map out your electric grid, including the wire sizes, outlets, breakers, solar panel sizes, batteries, inverters, and converters.
There’s no stone left unturned, whether you are building your own or Epic Skoolies is doing it for you. They aren’t just limited to certain bus types either. No matter the bus size or manufacturer, Epic Skoolies will be happy to do a conversion on it.
Epic Skoolies also sticks with energy-efficient appliances so you can get the most out of your power system. That includes offering consultation service on the best appliances for you to buy based on your setup.
Epic Skoolies offers conversion projects for either vans or school buses, so you can keep it small or go as large as you want. Their designs are incredible, sticking mostly with bright and roomy aesthetics so you will get the most out of the space you have available.
Last but not least, Epic Skoolies offers a membership program for $10 per month. As a member, you get early access to various projects, DIY tutorials, updates, and access to the Epic Skoolies chat community.
If you are considering doing a full skoolie conversion or just want to hunt down the right school bus to get started, these give skoolie conversion companies are more than worth your time. Some of them are great just for consultation purposes.
If you want an outstanding conversion and are willing to pay a premium for it, any one of these five school bus converters will get you out on the road in a very fine ride.