FACTS AND BUILD GUIDES

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QUICK FACTS

Some of the easily overlooked aspects of venturing on the bus life journey...

All information is relevant at the time posted, please double-check rules haven't changed nationwide, or state-wide before you start building.

Have more questions? We'd love to help you answer them! Get in touch

BEFORE PURCHASING A BUS

MAKE SURE YOU KNOW:

  • Get an idea of the conversion to motorhome rules for your state (use National rules from NHVR in QLD, NSW, VIC, SA, TAS, and ACT)
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  • What type of licence you will need prior CLICK HERE
  • How much your licencing test weekend will cost - (ie: In Victoria, about $2000 for heavy rigid, $1500 for medium rigid, $1200 for light rigid)
  • Study the Heavy Vehicle Manual (For Victoria it's this one HERE)
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  • Know that you need to get your vehicle inspected once it is converted (before it is registered) by an Accredited Vehicle Examiner (AVE). They will check if your vehicle is safe and up to the conversion standards then give you a certificate you take to the Registration Office. To Contact an AVE check out our contact list HERE.
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  • Know that you need to have as many passenger seats in the vehicle as there are beds.
  • Know that the door has to open OUTWARDS for safety reasons, so if you buy a city bus you have to change out the [usual] bifold door.
  • Know that filling your diesel tank will be a shock at first but it will get you far (cost comparison and more on this topic on our Myth Busting page HERE)
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  • Know that you need to get any LPG gas appliances or uses & and all 240V electrical systems inspected by a professional and get a certificate for those two things, and bring those two and the AVE certificate to the Registration Office.
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  • Get an idea of the registration rules for your state.
  • Get an approx estimate of how much registration will cost in your state (not always accurate on the Vehicle Registration company's website. Call them and ask - you may need a previous Rego number from the vehicle to get accurate quote) (they're really bad at giving good answers but registering it as a *motorhome* it's generally under $1500 a year)
  • Get an estimate of your insurance costs for the motorhome you're planning to purchase. We got a good quote from CIL Insurance as an example it was $1400 per year (with $500 excess).
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  • Decide if you will buy a Registered or Unregistered bus depending on your circumstance with the help of our post "Should you Buy a Registered or Unregistered Bus..."
  • Calculate your costs for a year of living in a bus vs. living in your home with our FREE "Bus Life vs. Fixed Address" sheet
  • Calculate the weight of the large items in your bus for an estimate of your GVM with our FREE "GVM Calculator Sheet"
  • Calculate the costs of the items, extra frills you want in your bus and track your build with our FREE "Bus Build Tracking Sheet"
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  • Read our recommendations post for helpful tips when looking at buses: "What to Look for In a Bus! Bus Buying 101"
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  • Search for a bus online and meet with people who sell buses and talk with them, ASK HEAPS OF QUESTIONS BEFORE STARTING.
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  • Check if you can park a bus near your home, residential areas may not allow it without a permit. In this case it may be a good idea to ask the place you purchased the bus from if you can keep it there for a bit. Plan a place for the bus ahead of time before you purchase the bus!
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  • Find a Heavy Rigid Mechanic (a third party, not the seller's mechanic) to come with you to take a look at the bus you're interested in. Heavy Rigid Mechanics offer pre-purchase inspections just like car mechanics do. They range in price but are a few hundred dollars at most. The smartest money you will spend. This will help you avoid being taken advantage of by a seller.
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  • Then finally, once you've thought this all through, just START and buy a bus, yay!

 

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COMMON TERMS

VEHICLE CONVERSION GUIDELINES FOR EACH STATE

YOU MUST FOLLOW THE NATIONAL (NHVR) HEAVY VEHICLES REGULATIONS (in 6 Aussie states) - FOUND HERE

QLD, NSW, VIC, SA, TAS, and ACT all use the NHVR as the vehicle conversion regulations.

The leftover states (NT and WA), also ADD to the NHVR rules. So you must follow NHVR and state rules.

---->We suggest reading the NHVR guidelines first.

---->Then BEFORE CONVERTING contacting your local Approved Vehicle Examiner (AVE) for final rules & final go ahead. Contact links provide for each state below.

ACCREDITED VEHICLE EXAMINER (AVE) PER STATE, CONTACT LINKS:

LICENCE TYPE REQUIRED BY GVM

To get a general idea what licence you may need... For example: We are getting a 3 axle coach bus - which usually have a GVM of 16 tonnes - and in Victoria (and most states) we require a Heavy Rigid License (HR).

To qualify for a HR Licence we must hold a valid Australian car licence for 24 months first.

For example, the cost for a HR licence training through an accredited training company called Cove Training (Heavy Rigid Non-Synchromesh gearbox) is approx $1900 for a 2 day course and test. (Victoria)

(This is for reference only please take a look at the websites under "more information" tabs below as well)

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Thank you!

 

Cheers,

Amanda & Dylan

Badass Bus Life Founders

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