Most of us use our local bus services to get from one location to the next — whether this is the commute to work or a trip to the shopping centre. For others, however, buses are opportunities. 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!
Think you can bring your business dreams to life with the help of a bus? All it takes is the right combination of knowledge, funding and bravery. Here are some of the best examples from around the UK and the world.
The Bus Hotel
Want to move away from booking a room at a regular hotel and do something slightly more quirky? 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 bus has even been featured on Amazing Spaces, which saw Oliver spend around £60,000 on the transformation. Proof that with a bit of ingenuity, you can turn space-saving ideas into mobile business success!
Not only that, but in Australia another entrepreneur has changed his bus into a homeless shelter! These ‘sleepbuses’ are designed to shelter rough sleepers overnight.
The Boutique Bus
Want to make your boutique stand out from other stores on the high street? 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.
With the use of electronic pods, the Bus Boutique can expand and display different products wherever it travels. This idea shows the versatility of buses, allowing an owner to easily transport stock and sell it directly from their bus.
Looking for a working space that’s not your regular coffee shop and wanting an area that feels like your own office space for you and your team? 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.
Using the price of bus fares, Rishi Chowdhury has converted a double decker bus into a ‘Incbus’ — for new businesses to use. 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.
Entrepreneurs around the country have innovated the idea of converting a bus into a bar — and this can spark a great conversation amongst drinkers. 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 nothing more spectacular than a VIP party bus which drives around the city serving lots of alcoholic beverages and allowing room for plenty of dance moves — and that’s what one Russian entrepreneur has done. 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 were to do that in the UK, you will need to find the most appropriate bus to fill your needs, the cost of conversation and a personal licence to serve alcohol in the country. You’ll also need to pay concession costs for events you attend, which can be pricey.
Putting a creative spin on a business is sure to pull in customers — forget what we know about the food vans that serve street food, think about the newly found bus restaurants. 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.
If you’re looking to open up your own business, you should be considering a mobile workplace — as it can be considerably cheaper in the long run. 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. The cost of renovating a bus is usually over £30,000 — so make sure you’re getting the best investments you can to create the most innovative office space for your company. Crowdfunding, anyone?