When you need to find used buses for sale, you need a reputable seller offering reasonable prices. Everybody knows that. What everybody doesn’t know, however, is how to find one of those sellers. You’ve got lots of options to sift through. To find the best used school buses for sale near you, you’ve got to follow the advice we lay out in this piece.

First, we’ll talk about the general climate in terms of used school buses for sale. There are a lot of things to familiarize yourself with before you dive into shopping for used school buses for sale nearby, like the potential uses for used buses. 

Then, we’ll investigate the qualities of good used bus sellers, giving you some qualities to keep an eye out for. Some will focus more on individuals selling an old bus, while others will be tailored toward dealership companies. We’ll also discuss the differences between those two methods of selling. 

Finally, we’ll leave you with some of our best tips for getting the most out of your search for used school buses for sale near you. We’ll start at the broadest point and get more general, and hopefully, even well-versed fleet managers can learn something from this post. Let’s get right into it.

What is the used school bus market like?

It depends on where you live and work. There are different considerations in different parts of the country. Some school districts turn over their buses fairly regularly, only using new ones for a few years. Others prefer to keep their buses for a decade or more. These sorts of differences will impact how big of a market there is in your area for used school buses for sale. And then, of course, there are weather considerations. For example, we don’t have to worry about rust here in the Midwest as much as they do in coastal areas. 

Another aspect you might not initially consider about the used bus market is how much of a role the right timing plays. Of course, if you’re in dire need of another bus, then trying to wait for the right time to buy a bus is not a viable strategy. That’s not usually the case, though. Most people are aware they need to be looking at used school buses for sale for a while before the purchase is an emergency.

New government regulations can sometimes make a large portion of buses in the market need to be offloaded quickly. Those buses that are no longer fit for their original purpose can often be snatched up as great deals. A situation like this can spark something of a massive used bus sale, meaning you’ll have the opportunity to get a great vehicle for a majorly reduced price. 

Things you can use a used school bus for

Lots of school districts add used school buses for sale to their fleets each year. It’s an economical choice in many cases. However, you can also find used school buses for sale near you that are ready to be converted into use for many other purposes. Here are a few of them:

  • Party bus
  • Church bus
  • Mobile home

These barely scratch the surface of why you might be looking for a used school bus for sale near you. Any situation where you regularly need to get a big group of people from one place to another can be great opportunities for a converted, used school bus. 

What you want to use the bus for will dictate how big of a bus you need, of course, and school buses come in several different sizes. So, converting a used school bus for sale you find in your area into your transportation solution is definitely a viable option to consider.

Qualities of good used bus sellers

Now that you’re more familiar with the buses themselves, let’s explore what you should be looking for in the person or company where you’re shopping for used school buses for sale near you. Lots of these are just plain common sense. Even so, here are all the qualities you should be looking for when looking for a reputable used bus seller.


Used bus sellers, whether individual or associated with a dealership, should tell you anything you want to know about their used school buses for sale. Used buses have seen some things and aren’t usually going to be in perfect shape. The seller should be honest about any of these shortcomings. 

If you can’t get a straight answer from the used bus seller you’re in conversation with, pursue your other options. 


Getting a sense that the seller you’re in conversation with knows what they’re talking about is an important factor in gaining your trust. You want to be sure that they have been in the industry long enough to be aware of the different pitfalls used buses can often fall into. Having enough knowledge of which bus issues are non-starters and which ones are workable is paramount.

Of course, if you’re not a bus expert yourself, it might be hard to judge this factor. Those who aren’t as confident in their own bus knowledge should do a little bit of their own research first. That way, you can be more confident in your dealings with used bus sellers.


The best used bus sellers are those with used school buses for sale near you. Sometimes, travel can’t be avoided, but it can be majorly inconvenient. 

Plus, it won’t come cheap. If you’re considering traveling across the country to get a major deal on a used school bus for sale, don’t forget to factor in all the costs associated with that trip when comparing your options. You don’t want to buy a bus sight unseen, of course, so sticking in your general geographic area is going to be the most efficient choice. 

Definitely start by limiting your search to used school buses for sale near you. If you can’t find anything that fits your specifications, then you’ll have to widen your radius, but don’t do it if you don’t have to. 


If you ask a question, the person or dealership with used school buses for sale near you should have a prompt answer. It’s definitely not a good sign if you can’t get a hold of them or if they don’t give you the information you need to make a proper decision. Make sure you’re a priority.

This one is definitely related to our earlier point about transparency. Even if you don’t have a lot of options for used school buses for sale near you, don’t settle for a seller that gives you any red flags about their professionalism. Instead, consider expanding your search radius a little bit. Our previous point about avoiding long travel to acquire or even just view a used bus for sale still stands — it’s all about finding a balance.

Trusted and Well Liked

See if you can find ratings and reviews for the seller you’re considering. You probably can’t find any for an individual seller, but you should be able to for dealerships. 

Read through what previous customers have to say about their experience. If there are any repeated complaints, take that as a red flag. Internet comments are notoriously unhelpful in some arenas, but if you’re seeing an issue crop up again and again, it’s worth considering the validity of those claims. Dealerships that have been faithfully serving the community for years are likely your best bet for used school buses for sale near you.

Dealer vs Individual Seller

If you’re trying to decide between buying from a traditional dealership or an independent seller, here are some important distinctions between the two.

  • A dealership is more likely to have all the necessary documentation. Their whole business is buses, and they have more 
  • Like we said in the previous section about what makes good used bus sellers, knowledge of the vehicles and the industry is of paramount importance. An individual who doesn’t have a history in the industry might not have the depth of expertise as a dealership.
  • The price point is likely to be different, so consider what you need the bus for and how much you’re willing to spend. This is especially true if you’re planning to renovate a used school bus for sale near you and give it a new purpose.
  • More service (dealerships have mechanics to service buses before listing them for sale)
  • With a dealership, you can often get a warranty or a maintenance agreement. An individual on the internet is not going to have those same resources.
  • Financing might be an option with some dealerships. When it comes to individuals, however, that’s not going to be the case.

Obviously, opting for a dealership is going to be the safer bet. If your options from private sellers seem too good to be true, they probably are. Shopping on price alone is rarely the best way to go about it when it comes to snagging a great used bus for sale in your area.

Tips for Dealing with Used School Bus Sellers

Now that you’ve considered which type of seller you should be dealing with, we’ve got some advice for you when you’re buying used school buses for sale near you.

  • Build a relationship – This is particularly salient for those who are managing a fleet of buses and will therefore be making multiple used school bus purchases over the years. 
  • Do your own research – If you’ve chosen to go with a dealership, how long have they been in business? Do they have any reviews? Has anyone recommended them to you? And if you go with an individual seller, you might not have the same access to information. That just means you need to do more digging on the bus itself, making sure you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into.
  • Ask the right questions – We’ve already written about specific features to look for in used buses for sale in the past, so if you’re looking for more detail on that front, you can check out the blog post. Digging into the history of the bus is usually a good place to start.
  • Don’t let anyone rush you into it – Check to see if the used school bus sale is actually going to save you money. You should be dealing with a company that respects you, your time, and your money. So, shop around and see if what they claim is a great price is actually all that much of a good deal.
  • Do your own inspection – Test drive the bus. Check the ground for leaks. You can also look for rust and check the tires. These are all basic things you should be able to identify major problems with if they’re present, but calling in a qualified mechanic to do a proper inspection doesn’t hurt, either.

Central States Bus is a great choice for used school buses for sale.

Here at Central States Bus, we stock all kinds of used buses for sale. If you’re trying to find used school buses for sale in Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee, Kentucky, or Arkansas, we can help you find the right addition to your fleet. Different fuel types, different sizes, different models — the variety is huge. We can help you find the right used school bus for your purposes amidst all of those different options. 

You should be fully equipped to navigate the market of used school buses for sale near you now that you’ve read through all of our basic advice on the subject. Of course, we’d be more than happy to have a conversation about how our stock of used buses for sale might be the perfect fit for your needs. Whether that’s for a conversion or to be used as a part of your existing school bus fleet, 

Don’t let the best used school bus for your purposes get away. Get out there and start looking! If you need a place to start, reach out to us here at Central States Bus. We’d be happy to have a conversation about how our inventory might suit your needs. Don’t hesitate to contact us!