Making the Big Church Bus Decision: Used, or New?

Buying a bus for your church group may not be as exciting as shopping for a new car for yourself, but it is a necessary task for any church that wants to provide its members with a safe and efficient mode of transportation. However, just as when you shop for yourself, shopping for a church bus involves making the critical decision between purchasing new, or used.
Most of the benefits of used vs new buses are centered on issues of affordability. A good quality refurbished 15-passenger bus could cost, on average, between $38,000 and $42,000. New buses cost a little more, although it could be possible to end up with a new bus and monthly payments between $590 and $700. A used bus is much more cost effective if you find one with less than 100,000 miles on it.
However, if money is not a factor, then the benefits of used vs new buses are far less tempting. If your church group has the funding, then you can confidently look at new church buses for sale. The one thing that makes a new bus for sale a greater benefit to some groups is starting with zero mileage on the bus. If your group wants to tour the country with the bus, then having a brand new bus is a far better choice than a used one. Almost all new buses come with a warranty that includes roadside assistance.
Depending on your church’s finances, it might also be better to purchase a new bus if you really need to take into consideration the amenities. New buses can offer expanded storage, WiFi, foot rests, more luxurious seating, and A/V systems for keeping passengers comfortable and entertained on longer trips. At the same time, if your bus just needs to go from one side of town to the other to pick up children, or seniors, then a used bus is the far smarter choice.
No matter which route you go, there are other costs that need to be taken into account:

  1. Bus parts when repairs are necessary.
  2. Ongoing maintenance.
  3. Insurance.
  4. CDL training if a higher capacity bus is chosen.
  5. Fuel.

This list should not discourage you from purchasing a bus, but it should help you and your church to more accurately plan out your finances. While there are several benefits of used vs new buses, they are largely dependent on the church budget. Many churches have little choice in the matter, and can only consider used buses due to financial limitations. If your church does have a choice, then remember to take into consideration additional costs, as well as expected usage. A bus will serve your church well, but only if it doesn’t break the bank.

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