The Purple Unicorn Bus

Far and away, the most requested bus at Carpenter Bus Sales is a fantastic and immaculate bus that costs less than $20,000. The second most popular bus is a used bus with less than 10,000 miles and is less than 3 years old. These buses are what are affectionately referred as “Purple Unicorn Buses.” While we understand the reason and desire to purchase a bus within these parameters, the truth is that those buses do not exist in the bus market. Let’s break down the myth to better understand why these buses don’t exist.

I. The Under $20,000 Purple Unicorn Bus

The under $20,000 used church buses for sale actually might exist, but the quality of that unit leaves very much to be desired. One of the key reasons bus dealers, and Carpenter Bus Sales specifically, don’t like to deal in buses that are below $20,000 is because of the structural integrity of the bus is often compromised. The safety of any bus should be one of the most important things to consider when buying a bus. It doesn’t matter how inexpensive a bus is, if it is not safe, you should not put your passengers in it.   Furthermore… with buses this cheap, the interior of the bus is very worn down. You will often see broken seats, missing seat belts, leaking windows and a host of other problems. In order for a bus that sells for under $20,000 to be the kind of bus an organization would feel comfortable in, it will likely take several thousand dollars to refurbish it. Carpenter Bus Sales does occasionally have buses that come in under $20,000, but those buses are sold “as-is” with no refurbishing at all. Often times these buses have engine or transmission trouble that the buyer would be required to repair or replace.

II. The Under 10,000 Mile Purple Unicorn Bus

There are occasions where we will receive buses on trade that are indeed less than 3 years old. However, the major issue with these buses are the massive amount of miles placed on them. Most often, buses that fall into that category are traded in from airport shuttle and transportation companies. These companies will run these buses for up to 3 years but place between 250,000 to 300,000 miles on the unit. The companies will get the absolute most out of their investment before trading the bus in on a  new one. The body of the bus might be in fairly decent shape, but the engine either needs to be replaced or completely overhauled. These shuttles run up to 18 hours per day without much break. These buses are often used in many short trips which include lots of starting and stopping. To replace an engine and transmission on one of these models will generally run in excess of $10,000. This does not include any interior refurbishing.


The main takeaway from this article is to understand that finding a SAFE & HIGH QUALITY bus that is under $20,000 or is 3 years old with less than 10,000 miles might not happen. To find a used bus that will be both safe and in the kind of condition that your organization will enjoy, you should expect to spend around $30,000 to $35,000. Our used bus department is always searching for that ever elusive Purple Unicorn Bus, but until we find one…it might a good idea to look at the new buses for sale on our website. With a world class finance department, buying a new bus might not be as difficult as you think. Give us a call today to discuss your financing needs and we will do our best to put you in the perfect bus!! Call us today at (800) 370-6180!!


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