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The Market for Used Propane Buses

The Market for Used Propane Buses

School Bus Sales headquartered in Waterloo, Iowa, is taking their customers’ propane buses that have recently come off lease, and begun developing a new used bus market in their state. The Blue Bird dealer has found that school districts reluctant to purchase a brand-new propane bus due to acquisition costs may be more likely instead to consider a used bus.

So far, School Bus Sales has sold two Blue Bird propane buses that have come off their original leases, with two more potential Blue Bird sales in the hopper.

But it has been a learning process. Sales representative Dwight Houseal says that just a few years ago, they weren’t sure what to do with their used propane school buses. The challenge with school districts in his area is that most folks use their buses for at least 15 years, while the typical lease for the propane buses are three-years and have a lot of life to them. So, customers are skeptical that they are going to be offered old buses.

“Education is key to teach the customer the advantages and reliability of a used propane bus, and get them over their fears of propane. Then, after the customer is sold on the fuel, but doesn’t have the budget, bring up your used propane buses,” said Houseal.

Used propane school buses make sense financially. Of course, their cost will be lower than a new bus, which is immediately attractive. School Bus Sales’ buses that are coming off of three-year leases still have their original Ford and ROUSH CleanTech 5-year warranty intact. As newer buses, they don’t have the stigma of being old and worn.

Used propane buses can be marketed to both new and existing customers. For new customers, a used bus is a budget-friendly introduction to the alternative fuel; the district then can build a propane fleet more cautiously. Existing customers, some working toward 100 percent propane, can build up their propane fleets more quickly by purchasing used buses.

For most school districts, school transportation decisions come down to dollars and cents. Houseal says used propane buses are good for the bottom line. By properly introducing your used propane bus stock to customers you’re sure to get a return customer.

Check out School Bus Sales’ website, where they list used propane school buses, when available, with prices, details and photos.