What You Should Look for in a Bus Dealer

Buying a new or used bus is becoming more of a commonality. There are many individuals and dealerships that sell buses around the country. However, it’s in your best interest to invest your money in a dealership. Here’s what you should look for in a bus dealer.

Never Buy From a Single Seller

If a deal from a random ad on the internet seems too good to be true, the odds are overwhelming that is the case. Sadly, dealing with an individual leaves you vulnerable to a con job, whereas a dealership guarantees the purchase, providing you some peace of mind.

Plus, dealerships have professional mechanics that give old buses the maintenance needed before hitting the road again. Who knows if that single seller even touched the thing? Finally, dealers will have all the legality and paperwork covered, making the sale smooth and easy. You always need to go with a dealership over a person for those reasons.

Bus Specifications

Before buying a bus, it’s beneficial to go over your reasoning and purpose for purchasing one. People may want a bus for a small church group, athletics, or business travel. Additionally, some may want to restore it and convert it into their business on wheels. Thus, answering these questions points you in the right direction of what type of bus dealer you want:

  • Resilience: Are you looking to put a lot of miles on your bus? And is it going to be traveling via the highway or pothole-ridden country roads? If you’re going to beat up your ride, you’ll want to know it can handle the conditions.
  • Gas mileage: Not all engines are the same, so you might opt for a bus that gets you excellent gas mileage to give you a better bang for your buck.
  • Square footage: Find an option that effectively seats everyone comfortably.
  • Comfortable: You don’t want to feel miserable when you are on the bus. Therefore, you will want things like working heat and air conditioning.
  • User-friendliness: If you or your future passengers might have physical limitations, you’ll want a bus that’s highly accessible for those in a wheelchair.

Positive Ratings

Choosing between a dealer may be confusing, especially if you are purchasing out of state. Finding a reputable dealer that other buyers trust and respect helps you feel like you’re making the right decision.

If you notice that their star rating is in the threes and there are several negative written comments, it might be best to stay away from that dealer. You never know what they might be trying to get away with.

On the other hand, if they have high marks across the board, you can feel confident in using them as your dealer. Here’s one tip for sifting through the reviews: use different sources and read both negative and positive comments. You will get more of a full picture doing it this way since the truth is usually in the middle. You can probably dismiss negative reviews that don’t provide a reason, considering most angry patrons love to articulate and explain why they are leaving disparaging remarks. On the flip side of the coin, if a dealer has minimal ratings, a low social media profile, and an inaccessible website, it might be a red flag.

Maintenance Checklist

The price of the vehicle may make or break your decision to purchase the vehicle, but that isn’t the end-all factor. A lower price might mean you have a poorly maintained bus that requires you to put extra money into it to get it up to your quality standards. Going over in detail what you should look for in a bus dealer gives you a thorough breakdown of the actions you need to take.

  • Mileage: An older bus with fewer miles is better off than a newer bus with more miles.
  • Engine: You might prefer a robust and powerful engine; however, the bigger the engine, the more gas it guzzles, so there is no need to overdo it.
  • Leaks: Inspect the ground after you drive the bus and see if there are any noticeable leaks. Some leaks may be explainable, while others may lead to a bigger problem.
  • New tires: Bus tires are large and a lot more expensive than tires for a sedan. So you’ll want to inspect the tread and age of the tires. Typically, most dealers will provide you with top-tier tires, but you can never be too sure.


Getting a warranty on a hefty investment allows you to breathe easy if any problems occur. The initial contract may be short, but you can extend it further if the dealer agrees to certain conditions. And considering that the dealer wants to make the sale, there shouldn’t be many back-and-forth discussions. Plus, if they refuse an extended warranty, it may be a red flag that they don’t trust their products.

Financing Options

Dropping thousands of dollars in cash for a bus isn’t in the cards for everyone. That’s why finding a dealer who can provide financing is beneficial. However, if the dealer doesn’t have multiple financing options available to suit your needs, you may have to look elsewhere. Nevertheless, the flexibility of being able to finance creates some wiggle room to buy the bus without affecting your day-to-day business finances.


Going over in detail what you should look for in a bus dealer gives you a thorough breakdown of the actions you need to take. But let’s wrap this up with a quick recap of the step-by-step process:

  • Always buy from a dealership.
  • Find a dealer that meets your busing needs.
  • Find one that checks all the boxes of your maintenance check.
  • Get a warranty and maintenance agreement in the purchasing contract.
  • Consider financing.
  • Get your bus back to its home base and extend its lifespan with your care and attention.

At National Bus Sales, we guarantee that we’ll check all those boxes on your list. For over 30 years, we have pleased our customers with our high-quality and carefully inspected inventory. We are more than happy to discuss a plan to get you on the bus of your dreams today!

What You Should Look for in a Bus Dealer


Steve Henshaw President National Bus Sales

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