I didn’t have a business plan, I had no idea what it takes to maintain a bus, I don’t have a commercial driver’s license, and I have no place to park a bus. There are a thousand reasons why I have no business in owning a bus. So why did I almost buy one?
It all started when we were traveling and we fell in love with the idea of running a mobile retail business after seeing the “RE: START” mall in Christchurch, New Zealand. It was intended to be a temporary mall after the terrible earthquake destroyed 80% of their downtown, but soon they realized the converted shipping containers could be permanent. We definitely saw the potential of doing the same thing in the United States.
However, the logistics always presented a problem – I’d have to buy a big truck and a crane attachment to move them around. That’s on top of the expense of converting the storage container into a suitable shop. So I kept thinking.
That’s when the bus came into play. It’s perfect, it drives itself around, it has great windows and is road ready… a shop on wheels! So I quickly went to eBay to see what was available. For a few days, I studied the current mobile shop model, researched bus licenses, and investigated how I’d operate in a city. Then I found what seemed like a great deal, a city bus with low miles offered for $12,000 on eBay. I told my wife I wouldn’t pay that much, but maybe we should give them an offer. I offered $5,000 and it was quickly accepted!! I didn’t know what to think when I got the email:
I talked to the seller and called a mechanic to check it out. I learned how to get the bus from California to Texas and found a driver. The last stop was to get a mechanic to check it out. That’s when the bus stopped… it was mostly in good shape, but the oil was a “milky gray” and the mechanic basically told me to run.
The timing wasn’t right, and I wasn’t prepared, but that’s when you learn most. That’s how we traveled. If we tried to plan the whole trip out beforehand and didn’t leave until everything was prepared, we never would’ve made it. However, when we dove right in and took one step at a time, we figured it out. That’s what I was going to do here. My entrepreneur friend put it this way:
Learn by Doing: Actions, not plans will generate the lessons that help you adapt to the next phase of your journey
I didn’t buy the bus this time, but the wheels are turning… and it may never happen if I try to wait for the perfect time.