Purchase New or Convert Used Class A?

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humanesociety

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Dec 27, 2006
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I work for a humane society that needs a mobile unit for offsite adoptions, as a education 'classroom' to travel to local schools, and to transport animals in disaster/emergency situations.

I've received three bids for making a custom Class A which would cost about $160K.

Just so that I cover all my bases, I'd like to research the cost of purchasing a used RV, gutting it, and converting it to fit our needs.  I've asked the people who provided the above mentioned bids - but no one is really giving me any concrete figures and I'm hesitant to consider their information 'objective' since I think their main motivation is to get me to purchase a custom vehicle through them.

Can someone point me in the right direction as far as getting some concrete and objective information about this avenue?

Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!!
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Do you have a design for what you want (i.e. a basic floor plan) or do you need somebody to take your requirements and figure out how to meet them with an motorhome? If you had a used motorhome you could probably get an estimate on cost of conversion to some specific target, but I doubt if you can get quotes on converting some unknown and as yet unavailable used motorhome. I think you would have to postulate a make & model of used RV and say "start with this one as the basis for your bids."

If the expected life span of this mobile unit is more than a few years it probably isn't any more expensive in the long run to start with a new one anyway. But if this is a short term program - or an experiment -  starting with a used rig makes sense [to me].
 

chaajoad

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You might want to start checking ebay motors, searching "mobile offie" or similar terms and you come up with vehicles like this:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/FORD-E-350-RV-MOTOR-HOME-MOBILE-OFFICE-MOBILE-HOME_W0QQitemZ150074621413QQihZ005QQcategoryZ63740QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

When I was looking for a MH, I came across several similar units that I think would be just right for you. I'm a big ebay guy - at least check it every so often...

 

humanesociety

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Dec 27, 2006
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Thank you for the advice!  This is very helpful.

Gary - Yes, we do have a layout already (we had to design one to get the estimates for the custom built one) and this is going to be for long-term use.  I'll follow your advice with how to get an accurate bid for conversion.  Do you have a recommendation for who to seek out for bids?  I've done some google searching for 'conversion AND rv' but didn't pull up many helpful sites.

Chaajoad - Wonderful - great idea!  I'll start searching!

 

hoochonwheels

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Jan 3, 2007
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First let me say the HS does good work.

Have you considered a 5th wheel trailer rig? Could save you a fortune on insurance. The truck which I assume the HS may already own could be set up for this purpose and not sitting idle when mobile adoption is not in use. Some insurance carriers cover towed items up to a certain value. An insurance rider might be needed if too high a value is placed on the trailer?

Many trailer sellers on Ebay offer custom built rigs up to 35+ feet. Just a thought.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Do you have a recommendation for who to seek out for bids?
No - I have no experience in this. I  would start with local shops that do custom cabinetry or boat or airplane modifications. Most metro areas have them, but you probably have to call them and ask. Also look in the Yellow Pages for ads in various categories that include "custom".

I just Googled "custom RV" (without the quotes) and got numerous hits, including places that will customise your own RV, i.e. do not require starting with a new one.
 

scottydl

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chaajoad said:
You might want to start checking ebay motors, searching "mobile offie" or similar terms

humanesociety, if you're still watching this thread check out this eBay auction:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=320071346246

I'm always looking at/for Barth motorhomes because they're so unique, and I found that one at a great price... already converted into office space.  It's on the small side length-wise, but thought it might be worth a look for you.
 
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