skoolie livin school bus conversion

Hey! We're Chris & Sarah!

We are a couple from Wisconsin who decided to start Skoolie Livin, both living in a self-converted school bus full-time and this SkoolieLivin website.

Chris is from the Milwaukee, WI area and Sarah is from the Madison, WI area.

After paying $2500 / month for an apartment in Silicon Valley while Chris worked at Apple on the iPhone team and then $1300 / month in Madison for an apartment when he moved back to Wisconsin, we decided to say f*ck wasting money renting and decided to go tiny with a tiny house on wheels!

On this page we go into a little about our bus and more about us, our story, and how we ended up creating SkoolieLivin.com from a simple hobby blog documenting our journey into a full-time income.

About the Skoolie

Skoolie Livin Bus 985

November 8th, 2018

Our bus is a 30′ 2000 International 3800 with a Blue Bird body. It’s a 9 window with a side door on the passenger side.

We’re rockin’ a DT466E engine and an AT545 transmission. The bus peacefully maxes out at 60 mph. Chris wants a new transmission put in, but we’ll be saving that project for another year.

We purchased the bus in November 2018 from a gentleman out in Michigan, who is a diesel mechanic by trade. He bought the school bus from Virginia Beach Public Schools and drove it back to Michigan just to find out he was not able to use a school bus to service other school buses broken down on the side of the road. So he put it up for sale on Facebook Marketplace, where we found her listed with seats and all. $4000 cash later and a 1200 mile round trip Skoolie Kitchen Design Idea drive and it was ours! If you are looking for a bus yourself, check out our guide on how to find a bus to convert.

We worked hard on the bus full time for 7 months to get the conversion Skoolie Livin Bus complete by the time our apartment lease was up in May, 2019. Chris blames missing that deadline because of doing quality work.  We moved into the bus in the midst of our conversion in June 2019.

We have done everything ourselves from demo’ing the bus to putting on the finishing touches. We also had a little help from both of our parents.

Read More About Our Bus

Our Stories

Chris Kochan

Chris moved 14 times in 12 years before finally “settling” in the skoolie that can now move with him.

school bus conversion build Chris has always been very ambitious.

He started college at 16 years old and went the corporate route after college for 7 years in the Operations and Supply Chain field. During these 7 years, he worked in the aerospace industry, then for Harley-Davidson, and ended up at Apple on the iPhone team.

However, he always enjoyed crafting, building, and creating things.

As a kid, he got most of his DIY construction skills starting from building skateboard ramps and working in the heating and air conditioning industry for his stepfather’s business. He picked up the mechanical knowledge from doing DIY maintenance and tuning on the 9 cars and 2 motorcycles he has owned.

In 2008, when he was in his college dorm limited on space, he began putting his skills for crafting and creating into the online world by building websites and selling them to businesses and bloggers. Then building online businesses became a passion for Chris and he worked on various projects while in the corporate world experimenting with entrepreneurship.

Some of his projects included a clothing line, a dog treat business, a supplement company, and even teaching others how to attract recruiters on LinkedIn to get better jobs.

He has put all of his skills and knowledge into building SkoolieLivin, which is an ever-evolving project. What started as a hobby blog has now become a full-time income for Chris and Sarah.

Chris also runs 3 other websites and seems to non-stop register new domains for his endless ideas.

Sarah Shaeffer

Sarah grew up in Deforest, WI, and was a basketball all-star through highschool. Her love for basketball turned into a love for nutrition and exercise, which lead her to study nutrition and kinesiology in college.

When Chris quit Apple in 2018 and moved back to Wisconsin, Sarah had just finished a spring semester of college when Chris asked her to help him build an online business. Not really knowing what to expect but excited about the opportunity, she jumped in head first!

Sarah always loved watching HGTV, so when Chris came to her a few months into their journey building online businesses that he wanted to convert a school bus into a tiny home to live in, she was excited about digging into an “HGTV” type project.

While Chris did the build, Sarah was helping out here and there but was really focused on building the foundation of SkoolieLivin.com by documenting all of the steps of the build, filming their original YouTube videos, and posting on Instagram. She also took some courses on Pinterest Marketing, which is when she coupled her design skills with the online world by creating beautiful pins for Pinterest.

Today, Sarah runs all the Pinterest marketing for every project Chris and Sarah build together, while also blogging and helping with approving the skoolies listed on our Skoolie Livin Classifieds.

How do we make money on the road in a skoolie?

1.) SkoolieLivin.com

Skoolie LivinWe started the Skoolie Livin website to document all of our research, learnings, and experiences and help others along their school bus conversion build. Our main goal was to make building, trasitioning into tiny living, and living in a skoolie easier for people like you who will be or are going through the school bus conversion process or working to make tiny living work for them. We know it is sometimes not as easy or simple as it may seem.

Taking Stickers Off Your School Bus Through creating this resource for you, we do place Amazon Affiliate links, sponsored items, and other things across the website. This allows us to make some money from all of this time and care we put into curating information, researching, and sharing our knowledge to help people like you navigate their way through the build and into a skoolie life.

We make sure to curate only the best products and go to great lengths, including contacting companies and personally testing products, in order to make sure we are recommending the best items. Many of the products we have ourselves, too.

If for any reason you have an issue with any product or company we mentioned on our website, please contact us and let us know! We will then review the situation, including contacting the company and potentially removing the link, depending on the situation.

We appreciate your support in reading our articles. If you happen to click through a link or website banner onto another website and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from that website, including the links that go to Amazon.com. Thank you for this support!

2.) Pinterest Marketing (Sarah)

Sarah has been Pinterest Marketing since 2018, when we started SkoolieLivin.com. Today, our Pinterest account brings in the most visitors to our website because of her!

She has grown our SkoolieLivin.com Pinterest account to over 400K monthly viewers and growing.

She now has several clients where she does Pinterest in the food, travel, fine jewelry, health and fitness, and other industries.

The totals of all the accounts she manages have 2.5M monthly viewers.

If you are interested in having Sarah help you out with your Pinterest account and grow your traffic, send her an email: [email protected] or invite her to your job on Upwork.

Sarah Shaeffer Pinterest Marketer