I started to research what it would cost to have a bus converted.
An acquaintance who used to be in the business told us to budget NZ$10,000 per lineal metre of a bus, for the cost of the refit (on top of the bus purchase itself); and allow 6 months!
For an 11.5m bus that's $115,000 plus up to $30,000 for the bus; and a little for contingencies.
In a perfect world, we'd have the money, but we don't. [I am still trying to work out the finances for our day-to-day trip expenses].
We could get a loan, but is that really a wise choice for a depreciating asset? Would that put too much pressure on our cashflow while we are travelling?
Then a little spark began to grow, and I wondered whether there might be businesses or individuals out there that wanted to be part of making our dreams a reality, in exchange for advertising, brand endorsement or warm fuzzies.
What if we could crowd-fund the initial cost of the motorhome bus? Would that really be possible? Are people/business still spending money on marketing and advertising in our current economy?
A quick look at Kickstarter was disappointing as we didn't really fit their criteria. GoFundMe and IndieGoGo were possibilities but took up to approx 10% in fees – that's a lot when you are talking NZ$150,000.
Then I thought about it from an investors point of view, to try and answer the question 'What's in it for me?'.
Here are some of the benefits that I have come up with so far:
- 9 -12 months brand exposure to the general public who see the bus
- Brand exposure through the magazines who publish articles about our journey
- Brand exposure to the blogging community of like-minded travellers who read our blog
- For some it may be the opportunity to break into the New Zealand market
- For others it may be the edge that makes them stand out from their competition
- The feel good factor / Paying it forward
Vega and I wondered if we could install an LCD screen on the footpath side of the bus that played videos and advertisements for our sponsors, then I saw this idea of scrolling advertising and believe it really could work. We could put it at the back of the bus and offer billboard sized advertising for sponsors. One company in New Zealand who uses this technology guarantees advertisers 900 views per week, and their unit is also back-lit so it can be used at night. I like the additional idea that advertisers can log-in to their website at any time and see via GPS where the vehicle is, where it has been, and for how long etc. Isn't technology wonderful.