The Trusty Minibus: Should You Buy or Lease?

Many different organizations require the services of a minibus on a regular basis. Schools often run trips or excursions to educational sites that require the use of larger minibuses. Holiday firms and tour operators will often run a fleet of minibuses that are used to transport tourists from their destination airport to their hotel and back to assist with the holiday transfers. For many organizations, the question of whether to buy or lease their minibuses is a pressing issue. Depending on the circumstances either option can be beneficial. This article seeks to explain three situations when leasing or buying is an appropriate option. 

Consider the finances

Minibus Leasing can be a more attractive option than buying a minibus outright when finances are limited and budgets are stretched. This is often a more favorable situation for many schools and colleges who are trying to make their finances go as far as possible. A leasing contract offers the clarity of a fixed monthly payment which can make school budgets easier to plan out. In addition, minibus leasing plans ensure that the fixed leasing cost is the total amount payable. Conversely if you own a minibus you will need to pay the initial sum for the vehicle. Prices vary widely depending on the overall size and features of the vehicle. As a general rule the cheapest new basic minibus will cost around $45k rising to $500k for a state of the art larger touring minibus with many luxurious features. This initial outlay can be beyond the budgets of many smaller firms or publicly run organizations making leasing the better option.

Maintenance costs

If your organization intends to buy a minibus or fleet of such vehicles, the maintenance costs of running them need to be taken into account. Just like any commercial vehicle that is used on a regular basis, wear and tear will occur and vehicles will need to be repaired and maintained. For travel companies or tour providers who use minibuses as the main part of their business, it is often the case that they will have in-house mechanics with an on-site garage. This helps to keep maintenance costs down, especially when running a fleet of such vehicles as economies of scale start to factor into the equation. Many travel firms own their vehicles as a direct result of this. For smaller firms that only use one or a few minibuses it can make better financial sense to lease the vehicles and take advantage of maintenance contracts that are built into the agreement and ensure that there are no additional costs. 


As with the purchase of a standard family car, when you buy a minibus from new it will immediately begin to depreciate. This is an expected part of vehicle ownership and generally the higher the distance the vehicle drives in its lifetime, the less it will be worth when selling it. By leasing a minibus there is no need to worry about depreciation costs. Of course, you will never own the vehicle outright, but you will also be spared the initial large outlay on an asset that will continue to lose value over time. Many organizations decide to choose a leasing scheme with their minibus to effectively sidestep any issues relating to depreciation. It is also likely that the lease provider will replace older vehicles with modern minibuses as they age so you can be assured that you will always be driving a modern vehicle.