Castle Minibus supplies minibuses for schools in a variety of ways; sales, leasing and short-term hire. But what is the difference, and which will be right for me?

The differences are easy to explain. Only you can decide which is the best option depending on your school’s situation, but we wanted to give you some pointers that might help you decide which is better.

In a nutshell.

  • Buying a minibus means you own the vehicle until you decide to sell it. You are responsible for all servicing and maintenance while you own that vehicle. You need to budget for the initial purchase and then ongoing maintenance costs. By owning the vehicle, you will keep the residual value in years to come.
  • Hiring a minibus allows you to have a minibus for a reduced length of time, for 12 months with Castle. While it is with you MOTs, servicing and repairs, regular safety inspections and roadside assistance is included in the cost of hire. Hired minibuses are usually used vehicles and may not be the latest model. You return the vehicle at the end of the agreement.
  • Leasing a minibus means you get a brand new minibus which you commit to having for 2 to 5 years. Again, all servicing and maintenance are included in the price, as well as ‘fast fit’ items such as batteries and tyres. You return the vehicle at the end of the agreement.

Please note: With hiring and leasing, when you return the vehicle you will be charged for any damage to the vehicle that falls outside of wear and tear.

Comparison table for lease, hire, or buy? from Castle Minibus

4 questions to ask yourself, or considerations to make, when choosing what’s right for you are..

1. Budget

We have used minibuses £11,995, ranging from 9- 17 seat, you can hire a similar vehicle from £20 per day or lease a 17-seat minibus from £395 per month based on five years at 5000 miles per year (all prices exclude VAT).

Hiring or leasing a minibus means there is no large initial outlay as with buying a vehicle. Hiring and leasing options allow you to make fixed monthly payments for the length of your contract. Apart from fuel, insurance and any repairs that fall outside wear and tear you will know exactly what your vehicle will cost you for the duration of your contract.

Minibuses driven under a Section 19 Permit require regular inspections. Known as 10-week safety inspections, these must be completed every 10 weeks (6 weeks for vehicles 12yrs+) by a qualified independent engineer. These checks need to be budgeted for if you are buying a vehicle on top of regular servicing and MOTs. Castle’s used sales and leased vehicles include these inspections for the first 12 months.

 2. Usage

If your school has an especially busy summer term with sporting fixtures and events, then hiring a minibus for a term may be the best answer. Hiring additional vehicles for busy times is a way schools can manage their transport and increase seat numbers without a long-term commitment. Similarly, if you are testing a new school route or are not sure if the activity you want the bus for will become a permanent fixture then renting is a great option. It doesn’t matter how often you use your minibus, or what mileage you accrue, 10-week safety inspections and regular maintenance is still required.

 3. Administration

Minibuses need management which can be time-consuming. Under a Section 19 Permit, you need to plan and record daily vehicle inspections, 10-week safety inspections, MOT’s, servicing, and any repairs. With leased and rental vehicles all these things are taken care of by Castle, at no additional cost to you for the first 12 months – unless repairs that fall outside of wear and tear.

Schools who own their vehicles can still use Castle to arrange their 10-week safety inspections onsite through our two nationwide service partners.

 4. Vehicle type and the latest models

If your school requires or prefers, to have the latest vehicle model and only drives new vehicles, then leasing might be the best options for you. You could have a new vehicle every two years, with livery and logo ready to advertise your school from day one. Many schools use their minibuses to advertise in their local areas and to bolster the pride of their sports teams – there is nothing like the latest vehicle to help with this.

Champions of Minibus Safety

Regardless of the option you choose, and whether you get your vehicle from Castle or not, we are the industry leaders in minibus safety and compliance services. It is important you understand your obligations under a Section 19 Permit and Castle offers certified training and additional online and practical services to help you create and manage a robust minibus safety system. Read more about our compliance services.

If you’re in doubt as to what is best for your school, club or charity then give Castle Minibus a call on 01869 253744 and we can talk you through all your options and look at the vehicles that are available to you. Call us today if you are thinking about additional vehicles for September, as it is not too late.