Do you require a portable, temporary office for a construction site, school, landfill, or other location?
A simple, flexible, cost-effective solution is to install a mobile office trailer, also called a “portable office” or “temporary office.”
A mobile officer trailer is a prefab structure that can be manufactured quickly and delivered to your site.
Often, you can find a supplier that already has some of these prefabricated buildings ready to lease or buy. That means you can get what you need right away.
In this 101 guide, we will tell you all about mobile office trailers. We will explore their use cases and benefits, discuss renting versus buying, talk about features, configurations and sizing, and go over the ordering and delivery process.
What Can You Do With a Mobile Office Trailer?
You can use a mobile office trailer in pretty much any industry you can imagine if you require temporary office space. Here are some common applications for these prefab trailers:
- Construction: Construction sites require administrators, and administrators require a place they can handle paperwork and more. A mobile office trailer is ideal for this purpose.
- Education: It is not unusual for schools to discover they need more classrooms faster than they can construct new permanent structures or additions. To ensure children can continue to receive quality educational experiences, they may install portable temporary classrooms. These structures help keep crowding to a minimum.
- Medical: A lot of hospitals and clinics found themselves over capacity during COVID-19. In situations like these, it is vital not to crowd patients and healthcare workers. Mobile offices can help handle overflow and potentially help mitigate the spread of disease.
- Emergencies: Government workers and emergency responders at natural disaster sites need to set up temporary office space. Portable trailers work well for this purpose.
- Landfills: If you run a landfill, you may not be able to construct a regular permanent office because of building codes at the site. But you might be able to put a temporary office building on the site to handle your administrative needs.
- Remote work: Perhaps you run a research outpost, or you are in charge of forestry. At remote job sites, you can set up portable trailers for as long as you need them.
- Distribution: If you handle small-scale distributions, you might need to set up a space where you can meet prospective buyers. An office trailer works well for this purpose.
- Storage: For your miscellaneous storage needs, a mobile office trailer can provide some extra space.
Those are just a few popular use cases for mobile office trailers. There are plenty more.
Key Benefits of Using Modular Office Trailers
- Fast: The turnaround time for mobile offices can be extremely fast, especially if you lease or buy existing inventory. But even if you have offices pre-fabricated to your order, you may be surprised by just how rapidly you can get them on site.
- Easy: Since mobile office trailers are prefabricated and delivered finished to your site, setting them up is extremely easy. No further construction is required. You just need to prepare the site.
- Cost-effective: Buying or renting a prefab office trailer can help you stay within your budget while temporarily increasing your office space.
- Flexible: With the right site prep, a mobile office trailer can suit nearly any location. This is true even in remote locations or on uneven ground.
- Customizable: There are many options for the size, configuration and features of your mobile office trailer. You can tailor those options for your ideal office space.
- Portable: If you need to relocate your temporary office to another part of your site or another site altogether, you can do so quickly and easily. You can even keep the wheels on the structure so you can move it with minimal preparation when the time comes.
- Use it as long as you need it: You can make use of mobile offices for months or years. You can buy them and keep them for the long term, or you can just lease them briefly. That brings us to our next section.
Rent vs. Buy
How should you decide whether it makes more sense to rent or buy a mobile office trailer? It all comes down to your specific goals and constraints.
It might make sense to rent a mobile office trailer if:
- You only expect to need the trailer for a few months or years.
- You can find what you need in the inventory of existing trailers, and do not need special features that are not available.
- You are on a limited budget, cannot afford to buy a trailer outright, and really do not need to own one.
- You want to minimize the money you spend on routine maintenance (some of this may be included with rent, just as it would be were you renting other types of office space).
It might make sense to buy a mobile office trailer if:
- You plan to use the trailer for more than just a few years.
- You want to fully customize a trailer to meet your needs, and cannot find what you want in the existing inventory.
- You are fine with taking full responsibility for the costs of maintenance and repairs on the trailer.
Sizing and Configurations
Whether you are leasing or buying a mobile office trailer, you should find yourself with many options for the layout of the structure.
- Office trailers are available in a wide selection of sizes.
- Single- or multi-story prefab offices are available.
- You can choose single-wide units or double-wide units.
- Some mobile office structures are modular. You can stack them like Lego bricks to build any size or shape you need.
What Features Can a Mobile Trailer Include?
Here are some features you can opt for in a mobile office trailer:
- A range of finishing options
- Furnishings, built-in or otherwise
- Security systems
- Lighting options
- Hook-ups for cable internet or phones
- Interior divisions for multiple use spaces
- Sewer connections and bathrooms
- Accessibility options for disabled users
- Doors and windows
- Steps and ramps
- Office equipment (i.e. projectors)
Some features may come standard with the model of trailer you order. Others you might need to purchase as add-ons. Standard features vary from one manufacturer to the next. For add-ons, manufacturers sometimes offer special packages for construction trailer uses, office uses, etc.
What Does a Mobile Office Trailer Cost?
Here are typical price ranges for mobile office trailers:
- Buy: $15,000-$45,000.
- Rent: $200 per month to $900 per month.
Those are pretty wide price brackets.
What factors influence costs?
- Choice of manufacturer: There are pricing differences for temporary offices from one manufacturer to another. If you want to find the best pricing, you will need to seek quotes from multiple companies.
- Size: Naturally, you will pay less for a trailer that measures 20 feet by 8 feet than you would one that measures 24 feet by 60 feet. But even though larger structures are more expensive overall, the more square feet you purchase, the lower the cost per square foot tends to be. So, larger structures can still be quite cost-effective.
- Layout: A simple layout will cost less than one that is more complex. If you want an elaborate structure with multiple floors and partitions, the price will be higher than it would for a basic mobile office with one floor, one room, and no partitions.
- Your location: Your geographical zone will impact what it costs to purchase a mobile office trailer. If you are in the middle of the country, you may not pay as much as you would if you were located on one of the coasts.
- Season: When you purchase a mobile trailer will impact pricing. If you can plan ahead, you may want to avoid trying to order in spring or summer because that is when a lot of construction is going on. Since that raises demand for mobile office trailers, manufacturers tend to charge more. During fall and winter, you might find better deals.
- Delivery costs: Where you are located also impacts the cost of delivering your building. For one thing, you need to factor in how far the building needs to travel to reach you. For another, you need to consider any challenges imposed by your geography in reaching your site. If you need the mobile office for a remote work site, for example, delivery could be expensive.
- Options you select: As we discussed, there are many options available for mobile office trailers. The selections you make will impact the cost of your building.
- Maintenance: If you decide to rent a mobile office trailer, the company you are renting it from may or may not provide certain maintenance services. If they do and they are included in the price, that will raise your monthly cost. Of course, if they do not provide these services, you will be responsible for them should the need arise.
- Contract length: The length of time you plan to rent a mobile office trailer will influence your monthly rates. They will be lower if you sign a longer contract.
How to Order and Install a Mobile Office Trailer
Now that you understand features and pricing for mobile office trailers, let’s go over the process of ordering one and installing it at your work site.
1. Decide on your layout, size, and features.
The first step is to figure out exactly what you need in a portable office. Here are some questions you can ask yourself:
- How long will you be using the trailer?
- Where will you install the trailer? What are the demands of the site?
- How many employees will be using the trailer? How much space do they need to do their jobs?
- For what purpose or purposes will you use the trailer?
- What furnishings and equipment will you have in the office? Do you have your own, or do you need to buy or rent them?
- What utilities need to be in the office?
- What accessibility features do you require?
- Who will see the portable office? Is its outward appearance important?
- What are your security requirements?
- Do you want a modular design you can expand in the future or reduce as your needs change?
- What is your budget?
Once you have answered these and other questions, you will be able to figure out the layout and features that will best suit your needs.
2. Choose whether to rent or buy.
Once you know what you are looking for in a portable office, you will need to decide whether it makes more sense to lease or purchase.
3. Find a supplier.
The next step in ordering portable offices is to choose a supplier. Do not go with the first supplier you find. Instead, compare what multiple companies are offering to find the best value. Consider:
- Whether you can get what you need. Obviously, the most important question to answer is whether a given company can supply a trailer that meets your specifications.
- How quickly you can get your buildings. Find out what turnaround time you can expect for your order. Make sure it will be the right fit for your schedule.
- How close the vendor is to your location. All things being equal, it is best to go with a supplier that is relatively local, because then your delivery costs will be lower.
- How streamlined the process is. The process of ordering the buildings you need should be quick and easy. The simpler things are, the more quickly you will be able to receive your portable offices.
- Maintenance services. If you are renting and desire maintenance services to be bundled in with your monthly dues, make sure the company provides what you are looking for.
- Cost. Obviously, pricing will be a major factor in selecting a supplier. But you do not necessarily want to go with the cheapest supplier. You want to go with the one that offers you the best bang for your buck.
- Customer service. You may have questions or concerns during the ordering process or afterwards. Contact a supplier in advance and ask some questions to evaluate their customer support.
4. Place your order.
Once you have decided on a supplier and a product, it is time to submit your order.
5. Get your site ready.
The next step is to get your site ready for delivery day.
- Start by acquiring any permits you require.
- Get your foundation ready. Get the surface as level as you can.
- Get utilities set up.
6. Wait for delivery.
Now you just need to wait for your building to arrive! Some suppliers can manage this in a matter of days.
7. Install your portable trailer.
Provide sufficient clearance for the delivery truck to come in with your temporary office building.
Once the building arrives, it can be installed on site. You can then hook up your utilities and arrange the interior to your liking. Your mobile office trailer is now ready for use!
Get Your Own Mobile Office Trailer Now For Less
Now you know all about the uses, benefits, configurations and features of mobile office trailers, as well as what can impact the costs. You also have learned the basics of buying or leasing a temporary office and installing it at your site.
If you are ready to get the portable office you need now for your work site, click below to visit our recommended manufacturers for mobile office trailers.