In the past few years, the U.S. modular construction business has almost doubled in size and has reached $8 billion. There are many reasons behind this staggering popularity, and one of them is cost-efficiency. With its multitude of features, mobile offices promise significant cost-savings and are becoming the go-to option for many businesses across the country.
What Is a Mobile Office?
As its name suggests, a mobile office is a prefabricated, portable office that can be moved from one location to another with ease. Such offices are constructed on top of a wheel-and-chassis trailer base. They are delivered on a trailer or flatbed truck and quickly assembled on-site. Mobile offices are designed to be placed almost anywhere with the ability to relocate when needed quickly. They can be easily dismantled, transported, and reused without any hassle.
As mobile offices offer a quick and easy way to set up your office in a short time, portable offices are becoming the most sought-after choice among small businesses across various industries. Another critical reason for their popularity is the whopping cost-savings they offer in the long run.
Why Mobile Offices Are Cost-Effective
By saving high costs in various ways, mobile offices are giving stiff competition to traditional construction:
- Speed and Ease of Construction. Mobile offices are primarily built in a controlled factory environment. That means their construction schedule will not be affected by weather conditions, one of the primary factors responsible for hampering conventional building construction. It also saves you from paying the additional costs to repair damaged components due to external circumstances. Further, modular building manufacturing uses an assembly line process that is highly efficient and productive. As the needed talent is readily available, there is no more delay due to skill-shortage. In fact, according to a recent McKinsey report, modular buildings are built in around half of the time compared to conventional structures. And time is money!
- Benefits Due to Factory Settings. Factories building mobile offices purchase raw material at a cheaper rate as compared to an on-site office. Mobile building manufacturers pass some of these savings to their customers. It results in significantly less expensive construction than the conventionally built offices.
- Flexibility. Mobile offices provide temporary or permanent office spaces. It saves you from investing a hefty amount in the conventional office as you need only to pay the initial investment cost. And that is a significant cost-saving!
- Less Expensive Than Traditional Office Space. Modular office prices start at $50 per square foot. Though they vary by region, they typically cost 20% lower than conventional offices.Housing and technology firms like Blokable, Katerra, and OneBuild say that factory settings can help cut the cost of constructing multifamily housing by over half.
- Location Independent. If you foresee frequent changes in your office location, mobile offices are your best-fitting solution. As these offices can be quickly disassembled, transported, and reassembled at the sites based on your need, you can escape the initial construction cost each time you relocate.
- Eco-Friendly. Mobile offices can be designed to be energy-efficient with increased window sizes for more natural light, doors with weather stripping, bright interior walls, advanced HVAC systems, motion detectors, and lighting level sensors, hands-free sensor faucets, and more. It saves on your energy bills and provides cost-savings.The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that new commercial construction generates around 3.9 lb of waste per sq. ft. Meanwhile, the leftover materials used during modular construction can be recycled for future projects, reducing the construction waste that ends up in landfills..
Factors Affecting the Cost of Mobile Offices
There is a range of factors that dictates the cost of mobile offices. These include:
- Size. Size is one of the primary factors that determine the cost of your mobile office. The more the size, the more you are going to shell out. The increase in the size of your office can drastically increase the price.
- Location and Shipping. Prices vary by state and region, and your potential office site location can impact the price. Further, by shopping outside your region, you will end up paying more shipping costs.The cost also depends on the amount of preparatory work involved. The sites that are relatively debris-free and flat are quicker and easier to prepare and less expensive. On the other hand, sites prone to flooding, sloping, covered in debris, or rocks need more time and labor for the preparation and may involve higher costs.
- Quality of Materials and Design Options. The higher the quality of the materials, the more will be the final price.Design options such as interior customizations, exterior finishes, HVAC options, sprinkler systems, surveillance and alarm systems, and more can cost more.
- Length of Rental. In the case of rental mobile office trailers, the longer you need it, the more you have to pay. Simultaneously, if you plan to rent for a considerably longer time, such as more than a year, some providers may offer discounts.
- Installation. The cost also depends on what your provider offers you as a package vis-à-vis your needs. You need to check with your provider whether a requirement to have a plumber and electrician or a need for a ramp is going to cost you additionally.
Who Should Use a Mobile Office for Business Growth?
Mobile offices offer self-contained space with portability and are ideal for businesses with frequently changing space requirements, short-term space needs, or versatile and cost-efficient workspace requirements. Some of the standard applications of mobile offices are:
- Construction. On-site offices for builders and contractors
- Healthcare. Administrative offices, extra storage space to store records and medical documents in doctors’ offices and labs
- Education. Temporary solution during renovation, administrative offices
- Government. Portable offices, extra storage space for storing records and documents
- Retail. Storage space for inventory overflow, additional office space
- Temporary Shops.Temporary space during the business renovation
- At-Home Businesses.Separate workspace placed near your property
While purchasing a mobile office, you need not worry about its disposal or wastage. Once used for its planned purpose, a mobile office can be recycled and used as a break room, cafeteria, or storage room. On-site construction projects contribute to around one-third of the materials in landfills. By offering 100% recycling and repurposing, mobile offices keep the waste out of landfills and help you earn an environmentally aware tag.
Buying Vs. Renting a Modular Office
The decision whether to lease or purchase your mobile office trailer depends on the term for which you want to avail it and your potential office location.
If you need a short-term solution and do not want to invest too much money until you finalize to purchase one, a rental mobile office trailer can be your best fit. That way, you can:
- Leave more available cash for your budget by avoiding making an upfront purchase.
- Save money on repairs and maintenance as the solution is leased.
- Need not bother about relocation costs.
On the other hand, if you are looking for a long-term solution such as one year or longer, buying one seems to be a wise decision. By purchasing a mobile office, you can:
- Customize, renovate, and decorate your trailer based on your business needs
- Enjoy a warranty that covers cosmetic and structural repairs
- Have it as a future investment besides your office purpose
It’s best to buy a mobile office if you intend to use it for 3 years or more. By renting it for more than 3 years, you will end up paying more rent than its worth, hence purchasing it will prove cost-effective.
A report from the Modular Building Institute shows that 94% of the survey respondents from the U.S. construction market have used prefabrication over the last three years, and 28% have experience with relocatable modular construction. Mobile offices provide flexibility and cost-effectivity in today’s volatile marketplace and are becoming increasingly popular among small and medium businesses.