The furniture you choose for your mobile office can have a tremendous impact on your quality of work, comfort on the job, client and vendor relationships and your bottom line. Here we’ll guide you through the key considerations and available choices, along with the benefits and drawbacks of each.
Top 4 Furniture Considerations
These questions will help you determine what type of furniture and how much is needed for your project.
- How many people will be in the office? Include those who will be in the mobile office on a daily basis, plus any frequent visitors.
- What will your office trailer be used for? A basic construction management office needs different furniture than a professional sales office. This also affects your space planning.
- How long will you be using the office trailer? Consider how comfort, convenience and functionality will affect your productivity. Basic folding tables and chairs may be the least costly option, but you’re likely to feel more tired and uncomfortable at the end of a long day.
- How do you want to represent your business? Will you be hosting clients, vendors, suppliers or no one at all? What do you want your temporary building to say about your brand?
Furniture Quality and Style
You have many options when it comes to furnishing your mobile office. Here are some of the qualities and styles available from some larger modular building providers.
- Basic folding table and chairs — They’re not fancy, but they do the job.
- Construction grade furniture — It’s both functional and durable. It includes all the basics for a full functioning office such as desks, chairs, filing cabinets, drafting tables, plan racks, bookcases, conference tables and refreshment stations.
- Professional office furniture — The more polished option. Expect wood instead of laminate and leather chairs as opposed to vinyl. Additional items may be available, such as lamps, couches, and coffee tables for waiting rooms, client meeting areas, etc.
- Specialized furniture — This may include workstations, cubicles, industrial shelving and training tables.
- Appliances — Add refrigerators, microwaves, TVs, coffee makers and more.
Some modular building providers will offer preset furniture packages to simplify ordering and fulfillment, while others offer a la carte ordering from a full list of furniture options.
Once you’ve identified the amount and type of furniture you’ll need, look to your provider for help with space planning. An established and knowledgeable provider can be a big help here. They will have the furniture specifications and building floor plans needed to maximize your work space.
Space planning is easy when you’re using folding tables and chairs, but specialized furniture, such as professional desks and workstations require skillful planning and precise measurements.
Should you rent or buy furniture for your mobile office?
There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Here are a few things consider.
Benefits of Renting Furniture
- Renting has lower start-up costs.
- Rental furniture is usually higher quality than furniture purchased for the same price.
- The burden of transportation and storage when not in use is on the rental company, not you.
- Dealing with one provider saves you valuable time. One call. One provider. One bill.
- Furniture is delivered and removed in sync with your building so planning and logistics are simpler.
- For 18-month leases or less, renting furniture is usually less expensive.
- For limited additional cost, you can add, remove and change your furniture as needed throughout your lease. This is especially beneficial for projects that start slow and expand over time or scale back as projects draw to a close. You pay only for what you need.
Benefits of Buying Furniture
- Purchasing is a capital investment. Keep your furniture and use it on future projects.
- You’re not limited to a furniture catalog.
- You’re not financially responsible for excessive wear and tear.
- Buying furniture may be more affordable for projects that last 18 months or longer.
As you plan your next project, consider how furniture can improve or take away from employee productivity and the net impact on your bottom line. This is your best guide to getting the right furniture for your mobile office.