Mobile Office Buyer's Guide

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Mobile office trailers are an easy way to get a usable workspace in a very short amount of time. Mobile offices can be used for many purposes, but most often serve as an operations center in areas that have no other permanent structures. Since these trailers are temporary solutions they are most often leased, but can also be rented or purchased outright.

360 Mobile Office is a nationwide leader in providing temporary space solutions. We connect you with the leading suppliers in your area.

Mobile Office Buyer's Guide

Table of Contents

Special Considerations

Compliance with Local, State, and Federal Regulations

If you intend to use your office trailer for any type of commercial or publicly accessible purpose, you need to be very careful that you take steps to ensure compliance with Federal and State regulations for accessibility as well as any local building ordinances. Some applications such as a field offices or job site trailers are not usually required to be compliant. It's best to check with an authority to be sure.

Specific rules and regulations are totally dependent on what the office trailer will be used for, and where it will be located.

In the US, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a Federal law that will apply to you regardless of location. In addition to this, there are also State specific Accessibility Codes that must be followed.

For more information on the ADA and accessibility, consult the Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center (DBTAC).

We strongly recommend understanding the requirements before you finalize any lease or purchase. Not all mobile offices are ADA compliant, so make sure to communicate your intended use and needs to your supplier. Remember that ultimately it is the company or individual purchasing who will be held responsible for non-compliance with the law.

Liability Insurance

If you intend to rent or lease a unit, most suppliers are going to require that your company maintain a minimum amount of liability insurance. Most companies already carry this type of insurance for other reasons, but be prepared to provide proof.

Need a Mobile Office? Get Quotes from Suppliers in your Area.

Available Sizes and Capacity

Mobile Offices are available in many size configurations and will generally accomodate anywhere from one to twelve people. Exact sizes vary by manufacturer, but usually range from 8' x 20' for a small trailer up to 14' x 64' for a large one.

By sandwiching multiple trailers together during installation, some manufacturers are able to offer widths greater than 14'. These "multi-sectional" offices fill the gap between the standard office trailer and a full blown modular building.

If you have need for a larger space than allowed by mobile office construction, consider looking into a modular building instead. Modular buildings can be as large as needed and are usually the choice for more permanent space requirements.

The number of employees that will use your mobile office will go a long way in determining the needed size and configuration. A common rule of thumb used in the industry is that basic office work requires 100-150 square feet of mobile office per person. If you want “luxuries” like bathrooms and conference rooms in your mobile office, expect to need additional square footage.

Financing Options - Rent, Lease, or Purchase

While mobile office trailers are offered for sale, most are for temporary use only and are therefore rented or leased instead of purchased.

Quick Summary of Financing Options


Pros: lowest monthly payments, small deposit required, option to buy.
Cons: longer commitment, penalties for early return.


Pros: shortest commitment, little or no deposit required.
Cons: price can go up, higher monthly rate than leasing , no option to buy.


Pros: Total ownership allows for frequent moving or custom modifications.
Cons: Large sticker price equals big cash investment or higher monthly payments.

Leasing Agreement

Leasing usually offers the lowest monthly payments. Since there is a longer commitment, suppliers are willing to give you a better monthly rate than they would in a rental agreement. And unlike a purchasing loan, you are only paying for the portion of the mobile office that you use during your lease.

While purchasing loans require substantial money up front, leases don't require a down payment (though they may require a small deposit).

Rental Agreement

Renting a Mobile Office offers more flexibility than leasing. There are no long term commitments or penalties for returning the office whenever you need to. If you are unsure exactly how long you will need your mobile office, or anticipate your needs changing with things such as construction progress, enrollment, or an increase or decrease in staff size, the flexibility of renting may be your best option.

Unfortunately, when renting month to month there is usually no option to buy the mobile office at the end of the rental period.


Purchasing requires a substantial investment as office trailers are not cheap. Rental and Leasing agreements can put restrictions on how you are able to use the trailer. Moving the trailer yourself is not allowed. Modifying any part of the trailer is not allowed. If you want to have more freedom to do what you like with the trailer than purchasing may be for you. You might also consider used office trailers as a way to keep purchasing costs down.

If you are unsure about purchasing a mobile office you can always lease a trailer with an option to purchase at the end of your lease. During the course of your lease, if you decide that purchasing a mobile office isn’t the right decision, you can opt out of purchasing at the end of your lease. Or, if you decide that purchasing a mobile office is the right thing to do at the end of the lease, you will have the option to purchase with a discount and will have put less money down (and paid less taxes on it) than you would have with a purchasing loan.

Need a Mobile Office? Get Quotes from Suppliers in your Area.

Configuration / Optional Features

All manufacturers have standardized floor plans for you to review. There are quite a few to choose from with many variations on the number of private offices and common areas. And, if these don't suit your needs you can usually request a custom layout for a price.


The typical mobile office unit in the U.S. features a cost-and-energy efficient single-phase split electric system that must be connected to a nearby power source. All power usually runs through a breaker box, so hook-up will require an experienced electrician.


If you are in need of a land line connection, make sure to check with the supplier to see if the mobile office is equipped with phone jacks. Some manufacturers build these in while others do not. In a lease or rental agreement, the supplier may leave it up to the customer to have the needed phone wiring installed.

Interior Options

Some of the interior “luxuries” (or, amenities, depending on how you look at it) often available in mobile offices are:

  • restrooms
  • closets
  • climate control
  • partition walls
  • conference areas
  • coffee rooms
  • built-in filing cabinets
  • industry specific requirements (like blueprint tables and tool storage for construction)
  • additional furniture

Exterior Options

The exterior of your mobile office is fully customizable as well! The following options are often available:

  • vinyl siding
  • shingled roof
  • skirts (to disguise the temporary nature of your office)
  • ramps etc. to ensure compliance with the American Disabilities Act, a must if your mobile office will be open to the public.


Space Requirements

Before ordering a mobile office trailer you will want to make sure you have enough land to house it. Take careful measurements of the area, keeping in mind any driveways or sidewalks you need keep clear, as well as property lines, boundaries and easements.

While a lot of times the supplier will do a site check before the unit is delivered, it's wise to make sure you have enough space for a truck to deliver and place the mobile office at your site. Just how big is that delivery truck? 18-wheeler trucks are the delivery trucks of choice for most mobile offices, so an established road and a fair amount of drivable space are necessary.

Delivery Charges

Many vendors charge delivery fees based on mileage traveled, so before you make the final decision on a vendor, ask the following questions:

  • How much do you charge per mile for mobile office delivery?
  • How many miles from your dealership to my site is it?(Remember that one company may charge $5/mile and be located 12 miles away and its competitor could charge $2/mile but be 70 miles away.)

If your vendor is located out of state, check your state’s regulations regarding the size limit of mobile offices, and the transportation fees you may have to pay. Usually, the vendor can help you with this.

Delivery Process - What to Expect

Time Frame

You can expect your mobile office trailer to take anywhere from a few days up to a couple of weeks to arrive, depending heavily on availability of the model and your vendor’s location and schedule.


As mentioned earlier, make sure you have plenty of room for an eighteen wheeler to pull in and unhitch the trailer. Most suppliers will review the site before delivery to make sure all is well.


After positioning your mobile office into it's place, the delivery team will block and level the trailer and install any needed anchors to secure the trailer to the ground. After this ramps, decks, and skirting will be setup if ordered.

Once the delivery team is finished it will be up to you to get electrical and plumbing connected. You should coordinate so that professionals are scheduled to make these connections for you shortly after delivery setup.


Before signing off on any delivery, make sure to give your mobile office a once-over, looking for obvious damage that happened during transport or set-up.

Need a Mobile Office? Get Quotes from Suppliers in your Area.