Office Trailers Buyer's Guide
Mobile office pricing
Table of Contents
Pricing for mobile offices varies from state to state, from dealer to dealer, and even from month to month at the same dealer. It's a very price competitive industry since most dealers rent mobile offices that come from the same few manufacturers so there's little difference in features or quality. See what other BuyerZone users have paid for mobile office trailers.
The geographic price differences are fairly predictable: the Northeast and West Coast are the most expensive, the Midwest is more average, and the South is the least expensive. A trailer that costs $250 per month in Illinois might go for $350 in Connecticut, but only $150 in Alabama.
Dealers price their mobile offices according to demand, as well. As the construction business heats up in the spring and summer and their inventories go down, dealers will raise prices to compensate. This hurts short-term renters the most: to protect themselves from lost business, mobile offices dealers may adopt three month minimums on their most popular sizes. On the flip side, if a dealer's lot is filled with unrented trailers, they're likely to drop prices.
If you're leasing a trailer for a year or more, you'll also see some price breaks, potentially as much as 30% compared to a three-month rental.
Typical rental prices
Here are a few typical price ranges. Note that these are ranges only - depending on the factors described above, you could easily do better or worse than these guidelines.
The smallest common size, an 8' x 20' trailer, will usually cost between $90 and $200 per month. Most mid-sized trailers, such as a 10' x 40', will fall in the range of $150 to $300. Singlewides, at 12' x 60', commonly start around $300 and can range up to around $500.
Again, your pricing will vary considerably. Because office trailer dealers are so competitive on price, you may be able to negotiate your way to a better deal simply by talking to multiple suppliers and comparing their costs.
You can expect to pay $20 to $40 per month to rent steps - and you'll need one set for each door to your trailer.
Delivery charges vary from $1.50 to $6.00 per mile, depending on location and the width of the trailer: 12' mobile offices are much more difficult to transport than 8'.
Setup charges can include a number of fees. Basic setup - blocking and leveling - is usually under $200. Depending on soil conditions, you may need anchors to secure your trailer, which can add $250 to $500 to the installation fee - larger trailers will require more anchors. Adding a skirt that hides the wheels and undercarriage can be $400 to $800. And the electrician and plumber you need to hook up the trailer can add another $100 or $200.
One set of charges many people do not consider are for removing the trailer at the end of the lease. Everything we just described as part of setup needs to be undone: blocking, anchors, and skirting. Unblocking may be $50 to $150, removing anchors may add another hundred, and removing a skirt will cost about half of what it cost to install. You'll be have to pay the shipping charge back to the dealership, as well. All told, you can figure on $300 to $1000 to uninstall the trailer.
Buying v. leasing
As mentioned before, the vast majority of the office trailer market is in leasing, not buying. The main reason is that monthly rental fees for mobile offices are very cheap considering the their total cost.
As an example, a used 10 x 46 trailer that rents for $250 per month might cost $15,000 to buy. That's 5 years of rental fees - and it's a capital investment, instead of operating costs, which can have tax implications. However if you plan to use your trailer for three years or more, you should at least do the math and compare.
If you are buying a trailer, make sure you see it for yourself: just like you wouldn't buy a used car without test driving it, you should check an office trailer inside and out before committing to buy it. Most used office trailers are sold either "as-is" or with short 90 day warranties.
Buying a new trailer can cost you $15,000 to $40,000. It's an expensive proposition - and as such, only worthwhile if you intend to use the trailer regularly for years at a time. If you do have the need for a new trailer, you'll be able to order one with exactly the features you want, since the factory will be producing it to your specifications. You'll also typically get a one year warranty.