Designing a Functional Mobile Business
Updated: Sep 7, 2022
You have decided to take your business mobile, now it is time to design it for optimal performance, longevity and return on investment. But how do you know what elements to choose?
Whether you are opting for a horse trailer bar, camper bar, coffee trailer or tap truck, each design element you choose will play a part in your mobile business build. It is important to remember that your build is a moving, living, shifting unit.
First and foremost, you should consider your functionality. We love designing beautiful mobile businesses, but it is important that elements that you choose in your build last and are durable when faced with the rigors of service. So, with that said, what are some questions you should be asking?
What part is my design vision playing in my business model?
How will the design elements I am choosing affect the functionality?
What is the maintenance of the design elements I am choosing and am I comfortable with the level of maintenance they will require?
How am I integrating my service needs with the design elements and am i keeping my focus on the profitability and functionality of my build layout?
With those questions in mind, lets talk design elements:
Exterior Design Elements
Paint - We use single stage auto paints on all our builds. You can also opt to do a dual stage paint process as well, if you prefer. It is important to understand that your build is a work vehicle and as such, will encounter some bumps and bruises along the way. We always include a bottle of touch up for this purpose so you can quickly fix any small blemish you acquire along the way and get your build back to work.
Darker paints will show more imperfections and dirt. Lighter colors are easier to conceal dirt and bumps and bruises. Remember when you are choosing paints to choose something that will be ubiquitous. You want every person to want to rent or use your build and be able to decorate it to shift from a modern event to a rustic one with little effort.
Siding - Most of our builds feature traditional vintage trailer siding. However, since everything we build is custom, we have the ability to offer you a myriad of siding options, everything from 6" breaks to flat siding to diamond rolled. Your siding is adhered to your framing and folded under the corner trim. This will help keep your siding properly attached to your framing. Just as wood shifts in climate changes, so does aluminum. Think of your siding as a living element on your build. It needs space to breathe above the framing and can expand and contract as well. You may see occasional slight waves in your siding and it will be more noticeable if you choose a darker color paint. However, rest assured that it is just shifting and flexing with your build, as it should.
Exterior Lighting - We realize that some clients like to have the option of placing sconces on the outside of their builds for ambiance. We do offer low-profile exterior rated sconces for camper bars and custom camper builds. We recommend they are removed for transport when you pick up your build (and you can install them when you arrive to your home location). Sconces should always be outdoor rated and low profile with a secure arm and base for optimal performance and safety.
Wheels and Tires - All of our camper trailers come with baby moon hub caps. If you would like white wall tires on your build, that is a great way to keep the vintage look and we can let you know the width your white walls will be on your trailer, tap truck, Piaggio ape or even Cushman tap truck.
Interior Design Elements
Walls - We use commercial kitchen FRP paneling for the walls in most cases. This will pass health code inspection in most states and offer you the ability to aggressively clean or bleach the walls when necessary without damaging the paneling. These are durable and functional.
Decorative Paneling - We love the idea of clients putting their own design stamp on their build. We use 4 x 8 architectural paneling in place of wall tile and this beautiful paneling can add dimension, color and decor to your build in the place of the FRP paneling on both the walls or the ceiling. Since the wall your customers will see is the wall opposite the service window, this is usually the wall we place the paneling on. We can also place it on the ceiling. We recommend using the FRP paneling for the other walls, however, so you can clean/bleach them when necessary around your service area.
Interior Lighting- We use dimmable low profile, led recessed lighting in all of our builds. You also have the choice of using sconce lighting in your build as well. Dimmable lighting creates mood lighting in the evening, but also allows you to ramp it up in times when you need full lighting for cleaning and set up.
Flooring - Because this is often a workspace that can get wet, we use commercial rubber non-skid flooring. It is easy to clean, durable, long lasting and can help prevent slippery situations when staff are working during service.
Countertops - We offer several choices of countertops for your mobile business. Stainless steel countertops are great for food trucks, coffee trucks and ice cream trucks. They are also necessary for builds that will go to stricter health department code states. Butcher block counters or veneer counters are great for mobile bars, mobile retail trailers, airstream bars, custom camper trailers and bakery trailers. We also offer laminate marble look or concrete look counters. We can help you choose which counter will be best in your mobile business.
Wallpaper - Recently there has been a increase in peel and stick wallpapers that appeal to the client-designer who wants something fun but also the flexibility to change their design down the road. While we love wall coverings, its important to know that this design element is not meant to last for years in a mobile business without upkeep. Client's who choose this design element will need to replace the paper or reattach it over time, depending on their home climate and humidity level.
Stains, Paints and Sealers - We always use exterior grade paints and stains on our builds, even on the interior. We understand, as we come from a rental background, the abuse the interior of your trailer will see during the course of daily service. With that said, stains, paints and sealers will need to be consistently reapplied throughout the life of the mobile business build. Whether it is butcher block oil or counter stain, it is important to reapply when the wood appears dry or liquid is no longer beading on the wood. Spills should always be wiped up immediately. Client's should keep in mind that often their business trailer is built in a climate that differs from theirs. Therefore, especially if you have chosen exterior wood elements, wood should be resealed as needed, not only on an annual basis.