Venture capitalists love this one weird trick—double your startup “runway” time and reduce employee salaries dramatically while improving quality of life at the same time!
Many companies (especially tech-related ones) are located in extremely expensive cities.
If a company in a major metropolitan area could easily relocate to a nearby but outlying area, then employee salaries could be cut by 25%, yet the employees would still have more after-tax/rent income.
So essentially, the company would both be more profitable and the employees would be earning more.
Of course, it has always been quite difficult and inconvenient to move a company.
Until now, that is!
Instead of having a standard office building, a company can be based in a large number of slightly-modified truck trailers (Fig 1).
Fig. 1: Here we have three 18-wheeler trailers in gray and one truck cab in orange.
Three separate trailers would make for an oppressive and inefficient workspace, so the trailers are specially modified so that 1) the side walls can be removed and 2) a floor plate can extend out to bridge the gap between trailers. Figure 2 displays a single office room that is created out of three trailers.
Fig. 2: The three trailers from figure 1 are combined into a single large room. Specifically, the side walls of each trailer can be lifted up, allowing multiple trailers to be combined.
There are countless advantages of this plan over a traditional office building:
- Easily relocate your business to an area with lower cost-of-living / lower rent
- Makes it easier to threaten to relocate your business to another state / country in order to (hopefully) extract tax breaks from the local government.
- If your business becomes crowded, you can add more trailers as needed.
- If you over-bought and your office is too big, you can downsize the office by simply removing a few trailers.
Figure 3 shows a possible office layout inside the three-trailer example office.
Fig. 3: Inside the three trailers, a standard workshop or office space can be configured, as demonstrated here. Note that the floorplan is free to ignore the boundaries between trailers—it’s effectively one large room, just like a regular office.
The only issue with treating the space as a single unit (rather than 3 trailers) is that if the office were to be moved, you’d need to make sure all the furniture fit within single trailers (or you could cut your furniture in half, and put the halves into two separate trailers).
Fig. 4: If you want to move your company, you just need to push the furniture so that it doesn’t span multiple trailers. Furniture that is in danger of being chopped in half is illustrated here with the “scissor-cut” icon and green highlighting. For most businesses, this would be an easy task (unless heavy machinery or elaborate cubicle arrangements are involved).
PROS: Makes it easy to relocate your company for both cost-of-living reasons and for tax purposes.
CONS: A multi-story building would be difficult to manage. Most layouts would be limited to a single story.