Renting a shipping container

Renting vs. Buying a Shipping Container: Making the Right Choice

Renting a shipping container

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shipping container

Renting a shipping container

Are you considering renting a shipping container but unsure if it’s the right decision for you? Shipping containers are versatile and durable containers used for transporting heavy machinery and equipment across the sea. They are designed to withstand the rigors of shipment, storage, and handling. Whether you’re looking for temporary storage, moving, or other specific needs, renting a shipping container can be a practical solution. In this article, we will explore the factors to consider when deciding between renting and buying a shipping container, the cost of renting, common container sizes, customization options, and various use cases.

Renting vs. Buying: Factors to Consider

When deciding between renting and buying a shipping container, several factors come into play. By carefully evaluating these factors, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your specific needs.

Cost Considerations

One of the key factors to consider is the cost. The duration for which you need the container plays a significant role in this decision. If you only need the container for a short period, such as a few months, renting is usually the more cost-effective option. Renting allows you to pay smaller amounts periodically, without the commitment of long-term ownership. On the other hand, if you anticipate needing the container for an extended period, such as a year or more, buying may be a more economical choice in the long run.

In addition to the base cost, it’s essential to factor in additional expenses. When renting, you may need to pay for delivery and pickup, whereas buying typically incurs a one-time delivery fee. Consider these costs carefully to determine the most cost-effective option for your situation.

Convenience and Flexibility

Another crucial factor to consider is the level of convenience and flexibility you desire. Renting a shipping container provides the advantage of not being tied down to the responsibility of container ownership. Disposing of a container can be challenging, particularly if professional scrappers are not readily available in your area. Renting allows you the freedom to use the container for your specific needs and return it when you no longer require it. On the other hand, buying a container provides you with the flexibility to customize it to your liking and use it for various purposes, such as turning it into a soundproof unit or even a living space.

Condition and Quality

If you have concerns about the condition and quality of the container, renting might be the better option. Renting allows you to choose a container that meets your quality standards without the commitment of ownership. This way, you won’t have to worry about repairing a container that is in less-than-stellar condition. However, if you have specific requirements for a container or plan to use it for an extended period, buying may allow you to have more control over the condition and quality of the container.

Cost of Renting a Storage Container

storage container

When renting a storage container, the cost can vary depending on several factors, including the size, condition, and duration of the rental. Let’s take a closer look at the typical costs associated with renting storage containers.

Size and Rental Rates

Storage containers come in various sizes, with the most common options being 20′ and 40′ containers. The rental rates for a 20′ storage container typically range between $100 and $150 per month, while a 40′ container can cost between $150 and $250 per month. The size of the container directly affects the rental price, with larger containers generally being more expensive to rent.

Additional Costs

In addition to the base rental rates, there may be additional costs to consider. For example, transportation container costs, which can be prepaid or paid at the end of the rental term, can impact the overall price. The age and condition of the container also play a role in determining the cost. Refurbished or new containers may come at a higher price, while used containers may offer more cost-effective options. It’s essential to discuss these factors with the rental provider to understand the full cost breakdown.

Location and Delivery Fees

The location of your supplier and the delivery fees associated with transporting the container to your desired destination can also affect the overall cost. Delivery fees vary depending on the distance between the supplier’s location and the delivery point. It’s crucial to inquire about these charges upfront to make an informed decision.

Typical Rental Periods and Container Sizes

container sizes

The rental period for a shipping container is typically 24 months, although this can vary depending on the contract terms. It’s common for rental agreements to allow for renewals and extensions, providing flexibility for your specific needs. Once you find a reliable supplier, you can rent a shipping container whenever you require one.

Shipping containers come in various sizes, with the most common options being 10′, 20′, and 40′ containers. Each size has its own unique advantages and applications. Let’s explore the characteristics of these container sizes:

10′ Container

A 10′ container is the smallest-sized metal shipping container available. It is a cost-effective option for cutting down on shipping management expenses. The rental price for a 10′ container generally ranges from $50 to $100 per month. This size is suitable for storing smaller quantities of goods or for applications where space is limited.

20′ Container

The 20′ container is a popular choice found in shipyards, company lots, and cargo ships. It provides a good balance between storage capacity and affordability. The rental price for a 20′ container typically ranges from $100 to $150 per month. It can accommodate a more substantial amount of goods and is suitable for a wide range of applications.

40′ Container

The 40′ container offers a larger storage capacity, making it ideal for those with extensive storage needs. Although it comes at a higher rental price, ranging from $150 to $250 per month, its size allows for versatile usage. Whether you need to store large quantities of goods or require additional space for customization, a 40′ container can fulfill your requirements.

Determining the right container size depends on the volume and nature of the goods you plan to store or transport. Consider your current and future needs to select the container size that best suits your requirements.

Customization and Accessories

customized container

Renting a shipping container doesn’t mean you have to settle for a standard unit. You can customize the container to meet your specific needs by choosing from a range of add-on features. While these customizations may increase the total rental or purchase price, they provide additional functionality and convenience. Let’s explore some common customization options:


You can personalize your container by adding personal doors or roll-up doors. Personal doors typically cost between $100 and $400, while roll-up doors can range from $600 and above. The choice of doors depends on your accessibility requirements and the nature of the goods you plan to store.

Built-In Shelves

If you need additional storage space within the container, built-in shelves can be a practical solution. The cost of shelves or brackets starts at around $85 per bracket. Consider the number of shelves you require to optimize the storage capacity of the container.

Locking Mechanisms

To ensure the security of your stored goods, you can choose from various locking mechanisms. The cost of these mechanisms typically ranges around $90. Discuss your security needs with the rental provider to select the most suitable locking mechanism for your container.


If you require additional outdoor space or protection from the elements, awnings can be a valuable addition. Permanent awnings can range from $100 to $1000, while retractable awnings tend to be pricier, starting at around $1500. Consider your specific needs and budget to determine the awning option that best fits your requirements.

By customizing your rented shipping container, you can optimize its functionality and tailor it to your unique needs. Discuss the customization options with your rental provider to explore the possibilities.

Use Cases for Shipping Containers

container uses

Shipping containers are incredibly versatile and find applications in various industries and scenarios. Let’s explore some common use cases for shipping containers:

Storage Solutions

Renting a shipping container provides an excellent storage solution for individuals and businesses alike. Whether you need temporary storage during a move or require extra space for inventory, a shipping container can fulfill your storage needs. Its durability and security features make it an ideal choice for storing goods of various kinds.

Portable Offices and Workspaces

Shipping containers can be transformed into portable offices, providing a flexible workspace solution. These converted containers can accommodate desks, chairs, shelves, lighting, air conditioning, and ventilation systems. From construction sites to remote locations, portable offices offer a comfortable and functional workspace.

Retail and Hospitality

Shipping containers have gained popularity in the retail and hospitality industry, offering unique and eye-catching spaces. Container-based structures can serve as shops, restaurants, cafes, or even hotels. Their modular design allows for easy customization and quick setup, making them a trendy choice for businesses looking for a distinct aesthetic.

Accommodation and Housing

For those seeking alternative housing options, shipping containers can be converted into comfortable living spaces. With proper insulation, plumbing, and electrical installations, containers can be transformed into compact homes or temporary accommodation. This flexible approach to housing allows for creative and cost-effective solutions.

Event Spaces and Pop-Up Installations

Shipping containers can be used as event