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The Saner Container

Renting vs Buying Shipping Containers

Many contractors rent containers as needed for their projects. On the surface, this seems like a good approach—you get them for as long as you need them and give them back. But is it the best call in the long run? In this blog, we explore the pros and cons of renting versus buying storage containers for contractors to help you determine the best option for your needs.

Factors to Consider | Renting vs Buying Storage Containers


40' hihg cube containers on job siteThe cost is often the biggest issue to consider when buying or renting storage shipping containers. On the one hand, you pay less money at once to rent. On the other hand, you have to put down a larger upfront sum to own a storage container. But as with many renting versus buying decisions, one is an asset while the other is an expense. Plus, while the monthly rental payments may be cheaper short term, it’s important to note that it’s more expensive long term.


Sure, you may have your rental company programmed into your phone, but you don’t have your brand name on anything. When that container is in the shipping process, whose branding is it? Theirs. But if you buy the container, you can customize and/or paint it your company colors and add your logo to it. Having a 20’ x 8’ or 40’ x 8’ sign for your company traveling from site to site telling the world that this shipping container belongs to you. Roll a little of that marketing budget into the cost of the container to add a sign, and you will create buzz about your project and brand. 


If you own your shipping container, you can do what you want with it. The shipping container’s construction is entirely up to you. A rental container has to be returned in the same condition you got it. No adding in shelves. No insulation. It’s great for storage, but it will always be exactly that—just a rental box. Meanwhile, a purchased container can be exactly what you want it to be. If you need storage set up a certain way, want racking, or want to organize and partition your storage cube in a particular fashion, you can do that. You can even create another building if you don’t want to use it for storage or shipping purposes. Perhaps you want an extra office, lunchroom, breakroom, or shelter. Modifying your container to fit your needs can make your team more productive. Want more ideas for your shipping container?


Related Content: Ideas for Contractor Containers

Renting vs Buying Shipping Containers

Renting Shipping Containers

20 with 10 roll up and louvered vent LargeWhat are the pros and cons of renting a storage shipping container? As we mentioned earlier, the price is a little cheaper because it’s a month-to-month rental cost rather than a larger investment. However, you also only get the container for the time you have the project and then you give it back.

The first time you rent a shipping container, you pay for drop off and pick up of the container and usually the first month’s rent. For most projects, you’ll move beyond that first month without a problem. As the project wraps up, you call for the pick-up. The rental company schedules you for pick up as soon as they can get it and the rental period ends there. Some companies pro-rate out after the first month. Some don’t. But almost all rental companies work on a 28-day month which means they get 13 months to a year. If you forget to call for that pick up until the very end of the project and they are busy, you may pay for an extra week or more for pick up. Then you start a new project and start the new rental all over again. 

Buying Shipping Containers

What are the pros and cons of buying a storage shipping container? For starters, there’s only one upfront payment and one delivery cost to that initial job site. When that job is over, you do have to pay to move it back to your location (or somewhere else you have found to store it between jobs), then pay to bring it to the next job. Who will move it? Simply ask who you are buying it from. They usually have some resources they can give you.

Final Thoughts

Look at the cost of that container and divide it by what you are paying per month for your rentals. How long will it take for that container to pay for itself? In most markets you are looking somewhere in the neighborhood of 24-36 months depending on if you are going with a used or one-trip container and if you want to paint it. And remember to count your months 13 per year.

While buying the container does require more money upfront, it also saves you money in the long run. The ability to customize the container, even if that is done over time, gives you the chance to brand the container for additional advertising as well as make your team more productive. If you’re ready to get your hands on a shipping container, reach out to our team today.

Super Cubes is a family-owned business located in Minneapolis, MN, that provides containers anywhere in the continental US. We offer personalized service for individuals and businesses, providing high-quality containers at competitive prices. With nationwide facilities, we can modify and deliver containers close to you. Contact our experienced team for your next container project.

Post by Super Cubes
January 23, 2024