Storage Containers Buyer's Guide
New and used storage container pricing & more
Table of Contents
When you're ready to get a portable storage container, you have three options:
- Purchase: If you will use the container for years and can afford it, buying is usually the best option. Plus, if you no longer need them, storage containers depreciate slowly so you can resell them without losing much value.
- Rent: This is the most affordable option for a few days or weeks at a time. Renting allows you to deduct the fees from your taxes, but can get expensive if you keep the unit longer than expected.
- Lease to own: A good choice when you'll need the container long-term but don't have the cash up front. It allows you to spread costs over a period of time and then purchase the container with a final nominal payment. However, you'll have paid considerably more than the purchase price because of the interest.
Before you purchase containers, consider how quickly you need them. Some vendors may offer same-day delivery on containers they have in stock. More often, they'll deliver your container in one to three days. Keep in mind that adding features will take longer - and cost more. Find out what other BuyerZone users found for storage container prices. Also know that you can choose between new storage containers and used storage containers.
Important update on availability
As of April 2012, the supply of storage containers available for rent or sale continues to be extremely limited. A combination of factors have led to fewer boxes being manufactured and fewer being sold off by the shipping companies that are primarily responsible for providing them to resellers in the US. As a result, prices have spiked -- if you can even find the container you want. Read more about used and new storage container availability.
Shipping costs will depend on distance and total weight and can add considerably to your total expenses. Expect to pay between $80 and $500 for delivery in town, taking into account traffic. Delivery costs hike up quickly depending on the distance, especially if you are in the mountain time zone. Besides the west and east coast rail lines, Dallas and Denver are the only mid-west outlets. Vendors may require a minimum shipping fee regardless of distance, and may have a maximum of 250 miles.
New containers are more accurately referred to as “one trip” containers. This is because they make one trip across the ocean before being sold. You can find a basic new/one-trip 20’ storage container from $2,800 to $3,400. The 40’ storage containers run about $4,900 to $6,000; 40’ high cube containers are priced from $5,000 to $6,200.
If you need to buy two or more containers, many vendors may knock a few dollars off the price or lower your transport costs. Vendors charge an hourly rate of $50 to $150 for customizing your container, plus the cost of materials. You could pay hundreds of dollars for basic add-ons like shelving or ramps, up to thousands of dollars to convert containers into office space.
Used storage containers pricing
While new storage containers can cost several thousand dollars, the pricing is more palatable for refurbished containers. Vendors buy pre-owned units, fix them up, replace any broken parts, ensure they’re water tight, and may apply a fresh coat of paint. Some vendors abstain from painting since some customers want custom paint colors. The refurbished containers look better, although paint does not cover up dents, and you pay about 30% to 50% less than you would for a new/one trip container.
The price for a 20’ used container ranges from $1,900-$2,400; 40’ used containers cost $2,600-$3,300, and 40’ High Cube used containers will set you back $2,700-$3,400. Lower end units might include “as is” containers with few add-ons and no guarantees against water or fire damage.
At the high end, the containers are fully reconditioned and feature all the functionality of a new/one-trip model. The higher price may include the vendor’s cost of acquisition, trucking expenses, and repair and sealant costs.
Leasing and rentals
Short-term rentals are far more common than leasing because most customers expect to use their containers for 1-6 months. Rentals cost $3 to $8 per day, and the length terms are flexible.
Rental agreements usually require one month minimum, with monthly billing after the first month. Most companies will pro-rate the last month.
Leasing may be beneficial if you need several containers for a long period of time. The average lease runs for 24 months or more. Monthly payments range from $75 to $150 depending on the condition and age of the container. When leasing, many vendors offer lower monthly rates for longer lease periods. Whether leasing or renting, the customer is responsible for delivery and pickup charges.