Business ideas

16 Shipping Container Business Ideas

If you are looking for a business investment that can be modular, with relatively low running costs and a compact workspace, you might want to consider opening a shipping container business.

In times of economic uncertainty, starting a shipping container business can be an ideal venture to launch your business. with little outlay in construction project costs and capitalizing on new architectural innovations, your business will have more flexibility and an edge over the competition.

What is a Shipping Container Company?

Shipping container businesses are business operations that are highly sustainable and economical building solutions. They’re eco-friendly, versatile, rugged, and made with an industrial-strength steel exterior that can withstand the most extreme weather conditions. They offer many business opportunities for small space companies and start-ups by offering efficient dimensions and area. They can also be easily customized and stacked to create just about any type of design, layout, and size imaginable. They can be used as temporary, semi-permanent or permanent structures for almost any commercial need or even as residential structures.

The business of shipping containers

By investing in a shipping container, you significantly reduce your construction costs. The costs that come in for brick, mortar, lumber, labor, and other expenses. Shipping containers offer easy customization options and the ability to run your own business without incurring high construction costs. With containers, you can easily knock down walls, install windows and doors, add air conditioners, and even add lighting. They also come with carry options wherever you need them and can be modified to take any shape as you can stack or put them side by side. You are only limited by your imagination.

Best Shipping Container Business Ideas

There really is no limit to the types of businesses you can run with a shipping container office without the headache of a long-term lease. If you have ever aspired to start a shipping container business, these shipping container business ideas may just inspire you to take the next step.

1. Coffee

A cafe can be a fun and popular way to make money with a shipping container. Opening your one-of-a-kind cafe in high-traffic locations can help you attract a good following within your local community, as you offer them the opportunity to get their favorite brew while on the go. You can also change the cafe to be permanent or make it mobile so you can change locations.

2. Storage facility

You can convert storage containers into storage facilities and generate income by tapping into certain seasonal activities. By offering paid storage facilities, you can offer your services to people who don’t have enough space in their homes to store their furniture, holiday decorations, appliances, documents, keepsakes, clothes, and other items.

3. Shipping Container Homes

Shipping containers can also be converted into dwellings. There is a huge market among homeowners looking for homes with lower construction and maintenance costs. Shipping containers are typically available in 10ft, 20ft, and 40ft sizes and come with pre-engineered modular units that dramatically reduce construction time.

4. Art Gallery

If you are into fine art, opening a shipping container gallery may be something to consider. Shipping containers can make ideal pop-up galleries as they are not only easy to move but can also be easily modified and offer cost savings over traditional buildings.

5. Office space

Finding affordable office space can be difficult, especially in regions where renting office space is expensive. You can reduce the rental costs of your offices or even rent offices in your empty shipping containers. Due to their compact size, shipping containers can fit in literally anywhere, from parking lots, venues, or even more open outdoor space like next to warehouses. They also come with options to transport your workspace where you need it and can be modified to take the shape your office space needs.

6. Dog grooming service

A shipping container gives you the right size to set up a dog grooming service. Thanks to its compact size, you can easily store your dog grooming equipment. Interestingly, the dog grooming business is large and is estimated to be around $8 billion in the United States with around 130,000 grooming businesses employing some 230,000 employees. You can operate from your fixed location or run a mobile grooming business.

7. Yoga Studio

If you are a good yoga instructor, you can offer yoga classes from the comfort of your storage container. Since shipping containers are relatively inexpensive, you can start your yoga studio business with little means and encourage loyal customers.

8. Solar Powered Hostel

There is an increasingly environmentally conscious customer segment, a solar powered hostel will not only help meet the demand for an eco-friendly lifestyle but also provide an off-grid option. This comes in handy during the summer when people are looking for comfortable, insulated recycled shipping containers at campsites or even at festivals.

9. Small gym

Small personal gyms or even CrossFit gyms are all the rage these days. People are always looking for a quick workout in a convenient location while still providing their own personal space to train. A converted shipping container gym can be a great small business idea that provides a portable and affordable option.

10. Nail Salon

Having a nail or hair salon in a converted shipping container offers rich rewards. Using repurposed shipping containers can be a great start-up option because you can start your nail salon by helping to store your equipment and run your business at low cost with minimal staff.

11. Pop-up shop

You can use shipping containers for pop-up shops to sell your unique products and services where your customers gather at events, parks, or any other outdoor location. Pop-up stores are for retailers who want to put their online store’s products in front of people for a low overhead and connect with new customers.

12. Event space

Businesses are increasingly requesting to rent shipping containers for events such as concerts, trade shows and other events. They could help you showcase your marketing materials, samples, giveaways, products, and services to visitors.

13. Catering

If you are in the restaurant business or want to try your hand at a food business with an intimate setting inside and out. A converted shipping container restaurant can get you started. Not only will a shipping container easily accommodate small diners like your cooking gear, but will take you on the road to meet customers at a mall or other locations. If you’re looking for inspiration for ideas on the type of food business you want to invest in, check out all of these ideas.

14. Gift Shop

A shipping container can be a good outlet for impulse purchases to sell antiques, gifts, candies, etc. You can design your gift shop with various shelves and display cases, and custom doors that open so you can easily display items to attract customers. You can even plant yourself in a sweet spot, or be mobile so you can move from site to site throughout peak tourist season.

15. Florist

If you enjoy gardening, you can start your own profitable flower stand and florist shop with a converted shipping container. You can use the shipping container to go directly to where people gather, providing a convenient and accessible shopping experience on the fly. These containers are ideal for growing plants with constant temperature and humidity conditions, as they are able to withstand extreme weather conditions and temperatures.

16. Bookstore

Bookstores can be a perfect shipping container business idea, as they provide plenty of room for shelves full of bestselling books or rare editions. With your refurbished container, you can make it easy for people to browse titles and even borrow books.

If you’re looking for more small business ideas, check out our article on small business ideas for beginners.

Image: Envato Elements

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