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16 Shipping Container Business Ideas

16 Shipping Container Business Ideas

If you are looking for a business investment that can be modular, comes with relatively low running costs, and has a compact work space perhaps you should consider opening a shipping container business.

In times of economic uncertainty starting a shipping container business can be an ideal venture where you can get your business up and running. with little cash outlay in terms of construction project costs and capitalizing on new architectural innovation, your business will have more flexibility and an edge over the competition.



What is a Shipping Container Business?

Shipping container businesses are business operations that are highly sustainable and budget-friendly construction solutions. They are eco-friendly, versatile, sturdy, and made with an industrial-grade steel exterior that can withstand even the most severe weather conditions. They provide plenty of business opportunities for small space businesses and start-ups by offering efficient dimensions and square footage. They can also be easily customized and stacked to create just about any sort of design, layout, and size imaginable. They can be used as either temporary, semi-permanent, or permanent structures for almost any business need or even residential structures.

The Business of Shipping Containers

By investing in a shipping container, you significantly cut costs on your construction. The costs that come for brick, mortar, wood, labor, and other expenditure. Shipping containers provide easy customization options and the opportunity to run your own business without incurring high construction costs. With containers, you can easily take down walls, install windows and doors, add air conditioners, and even add lighting. They also come with options to transport wherever you need and can be modified to take whatever shape as you can stack them up or assemble them side by side. You are only limited by your imagination.

Best Shipping Container Business Ideas

There really are no limits to what sorts of businesses you can run with a shipping container office without the headache of a long-term lease.  If you’ve ever aspired to start a business in a shipping container, these shipping container business ideas may just inspire you to take the next step. 

1. Coffee Shop

A coffee shop can be a fun and popular way to make money with a shipping container.  Opening up your unique coffee shop in foot traffic-heavy locations can help you capture a good customer base within your local community as you offer them the opportunity to get their favorite brew while on the move.  You can also alter the coffee shop to be either permanent or make it mobile so that you can change locations.

2. Storage Facility

You could convert storage containers into storage facilities and generate some income by tapping into some seasonal business. By offering storage facilities for a fee, you can offer your services to people who do not have enough space in their homes to store their furniture, holiday decorations, appliances, documents, memorabilia, clothing, and other items.

3. Shipping Container Homes

Shipping containers can also be converted into homes. There is a huge market among homeowners looking for homes with lower construction and maintenance costs. Shipping containers generally come in 10ft, 20ft, and 40ft sizes and come with prefabricated modular units that make construction time much shorter.

4. Art Gallery

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

5. Office Space

Finding affordable office space can be hard, especially in areas where renting office space is expensive. You can slim down your office rent costs or even rent out office space in your empty shipping containers. Due to their compact size, shipping containers can fit in literally anywhere from parking lots, venues, or even a more open outdoor area like next to warehouses. They also come with options to transport your workspace wherever you need and can be modified to take whatever shape your office space requires.

6. Dog Grooming Service

A shipping container offers the right size for you 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 big and is estimated at about $8 billion in the US with around 130,000 grooming businesses employing some 230,000 employees. You can operate out of 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. Because shipping containers come relatively cheap you can start your yoga studio business on a shoestring and encourage repeat customers.

8. Solar Powered Hostel

There is a growing environmentally conscious customer segment, a solar-powered hostel will not only help to satisfy the demand for an eco-friendly living but also offers an off-the-grid option as well. This comes in handy during the summer when people are looking for cozy, insulated recycled shipping containers on campsites or even at festivals.

9. Small Gym

Smaller personal gyms or even CrossFit gyms are all the rage these days. People are always looking for a quick workout that is in a convenient location while also offering them their own personal space to work out. A converted shipping container gym can be a great small business idea offering a mobile 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 as you can start your nail salon by helping to store your equipment and run your low-cost business 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 in events, parks, or any other outdoor venues. Pop-up stores are for retailers interested in getting their online store products in front of people for a low overhead cost and connecting with new customers.

12. Event Space

There is a growing demand by companies to rent out shipping containers for events such as concerts, trade fairs, and other events. They could help showcase your marketing collateral, samples, freebies, products, and services to vising attendees.

13. Restaurant

If you are in the catering business or want to try your hand at a food business with an intimate setting indoors as well as outdoors. A converted shipping container restaurant can get you started. Not only will a shipping container easily accommodate small dinners like your kitchen equipment but take you on the road to cater to customers at a shopping center or other venues. If you are looking for inspiration for ideas on what 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 buying to sell antiques, gifts, sweets, and more. You can design your gift shop with various shelving and display cases, and customized doors that open up to allow you to easily display items to attract customers. You can even plant yourself at an ideal spot, or be mobile so you can arrange to move from site to site throughout the peak tourist season.

15. Florist Shop

If you are into gardening, you can start your own cost-effective flower stand and florist store with a converted shipping container. You can use the shipping container to go directly to where people congregate offering a convenient and accessible shopping experience on the fly. These containers are highly suitable for growing plants offering consistent temperature and humidity conditions as they are capable of withstanding extreme weather and temperatures.

16. Book Store

Book stores can be a perfect shipping container business idea as it offers plenty of space for shelves filled with best seller books or rare edition prints. With your refurbished container you can allow people to easily browse titles and even borrow books.

If you are looking for more small business ideas checkout out our article on Small Business Ideas for Beginners.

Image: Envato Elements


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