In 2022, a new storage container may cost anywhere between $5,000 and $7,000. On the even lower end, small pre-owned units run for as little as $1,000. Due to recent instability in the storage industry, container prices rise by the month. As a result, consumers and businesses must pay a high cost up front or rent their units.
How much a storage container costs depends on a few key factors. The unit’s age, condition, size, modifications and location can reduce or increase the cost. By understanding how these aspects change the price, you can find the best investment for yourself or your business.
Storage Container Cost by Size
Storage containers come in two standard varieties: 20-foot and 40-foot models. In some cases, you can select a 10-foot storage unit as well. Because all containers have the same height and width, lengths between 10 and 40 feet dramatically change the price. With this in mind, you should pursue the most cost-effective option.
10-foot containers make up for their lack of storage space with a low price tag that can drop below $1,000 on used models. For many young customers with fewer materials to store, this option is perfect. With 80 square feet of space, these units can store the contents of a small one-bedroom apartment. But for many businesses and multi-person homes, a 10-foot container doesn’t offer enough space.
As the average-sized model, 20-foot containers cost between $2,500 and $6,000, depending on their condition and add-on features. Small-to-medium-sized businesses and families with more possessions will benefit from this unit’s size. At 146 square feet, this container will hold the contents of a two-to-three-bedroom home. These containers often hold materials in the construction and agriculture industries as well.
Because of their abundant storage space, 40-foot containers run from $4,000 to $7,000. However, they compensate for their high price with unmatched storage space — 300 square feet. Due to their large size, cargo ships use cranes to mount as many 40-foot containers as possible. When shipping companies want to move as much volume as possible, they rely on these units.
Price by Storage Unit Condition
Purchasing a used storage container will save you anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000, depending on the unit’s size. While pre-owned rentals and purchases yield high savings, this isn’t the only factor to consider. In the storage industry, lenders and sellers divide used containers into several categories. Depending on a unit’s precise condition, price drops may wind up lower than expected.
Age, current damage and repair history have the largest impact on a container’s price. A used container that’s only a year old will cost more than its 5-year-old counterpart. Past damage and repairs can also lower the cost. Based on these factors, the container industry grants every unit one of six grades:
- New: Less than a year old, never exposed to harsh or damaging conditions. These containers cost between $5,000 and $7,000.
- Premium: 2-8 years old, in great condition and meets the highest repair standards. These units cost between $3,000 and $5,000.
- Grade A: 8+ years old, has minor damage but is still wind- and water-tight. These models cost between $1,900 and $2,500.
- Grade B: 8+ years old, significant damage/rust and not certified to ship cargo overseas. These units cost $1,500 or more.
- Refurbished: Used container that has been repaired. These containers cost $1,500 or more.
- As-is: Purchased in its current condition without certification or inspection. These units cost $1,000 or more.
Types of Storage
The price of a container depends on the industry behind it. Self-storage facilities that hold materials have fewer overhead costs than shipping containers going overseas. When making a storage investment, consider your own needs and how they affect costs. The three main types of storage include:
Self-storage facilities offer low prices on rentals and a few optional modifications. Renters can use a 10-by-10 unit for as little as $100 a month. Indoor facilities that provide climate control tend to run higher, at around $130 a month. While these rates are low, you will likely spend more transporting goods to and from these facilities.
Shipping containers have experienced the most dramatic price increase in recent years. Because of changes in global supply chains, the price of containers has increased exponentially. While this is offset by decreases in shipping costs, most businesses will end up paying more for overseas shipping. Shipping delays can also incur unforeseen expenses for companies.
Pod Storage (Portable Storage)
Portable storage, or pod storage, costs $155-$175 a month. It offers an alternative to the self-storage model in that units are delivered to your house or your team’s work site. While delivery and pickup fees apply, these extra expenses give you immediate access to your stored goods. By controlling where a storage space goes, your team can create the optimal layout on a job site.
Storage Modification Add-ons
Self-storage and pod storage facilities allow you to customize your containers for an added fee. These add-ons can improve climate conditions within a unit or provide easier access to stored goods. Every facility charges a different rate for each modification. Examples of storage add-ons include:
- Doors: These provide easier access to a storage unit. Personnel doors run from $100-$400, while larger roll-up doors begin around $600.
- Built-in shelving: By adding shelves to a container, certain materials can be stored above others. One row of shelving will cost $85 or more.
- Locking mechanisms: Locks provide an extra layer of protection against theft. High-end locks start around $90.
- Awnings: Storage awnings hang over a unit and cast it in the shade, keeping it cool. Normal awnings cost between $100 and $1,000, and retractable ones begin at $1,500.
- Custom sizes: You can adjust a unit’s size at the cost of an extra 20%-30% of the total price.
- Other Amenities: Additional features like roofing, plumbing and window installation require assistance from a contractor. In these cases, you should expect to pay a contractor’s hourly rate.
Location and Cost of Delivery
Your physical location has a large impact on the cost of a storage container. In landlocked regions, containers tend to cost more because they can’t arrive by boat. Coastal areas pay a comparatively small price. Businesses that purchase containers on a mass scale need to account for these variables before purchasing.
In cases where units are shipped, you often have to pay a large delivery fee. Ordering a container from hundreds of miles away can cost well over $1,000. Conventional delivery services within your area fit within $100-$500. By contrast, pod storage providers who build their business model around deliveries tend to charge $100 or less.
Market Demand for Storage Containers
As with all products, sellers determine storage container prices based on supply and demand. Because these variables are outside any one owner or renter’s control, costs can quickly rise and fall. High demand for storage and shipping containers in 2021 and 2022 has led to the greatest price inflation in years. Other market factors that affect costs include:
- The season: The time of year affects shipping and storage container prices. Retailers serve the most customers in fall and winter, which raises shipping container prices during these times. Construction teams are more active in the spring and summer, which increases material storage rates.
- The price of steel: New shipping containers are constantly in production. Because they are made from durable steel, the price of this material adds to manufacturing costs and the bottom line a customer pays. Rising material prices affect related industries like construction as well.
- Shipping costs: Shipping rates directly influence the price of storage. When shipping congestion occurs, you may pay more for storage as transportation slows.
- General economic well-being: The value of currency ties into all industries, including storage. Current inflation rates have hit shipping and storage providers to a larger extent than many other sectors of the economy.
Other Pricing Factors To Consider
Even after finding the perfect storage container, you may want to take on extra precautions. Depending on the material in storage and your financial investment in it, paying for better storage is a safe choice. Whether this entails greater security or creating ideal climate conditions depends on the customer. The last factors to consider include:
Most belongings left in secure facilities face little to no chance of theft or damage. That said, the chance of fires, flooding and other disasters isn’t negligible. Renters who pay an insurance fee every month may end up saving thousands of dollars in the case of an accident. If insurance is in the budget, it’s almost always worth pursuing.
Climate control is a flexible term with no set definition in the storage industry. Generally, facilities that offer climate control regulate the temperature in their units and keep out humidity. Most stored materials won’t require climate control, but for substances affected by heat and humidity, paying slightly more for a regulated space makes sense.
Sometimes, renters only need to throw a lock on their storage container. In other cases, further security measures will go a long way. You may want to ask about a facility’s alarm system, gates and video surveillance. Anyone buying a storage container should consider installing additional features like alarms. Secure storage is important for safety on any work site.
Should You Rent or Buy Storage Containers?
Once you find the perfect container, you need to decide on an investment strategy. Depending on the structure of your business or your individual needs, buying or renting a storage container affords different advantages. Taking a budget and long-term storage needs into account will indicate the best choice.
You should buy a storage container if your business or team wants to pay for long-term storage space up front. If you need to store the same materials for years at a time, fluctuating rent won’t become an issue. That said, if you run out of space, buying a new container takes more time and research than renting. Buying also offers advantages to shipping companies that require dozens of available containers at once.
Renting storage space better suits the needs of most individual renters and businesses. Construction and landscaping teams only need particular tools and a place to store them throughout the duration of a project. Pod storage also presents a way to rent storage space and place it on a job site. Renting also means you don’t have to pay high container prices.
Whether you buy or rent your containers, storage plays an essential role on most work sites. In determining how much a storage container costs, your team needs to note their short- and long-term priorities. Container prices vary more in today’s market than they ever have before, so weighing all factors that shape the cost of storage is unavoidable.
Across countless industries, reliable storage helps with organization and efficiency. When you rent a container through BigRentz, you’ll enjoy the best quality storage at an affordable rate.