Custom Shipping Containers: 4 Creative Modification Ideas

Each year, about 247 million tons of cargo moves through the Port of Houston. The vast majority of it travels in shipping containers. Many of these containers, get emptied and reloaded for another trip across the ocean. But for other containers, this is their last voyage and they end up staying in Houston.

This large influx of containers has resulted in people getting creative with this surplus raw material. We’ve all seen custom shipping containers turned into homes, swimming pools, bars, coffee shops, and storage units. With that in mind, here are a few more creative modification ideas for shipping containers. 

1. Custom Paint Job

One of the most commonly overlooked features of modified shipping containers is the paint. Sea shipping containers come in a wide variety of colors, but that paint does more than just look pretty. The paint is there to protect the metal from corrosion. 

If you’re modifying a container, this is your chance to give your container a custom paint job. Not only will this help protect your container, but it will also brand the container. 

You could paint it a bold color for visibility. Or paint it your company’s colors for it to remain on-brand. Or you could have an artist create a completely custom mural across the side. 

2. Stadium Seating Conversion 

Do you need extra seating for your local stadium or field? Shipping container modifications are an affordable and easy way to create stadium seating. Not only is the metal durable, but the seating will be more secure and stable than many other stadium seating options on the market. 

You could even have it include a roof. This will shade people on sunny days and protect them from rain. 

3. Container Generator Covers 

Larger commercial buildings have several HVAC units or generators. These are a hefty investment and require routine maintenance and care to ensure their longevity. One way to extend their life even longer is to protect these units from the sun’s harmful UV rays and weather elements. 

A shipping container is an affordable way to create a custom cover. Containers are large enough to cover these commercial units while also being durable and modifiable. You can add venting for airflow. You can also add removable panels for easy access. This will make repairs and maintenance easier. 

4. Unique Door Modifications 

Shipping containers come with double doors at the short end. But these aren’t always functional on the container and may not work for your intended use. If you have an office, then a standard door is a more logical choice. 

Not to worry, you have plenty of options when it comes to the doors for your container. Our team has modified containers to have garage-style roll-up doors, grand French doors, and even sliding glass doors. For some creative options, visit our shipping container modification gallery here

More unique solutions have included a lifting panel that’s held up with the use of struts. When open you have a lovely cover over the entrance and outdoor area. When closed you have a secure and solid wall. 

You can also build smaller doors on hinges. These come in handy when you’re building a service window for a cafe or bar. This lets you modify your container to suit your intended purpose perfectly. 

Start Creating Custom Shipping Containers

When it comes to modifying custom shipping containers, your imagination is the limit. We offer a broad range of shipping containers modification services, to make the process easy. We also welcome your creative ideas and enjoy working on new challenges. 

Our team of container experts have experience working with local Houston and Dallas companies to modify containers for a wide variety of needs. 

Contact our creative team today and let us help you custom modify your shipping container.

How Long Do Container Homes Last?: A Complete Guide

In today’s world, we can’t imagine what it would be like to not have goods shipped worldwide, but this is a fairly new concept in the history of logistics. The modern sea shipping container celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2006.

Over the last sixty years, containers have gone from a novel concept to numbering in the millions. About 1.5 million containers make their way through Port Houston each year. This has led to an excess of inexpensive shipping containers building up in stock yards.

As a result, resourceful and creative people have found many alternative uses for them. Like building sea container homes, offices and shelters. This begs the important question, how long can dwellings made with shipping containers last?

This guide should help provide some answers.    

How Long Do Container Dwellings Last?

The short answer is that it depends. Shipping containers are built to withstand the rough environment of open air sea shipping. They face the sun’s harsh UV rays, bad weather, and salt. This is the prime environment for rust and corrosion. 

Shipping companies will tell you that they use a container for about ten to twelve years before they take them out of rotation. But this doesn’t mean the container is no longer useful, just that it won’t be used for shipping. 

A container that was used in a storage facility can last much longer. These containers aren’t subjected to the same level of abuse as ocean containers and so can easily last 25 to 30 years. 

The lifespan for shipping containers that are used to build houses are even longer because these containers are not only in a friendlier environment but have also been treated and clad as part of the building process. Container homes can easily last well over 50 years with no problem.  

If you plan to build a container home, the first thing you should do is buy your containers from a reputable source. They will be able to guide you through the process so that you buy the right container(s) for your needs. 

You should also work with a reputable container modification service. They will properly clean and treat any rust areas on your container before making the appropiate modifications. This will protect your container from further corrosion. They can also paint your container to protect it even more. 

Expert Modification 

How your containers get modified will affect their lifespan. While they’re overengineered and can withstand a large number of cutouts, there is a tipping point. It takes an expert modification team to know where that tipping point is, in-order to ensure your modified container retains its structural integrity after customization. 

Build a Texas Container Home That Lasts

Now that you understand the answer to how long container homes can last, you’re ready to start planning your container modifications in Houston. By working with an experienced container modification company, you can be confident that you’ll get the most out of project. 

Contact our team of container experts today, and let us help you create a container mod that lasts!  

Essential Steps to Follow When Buying Shipping Containers in Dallas

Whether you’re looking to build a shipping container home or need it for another purpose, like carrying cargo, the process of buying shipping containers in Dallas can be intimidating to some.

Fortunately, it’s easier than you may realize to buy a cargo container. There are only five steps, and you could have your shipping container before you know it if you follow them well. Keep reading to learn more about what you need to do if you’d like to purchase a shipping container.

1. Know Its Purpose

The first thing you have to do is determine what you’ll be using your shipping container for. Some people use them for storage whereas others modify them into offices, homes, or barns. By knowing what you want it for, you can move onto the next step.

2. Decide What You Need

With your shipping container purpose in mind, there are three basic things you need to decide on before you make your purchase. By keeping these things in mind as you search for shipping containers in Dallas, you’ll save time and effort.

Size

There are several different sizes of shipping containers to choose from. They are either 8.5 or 9.5 feet in height and eight feet wide. The most common lengths are 20 feet and 40 feet, but you can also get them in 8, 10, 30, 48, and 53 feet in length.

Condition

You could purchase a new shipping container for your project, but a used container will work for most projects. Be sure to check its condition so you know it will be as weatherproof and watertight as you need it to be.

Modifications

Many companies, including ours, provide modification services so that your cargo container will be ready to be used as soon as it arrives. This is especially great for those that don’t have the tools and skills to transform their shipping containers themselves.

3. Find Cargo Containers for Sale

Once you know what you need in a shipping container, you can find one that meets your needs. As long as you’re looking for a common size, it should be easy to find one.

4. Get Modifications Made

If you want any modifications made on your shipping container before it’s sent to you, now is the time to do it. Be sure to communicate regularly with the container modification company to make sure everything is the way you want it before the final step of delivery. 

5. Arrange Shipping

Once your shipping container is ready for you, it’s time to make arrangements to have it shipped to you. You may have the means to transport it yourself, however, most people need the help of a professional transportation company.

Be sure to have the location ready so the transportation company can set it exactly where you need it when the containers arrive. Because you’ll likely need a backhoe or other heavy machinery to move your shipping container, it’s best to have it put in its permanent position immediately.

Ready to Buy Shipping Containers in Dallas?

Buying shipping containers in the Dallas Texas region can be a simple but painstaking process. Since it takes time to laboriously go through every step of the process outlined above in-order to prevent problems along the way. 

If you’ve completed the first two steps and are ready to make a look at containers, contact us today. We would be more than happy to guide you through the rest of the process so you can get a cargo container that fits your needs and budget. 

Tips for Buying & Building Your Texas Shipping Container Home or Office

Tiny home living is an increasingly popular lifestyle that adheres to the basic rules of minimalism. When it comes to using Texas shipping containers for your tiny home or container office, you could be repurposing excess used materials, which has the added benefits of a positive effect on the environment

However, regardless of whether your goal is to save the environment or simply save some money, using a Texas shipping container can accomplish both. But before you get started on your home or office build, there are a few things you should keep in mind. 

Keep reading for tips on buying and building a Texas shipping container home or office.

1. Create a List of Priorities

First, you need to come up with a general plan. What do you want to do with your shipping container? If you’re planning on using it to build a home or office, you need to make a list of priorities.

For example, how big do you want your shipping container to be? Are you buying one or several? What type of amenities and luxuries do you want your shipping container to have?

Finally, you need to determine if your neighborhood allows for shipping container homes and offices, or if you need to find a new location.

2. Figure Out Your Budget

Once you have a basic idea of what you want, you need to determine how much you want to spend on the project. Many people look to shipping containers for homes and offices because using these as building materials can save them tons of money in the long run. If you’re taking out a loan to finance the build, you need to get pre-approved first, so you don’t waste your time designing a building, only to have your loan application denied.

Depending on your budget, you may or may not be able to get everything you want out of the build. Make sure to keep your priorities in mind from step one if there comes a time when you need to compromise.

3. Find the Right Texas Shipping Container Specialists

Now that you know how much money you have to work with, it’s time to start looking for the best shipping container specialists in your area. Look for a supplier with the best prices and the highest quality of containers. Ideally, the company should also have a large inventory of containers in stock. 

For example, Equipment Management Services in Texas,  has a wide selection of new and used shipping containers in various sizes. 

4. Work With Your Team to Come up With a Design Plan

Once you’ve chosen a Texas shipping container company to work with, it’s time to start the official planning process. Let us know what you want and we can modify your container as needed. Basically, if you can imagine it, we can build it.

We’ll also help you find the right shipping container(s) for your needs. If your home design includes multiple containers, air conditioning, or even a container designated for a garage, we can help. We will work with you to help your budget meet your design plans.

Looking to Buy a Texas Shipping Container?

Are you located in Texas and looking for a Top rated Texas shipping container supplier for your next home or office? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Feel free to contacts us for a quote on your project.

7 Must-Have Container Home Design Tips

Shipping containers are great for many things – like transporting large objects and long-term storage, but also for constructing beautiful buildings! This use of shipping containers used to be their lesser-known function, but in recent years, more and more shipping containers have been turned into bars, office spaces, and even homes. 

It’s an ingenious design style that’s catching the eye of minimalist homeowners and large families alike. Shipping container homes make the perfect first house, downsizer, or upgrade. Fundamentally, they’re like any house: what you make of it. 

If you’ve got your eyes set on an unique property that could use shipping containers, but you’re not really sure how to make it your own – use these shipping container home guidelines to turn any empty space into your own private oasis.

1. Let Light In 

One of the cornerstones of beautiful interior design is to make use of natural light. With shipping container homes, though, more light is not just something pretty but very essential. 

Natural light in such a setting opens up the limited space afforded by a boxy container. It will tend to make each room look and feel a bit bigger than it actually is, and also help tie all the different rooms (or, containers) together. 

2. Create an Open Floor Plan 

Speaking of bringing all the pieces of your home together, how much thought have you given to the actual floor plan? The layout you’re looking for plays a significant difference in how many shipping containers you’ll need, not to mention how big and sturdy each one should be. 

An open floor plan will help you combine all the containers together as your home comes to life. It makes it easier to determine how each one will fit with another. Just be sure you’ve got plenty of load-bearing walls supporting your open spaces. You may need to invest in a few supporting steel beams as you cut down on the amount of closed areas in your home. 

3. Focus on Form and Function 

As you’re designing your shipping container house, you have to think just as much about function as you do about form. The size of your space and the walls that will support it are just one of the many things to consider. 

Additional factors include:

  • insulation 
  • ceiling height 
  • strong winds and any other intense weather

Heating and cooling in a shipping container home don’t really work the same as they do in standard homes. Make sure you have an insulation plan for the floors and keep in mind that this could take up to a foot off the total height of your indoor area. If you’re a fan of high ceilings, invest in taller containers to begin with. That way, you get the best of both worlds.

No matter the height, though, if you live in an area with strong winds, your shipping container home will be prone to noise as winds hit the exterior walls. This is manageable with some sort of exterior windbreaker or smart positioning. 

4. Utilize Natural Elements 

Once you’ve decided what to do about natural elements like strong winds or extreme temperatures, shift your focus to the natural touches you’d like to bring inside the house. 

Indoor plants can make your space feel much cozier and welcoming. Large plants are great for open areas or to make use of an empty corner, while small plants are nice accents on shelves and countertops. Either way, make sure you place a few around the house; it’s such an easy way to brighten your space!

5. Play with Texture and Dimension 

One of the fun parts about buying plants is figuring out what kind of pot to place them in. You can go with the classic terra cotta, a sleek and simple modern pot, or something handmade with a boho-chic feel.

Or, try mixing and matching a few different designs to come up with something entirely your own. In fact, apply this principle throughout your shipping container home’s design!

Part of making a house a home is putting your personality in every room. This isn’t something that can be easily expressed, so your home shouldn’t feel cookie-cutter or too simple. Have fun with the design process. Take chances on a few pieces that you wouldn’t normally buy and blend those with your favorite go-to’s – you’ll be surprised how breathtaking the end result can be. 

6. Know Your Go-to Design Style 

While it is fun to mix and match when designing a home, it’s also good to have one theme that centers every room. Your go-to design style shouldn’t define every little thing that goes into your shipping container home, but it should keep you from creating an over-the-top design. 

Pick out colors and materials that match your style – like iron and navy for a modern home or exposed brick and copper for an industrial one. Whatever your main design style is, represent that in each room then mix it up with influences from other approaches to design.

7. Invest in Statement Pieces 

Just as you see the design of your shipping container home coming together, take a step back and look around. What stands out to you when you walk in? What grabs your attention when you go from room to room? 

If you’re having trouble finding those focal points, you’re lacking statement pieces. These are the things that really make a home unique, and they’re often the most timeless pieces, too. So if you find an accent chair you love or a mirror you need to have, make the investment and then find the perfect place to put it in your home.

Shipping Container Home Design Made Simple

At the end of the day, shipping container home design is just like the way any other home comes together. It all happens one room at a time, and the best way to figure it all out is to put your heart into it. Only go with a design that feels right to you, regardless of what’s trendy or what the “rules” of a certain style are. 

The only rule that matters is that you feel at home whenever you walk in the door of your home. Things like natural light, the right floorplan, and unique statement pieces just help make that happen. 

For more tips and tricks to turn a shipping container into your own space, click here.

Shipping Container Modification: The Double Lives of Shipping Containers

Recently a man made headlines in Houston for creating a three-story home out of 11 shipping containers. While this home is the most extensive container home we’ve seen, it isn’t the most creative use. 

Shipping containers can be used for so much more. How about heading out to Round Top Texas for a few nights in a container hotel? Or check out the hottest pop-up bar, located in a container. 

Check out all of these creative uses for shipping containers. 

Flophouse Hotel 

This hotel features six containers that you can book for your stay. Outside of each “houze” are a hammock, fire pit, and comfy chairs to relax and enjoy your time in Round Top. 

Each container features recycled and salvaged building materials from across the country. The decor is artfully created with vintage fabrics, art, and carefully sourced fixtures. 

If there’s a piece of decor you love in your container, make an offer! Everything is available for purchase at the right price. 

Swimming Pool 

Instead of building a traditional in-ground pool, you can use a shipping container. You can place it below ground level, leave it above ground, or a combination of both. 

For the most affordable option, you can leave the container close to the original setup. However you can give your container pool some style by adding a window. This gives your pool a more modern look. 

Pop up Shop 

By now, you’ve probably heard about a pop-up retail shop or bar coming to your city. These temporary shops have grown in popularity as more businesses become averse to committing to long term expensive leases. 

You, too, can use a shipping container to create a temporary retail space. You can use this opportunity to generate buzz and increase your exposure and reach. 

It also allows you to stay mobile with your brand as you can move the container from one city to another. This will enable you to maximize your investment. You can also use it to test new markets for the possibility of a permanent store. 

Offices 

You can create an entire office from shipping containers. You could have everything contained in one unit to keep things mobile. Or you could make the structure permanent. 

Having prefabricated containers will reduce your construction costs. Modify your containers so that they have windows and doors. You can even have air conditioning installed. 

Spa or Sauna

Wouldn’t it be great if you could head to your private spa after a tough day at work or the gym? With a few modifications, you can create your own mini spa space.  

Get Creative with Your Shipping Containers

Shipping containers are for so much more than ocean freight shipping. These days, you can use a shipping container in several building projects. 

You could follow the conventional route and build a home with them. But wouldn’t it be even better with a container pool attached to it?  Or you could create a pop-up shop or office for your brick and mortar business. 

Contact our team today and let us help you modify a shipping container for your next project. 

Why Shipping Container Modification Is the Future of Versatile Housing

Homeownership rates have increased to nearly 65% in the US. But even with ownership on the rise, buying a home has remained as expensive as ever. This is why shipping container homes are becoming an innovative solution to the struggles of home-ownership. 

Do you want to design your dream home but can’t afford the cost? Building with used shipping containers can save you money while guaranteeing the perfect space to live in. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of today’s shipping container housing trend. 

Seven Benefits of building Homes with Shipping Container

Most home projects that involve starting from the ground up can become complicated. However, shipping container construction offers many benefits that make the process easier. 

If you’ve been looking for alternative housing solutions in the Houston area, we’re here to guide you through the process. Here are seven major benefits to building with shipping containers. 

1. Customizable

A major plus to shipping container construction is that the sky is the limit in terms of customization. You can position them in various ways and reconstruct from the inside out until it feels like the perfect space.

Your local Houston-based, shipping container provider can offer their expertise in modifying containers to fit your unique design. You can even buy used shipping containers that have already been modified according to your needs. The team at Equipment Management Services is available to work with you as you dream up and design your perfect container home or office. 

2. Affordable

Buying a home will likely be one of the most expensive things you’ll ever invest in. But here’s why today’s shipping container buildings are rising in popularity–they are much easier on the wallet. 

Used shipping containers are readily available and quite inexpensive. Additionally, constructing a stylish shipping container home can cost you less than buying an upscale home off the market. 

3. Eco-Friendly

If the affordability and flexibility of shipping container construction isn’t enough to sell you, then consider the eco-friendly aspect of using containers to build your home. Instead of expending new resources in building a home, you’re reusing material. For today’s environmentally-conscious homeowners, this is a major plus to building and designing a new home. 

4. Safe and Durable

The safety of your home is always a top priority for any homeowner. For individuals living in busy urban areas like Dallas or Houston, you might have home safety on your mind a lot. 

Recently, steel has been tested for its durability and safety in construction. This is because it not only withstands wear-and-tear with ease, but it has a life expectancy of about 25 years. Shipping containers are built out of heavy-duty, 16-gauge steel that’s extremely hard to break into. 

What does this mean for you? It means you can trust that your shipping container home will remain safe and sturdy throughout the years. 

5. Weather and Rodent Resistant

The original goal for shipping containers is that they protect precious goods from shore to shore. With this in mind, you can trust that your shipping container home will be able to withstand both bad weather and troublesome rodents. They can handle all weather extremes, from icy Northern climates to hot Texas summers. 

6. Speedy Construction

A major bonus to constructing a home with shipping containers is that it’s a faster process than traditional home building. This is because the main frame of your home is already ready to go. 

A shipping container structure involves quick set-up, easy plumbing, and quick electrical work. They also have built-in foundations, which means you don’t have to spend time working on pre-installation. All you have to do is find storage containers for sale and start dreaming! 

7. Ideal Logistics

Shipping containers were originally designed to hold cargo and be easily transported from place to place. This means they’re ideal for moving around. 

Containers are easy to move via train, ship, truck, or airplane. Manufacturers design them with handling points so that they’re easy to move and stack.

Why is this important? Because it makes the process much simpler as you design your home and move containers around. 

Explore These Creative Shipping Container Ideas

Are you sold on building a container home but not sure where to begin? There’s no end to how you can design and reconstruct a shipping container to fit your exact needs. Here are some design ideas to help you out. 

Backyard Studio

If you have the space available, opting for a shipping container studio is a great way to transform your creative space. Shipping containers are easily modified to be open, airy, and perfect for those hours spent on creative projects. 

Breezy Pool House

Living in sunny Texas often means finding ingenious ways to cool down under some shade. A pool house made from a shipping container can be an easy way to boost your pool-side experience while making it more comfortable on sunny days.

Tiny Home

Today’s minimalist lifestyle trend means some homeowners are looking for innovative ways to live in small spaces. Shipping containers are the perfect solution for crafting a tiny home because they are completely customizable. 

Cozy Guest House

You might look at a shipping container and think it’s nothing more than a boring metal box, but think again! Many homeowners have transformed their shipping container spaces into sleek guest houses. 

Modern Office

You can easily convert a shipping container into an office space for your growing team. They can be stacked and customized to create a shipping container office that’s as spacious or compact as you want. There are a wide variety of shipping container designs out there to fit your business needs, whether you’re looking for a two-person work-space or a corporate office. 

Urban Housing With No Design Limits

Shipping container homes are on the rise because they offer many benefits and solutions to traditional housing issues. It’s simple to find these cargo containers for sale and they’re easily transported to you. Even for the most creative home designer, a shipping container can be modified and transformed into any level of luxurious, trendy, or cozy space. 

Are you ready to start building your shipping container dream home? Check out our tips and tricks to buying shipping containers for sale in Houston. And don’t worry–we also ship our containers to any US location. 

Shipping Container Modification Services in Texas

Earlier this year, it was announced that a Fort Worth building project would use shipping containers to create a 34 unit apartment complex. While this is a very prominent and familiar shipping container modification, it is far from being your only option. 

Keep reading to learn how modified shipping containers are getting used for a variety of projects. 

Modified Shipping Container Uses 

Shipping container modifications go far beyond the traditional uses of a shipping container, storage unit, or construction site office. You can turn your shipping container into almost anything. Here is just a short list. 

  • Mobile Offices 
  • Workstations 
  • Kitchen/food service 
  • Portable power and communications 
  • Housing 
  • Water treatment enclosure 
  • Exhibit Unit 
  • Generator and pump enclosure 
  • Military applications 
  • Vendor kiosk 
  • Pop up bar 
  • Electrical control room 

Here in Dallas, pop up eatery locations have developed a cult following. A shipping container is the perfect kitchen solution. We can help you craft the ideal portable eatery. 

Another popular trend is pop up retail shops. These temporary retail locations let you turn your retail store into a portable shop. 

Then there is The Portal exhibit that is located at the NorthPark Center. Amid the bustling walkways is what looks like your standard ocean freight shipping container. Step inside, though, and you enter a portal to another part of the world. A 2D projector screen connects you with portal users across the globe, including Los Angeles, Stockholm, and New Delhi. 

Possible Modifications 

Each of these uses requires careful planning and forethought to ensure that each container is appropriately modified to best suit its end-use. When it comes to the modifications you can make, they’re almost limitless. 

  • Built-in furniture 
  • Electrical 
  • HVAC 
  • Interior finishes 
  • Overhead lighting 
  • Pass-through windows 
  • Restrooms 
  • Roll-up doors 
  • Shelving 
  • Windows and guards 

What to Look for in a Modification Service 

With how popular container modification is here in Texas, you will find that there are several services available to you. To find the right one for your needs, you need to consider a few factors. 

Quality

What is the quality of their craftsmanship? Do they adhere to the highest of standards to ensure that your container will comply with all relevant codes? 

Fast Turnaround 

When it comes to your modifications, you need a company that can deliver on time. If your modification service can’t meet your deadline, then you risk losing money on your investment. 

Experience 

You may find that some services can offer lower rates, but then you are limited to the modifications they can perform. Look for a service that can work with you to customize your modification plan. You need a service that values your ideas and works with you to create the modified shipping container of your dreams. 

Plan Your Shipping Container Modification

Are you ready to start your shipping container modification? Maybe you want to have a pop-up bar, retail, or food shop in downtown Dallas or Houston. Or perhaps you’re hoping to create an interactive art installation that can travel all over the great state of Texas. 

Our experienced team can craft a shipping container to fit your specifications while also ensuring your container complies with all codes. 

Request a quote today for your shipping container modification needs. 

Shipping Container Pop-up Bars : Your Complete Guide

The pop-up bar seems to have taken the world by storm since they first entered the scene a few years ago. From simple seasonal pop-ups to bars based on horror movies, there’s something to fit every niche.

Because of their low cost, ease of transport, and potential for modification, using recycled shipping containers is a popular choice for many pop-up entrepreneurs. But what goes into running one of these trendy little businesses? Building and running shipping container pop-up bars can’t be more complicated than just showing up in an old shipping container with a couple of beer kegs, right?

Well, while it’s not quite that simple, getting a pop-up bar going is still easier than you might think.

Your Complete Guide to Shipping Container Pop-Up Bars

Pop-up businesses have been around for several years now, and have proven effective because they’re quick and easy to set up relative to a conventional business. They have a low initial investment and low overhead because of their versatility.

And it’s that last point that makes pop-ups so appealing. Their versatility makes it possible to engage customers with exciting experiences that they wouldn’t find normally. So often, a quality pop-up will rely on having a specific idea in mind.

What Makes a Good Idea for a Pop-Up?

Really, the sky’s the limit on what you could do, and with the fairly low cost to get a pop-up going, almost any idea could be profitable. However, there are a few ways that you could hedge your bets.

Often times they open up to capitalize on large events, like the pop-ups that accompany San Diego Comic-Con every year. They move in, usually selling limited runs of exclusive merchandise, and then pack up when the event is over. Or they offer novelty experiences, including themed drinking and dining options.

Capitalizing on seasonal events is another safe bet. Traditional Christmas markets have been popular for centuries and were really the first pop-up enterprises.

Or just finding a niche interest to theme your bar around like movies, superheroes, or video games will reliably guarantee a certain level of interest – provided you’re in the right area.

Where Should I Put My Pop-Up?

Novelty is often what gets people interested in a pop-up. But all the unique charm in the world won’t help if no one can find your bar. So the location is at least as important as finding a niche.

Most pop-ups don’t invest heavily in advertising to help keep costs down. Instead, they rely on word-of-mouth and social media to get their names out there.

And in order to capitalize on that, you need to be seen first. Exactly where differs with every city of course. If you’re lucky, you might know about an up-and-coming neighborhood where rent for a small piece of land is still relatively cheap.

But usually, all but the most densely-developed neighborhoods will have a couple plots of underutilized land. It’s just a matter of doing your legwork and finding the sweet spot between rent prices and foot traffic.

Building a Pop-Up

Having come up with an idea and picked out a location, it’s time to get down to the real work of your enterprise.

Since building pop-up bars out of shipping containers isn’t a new concept, you’re in luck. You can easily research other successful ventures to pinpoint what design qualities they all have in common.

Where were the entrances, what size container did they use, how did they set aside inventory space? There’s no need to reinvent the wheel here, so if you’ve seen it done successfully elsewhere, there’s no reason not to borrow a few proven ideas.

Then there’s the work of actually modifying your container into a bar. Finding a contractor with experience in metalworking is probably harder than just finding a roofer, so you’ll want to vet the people you take on to work on the project.

Alternatively, you can buy a container from a retailer with the means and experience to modify your container for you. Then it’s just a matter of installing the bar theme and inventory. 

Your Only Limit is Your Imagination

The beauty of shipping container pop-up bars is that you’re basically given a blank canvas.

They’re popular with the public because they frequently appeal to niche markets. Building a full-scale Pokemon-themed bar would be a risky investment, but it’s a great idea for a small, limited-time engagement.

And the choices afforded to you don’t have to stop there. If running a bar isn’t your passion, you can easily adapt the pop-up business model to suit almost any other business endeavor. Check out our list of innovative pop-up business ideas to get inspiration for your first pop-up enterprise. 

10 Innovative Business Ideas for Small Shipping Containers

Over 30 million small businesses currently operate in the United States. That means there’s around one business to every 11 people in the country!

You’d be forgiven for thinking that starting one is easy. In reality, that’s far from the truth. It takes time, money and effort, as well as a fair dose of courage. Finding the perfect place to set up shop can be a particular challenge. Business premises are rarely cheap, and choosing the wrong location can stifle opportunities from the get-go.

Funnily enough, a solution to the problem is being found in an unlikely source: Shipping containers.

That’s right, those giant metal boxes used to transport cargo overseas are now hosting businesses of all varieties, all over the country. They’re cheap, eco-friendly, durable, and portable! But what kind of businesses are best suited to them?

Keep reading to discover 10 innovative business ideas for small shipping containers.

1. Cafés, Bars And/Or Restaurants

Shipping container bars, cafes, and restaurants are all the rage these days.

Go to almost every major city and you’ll find these trendy spaces popping up all over the place. They hold a particular appeal to certain crowds. Expect a youthful, trendy, hipster clientele to frequent them. Shipping containers provide a blank canvas in terms of style. You can decorate and customize them according to needs for a distinctive aesthetic. That makes them ideal for iconic branding.  

2. Gift Shops

How about using your shipping container as a cute and unique gift shop?

Indeed, increasing numbers of business owners are opting to set up their retail stores in this way. They simply provide a far cheaper means of displaying items in thriving metropolitan areas. Do you make awesome, handmade arts and crafts goods? Containers provide a great space in which to showcase all the amazing gifts you have on sale.

3. Gallery Space

Aspiring artists have a challenge on their hands.

Getting their name and work out there is key to establishing a recognizable brand and reputation in the industry.

Displaying work in a gallery can make a big difference. Unfortunately, new artists can struggle to find space in traditional galleries. It’s a fiercely competitive industry, meaning there are far more artists than galleries available. Enter shipping containers! They can make an ideal alternative. It’s easy to convert a container into a gallery, and they’d be perfect for displaying someone’s art.   

4. Yoga Studio

We don’t need to tell you how popular yoga has become in recent years.

More people than ever before are taking to their mats to contort their bodies in inexplicable ways! And many of them attend classes specifically for that purpose. Yoga teachers could very easily use shipping containers to create a unique yoga studio. Typical yoga spaces are expensive to hire; they’re also increasingly generic. It’s always important to stand out from the competition. Holding classes in a container may be just the start a new yoga teacher needs.

5. Book Store

There’s nothing better than a good old-fashioned book store!

Many people prefer to browse the aisles than scroll the online catalog. Shipping containers provide a novel, modern twist to a traditional shop. Why not try setting up a pop-up book store? Open up the doors and shed some light on the books you have for sale. It’s bound to draw a crowd of literature lovers.

6. Office Space

Office space is ludicrously expensive these days.

For instance, in Houston, the average annual cost of renting office space per employee is $5,668. Can you afford that level of expense? If the answer’s no, then setting up your office in shipping containers can be a worthy and less expensive solution to consider.

Similarly, it may be more in line with your brand as well. The office your business inhabits says something about your company and target audience. A trendy shipping container may speak to your audience more than a shiny top floor of a corporate building.

7. Workshop

Good with your hands?

Then think about setting your workshop up in a shipping container. It wouldn’t take much to convert one into the ideal workshop. With a few workbenches set up and your equipment installed, you’re good to go!

The durable and secure nature of the container would be conducive to the work too. Everything will be kept safely inside when you aren’t there.

8. Bicycle Mechanic

A plush, fancy store is unlikely to tick the right boxes for a mechanic. A hardened steel structure is more likely to fit the bill. It definitely fits the stereotype better!

Just as they make great workshops, shipping containers would be ideally suited to a bicycle mechanic too. The size would match up to the demands of the job; the traditionally Spartan nature of containers would suit the oil and grime that often comes with the territory. 

9. Storage Facilities

Shipping containers are literally designed to store things!

Items of all shapes and sizes find themselves stowed away inside these structures. They’re solid, durable, weatherproof metal boxes that safely protect the contents inside. Why not leverage their core functionality for your own storage business? You could buy a number of them, install safe-boxes inside, and voila!

10. IT Repair Service

New businesses don’t always need anything fancy at the outset. A basic space to set up shop and operate from is all that matters. A small shipping computer is perfect if you are an IT person setting up shop. Remember, they can be kitted out exactly as you need them. Desks, internet, and storage space can be easily arranged.

Final Thoughts on Businesses in Small Shipping Containers

There you have it: 10 innovative business ideas for small shipping containers.

Millions of businesses operate around the country already. However, it would be wrong to assume that it’s an easy process. In reality, the decision to start a business should never be taken lightly. One wrong decision can jeopardize the potential for success. One particularly important component is deciding the premises. Thankfully, as we’ve seen, shipping containers can provide a practical, novel, and modern solution.

Almost any business can benefit from setting up shop in a shipping container!

Interested in buying a shipping container for your new venture? 

Contact us today to see how we can help!