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. 

Deciding Between New and Used Shipping Containers in Texas

You may have seen an upsurge in homes built out of shipping containers. Shipping Container Homes can be as small as 1 container or as larger as 11 containers stacked together to create a 3 story home.

Did you know that shipping containers can also be used for a module office, in-law suite, extra storage, and so much more?

If you plan to use a shipping container for shipping or some other creative solution, step 1 is to determine if you need a new or used container.

Read on to learn the pros and cons of each and how to find the right used shipping containers for sale in the Houston area.

New and Used Shipping Containers for Sale in the Houston Area

Deciding between new and used shipping containers can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be. Consider these pros and cons when deciding which type of container is right for you.

New Shipping Containers

We have listed the pros and cons of new shipping containers here.

PROS

Besides being bright and shiny, new containers have no risk of cross-contamination from the previous products it stored.

New containers are air and watertight and will pass all inspections associated with shipping on a container ship.

New containers will not be branded from previous use and will more than likely already come with forklift pockets. New containers are also easier/safer to modify and come with a longer manufacturer’s warranty. 

CONS

The biggest drawback of a new shipping container is the cost. Depending on how you are planning on using the container, it may not make financial sense to purchase a new container to store used or end of life equipment. 

Used Shipping Containers

If you are purchasing a used container consider having it inspected by a certified member of the Institute of International Container Lessors. They can independently determine the grade and quality of the container. 

PROS

The first benefits of used shipping containers is they are cheaper than new ones. If aesthetics are not an issue, used containers can be great for an on-site, mobile office or portable toilet facility.

There are three different grades of used shipping containers, A, B, C. Grade A is only slightly used and can still be considered watertight. B and C containers are used containers that have various grades of defects.

CONS

For used containers, there are three factors to consider. The first, and biggest is the risk of cross-contamination. Chances are you will have no idea what was in the used container before you purchased it. Therefore this is not the ideal choice for the storage of sensitive goods.

Second, used containers are not considered “seaworthy” because of the potential for air and water leaks at the seals. Finally, used containers do not last as long as new ones. 

The first step in purchasing a shipping container is to be clear about your needs. From there it is easy to determine if you need to purchase a new or used shipping container.

Do You Need Used or New Shipping Containers in the Greater Houston Area?

If you are looking for a new or used shipping container in the Houston area, contact us. We have a large selection of both new and used containers and our qualified team can help you find the perfect one for your needs.

Bigger Isn’t Always Better: WHAT SIZE SHIPPING CONTAINER DO YOU NEED?

Shipping and storage containers come in all shapes and sizes for different uses and implementations.

For businesses, shipping containers can be used for their original purpose of shipping merchandise. And, they can be used for extra storage as either a solid part of your logistics mechanism or a short stop-gap until a warehouse is available.

However, depending on your needs, you’ll have to pick the right-sized shipping container in order to prevent wasting money on useless space or not having enough room to ship your merchandise all in one go.

Wondering how big is a shipping container needs to be? Keep on reading to learn all about the different sizes available on the market and what they’re most suitable for.

How Big Is a Shipping Container?

There are three main sizes available on the market. From 10-foot storage containers up to humongous 40-foot ones, each comes with their own special perks.

10-Foot Containers

These are the entry-level sized containers. 

Considered to be quite economic in size, these containers tend to be large enough for most residential buyers’ needs or for small businesses.

If you’re looking for extra storage space with a minimalist design, then a 10-foot container can work beautifully for you.

It can be used as a great portable storage solution, where you can put all excessive (but important) equipment out of sight.

However, you’ll have to keep an eye out for clutter or ill-used space, because every single foot counts here.

Moreover, if you’re planning on shipping a minimal amount of merchandise or you’re just starting, sticking with the 10-foot container can be cost-effective for your business. As it were, it keeps getting more expensive as we go bigger.

20-Foot Containers

This container size is the comfortable middle for many businesses. It follows the ideal of not-too-big and not-too-small for most companies’ needs. 

Same as the 10-foot storage containers, the sky is the limit in terms of usage. Whether you have storage in mind or straightforward shipping, a 20-foot container can be quite versatile.

A great way of using a 20-foot container is for the storage or shipment of vehicles. It can hold most residential vehicles as well as pickup trucks with no issues regarding space.

There are so many innovative business ideas for small shipping containers that can add immense value to your company.

40-Foot Containers

These containers are big enough to be looked at as portable storage warehouses, temporary office spaces or even school classrooms.

They are among the largest options available on the market. In addition to the tremendous amount of space for shipping huge equipment, they can be customized according to your preferred specifications.

For example, they can be set up to be full-side open units, which are perfect for materials and products that are fragile or sensitive in nature.They can be set up to be climate-controlled and refrigerated.

Ready to Get Your Container Game On?

Now you know all about how big a shipping container needs to be to suit your business. For even more details check out this article which outlines buying containers for sale in Houston.

Want even more information? Check out our resources section for the latest container tips and advice.

Tricks of the Trade: How to Buy Shipping Containers for Sale in Houston

If you want to build a minimalist home or expand your business, you may be looking for shipping containers for sale in Houston.

Whatever your reason for needing a shipping container, it’s easier than you think to buy one. We put together this simple guide to show you how you can purchase one for yourself or your business.

Keep reading to learn more about the steps you need to take before purchasing one or more shipping containers in Texas.

1. Know What You Need

The first thing you need to do is decide what you need in a shipping container. This will be determined by what you’re planning on using your container for.

If you’re using it for shipping goods, for example, you’ll need a different container compared to someone planning on using it as a backyard storage solution.

There are two main considerations to be made:

Size

There are several sizes of shipping containers available. Let’s take a quick look at the most common options you can choose from.

  • 40′ L x 8′ W x 8′ H
  • 20′ L x 8′ W x 8′ H
  • 40′ L x 8′ W x 8.5′ H

Whereas nearly all shipping containers are eight feet wide, you can find lengths of 8′, 10′, 24′, 30′, 45′, 48′, and 53′. However, these make up a fraction of the containers available.

Grade

Once you know how big you need your shipping container, it’s time to decide on what condition you need it in. Shipping containers come in four grades so you can pick the right one for your purpose.

New

Also known as one-trippers, these are containers that are made in a factory (typically overseas) and sent directly to your nearest port.These are ideal for businesses looking to ship products around the world as they will last the longest compared to other grades.

Certified

If you’re looking to save some money while buying for your business, consider getting certified or cargo-worthy containers. These are used shipping containers that can still be used in overseas shipping lines. However, because these won’t last quite as long as a new container, you may find yourself replacing them sooner than you’d like.

Wind and Water Tight

Once a shipping container is no longer able to be used for overseas shipping, it becomes listed as wind and watertight. That means they don’t have any large holes in the sides but often have some rust and dents from years of use. Many people looking to use shipping containers to build storage or living spaces choose this grade because they’re less expensive but still provide excellent protection against the weather.

As-Is

The lowest grade of shipping containers is those that have obvious problems that prevent them from being completely waterproof. They may have extensive rust, holes in the metal, or doors that don’t seal properly.For some people, this isn’t a problem when they’re being used as a storage shed or for those that have the tools and skills to fix any problems they run into.

2. Find Shipping Containers for Sale in Houston

Once you know what you’re looking for in a shipping container, it’s easy to find a company that will provide one for you. We offer shipping containers for sale and can also help with modifications if you’re going to use it for anything but shipping. That way, it’ll start serving its purpose as soon as it arrives on your property.

3. Prepare Your Site

Once you’ve done all of that, you’ll want to make sure your site is ready. This is particularly important if your container is going to be a permanent structure somewhere so you don’t have to worry about moving it later. The largest sizes of containers can only be moved with an industrial crane whereas smaller containers can be moved with a heavy-duty forklift.

Determine Location

First, you need to know exactly where you want your container to go. The area should be level and larger than the size of the container so the shipping company can maneuver it into place. You’ll also want to make sure the truck can safely and easily get to the location you want your container. It would be a shame for your container to arrive only to find out it can’t be immediately placed where you want it.

Know Where You Want the Doors

Make sure you also think about where the doors should face. Shipping containers have one set of large doors that are only at one end. Most often, the containers are loaded so that these doors are facing the front of the truck.

Keep this in mind as you prepare your site so you can determine how the truck will get your container to the site. In some cases, you can request the container to be loaded in the opposite direction to easily get it where you want it. If you’re not planning on using the shipping container’s doors for anything and will be modifying it with your own doors, you may not need to worry about this aspect of preparation.

Maintain Airflow

If your shipping container is going to be sitting for any length of time, you need to make sure it has airflow to the bottom of the container. Otherwise, the floor may rust out over time because of moisture.This can be as easy as placing cement or wooden blocks where the container is going to be set. You can also get special casters that attach to the bottom of your container.

4. Arrange for Delivery

The final step once your site is ready is to make arrangements for delivery. The size of the container and future location for it may determine which option you use.

Flatbed and tilt trailers can be used for any size shipping container. However, if you need a larger container manipulated into place and don’t have equipment on hand, you’ll want a truck with a crane.

Ready to Buy Your Shipping Container?

Now you know the four steps needed to buy shipping containers in Houston. As you can see, it’s as simple as figuring out what you need, giving us a call, and having it shipped to your home.

Contact us today, so we can help find the perfect shipping container for you.

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!

Container Home Texas

Top 10 Shipping Container Housing Designs for 2019

The shipping container home movement is on the rise—and for good reason. 

Shipping container housing is inexpensive to build, can be moved from place to place, and is environmentally-friendly. But those are only a few of the many benefits. And unlike most traditional homes, shipping container homes can be completely customized.  That’s why we’ve put together this list of the top 13 shipping container home designs, to help you get inspired.  

1. Stacked Home Design

Tiny homes are more popular now than they have ever been. If you’re ready to make the living adjustment to a much smaller space, you can create your own tiny home out of just one or two shipping container units.

Need more space then that? A stacked home is a great option for properties that don’t have a lot of square footage. You can build up instead of out. This is also a good style home if you live by something scenic, like a forest or an ocean, and want a good view. 

2. Modern Wood Cabin Design

Have you always dreamed of living in a cabin? By using shipping containers, you can build a modern cabin for a fraction of the cost. And don’t let the metal material of shipping containers get in the way of your inspiration. You can line the inside and outside with woodsy materials, like real wood or faux wood, to create a more traditional cabin feel. 

3. Simple Single Story Home Design

Despite the previous mentions on this list, your shipping container home doesn’t have to look different from the other houses in your neighborhood. You can simply create a modern, single story home for you and your family if that’s what you prefer. You could save a lot of money by using shipping containers as your base material. Not only that, you would be helping the environment by using 

4. Two-Story Modern Home Design 

Of course, if you want a bigger home, you can build a sleek, modern, two-story home with shipping containers, too. But let yourself get creative with the design. Maybe the second story hangs over the driveway. Maybe the second story doesn’t extend over the entire home. Maybe the second story functions more like a loft. You can even use shipping containers to build an attic space above your home if you want extra storage. 

5. Ranch-Style Home Design

The terms “ranch-style home” and “shipping containers” might not seem to mix, but you can build a 1280 square foot ranch-style home much cheaper when using shipping containers rather then traditional materials. All you need is two shipping containers. Set them 16 feet apart to form a large entryway and living space/dining area between them. The containers themselves house the bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. And there’s still plenty of room left over for a kitchen. 

6. Castle Home Design

Okay, so this home isn’t really a castle, but it can resemble one. You can build a two-story, three-story, or even a massive four-story square with shipping containers, leaving an empty space on the inside, like a courtyard. You can even stack more shipping containers vertically at the corners to make towers. 

7. Vacation Home Design

A shipping container vacation home lets you enjoy your summer or winter break without emptying your bank account. You can make the vacation home small for a quiet getaway or connect several shipping containers together so the entire family can join you. 

Staying near the ocean? Fill in the walls with large windows. Want to include the outdoors? Turn the top of the shipping crates into spacious balconies where you can lay in the sun or stare at the stars all night. 

8. Split/Bridge Home Design

A split or bridge home consists of two units linked together with a bridge.

This bridge can be on the second story and “float” over an outdoor living space or a garden. You can also leave the “bridge” at ground level and fill it with large and beautiful windows. A split home gives you the option to create two separate living spaces that are joined together. This makes it a good choice for people who live with a grown child or an older parent. 

Everyone gets to live together and still keep their privacy. 

9. Guest House Design

Do you have a lot of guests staying with you? You can give them their own space, by building a guest house from shipping containers. You would only need a couple of shipping containers to make a small guest house. That means you won’t have to spend a lot of money for something that looks great and is functional. 

10. Work Studio Design

If you need extra space to create art, you can always use shipping containers to create a functional work studio. You can connect this to your home if you want, or you can make it a separate unit on your property. Forming a large, empty space is a fast and inexpensive job with containers. You can also add a sink, power outlets, tables, storage, and anything else you need. 

Get Inspired By the Top 10 Shipping Container Housing Designs Ideas

Are you interested in building your own shipping container living space? Use these top 10 styles as your inspiration and starting point. And let yourself get creative. There are next to no limits when you’re building with shipping containers. 

Not sure where to find the containers themselves?

Make sure you click here to take a look at some of our shipping container options! 

The Inspirational Story of a Texas Container Bar

The city of Austin is a weird city and proud of this fact. The Texas metropolis even adopted the phrase “keep Austin weird” as a semi-official slogan to entice visitors from out of state. So it should not be much of a surprise that local businesses would try to play up the city’s unique vibe as much as possible.

Enter Container Bar, on Rainey Street, that’s built out of seven re-purposed shipping containers.

But why would you build a business out of shipping containers? Is it just a gimmick or is there more to it?

The Life and Story of Austin’s Container Bar

Admittedly, using shipping containers for construction is not new. That idea probably originated with the “micro-home” trend some years back. The idea was to build small, utilitarian, and easy-to-transport homes. With that criteria, using shipping containers was an obvious fit. Shipping containers are prefabricated, cost-effective, and easy to transport from one plot of land to another. So the first container buildings were very small homes built out of single container units. 

Their uniform size and shape let you treat them like Lego blocks during construction. You can arrange them to suit your needs. With so much flexibility, people started using shipping containers to piece together their own custom homes. From there, it was only a matter of time before someone got the idea to move the concept into the commercial space.

A few enterprising business people have already experimented with using containers for pop-up restaurants. These were usually small mobile kitchen or bars, more akin to a food truck than a brick and mortar establishment. But it wouldn’t be long until someone came along and expanded on this idea.

An Idea Born of Necessity

The Container Bar in Austin was the brainchild of Bridget Dunlap. A successful entrepreneur, Dunlap already owned several successful businesses in the city. But when she leased a plot of land near two of her existing venues, she had a mind to do something different.

Most of her previous ventures had been located in old homes that had been renovated into bars. However, around the time that she set to work on her new project, Dunlap recognized that the Rainey Street area was changing.

Dunlap’s first Austin-based bar and the first bar on Rainey Street had recently closed. It was shuttered and torn down to make way for a new, 250,000 square foot residential building. This seemed to be the herald of things to come, as the old bungalows that Dunlap and other local proprietors had been retrofitting into restaurants and venues were disappearing.

Luxury hotels and condos would take their places. And Dunlap recognized that she would need to plan ahead because Rainey Street would not stay the same forever.

A Bar Built to Move

Dunlap went into her new venture knowing that Rainey would only be a temporary home, with a permanent life elsewhere. Normally, having to pick up and move your entire establishment as part of a business plan would be a non-starter.

The decision to use shipping containers for the construction was not incidental. Nor was it just to cultivate an industrial-chic vibe. No, building with containers was essential to the bar’s future.

Ease of transport was a big selling point for people looking to build micro homes, and it would be that quality that allowed Dunlap to move forward with her plans. But even though the containers themselves are portable, Dunlap had her work cut out for her.

While shipping containers are themselves portable and durable, you need to account for all the material you are taking out during construction. Creating doorways, putting in plumbing, and especially multiple stories all need to be accounted for during the design phase.

So Dunlap sought the help of North Arrow Studio, in-order to ensure the container bar would be structurally sound while being fully mobile. Since, this bar would need to hold up to the rigors of being disassembled and moved to a new location in the future. 

All that hard work, however, would pay dividends when the finished product was settled on its first foundation.

The Opening of Container Bar

Unless you were part of the team planning and building the Container Bar, you probably would have had no idea what it would look like when it finally opened to the public.

You might expect a dingy industrial setting, maybe trying to cultivate a sense of danger and mystique. That would be the obvious direction to go. Which is probably when Dunlap opted not to go in that direction. Instead, she took advantage of the container’s compartmentalized nature to give patrons a variety of settings.

Rather than entirely renovating the interiors, Contain Bar uses a series of visual effects to give each area its own feel without entirely stripping away the containers’ utilitarian nature. There’s a winter scene, tiles and gradient patterns, dark wood cladding, gold leaf, and walls of repeating text, to name a few. These scenes are further enhanced with lighting and other visual effects to accentuate the vibe and ambiance. 

Built from seven containers over two stories, the 8,000 square foot space has a mix of indoor and outdoor areas with upstairs balconies and open courtyards.

Inside the structure, you will find multiple cubbyholes, where patrons can relax away from the main bar area. There are also several private rooms, and the mix of mood allows anyone to find a setting that suits them.

What Container Bar’s Success Means for the Future

The circumstances that brought about the Container Bar’s existence are not unique to Austin Texas. As urban areas grow, small enterprises find themselves pushed out to make way for new development.

Hence, more entrepreneurs are looking at shipping container construction. Faced with an unpredictable urban landscape, having the option to pack up and move out is an undeniable advantage.

Are you considering building with shipping containers for your new business concept? Check out some of our trendy container bar ideas. Whether as a permanent or a pop-up installation, they will always create a buzz.

7 Key Factors in the Cost of Shipping Container Homes

Shipping container homes are growing in popularity, enough so that by 2025, Allied Market Research estimates that the global market for shipping container homes will reach $73.07 billion.

Using these containers for your home can be a great choice. They’re very durable, and they can be less expensive than a traditional home.

Even so, before deciding on this option, it’s important to understand the cost of shipping container home building. Here are 7 factors that impact the price. 

  1. Condition of Container

The first consideration in the shipping container home builders’ cost is the condition of the container.

For a home, a new shipping container is the safest option. With a new container, you won’t have to worry about structural integrity or damages. These will also be weatherproof and free from contamination.

As with most things, buying a new container will cost more, around $3,000-$5,000. Getting one can also take longer, since you may need to wait for it to be built and shipped to you.

Depending on your comfort level, you could also choose a high-quality used shipping container. A used container might be half the price of a new one.

If you opt for a used container, find out as much as you can about it. Some things to consider are:

  • How it’s been used
  • What’s been kept in it
  • What climates has it been exposed to
  • If it has any damages or rust

If possible, inspect a used container before purchasing it to make sure you know what you’re getting.

  1. Size of Container

Size is another key factor in the cost breakdown of shipping container home building.

Shipping containers have three standard lengths, but the most popular for homes are 20 feet and 40 feet. Most are 8.5 feet tall, although you can also go for a high cube, which is 9.5 feet tall. As you would expect, the larger containers cost more. For the standard height, you could get a new 20-foot container for about $3,000, while a 40-foot container would cost around $5,600 more.

Also remember that for a home, you might want multiple containers. You could choose a larger option for the main living space, and smaller containers for an office or bedroom.

  1. Prefabricated Homes

The next question is whether you want to get a pre-fabricated, or prefab, home, or if you want to modify one yourself.

The cost of prefab shipping container homes varies widely. You can get fairly basic ones from Amazon for around $40,000 and up. On the other hand, you can get much more elaborate prefab homes for $150,000 or up. It depends on how much space you need, and how many amenities you’re looking for.

  1. Modifications

If you’re not getting a prefab home, you need to consider the cost to convert a shipping container into a home.

Some of the things you’ll need to consider are:

  • How many entrances you want
  • Number and location of windows
  • Plumbing
  • Electricity
  • Heating and cooling

All of these modifications add up, so you’ll want to compare the costs against getting a prefabricated home to see which is the most cost-effective.

  1. Insulation

Insulation is another important part of your shipping container home. Without this, you won’t have any protection from heat or cold.

You have three main choices for insulation: spray foam, blanket, or panel.

Spray foam insulation costs the most, from around $2-$3 per square foot. This is still worth considering because it provides a vapor barrier, something the other options don’t have. Spray foam is also very thin, at just 2 inches thick, and it’s easy to install. For either of the other options, you’ll first need to attach a wooden frame to the inside of the container. That takes up additional space.

Panel insulation is the easiest to install, and it’s less expensive, at around $0.75 and $1.45 per square foot. It’s also 3 inches thick, which is a bit thicker than the spray foam.

Blanket insulation is the most budget-friendly choice, about $0.30 per square foot. It’s not difficult to install, but if you choose fiberglass insulation, you’ll need to wear gloves when installing it.

  1. Foundation

As with any home, having the proper foundation is important. Even if you get a prefabricated home, you might need to think about a foundation, unless the prefab comes with a foundation.

As with insulation, you have three foundation options to consider: pier, strip (or trench), and slab.

The least expensive choice is a pier foundation, which is around $550 for a single 40-foot container. It’s also the quickest option, and a great choice if you’re working on the home yourself since it doesn’t require special equipment. For a pier foundation, you need a cement block under each corner of the container and potentially blocks to support the middle for larger containers.

A strip foundation, also called a trench, is useful if the ground is too soft to support a pier foundation. With this approach, you put a strip of concrete around the container’s perimeter. This requires excavation, since the trench is typically four feet deep, although it might be more depending on your freeze depth.

The additional effort of a strip foundation drives up the cost. For a 40-foot container, the cost estimate is around $5,400.

The most expensive option is a slab foundation, which involves putting a slab of concrete under the whole container. This requires excavating the ground under the entire container, which means this could cost around $6,000 or more for a 40-foot container. You would typically choose this option if the ground won’t support pier or strip foundations.

  1. Location and Shipping Fees

The final factor in the estimated cost of a shipping container home, is how far the container is from your building site.

You might think you need to order a container from a far off location, but it’s worth looking for local dealers in the Texas region first. If you buy from someone nearby, you’ll avoid the extravagant shipping costs, and you can inspect the unit before you buy it.

If you don’t have a local dealer, shop around to see if you can find the closest one, or one that offers any price breaks for shipping the container to the building site. Otherwise, transportation costs can add significantly to the price of your home. 

Decide the Cost of Shipping Container Home Building

The cost of shipping container home building is partly in your control once you understand all your choices. Make sure to evaluate all your options and then find the best fit for your new house.

Are you ready to bring your shipping container home dream to life? Contact us today, and our container professionals will help you get started.

Designing A Masterpiece: 15 Essential Shipping Container Designs For Modern Homes

The idea of living in a shipping container may sound bizarre at first. However, the national median cost of rent for a 1 BR apartment in the U.S. is $955. Depending on where you live, that could mean a place with less than 400 sq. feet. 

To the uninitiated, shipping container builds are more than sustainable living. These tiny homes are evolving into architectural marvels. We’re talking multi-story homes with outdoor patios made out of shipping containers.

Designs have gotten so impressive over the years that sometimes you can’t even tell where the shipping container ends and begins. If your curiosity is piqued, then check out these 15 shipping container design ideas.

Top 15 Shipping Container Designs

These designs are merely suggestions. Your preferences may vary based on the property size, elevation, and pricing.

15. The “Standard” Tiny Home

The shipping container movement essentially kicked off with the tiny home craze. You take a single shipping container and pack it with every living feature that you would need. A shipping container is 8ft x 8.5ft x 20ft or 40ft. 

You can find some that fall outside these standard definitions, but they’ll cost more. These can easily fit a very small kitchen, bedroom, and lounge area. 

14. Double-Wide Container

Placing two containers parallel with each other is a natural progression. You not only double the amount of floor space, but you also add more privacy. You can create separate spaces, where a thin wall separates the living room from kitchen/bathroom. Attaching the two containers can get a bit tricky but this is easily doable with the right container modification experts

13. The Courtyard 

Rather than placing containers next to each other, you can set them with a space in the middle. This space acts as a patio, which you can leave open or enclose. This increases the amount of living space and offers the potential for larger event gatherings. 

12. Multi-Level Complex

The more shipping containers involved, the more difficult it is to execute. That’s why, although multi-container stacks are impressive, we placed it further down our list. In this category, we include any home designs with more than four containers.

After you start reaching over a thousand square feet, you’re spending a lot on materials and labor. This doesn’t make it a bad decision. However the complexity of this build will require a lot of modifications and  the help of experienced designers. 

11. Penthouse Suite

The idea behind this build is to create a large living spaces on the second floor to host parties. A large kitchen and bathroom on the bottom will take up most of the first floor. The second floor includes big sliding glass doors that open up to a balcony.

The key is being able to transform your bedroom into a living space without much effort. A Murphy bed is a must. Extra points for making a DIY Murphy bed setup.

10. L-Shaped Home

We can’t say for certain why we love this L-shaped design, but it works. With this design, it allows for a nice little nook at the corner. This is a great place to set up a small reading corner or card table etc.

For those who don’t like how bathrooms are often placed near the kitchen, you can get away with one on each corner. L-shaped shipping container homes also work vertically, too. For an ambitious project, you could build out the spaces above and below each container.

9. Hollowed Out Design

You don’t have to work within the confines of the four walls of a shipping container. Knocking out two ends can open up a ton of breathing room. Replace those walls with either large shutters or large glass panes. A mix of the two would be best, allowing you to move furniture outside. 

8. Garage Flat 

Elevate two shipping containers on steel beams. Use all the additional space below to park your vehicles. An additional perk to this design is that you’ll never need to worry about getting flooded inside your home. This build is practical in the sense that you can build out the interiors first, then set them on top of the foundation. 

7. Criss-Cross Floors

There are a few different variations to this design, but we’ll start with the simplest. This requires four shipping containers as follows:

  1. Two shipping containers parallel on the bottom.
  2. Two containers parallel on top.
  3. Bottom containers spread out by the width of each top end.

What you’ll get is roughly a box-shaped system, with two upper floors. This is a really fun design and really shows the creativity of shipping container homes.

6. Zig-Zag Floors

This is the off-shoot for crisscrossing floors. The concept remains the same, except we’re going to open up more of the top floor by placing them diagonally. The build will require a decent amount of fabrication to get a good seal, but the end result is extremely unique. With this design, you lose some top floor real estate, but you can get creative with movable wood planks.

5. Tri-Stacked Containers

Take three shipping containers, stack the first two on top of each other. On one end of the containers, install the third container alongside them vertically. What looks like a private elevator alongside your home is actually a great hybrid solution. It allows you to extend the length of your core two stories while adding more rooms above. You can add an office, a loft, a meditation room, and more without dipping into your main living space.

4. Fold-Away Designs

This isn’t a specific type of home, but an emphasis on the power of fold-out walls. Shipping containers allow for a unique take on hybrid homes. It is so much easier to hide additional overhangs for outdoor spaces. 

Lift open your awnings and create a great space for a mini-bar. The potential is endless.

3. Double-Decker

The classic two-story shipping container design is easy and allows for the most comfortable living space for 1-2 people. Doubling this space makes it a realistic solution for a family of four. The design is eco-friendly and lets you decide how big you want each room to be. 

2. Sloped Roof Design

Ceiling height is often seen as a major con to living in a shipping container home. The best way to remedy this is with a raised roof. Going with a sloped room removes the boxiness of a container home.

You can choose to go with a traditional roof made of wood or opt for bamboo material for better durability and insulation.

1. Garden-Roof Design

By far, our favorite shipping container designs are ones with garden terraces. Plants are an important companion for boxy shipping container homes. By placing your garden on the roof, you get access to a large space of beautiful plants.

Grow your own food and live off the grid, it’s your own world.

More Inspiration to Build

We hope this list has opened your eyes up to the possibilities of shipping container design. You don’t have to think inside the box to build your own container home. Overall, you will have a lot more room in your budget if you decide to build one with multiple containers.

Make sure you get professional help to stay within building codes. Contact us for a free consultation on how to get started.