11 Tips to Consider Before Building a Shipping Container Home

Designing and living in your own shipping container home is a growing trend, and because of the many benefits these homes provide, the trend is here to stay

But building a shipping container home takes more work than buying a few containers and placing them next to each other. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you learn what you need to know before you start building. 

So let’s get started. 

1. See the Containers Before You Buy Them

Shipping containers have survived a lifetime of traveling back and forth across the open ocean. Because of this, the shipping containers you buy might have dents, structural problems, or a lot of rust. 

That’s why you should ALWAYS see the containers before you buy them. If the containers are on the other side of the world when you buy them, ask the seller for pictures of both the inside and the outside. 

If you don’t want to risk ending up with a damaged used shipping container, you can also buy one-trip containers. These are a bit more expensive than normal used shipping containers, but they will be in much better condition. 

2. Understand Your Building Code Restrictions

Every town has its own building restrictions when it comes to shipping container homes. Make sure you know and understand the codes in your area before you invest thousands of dollars into your design. 

Otherwise, you might have to change your design, which might mean you’ll have to spend more money or lose some of the money you already spent. 

3. Find a Contractor That Can Do It All

When you’re ready to start building your shipping container home, make sure you find a contractor that can do everything you need. If you don’t, you’ll have to find one contractor to place your containers, another contractor to modify your containers, and more contractors to do the interior work. 

Hiring one contractor that is experienced at building shipping container homes will save you both time and money. 

4. Don’t Forget to Insulate 

The walls of a shipping container aren’t like the walls of a traditional house. Without insulation, the inside of your shipping container home will be smoldering during the summer and freezing during the winter. 

So make sure you have a plan for insulation before you start building. 

There are several different insulation options you can choose from when designing your container home. Ask your contractor about things like blanket-style insulation, foam insulation, sheep wool, or a green roof. 

Because—don’t forget—you’ll need to insulate the roof as well as the walls. 

5. Keep Cutting to a Minimum 

Shipping containers are build out of solid steel, which makes them incredibly strong. The walls can easily be used as load-bearing walls for a second, third, or even fourth story. 

But the more you cut your shipping containers, the weaker they get. 

This means you’ll need to spend more money on some type of reinforcement. Be careful where you put windows and doors. 

6. Think About Any Potential Chemicals 

Remember, shipping containers had to survive a lifetime at sea. Because of this, many shipping containers are full of chemicals that can be harmful to live with. 

For example, the wood flooring of the container might have pesticides to keep rats away. The exterior paint on the container might also be full of chemicals to protect them from the ocean salt. 

Be prepared to rip out the flooring of your shipping containers and replace it with something new. You might also want to remove the harmful paint and repaint it with a safe alternative. 

If you don’t want to deal with any chemicals, you can also buy new shipping containers (although they’ll be more expensive). 

7. Know the Differences Between Container Types 

Not all shipping containers are the same size. 

Traditional shipping containers are only eight feet tall. But that doesn’t mean you have to live in a somewhat smashed house. You can find other shipping containers—like high cube containers—that are much taller. 

8. Plan Your Plumbing and Electrical in Advance 

You should plan where your plumbing and electrical pipes and wires will be before you start finishing the interior. If possible, ask your contractor to carve the appropriate holes in the right places so you don’t forget anything. 

Otherwise, you may have to rearrange your entire kitchen because you forgot to add plumbing for the dishwasher. 

9. Avoid Welding as Much as Possible 

Since shipping containers are made of metal, you have to weld separate containers together to keep them airtight and structurally stable. But welding is expensive. 

Do your best to design a home that requires as little welding as possible. This will help you save money that you can invest in other important design elements. 

10. Be Prepared for Wind 

Shipping crates are anything but aerodynamic. If you build your shipping container home in a windy area, be prepared for a lot of noise. 

To avoid this problem, you should consider putting your home behind some type of windbreak. If you don’t’ like the look of a windbreak, find a natural location that’s protected from the wind instead.  

11. Know When to Save and When to Spend 

One of the biggest draws of shipping container homes is their cheap price point. But finishing a shipping container home inside and out can get expensive. 

Know when to save and when to spend the extra dollar. Although shipping container homes are meant to be cheap, there are many times when spending that extra money to build-out the perfect container home is well worth it.  

What You Need to Know Before Building a Shipping Container Home

Before you start building a shipping container home, spend some time researching the building codes in your area and what type(s) of container you’ll need to buy. 

Remember, don’t buy anything without seeing it first. Otherwise, you could end up with something dented, damaged, and rusty. 

Not sure where to buy shipping containers?

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

10 Trendy Shipping Container Pop-Up Bar Ideas

Over the last few years Pop-up bars have been getting more and more popular. Their temporary nature creates a natural buzz in both the local and online communities. They can also attract a new crowd of people to your business. 

But one of the best parts of pop-up bars is the ability to design a fun and creative concept. Since shipping containers are prefabricated, they let you save money on building costs and put it toward decorations instead. 

Need some inspiration for your shipping container pop-up bar? We’ve put together some of the best ideas for shipping container bars in 2019. 

1. Movie Themed Bar

People love movies. Movies give us a window into another world, and they give us the chance to see and experience things we would never get the chance to do in our normal lives. In fact, about 54% of American adults watch a movie in a theater every month.

By creating a movie-themed pop-up bar, you’re giving people a way to escape from the everyday stresses of life and helping them retreat into a different reality. You can turn your shipping container bar into a Harry Potter common room, your favorite Disney princess castle, or the Death Star from Star Wars

2. TV Show Themed Bar

You can also decorate your pop-up shipping container bar in the theme of a popular TV show. For example, Stranger Things and Game of Thrones pop-up bars have done well in the past few years.  

But again, you have to time a TV show pop-up bar right. The Stranger Things pop-up opened six weeks before the second season aired on Netflix. Since people were already hyped for the new season, they were excited to check out the bar. Picking the wrong TV show at the wrong time might make your bottom line suffer. 

3. Holiday Themed Bar

As the holidays get closer, people start looking for holiday-related places to visit and activities to do. You can jump on this excitement by turning your shipping container bar into a holiday getaway. 

Is Halloween coming up? Create a haunted bar full of zombies, vampires, or monsters. Is Christmas right around the corner? Hang Christmas lights, put up stockings, and turn your bar into a winter wonderland. Since there are so many holidays throughout the year, you can redecorate and reopen your bar again and again. 

4. Animal Bar 

Petting and cuddling dogs and cats can actually reduce people’s stress. Since many people are weighed down by bills, work, and other responsibilities of life, they will jump at the chance to spend some time with adorable animals. 

However your animal petting bar doesn’t have to stick to the traditional cats and dogs. Think outside the box. Make your bar home to a few owls or some adorable baby goats. If you provide animals people don’t get to interact with very often, they’ll be even more excited to show up. 

5. Superhero Bar

Superheroes are no longer just for nerds. In fact, superheroes are more popular today than they ever have been before. Because of this, you can attract people from all different walks of life to a superhero themed pop-up bar. You can base your bar off the well-known Marvel universe or choose to give it a different comic book look and feel. 

6. Medieval Bar 

A medieval pop-up bar gives people the chance to experience a Renaissance era blast from the past. It also gives you a lot of flexibility when it comes to decorations. You can choose to make your shipping container bar look like the inside of a castle or keep it in the theme of a traditional tavern. 

No matter what you choose, people will enjoy stepping back in time for a few hours. 

7. Bubble Warp Bar 

One minute spent popping bubble wrap can relieve the same amount of stress as a 30-minute massage. To help your customers break away from the stress in their lives, you can create a bubble wrap pop-up bar. The process isn’t hard.  All you have to do is cover the walls, tables, chairs, glasses, bottles, etc. with normal bubble wrap. When someone orders a drink, they get to pop all the bubbles, in the bar and on their glass, too. 

8. Lego Bar 

Want to create a nostalgic pop-up bar that’ll remind people of their childhood? You can build the entire bar out of lego blocks.  Okay, maybe not the entire building, but you can certainly build tables, chairs, and other features out of lego pieces. You can even include lego dishes if you want.  Just be careful with the floor. No one wants to walk on those dangerous lego pieces (even if they’re wearing shoes!). 

9. Travel/Getaway Bar 

You can also turn your bar into a popular travel destination. Over 39 million Americans can’t afford to go on a summer vacation this year, so you can give them a relaxing getaway at your bar instead. For example, cover the floor in sand, shells, and beach balls and bring the beach to them. 

You can choose any number of vacation destination themes. But make sure it’s someplace that interests the people in your area. 

10. Let the Location Be Your Draw 

One of the best benefits of opening a shipping container pop-up bar is its portability. You can move the shipping container from place to place without a lot of hassle or money. Because of this, you can put your bar in a beautiful location and let the natural surroundings be your draw.

However, you have to make sure the location you choose to put your bar is easy for people to reach. No one wants to drive an hour away to get to your bar. 

Opening Shipping Container Bars: Essential Pop-Up Ideas for 2019

Shipping container bars may be inexpensive to build, but you have to come up with an interesting design to set you apart from the competition and attract customers. These pop-up bar ideas should give you the inspiration you need to open your own shipping container bar soon. 

Not sure where to get the shipping containers or how to modify them?

Make sure you click here to check out some of our amazing options! 

How Much is a Shipping Container – Budget Planning Tips for Containers

In times past shipping containers were only just that–containers used to transport goods and materials across long distances on both land and sea. While shipping containers are still one of the very best options for the shipment and storage of goods, they are being used in an increasing number of different ways.

Have you heard about the fairly recent trend of turning storage containers into super cool, ultra-modern, eco-friendly container homes? What about using containers for your office to make a lasting impression on clients and prospects alike? Whether you’re a shipping company looking for a more secure way to transport goods or just someone looking to get into the shipping container building trend, you will need to clearly understand how shipping containers are priced.

So, in this article, we’ll go over some of the factors to consider when buying a shipping container.

Factors Affecting Shipping Container Costs

So how much is a shipping container to purchase? Well, as with most things, it depends! A number of factors go into the price of purchasing a shipping container.  This is why what you’ll actually be using the container(s) for is significant. Depending on its intended use, you’ll want to consider the following factors which will affect the final price:

  • Container condition
  • Size and style of the shipping container
  • Modifications needed to fit its final intended use
  • If you’ll be needing your shipping container(s) transported to you

How The Container Condition Affects Its Cost

The eventual use of your shipping container is going to play a major part in what you will end up prioritizing. Planning this out will help you to know whether you should value cost over condition or condition over cost. If you’ll be purchasing containers to build a container home or office, you’ll likely want to buy an unused container. New shipping containers will be weatherproof, free of superficial damages, and structurally sound.

Though buying new will be the highest-priced option, it is the best one to ensure structural safety. Whether you’re wanting to build a container home, office, or mobile food truck, this is the most worry-free option. Since new containers can be properly modified to fit all structural and building requirements.

Still, if your container isn’t going to be inhabited or heavily modified, buying a used container can be a great way to save money while not compromising on your needs. This is where it’s important to know how used shipping containers get graded. Multiple factors go into placing a condition grade on a used container. 

Grade A used containers are going to be the highest-priced used option. They’ll be ones that are wind and watertight, have minimal superficial damage and have no structural compromises. These containers are great for storing or shipping expensive or fragile goods, such as sports cars, jewelry or electronics. 

If you’ll be storing hardier goods or materials, you can go with a cheaper used container option. Grade B and C condition storage containers may not always be certified for shipping. Still, they make great options for storing things such as building materials, hand tools, heavy equipment, recreational vehicles, and more.

How Much is a Shipping Container? Size Matters

Not only do you have several options to choose from when it comes to the condition of shipping containers, but you also have many options when it comes to its size. This is another reason why it’s important to consider what exactly you’ll be using the container(s) for–you’ll want to know how much space you need.

Shipping containers commonly come in three standard lengths–10 feet, 20 feet, and 40 feet. Standard shipping container dimensions are 8 feet wide by 8.5 feet high. If you need greater height, you are able to purchase the 9.5 foot high containers. These are called high-cube containers, and will usually be slightly more expensive than the standard option.

If you’re planning on opening up a shipping container food truck or want a storage container shed on your property, you’ll probably not need the 40 feet option. However, this longer option, though, is excellent for a variety of secure shipping and storage needs, as well as for converting into homes and offices.

Modifications Mean a Modified Price

Especially if you’ll be converting your storage containers into a home, office, food truck, or business inventory space, you’ll likely need to add modifications.

Building a container home or office means you’ll have to make modifications to install necessities such as windows, electrical and plumbing, and insulation.

If you’re looking to bring your shipping container food truck to life, you’ll need to make some critical container modifications, such as installing proper ventilation. The specific modifications your project will need is an extremely important factor to take into account before purchasing your shipping containers.

Additional Cost Considerations

There are a couple of considerations outside of the container itself that will also affect its price. Are you local, or located further away from where you’re planning on buying your container(s) from? Will you be picking these up yourself or needing them delivered? If you’ll be picking your container up yourself, you’ll likely need to rent a truck.

Make sure to factor these costs in as well. If you don’t, you may find that the cost of shipping and delivery is greater than the cost of the purchase!

Tell Us What You Want So We Can Tell You the Price

Do you have an idea and think shipping containers would be the best fit to bring that idea to life? Even if you don’t know all of the potential modification details needed to bring your idea to life, we are here to help.

Get in touch with our experienced container professionals today or request a quote and expect a quick reply to whatever your container questions may be.

Container Home Texas

What Are Some Exciting Trends in Shipping Container Homes?

Traditional ideas of living situations are quickly changing in a world full of customizable options. One such option is the shipping container home, which is quickly becoming an option for those who are looking for an affordable, personalized place to live. 

We’re going to cover some of the interesting trends happening in the world of shipping container homes and how you could use them to create your own pad. Keep an open mind and start considering the possibility of implementing some of these trends into your container home design. 

Trends in Shipping Container Homes

Because these homes are so customizable, there’s a lot of variation in what you can do. The trends below will vary in cost and style, but it’s likely that at least one will strike your fancy. 

1. High-End Homes

The first thought that comes to mind when you think of container homes is that they are small and made for those who are on a tight budget. This isn’t always the case, though, and there are a lot of homes being built that are actually quite lavish. 

A huge piece of this equation is the land that you could potentially use to build your container home. Transporting a container to a remote area to serve as a cabin or remote home is far easier than setting up a traditional home.

2. Add-ons and Multiple Containers

A huge trend is using one container as your center point and building from there. The options are really endless, as you can cut out pieces of the steel to make hallways, extensions, and different points of entry. 

Additionally, you can continuously add to your design if you leave room for it while planning. If you were to start a design with the idea that you were going to add sequential containers later, you could easily expand your home. 

In the same vein, multiple containers that are set up next to each other are frequently being used to create multi-family housing. Even if you wanted to do something similar on a smaller scale, containers are excellent options for uniting a community of friends or family in a comfortable environment. 

3. Container Businesses

A shipping container is a perfect size for a business that’s just starting up. Especially since startups need to free up all off the money they can to cover expenses.

Often times, the building that a company is located in can suck up a large part of that company’s budget. So, testing out a new business in the space that a shipping container provides can spare some of the risks of buying or renting out a building to do the same thing. 

While you may be imagining a large and modern environment for your business, try to brainstorm ways in which you could turn a container into a viable space for your business instead. You might be surprised at the level of comfort and space that’s available in shipping containers. 

4. Patio, Decks, Roof Lounges, and More.

If you lay a little foundation and plan the landscaping of your container home, you can get away with some really comfortable and convenient add-ons. 

For example, turning the roof of your container into a deck is a swanky option. Laying some wood over the roof and installing a railing around the edges makes for a perfect place to put some chairs down, lean back, and watch the stars. 

You can even add staircases to and from the roof that can serve as access points for upstairs bedrooms and separate living spaces. A container is a large, comfortable area, and you can situate a few of them together to provide excellent living spaces for different members of your family. Just like the creative loft space, you see in the picture above. 

5. Container Rentals

Another thing that might be preventing you from buying a container home is the fact that you don’t want to live there year-round. It’s understandable that you may not want to jump into such a big commitment.

However, there’s a way that you can actually profit from the investment of a container home. You can set up the home to be used as a rental property. Air B&B is an excellent option for those with a container home that they don’t use year-round. 

Depending on the average rental rates in your area, you could be looking at a decent profit from simply renting out the container home. People are always interested in having a unique living experience for a night or two, and container homes can certainly be that experience. 

6. Intimate Connection to Nature

Another huge benefit of container homes is that they can be located in close connection with nature. Depending on the arrangement of containers that you choose, you could actually have a home that interacts with nature. 

For example, there are container houses that have large windows on either end and sit in the center of a heavily wooded forest. In this way, a guest would wake up and feel as though they were sitting right there on the forest bed and communing with nature. 

The possibility of using large windows to break down the barrier between your home and nature is a very valuable one. If you’re looking to rent out your container space, we definitely recommend investing in some large windows with a great view. 

Interested in Shipping Containers?

Whether you’re looking to ship something, buy a container for personal reasons, or even turn a few shipping containers into a home, we have got the right information for you.

So, contact us today! We do offer a wide range of container modification options and can provide you with a detailed price quote when you are ready.  

Why You Should Buy Shipping Containers Instead of Renting?

Do you need shipping containers for your business? You have two choices: buy the containers or rent them. Renting metal shipping containers usually seems like an affordable option in the beginning. You only incur the rental cost, which is a small percentage of the total price of the container. However, in the long run, you can end up spending thousands of dollars on container rentals.

Why not buy the containers instead? Although the initial cost is high, it is worth it in the long run. Keep reading to find out why you should buy shipping containers for your business instead of renting them.

You Enjoy Long-Term Savings

When you buy shipping containers, you incur a one-time cost and forget about future payments. This is unlike the rental option where you make monthly or quarterly payments to the rental company.

Imagine you have a long-term project that will last a few years. How much money will you have paid to rent shipping containers for that period? The chances are the amount will be close to or more than the cost of new or used metal containers.

What’s more: after the rental period, you can incur extra costs if the containers are dented, damaged, or in poor physical condition.

Buying makes financial sense for your business in the long-term. This is especially true if you intend to use more than one or two containers for your projects. You can get great discounts for buying several containers and make significant savings for your company.

You Can Customize Containers to Your Needs

One disadvantage of renting shipping containers is you cannot modify them to suit your needs. The rental company expects you to return the container in the condition and form it was in when they handed it over to you. 

However, when you purchase shipping containers, the ownership is transferred to you. You can modify the containers to your specific needs.

Whether you need to build container homes, mobile office spaces,  shelters, or storage solutions, you can customize the containers to your desired style and specifications.

You can add heating and air conditioning systems, advanced locking and security systems, insulation, doors, and windows. Any design you have in mind is doable as long as you own the shipping containers.

You’ll Save Money on Logistics

Does your business often ship supplies across towns, cities, or in other countries? If so, buying containers can save you a lot of money on shipping.

You only incur logistical costs such as fleet maintenance, fuel, and administration costs, and this can translate into long-term savings.

As you look for containers for shipping cargo, opt for the used ones. There’s no shortage of used containers in the U.S. In fact, around 25 million containers arrive into the country every year. 

Used containers are affordable, and with a little maintenance, they will serve you for many years. Consider your shipping needs and buy containers in the appropriate sizes.

Again, you can modify them to include temperature and humidity control features. This is incredibly essential if you are transporting temperature-sensitive shipment such as pharmaceutical products.

You Enjoy Convenience in Business

Imagine having containers at your disposal when you need to ship or store products for your business. The convenience that comes with buying your shipping containers is worth the price.

With rental containers, you only rent when you require them. Thus, if you urgently need them for a task, you have to contact the rental company, choose containers, fill out paperwork, and make payments.

If the containers are delayed or aren’t available in your preferred specifications, you’ll be inconvenienced. Buying allows you immediate access to the equipment when you need it.

There Are No Restrictions and Penalties

When renting metal containers, you are given a list of the things you can and cannot do with the equipment. For example, you are not allowed to modify them. Also, there are penalties for violating the rental terms.

Buying gives you the freedom to use your shipping containers without any restrictions. If the containers get damaged during use, you don’t have to worry about getting penalized.

Container rentals may seem affordable, but the extent of use is restricted to the rental company’s terms. Buy your containers so you won’t have to worry about violating the contract.

You Can Buy Shipping Containers to Rent

Are you worried about spending too much money on buying shipping containers? Why don’t you buy to rent and make money from the containers?

There are various ways you can make money from your shipping containers, recover the purchase costs, and make profits. They include the following:

  • Rent out storage space in your containers to small businesses
  • Design container offices or coworking spaces and rent them out to individuals
  • Rent out containers to companies that wish to ship products locally

Consider monetizing your containers, especially after the end of your project. You can make anything between $40 and $200 per month on every container rental. The price depends on the size, features, and condition of the equipment.

You Can Re-purpose After Use

Buying shipping containers allows you to re-purpose them after you complete your project. For example, containers that were previously used for storage or shipping can be converted into container homes or offices. 

Other re-purposing ideas include storage units, pop-up shops, patios, and container gardens. If you have no use for the containers, you can resell them to homeowners, container depots and local businesses.

Whichever option you go for, buying shipping containers as opposed to renting makes sense in the long run. You will never run out of something to do with them once your initial container project is over. 

Buy Shipping Containers Today and Make Savings

Buying containers is a better option as compared to renting. You get long-term cost savings, use the containers as you wish, and even make money by renting or selling them after use.

Are you ready to buy shipping containers for your business? Contact us today to get a free quote.

5 Crucial Things to Consider when Buying Shipping Containers

A shipping container is essentially a metal structure that is shipped across stormy seas, stacked one on top of another and often exposed to the extreme weather conditions of the open ocean. For this reason, it’s understandable that many think that most containers are the same and just buying any will do. 

While others may picture these as only being massive metal arks that aren’t very versatile for other needs outside of shipping large quantities of goods.

This article will try to clear up some of those misconceptions. We’ll discuss some of the different options that you should consider when purchasing bulk containers .  That way you’ll be equipped to choose the right containers for your needs. 

1. The Condition of the Shipping Container

As mentioned above, shipping containers are often exposed to the elements of the open ocean. This means sometimes, even for weeks on end, they’re getting sprayed by salty ocean water that can accelerate the rusting process. Still, others may have suffered damage during the process of shipping or even while in port.

While the option of buying used shipping containers may be an extremely cost-effective, the price will usually reflect the condition the containers are in. This is why it’s important to inspect the containers yourself before buying. 

Shipping containers get sold at different grades relative to their wear and tear. These grades take into account such factors as: 

  • Age
  • Whether or not they are wind and watertight
  • Scratches and dents
  • Rust damage–whether superficial or structural

Of course, when inspecting the condition the containers are in, you’ll want to consider what you’ll be storing in these containers or otherwise using them for.

2. What You’ll be Storing or Transporting in the Containers

The condition of the container you buy will also depend on the value and fragility of what you’ll be storing inside of it. Will you be storing or shipping things such as furniture, books, electronics, expensive vehicles, or other valuables? If so, then a new or Grade A condition container would be the best option.

These types of containers are going to be weatherproof, vermin-proof, rust-free, and won’t have any structural damage whatsoever. They’ll also be clean and either newly painted or repainted so as to last and keep your valuables in as pristine a condition as possible.

What about if you’ll be storing goods of lesser value or concern? These may be things such as tools, building materials, work equipment, and recreational vehicles. If this is the case, you could very well save some money and go with either a Grade B or Grade C condition used shipping container.

A Grade B container is going to be one that’s also weatherproof but may contain some superficial damage, such as rust and dents. 

A Grade C container is one you’d consider only for goods that can be partially exposed to the weather with little problem. It may include certain building materials and recreational or agricultural equipment. These containers won’t be weatherproof and may contain a certain level of flaking rust, which could limit structural integrity.

Beyond simply being used for storage, there are many other uses for shipping containers that will affect which options you go with.

3. What Purpose You’ll be Buying Shipping Containers For

How much you value long-term structural reliability or the cosmetic condition of your shipping container is going to largely depend on what it’s going to be used for.

Just some of the cool options shipping containers are popularly used for are:

If you’ll be using bulk containers solely as storage space and won’t be hauling them around for shipping purposes, neither will you be having business meetings inside of them, or use them as living space, then cosmetic appeal isn’t going to be a top priority.

In this case, a used container with just some superficial rust and denting may be an excellent, affordable option. 

However, if you’ll be turning your containers into a super cool, ultra-modern home, office, or restaurant, both structural integrity and aesthetics are going to be incredibly important. 

This is especially true if you’ll be making many modifications to the containers, such as cutting away parts of the walls for windows and appliances. Since these containers will no longer be just for storing goods, but will actually contain people, safety will be a top priority. In that case, you’ll want these containers to be dent and rust-free, especially in the critical areas that provide structural strength. 

4. What are the Local Building and Zoning Codes and Regulations?

While there are a great many advantages to using shipping containers as buildings, one potential disadvantage is that it can be difficult to gain permission in some areas to do so.

Not only does each state have its own codes and regulations, but each municipality does as well. Before making a major purchase on shipping containers to modify into a habitable building, make sure to address this items. 

  • The foundation it will sit on
  • The material used for insulation and how much is used
  • Proper electrical and plumbing
  • Structural integrity

Some municipalities don’t allow shipping containers to be used for habitable buildings at all. Others limit their use, such as not allowing them to be stacked on top of one another if intended for people to live in them. 

As an example of factors to consider, check out this reference relating to the codes of ordinances for the city of Houston.

5. Experience of the Contractor Who Will Be Working on Your Containers

Say you’ve decided to do a build with shipping containers. You’ve made your plans, picked out your location, and researched the effectual codes and regulations. After actually buying shipping containers, the next step would be choosing who will make the modifications needed to complete your build.

Building with bulk containers is still a relatively new trend. This being so, finding a contractor who is not just experienced, but experienced at working with shipping containers can be a challenge.

You’ll not only want someone who’s done some work on them before, but who can see the process through from design to completion.

Ask questions like:

  • Have you installed heating and HVAC systems for shipping container buildings?
  • Have you cut out and installed windows in shipping containers?
  • Have you insulated containers before?
  • Can you show me examples of your previous work?

Since this is such a specific niche, it’s well worth the time and money to find the right contractor for the modifications needed to turn your building idea into a reality.

Ask the Right Questions to Get the Right Containers for the Right Purpose

Do you think buying shipping containers would be your best option for your transportation, storage, or building needs? Be sure to take the above considerations in mind before purchasing shipping containers for any use.

Do you have container-related questions that weren’t covered above? Are you ready to purchase one or multiple containers for your needs? Then, get in touch with us today! So, we can help you through the entire process of choosing, buying, modifying, and transporting your shipping containers.  

What Not to Do When Considering Shipping Containers for Sale as Homes

How Cargo Container Homes Are Reshaping Low Income Housing

Estimates suggest there are between 12 and 15 homeless per 10,000 individuals in Texas. In Houston alone, that number equates to approximately 6,300 homeless individuals. 

Living paycheck to paycheck is also a national reality affecting 78% of the American workforce. These low-income families spent a whopping 1/3 to 1/2 of their income on housing needs.  Cargo container homes provide a unique solution to this housing crisis. 

The Cargo Container Home Solution

Many are looking at a cost-efficient solution to homelessness and increasing housing costs in larger cities like Houston and Dallas. Welcome to the dawn of the Tiny House Movement, where cargo container homes use new or used shipping containers to address today’s current housing issues. 

Whether you are choosing to downsize out of financial necessity, looking for more freedom, or a home with a smaller impact on the environment, cargo containers are a creative solution.  For the homeless, even a small home is superior to life in the elements.

Cargo containers homes also called shipping container homes or tiny houses are not just boxes. They can be beautiful, self-sustaining homes that people are proud to own. 

Curious to learn more? Keep reading to learn about shipping containers and how they can help both low income and homeless families.

What is a Shipping Container Home or Tiny Home?

Tiny houses, by most definitions, are typically between 100 and 400 square feet and provide the same things other dwellings provide. They have beds, showers, kitchens, and eating areas.  There is no rule on what defines a tiny house.  Some homes are as small as 26 square feet and a 1000 square foot house is also considered tiny because it measures less than half the size of the typical American home.

Tiny houses and shipping container homes are unique in their use of space. A bed may pull out from a raised area or drop down from a wall for use.  Many spaces in tiny homes serve dual purposes. A kitchen table, for example, serves as both an eating space and an office or homework space, a common experience in most homes, regardless of size.

Because of size and materials, Tiny Houses are less expensive to build and maintain, making them very affordable housing solutions.

What is the Size of a Shipping Container House?

Cargo container homes typically range from 56 square feet to 320 square feet. Specialty cargo containers also exist, with extra high ceilings. Most new shipping containers come with one main door opening (typically a double door) and a wood panel.

The smaller size allows for less energy and water demands making them easy to convert to off the grid or semi off the grid systems. Lower energy demands also equate to a lower overall cost to maintain.

Why Use a Shipping Crate Home as Opposed to Another Tiny Home Solution?

1.  Used shipping containers are plentiful. Most goods shipped both nationally and internationally are shipped in shipping containers. Shipping containers are moved by railway cars, river barges, and ocean liners.

2.  Used containers are also environmentally friendly.  Converting a shipping container into a dwelling allows you to Reduce, Recycle, and Reuse all in one.

3.  Shipping containers are already built and therefore prefabricated.  Prefabricated homes allow for quicker build times and can also significantly reduce costs.  

4.  Shipping containers are designed to be stacked for transport in harsh environments, so they are sturdy and durable. Depending on your location, additional attachments can make them very wind, storm, and hurricane proof.

5.  Multi-level home or even an apartment building can be made by stacking containers.    

Already many cities like Houston, Orlando, Los Angeles, and San Diego are using shipping container homes and apartments to address the needs of their homeless and low-income residents.

I Don’t Want to Live in a Box

You may be convinced by the price and utility of a cargo container home, but what about the aesthetics? Ultimately, you are only limited by your creativity.  Modifying a storage container is not difficult and you can check out our photo gallery for some inspiration.  

Need more inspiration? Imagine this, a porch can be added off the existing door structure, to allow for you to open up your entire house in temperate climates.  Installing a similar door on the other side allows for cross ventilation if you follow the prevailing wind pattern for the area.  This design allows you to be closer to nature which reduces stress but also decreases cooling costs. Because of shipping container stability, rooftop gardens and seating areas are very easy to create. 

Haven’t you always wanted a home with a view?    Stacking two containers parallel to each other, with a third crossing them, perpendicularly. Now you have created an instant breezeway. This design may be the ideal way to keep the in-laws living space separate from yours.  

Things to Be Aware of Before You Buy a Shipping Container

Cargo containers can be bought new or used. Used shipping containers must be completed cleaned and prepared before use as a new home. The cleaning should be done by a professional to prevent contamination from the previous shipments.

Local laws may dictate where container homes may be placed, so be sure to check all local permitting prior to purchase.

Other Uses for Shipping Containers

Because of their cost, size, and shortened build time, cargo container homes can also serve many other purposes. Looking for the perfect mother-in-law suite to drop into an existing backyard.

Need a private home office away from the traffic of the family? Shipping containers can even be an easy to build a second home on a piece of land you own. Shipping containers can also be rented as a temporary storage unit.

Regardless of your needs shipping containers can be an affordable solution to space, housing, and storage needs.

Time to Purchase?

We are here to help you choose the right cargo container home for your dwelling or storage needs.  We can also assist you with modifications and arrange services to install it on your property. Contact us for all your cargo container home needs.

Container Garage Modification by EMS

7 Step Guide to a Successful Shipping Container Garage Conversion

Looking to do add a garage onto your home but don’t want to drop a lot of cash? What if we told you there’s an affordable solution that can cost much less.  Shipping containers are a trendy, Eco-conscious way to add more room on to your home without breaking your budget. There are tons of things you can build with shipping containers, but we’re going to focus on one area of your home — the garage.

Building your dream garage doesn’t have to be difficult — or expensive. It’s easy when you follow our seven steps to creating an incredible shipping container garage.

1. Choose Your Container Size

Some of the largest cargo ships are built to hold up to 20 million containers. It’s safe to say your container choices are far more diverse than you think. The space you have available is going to affect the size of the container you’re going to get. You’ll have to consider the size and number of vehicles you want to store, too. Regarding size, standard containers are often 20 or 40 ft. Beyond that, you can find containers as big as 45 ft and as small as 10 ft.

Got a big SUV or roof racks on top of your car ? Look for a taller shipping container.

2. Choose Your Container Type

Container size is determined by the size of your lot and the number of vehicles you need to store. The type of container you get is more determined by your budget. Containers that are a little dinged and dented with a little rust will obviously be cheaper. If you’re not looking for a project or want a container that’s ready to go, try a one trip container. A one trip container was never part of a cargo operation. They’re in much better condition because they only made one trip — from China to the US.

3. Shipping Container Garage Style

Another thing to consider when building a storage container garage: what style are you going to build? Here’s where you can be as creative as your budget and space allow you to be!

Here’s a few ideas to get you started:

  • Got a compact car? One container might be enough for a neat and tidy one car garage.
  • Place two containers on each side and put a roof between them. You’ll have plenty of space to store multiple cars plus storage on the side.
  • Stack multiple containers like building blocks around your car storage space. You can create various workshops and storage from all of the containers.

Once you get started, you’ll realize how fun it is to build with shipping containers. Play around with your design until you get it exactly as you want it.

4. Prepare Your Land

Now that you know how you want your garage to look, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty. You can’t just drop a few containers and call it a day; there’s a process you have to follow.

First, reach out to your local government to see if you need any permits to build a container garage. You don’t want your project derailed by paperwork.

Once you’ve got the all clear, you have to prep your land. Here’s how:

  • Measure and mark the area you want to use for your garage
  • Clear the area of any plants and debris
  • Lay a basic foundation, like a concrete slab or steel pipe footing foundation

Now you’re ready to bring in the containers and build your garage.

5. Container Garage Basics

Your foundation is laid, and you’re ready to place your containers. There are some basics to consider at this point of your build. First off, if you plan on parking your car in the container, it’s best to position it with the opening facing the driveway. If you’re using the containers for storage, consider pointing the openings towards your house so you can keep an eye on them. Second, if you chose a used container, you might have to do some upkeep. Painting, rust removal and prevention, taking care of dents and scrapes, etc. are all things to consider before you move in.

Containers are easy to build with and durable, so they won’t need much to get started. Just a little bit of work makes it all worth it.

6. Upgrade Your Shipping Container

Most home garages have basics build in that we don’t think about. With a shipping container, you have a bare canvas that you can make into whatever space you like.

Here are a few options to consider:

  • Add insulation to your garage if you’re using your containers not just for your car but for storage too
  • Add electrical drops if you want to use the container as a work space
  • Consider air flow and add a few windows if you’re going to be doing projects inside the containers

These are basic upgrades that make a big difference. Think about how you’re using your space and what you need to be comfortable.

7. Beyond the Basics

You’ve got your container garage set up the way you want it. If you want to tinker even more, here are more ideas for ways to improve your dream garage:

  • Add security, like cameras or motion detectors, especially if you keep expensive equipment in your garage
  • A de-humidifier keeps dampness at bay and extends the life of your car and items in storage
  • Install shelving and a work bench to make it your ultimate work-space
  • Add windows to open up the space
  • Lay down flooring or a ramp to make getting in and out easier
  • Need more ventilation? Put in a fan
  • If you change oil, paint, or need a place for runoff to flow, put a drain in the floor

With the money you save by using a shipping container to build your garage, you’ll be able to afford a lot of great upgrades!

Build More with Shipping Containers

Creating the shipping container garage of your dreams is easier and more affordable than ever before. Once you build your garage, you’ll start wondering what else you can do with shipping containers!

We’ve got tons of different containers to choose from and can help with modifications, too. Check out all of your options and build your dream garage today!

How Shipping Container Restaurants are Creating a Revolution in America

You want to open a restaurant or bar but you’re intimidated by the risk factors and high costs. There’s a way to make your dream of owning a restaurant come true while keeping your costs down — shipping containers. You’ve heard of food trucks, but a shipping container restaurant? Believe it or not, they’re actually creating a design revolution.

Shipping containers are being used to create offices, garages, and even swimming pools. We’ll show you how you can use them to make owning your own restaurant a reality — keep reading!

Ready to Go

The number one reason to create a container bar or restaurant?  Shipping containers are readily available.

The US imports way more than it exports. Many of those containers go only one way — from Asia to the US. That means there’s a steady supply of empty containers sitting around, waiting to be used. You’ll have a lot of choices when it comes to building with containers.

One choice to consider is used versus new. You can get a brand new container that’s in perfect condition, although used is probably your best choice. Used containers can be purchased cheaper. And as we mentioned, one way containers are very lightly used, so they won’t need to have much if any refurbishing done.

Cost Effective

Because there’s so much supply and not much demand (for now), you can pick up containers for cheap. On average, a mildly used container will costs less than $5,000.

One small cost associated with shipping containers: you’ll have to prep them. Be prepared to spend a little money adding insulation and windows to your container. 

The money you save with shipping containers can be poured into start-up marketing expenses in getting your restaurant or bar off the ground. 

Sustainable Construction

As we mentioned, the supply of shipping containers is high. Because of this, shipping container construction is Eco-friendly and sustainable.

With traditional construction, there’s a lot of materials and waste that go into it. However with container construction, they’re ready to go and only need a little bit of modification to fit your needs.

Plus, there isn’t as much energy used to move containers around versus building a restaurant from scratch. Building with shipping containers helps recycle and re-use materials that are already there and helps keep your carbon footprint down.

Flexible Design

You’d think that because shipping containers are only available in sizes from eight to 40 feet, your design options are limited. That’s simple not true.

Yes, your restaurant will be boxy-looking. But once you get creative, you’ll see how many options you have when building with containers. One container makes a tiny yet tidy little restaurant. Push a few more together, and you open up space.

Bonus points if your restaurant has an industrial or rough-edged concept! Sometimes an unfinished container is just the look you’re going for. You no doubt have a vision of what you want your restaurant to look like. Shipping containers can make that dream a reality.

Fast Set Up

When you build the traditional way, there’s sometimes a lot of “hurry up and wait”. Even when leasing a space, you might have to do some remodeling to make it to your standards.

Container restaurants can be put together fast. They’ve already got a ceiling, walls, and a floor, they just need a little modification.

After adding insulation, decor, and whatever other modifications you need, your container is ready to go. You can even find a company like EMS to make changes and deliver the containers ready to use.

Mobility

These containers are meant to be shipped. As such, they’re easy to move around. What does this mean for you as a start-up business? You can place you container restaurant or bar in whatever area makes the most sense for you.

For example, is there an empty lot that’s close to a high-traffic road? That’s prime real estate for a new restaurant. Although they’re not as mobile as a food truck, you’ll find container restaurants more flexible than traditional spaces. If you ever decide to franchise, you’ll have a built-in plan for expansion, too.

Energy Efficient

Utility bills can be staggering for restaurants. Think of all the water, heating, gas, energy, etc. that you need to run your business.

When putting together your restaurant or bar, you can make it more energy efficient. Think about using some of your construction savings to invest in things like solar panels or high-efficiency appliances.

Just using a shipping container is an Eco-conscious choice. You can go greener with just a few modifications.

Dream Kitchen

We all know the kitchen is the heart of a restaurant. Having good flow-through allows your servers and cooks to be efficient and safe.

When you use an existing space, you have to work with what you have. A shipping container kitchen can be built any way you want it to be.

You know what would work best for you and your crew. Container construction allows you to get as creative as you need to be.

Cool Designs

We’ve given you a lot of practical reasons to build your restaurant out of shipping containers. We’ll give you another reason that’s totally arbitrary but might just sell you on this concept.

Container restaurants are cool. Think about how unique and eye-catching they look even before you decorate it the way you want.

Your amazing food is the main draw, but having an incredible design will get a lot of attention.

Build Your Shipping Container Restaurant or Bar Today

You already have enough on your plate trying to get your restaurant off the ground. Building a shipping container bar or restaurant can save you cash, is sustainable, looks amazing, and more.

You have way more options when you design your space with shipping containers. Plus, with the money you save, you can pour it back into your business.

Whether you want to build from new, used, or modified containers, we’ve got tons of options for you. Check out all of the modification services we offer and make your restaurant or bar a reality today!

The Pros and Cons of Building a Shipping Container House

The average cost for newly constructed homes is $385,200. Many people are turning to alternative building materials such as shipping containers to ease the cost of new construction. 

They are so popular that even hotels like the Flophouze Hotel in Round Top, Texas are constructed entirely from shipping containers. These prefabricated boxes may be the perfect solution to creating your dream home. 

If you are considering building a shipping container house here in Houston, there are a few pros and cons you should consider first. Keep reading so you can make an informed decision. 

Pro: Speedy Construction 

Building with shipping containers is much faster than traditional construction methods. Smaller homes can reach complete fabrication within three weeks in offsite fabrication. Larger homes can be completed in a few months.  

Many of the small details and modifications can be done at the production site before the containers ever reach their final destination. 

Shipping containers are also much friendlier to the DIYer. However, it is smart to consult with a design firm or an engineer before embarking on your container home. 

Pro: Cost Effective 

Building with shipping containers can save you money when compared to traditional shipping methods. One man used two containers to create a rustic cabin that is completely off the grid for $35,000. 

Depending on the quality of the container and its location, a container can cost anywhere from $1,400 to $4,500 and sometimes more. You may be able to find one for cheaper, but you’ll want to make sure you can actually build with it. 

Con: Not Quite Eco-Friendly 

The general theory is that if you use old refurbished shipping containers, you are doing the environment a favor. However, these containers typically have wear and damage making them unsafe for new home construction. 

If you do decide to use refurbished construction you need to ensure the structural integrity of your home. 

New shipping containers offer you the freedom and structural integrity to create any building you can dream up. 

Harmful Chemicals 

Used shipping containers may have held toxic chemicals or other materials. They have also been treated to prevent corrosion during transit. 

Remember, containers are made of steel and spend most of their time near and on the ocean. Saltwater and metal is a recipe for corrosion and rust. 

Make sure you inspect your refurbished container to confirm that it has been adequately treated to be safe for use in home construction. You will also want to check for rust as this will compromise the structural integrity. 

The Eco-Friendly Part 

If you decide to use a refurbished container the most significant impact you will have is with the use of steel. The average 40-foot container has more than 8,000 pounds of steel. 

You are also reducing your use of other traditional building materials such as wood and masonry. 

Pro: Mobility 

Whatever your reason, maybe you don’t want the home to stay at its original location permanently. With traditional construction, you don’t have the option of moving your building. 

Containers can have your completed building moved to a new location as many times as necessary. 

Pro: Creative Freedom 

Shipping containers come in a variety of different sizes which gives you the freedom to create a home as large or as small as you wish. You can combine multiple containers to create a larger space. 

You can create large windows to open the space up and bring in a lot of natural light. Or you can install large glass doors that you can open up and bring the outdoors in. 

Using shipping containers lets you express your personal style. With the rules of traditional construction and architecture out the window, you are free to create. 

For the most freedom, try to stick with high cube containers, they are 9’6″ tall. This will make it easier to add insulation and still have room for a ceiling fan. 

If you aren’t worried about this, you could use a standard height container; they are 8’6″ tall. 

Cons: Permits and Codes 

Container homes are still relatively new in many municipalities. Because of this, many permits and building codes are not designed to work with them. 

Do your research to ensure you are legally able to build a container home. Then you need to make sure your home complies with all current zoning and construction regulations. 

Here in Houston, the best place to start is with the Building Code Enforcement office. If you do not comply with planning regulations, you may find yourself having to take the home down even if construction is complete. 

Pro: Toughness and Durability

Containers get manufactured with durability in mind. Their original purpose is to survive many months and thousands of miles out on an ocean tanker exposed to the elements. 

They often far surpass the minimum specs for new homes when it comes to strength and durability. 

To retain this strength, you need to be careful about how much steel you cut away. If you plan to make significant cutaways for doors, windows, and room openings, then you need to install reinforcements. Additional steel beams can carry the load. 

Construct Your Shipping Container House

If you are ready to start building your shipping container house here in Houston, Texas, we can help you get started. We have a large inventory of both new and used containers. 

We can help you create the container building of your dreams. This could be a home, office, or any other structure you need to have built quickly.  

Contact us today and let us help you create the shipping containers you need to build your dream shipping container home.