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5 Questions to Consider Before Using a Shipping Container as a Portable Storage Unit

Converting a shipping container into a storage unit is a great idea! This new trend has been growing in popularity over the past few years. With the surplus of both new and used shipping containers, making the cost go way down, there are some great deals to be had when compared to other alternatives. 

Shipping Container Used as a Portable Storage Unit

Before you decide to convert a shipping container into a portable storage unit, let’s look at a list of 5 questions that you should think through to keep your costs low and your stored items safe and secure.

Do You Need a Shipping Container Building Permit?

In many parts of North America, you don’t need a building permit for something that isn’t on a permanent foundation. If you’re building a shed or barn, you may need a permit, and if you’re setting a shipping container onto railroad ties or concrete footings, you may not need a permit. 

How Much Does a Storage Container Cost?

Compared to a shed or other wood frame or concrete structure, the material cost may appear to be less than the cost of a shipping container, but if you include the construction costs, time, and related fees, a container will easily become a financially competitive option.  

For example, a used shipping container measuring 20’ long x 8’ wide x 8.5’tall costs around $2,500. This averages out to about $15.63 per square foot. By comparison, a typical 12′ x 12′ shed can cost at least $3,000 at your typical big box hardware store. That comes out to around $24.19 per square foot. Storage containers offer a cost-saving of almost $10 per square foot. 

Do You Need a Foundation for a Shipping Container?

To ensure a shipping container's longevity, it’s a good idea to put it on some type of foundation. If you drop the shipping container directly onto the ground, there won’t be much room for moisture drainage and ventilation, and it can speed up corrosion on the underside of the container. If you can afford even a basic shipping container foundation, such as railroad ties, it will increase your container's life. 

How do You get rid of the Odor in a Shipping Container?

If your shipping container has a bad smell due to the shipped goods, you can easily get rid of it by taking a large jug of instant coffee and scattering it around the inside of the shipping container. Next, close the door and allow it to ruminate for a couple of days. The coffee normally absorbs any odors and leaves the shipping container with a small coffee smell. Another good way to get rid of the odor is by rubbing it down on the inside with vinegar. Believe it or not, vinegar takes away bad odors, and the vinegar smell quickly dissipates too. 

Do Shipping Containers Need Ventilation?

If you’re in an area where the temperature of days and nights fluctuates, you may find that condensation builds up inside the container. Depending on what you’ve stored in the shipping container, this may damage the items. It’s a good idea to install some type of ventilation system inside the shipping container. You can easily and cheaply get fixed shipping container vents. 

Shipping Containers can be set up quickly and affordably, making them a competitive option compared to a wooden or concrete structure. Click here to get started by entering your zip code and begin browsing shipping containers in your area.