NEW Rent-To-Own options now available! 12/24/36/48 Month Terms

Shipping Container Rentals vs Financing

March 28th, 2024

Are you looking for a shipping container for rent? 

Perhaps you run a construction company that needs a temporary way to secure tools and materials at your jobsite. Or you are starting a business and need an instant office or onsite storage for supplies and inventory. 

Renting a shipping container is a convenient and affordable way to solve your storage needs. However, depending on how long you need the container for (and a number of other factors), it may be better to finance a shipping container.

For instance, if you need the container lease for longer than a year, rent payments may surpass the cost of buying a conex container outright. There are financing plans that have a similar monthly cost to renting, but you own it, including rent-to-own options that allow you to spread out the costs up to 48 months.

Let’s take a look at more factors to consider whether renting, financing or a rent-to-own container is best for your situation. 

Shipping Container Rental, Financing or Rent To Own: Key Factors

Before we get into key factors, it’s important to understand the differences between a container rental lease, financing and rent-to-own agreements. See the brief breakdown in the graphic below:

Here are the 4 key factors to determine which option is best for you.

  • Length of time needed. If you need a container for less than a year, rentals may be preferable. If you need it for longer than a year, buying a container with payments has benefits.

  • Monthly budget. Shipping container rentals and rent-to-own have the lowest monthly costs. However, financing a container for twelve months is only marginally higher.

  • Customization needs: Rentals can come with modifications like turnkey container offices but they typically don’t allow you to modify or move the container. With financing a container, because you own it, you can do whatever you want with it. 

  • Reuse or resale potential: Financing gives you the ability to recoup some expenses by selling or leasing the container when you’re done using it. With rentals, you lose the entire lease amount.

Shipping Container Rentals: Pros and Cons

If you only need storage for 6 months or so, renting a shipping container may be your best option financially. The primary benefits of shipping container rentals are that they’re cost effective and have flexible terms, delivery, and modifications like turnkey shipping container offices

With rentals, you have less maintenance responsibility than if you buy a container. However, since you don’t own it, you cannot move or modify the container. And at the end of the lease you pay for the container to be picked up. 

Here is a closer look at some pros and cons for a shipping container rentals:


  • Cost-effective for short-term use.

  • Wide variety of sizes and modifications available.

  • Flexible delivery and pick-up options.

  • Minimal commitment and maintenance responsibility.


  • Monthly rental fees add up over time without earning equity.

  • No ownership benefits (cannot customize or resell).

  • Limited control over container condition.

  • Cannot move the container’s location without permission.

  • Pay for both delivery and pickup.

Shipping Container Financing: Pros and Cons

If you need a container for longer than a year but don’t want to pay thousands upfront, buying a shipping container with financing may be preferable to renting. Most buyers finance a container by putting it on their credit card. However, we offer financing options that have no hard credit checks, competitive rates and payment terms up to 12 months.

For a bit higher monthly price as a rental, you can own the container outright in 12 months or less with traditional or credit card financing. The main ownership benefits are that you can move, modify, or resell the container as you please.  

Here is a closer look at some pros and cons for a shipping container financing:


  • Low down payment and competitive monthly cost.

  • Immediate ownership rights.

  • More customization freedom compared to rentals.

  • Potential resale or lease value.

  • May be more cost-effective for long-term needs.

  • You can move the container without permission.


  • May require slightly larger upfront investment compared to rentals.

  • Shipping containers for sale come with fewer modifications.

  • Responsible for maintenance and potential repairs.

Rent-to-Own Shipping Containers: Pros and Cons 

Rent-to-own containers have a low monthly cost, similar to standard rentals, because payments can be spread out over 48 months. If you need one or more containers for a long-term project like building a home or shipping container garage and you need to extend payments over a few years, a rent-to-own container may be your best option.

One of the primary benefits of purchasing a shipping container on rent-to-own terms is experiencing immediate ownership rights. The rent-to-own option is available for all shipping container sizes.

Here are some pros and cons for rent-to-own containers:


  • Low down payment and monthly payments.

  • Immediate ownership rights.

  • Payoff the container anytime to end the agreement.

  • More customization freedom compared to rentals.

  • Potential resale or lease value after ownership is acquired.

  • You can move the container without permission.


  • Potentially longer financial commitment.

  • Higher total cost than standard rentals.

  • Responsible for maintenance and potential repairs.

Shipping Container Rental Cost vs Cost To Buy a Container On Payments

Because shipping container prices vary based on location, an exact cost comparison between rentals, financing and rent-to-own is imprecise. However, we can get a basic idea of cost differences using available data. 

Enter Zip Code To Get Instant Pricing

Prices in the comparison table below are based on new 1-trip 40 ft high cube containers which currently average around $5000 including delivery.

The chart shows a comparison of a 12 month rental lease, 12 months of financing, and a 24-month rent-to-own term. 

As you can see, down payments are similar but the amount required upfront and monthly varies. Of course, when buying a container on payments, you can pay more upfront to reduce monthly costs.  

The total cost of the 1-year lease contract is $3200, $2200 cheaper than buying a container with 12-month financing, and $400 cheaper than rent-to-own costs per year.

However, if you sell the container for $4000 at the end of the financing or rent-to-own term, your net costs are actually LOWER than renting a container.

Net Cost After Selling Your Container

Financed Container: $1400 

Rent-to-own Container: $3,200 ($1,600/year)

Both options have a lower net cost per year than leasing a shipping container. So, if you need a container for longer than a year, buying a shipping container with financing is the best option for your wallet. And it gives you all of the benefits that come with ownership rights.

Container Comparison Conclusion

Shipping container rentals have the lowest monthly cost to get secure portable storage at your site. They are the best option if you need a container for less thanone year. Rental containers are available with a variety of modifications. However, there are drawbacks – you’re not building equity in the container, and you can’t move or modify the container. So, the longer you need a container, the more costly rentals become compared to other options.

Buying a shipping container with financing has slightly higher monthly payments than leases. Yet it’s the best option if you need a container longer than one year. Since you own the container, you can resell it or lease it out to someone else when you're done using it. That allows you to recoup much of your costs. 

Rent-to-own containers offer the lowest down-payments, potentially the cheapest monthly costs, and the longest terms. However, the lifetime cost is higher than the other options. Because you own the container, you can recoup some of the cost by reselling or leasing it. 

Learn more about our financing and rent-to-own options here.

Container One is the leading provider of shipping containers for sale in the USA. Enter your zip code below for an instant quote.

Enter Zip Code To Get Instant Pricing