16 Shipping Container Business Ideas

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If you’re looking for a business investment that can be modular, has relatively low running costs, and has a compact workspace, you might want to consider opening a shipping container business.

In times of economic uncertainty, starting a shipping container business can be an ideal venture where you can get your business off the ground. with little cash outlay in terms of construction project costs and capitalization of new architectural innovation, your business will have more flexibility and an edge over the competition.

What is a shipping container business?

Shipping container companies are business operations that are highly sustainable and economical construction solutions. They are eco-friendly, versatile, durable and made with an industrial-grade steel exterior that can withstand even the most severe weather conditions. They offer many business opportunities for small businesses and start-ups, offering efficient dimensions and square meters. They can also be easily customized and stacked to create almost any type of design, layout and size imaginable. They can be used as temporary, semi-permanent or permanent structures for almost any business need or even residential structures.

The sea container business

By investing in a shipping container, you will significantly reduce your construction costs. The costs involved in bricks, mortar, wood, labor and other expenses. Shipping containers offer easy customization options and the opportunity to run your own business without incurring high construction costs. With containers, you can knock down walls, install windows and doors, add air conditioning, and even add lighting. They also include options to transport them wherever you need and can be modified to take any shape as you can stack them or mount them side by side. You are only limited by your imagination.

The best shipping container business ideas

There really are no limits to what kind of business you can run with a container office without the headache of a long-term lease. If you’ve ever aspired to start a shipping container business, these shipping container business ideas might inspire you to take the next step.

1. Cafeteria

A coffee shop can be a fun and popular way to make money with a shipping container. Opening your unique coffee shop in locations with a lot of foot traffic can help you attract a good customer base within your local community by giving them the opportunity to get their favorite brew while on the go. You can also modify the cafe to be permanent or mobile so you can change locations.

2. Storage

You can turn storage containers into storage facilities and generate income by taking advantage of some seasonal business. By offering paid storage space, you can offer your services to people who don’t have enough space in their homes to store their furniture, holiday decorations, appliances, documents, memorabilia, clothing and other items.

3. Shipping container homes

Shipping containers can also be converted into homes. There is a huge market among homeowners looking for homes with lower construction and maintenance costs. Shipping containers generally come in 10-foot, 20-foot, and 40-foot sizes and come with prefabricated modular units that make construction time much shorter.

4. Art Gallery

If you’re in the fine art business, opening a shipping container gallery might be something to look into. Shipping containers can be ideal pop-up galleries as they are not only easy to move, but can be easily modified and offer cost savings compared to traditional buildings.

5. Office space

Finding affordable office space can be difficult, especially in areas where renting office space is expensive. You can reduce office rental costs or even rent office space in empty shipping containers. Because of their compact size, shipping containers can fit literally anywhere from parking lots, sites, or even a more open outdoor area such as next to warehouses. They also include options to transport your workspace wherever you need it and can be modified to take any shape your office space needs.

6. Dog grooming service

A shipping container offers just the right size for you to set up a dog grooming service. Thanks to its compact size, you can easily store your dog grooming equipment. Interestingly, the dog grooming business is large and estimated at around $8 billion in the US with around 130,000 grooming businesses employing around 230,000 employees. You can operate from your fixed location or run a mobile hairdressing business.

7. Yoga study

If you are a good yoga instructor, you can offer yoga classes from the comfort of your storage container. Since shipping containers are relatively cheap, you can start your yoga studio business with little money and encourage regular customers.

8. Hostel with solar energy

There is a growing segment of eco-conscious customers, a solar-powered lodge will not only help meet the demand for eco-friendly living, but also provide an off-grid option. This comes in handy during the summer when people are looking for cozy and insulated recycled shipping containers at campsites or even festivals.

9. Small gym

Smaller personal gyms or even CrossFit gyms are all the rage these days. People are always looking for a quick workout that is conveniently located while giving them their own personal space to work out. A converted shipping container gym can be a great small business idea that offers a mobile and affordable option.

10. Nail salon

Having a hair salon or hair salon in a converted shipping container offers rich rewards. Using repurposed shipping containers can be a great startup option as you can start your nail salon by helping to store your equipment and run your business low-cost with minimal staff.

11. Pop-up shop

You can use shipping containers for pop-up stores to sell your unique products and services where your customers gather at events, parks, or any other outdoor location. Pop-up stores are for retailers interested in getting their online store products in front of people for a low overall cost and connecting with new customers.

12. Event space

There is a growing demand from companies to rent containers for events such as concerts, fairs and other events. They could help show your marketing collateral, samples, giveaways, products and services to visiting attendees.

13. Restaurant

If you are in the restaurant business or want to try your hand at a food business with an intimate environment both inside and outside. A converted shipping container restaurant can help you get started. A shipping container will not only easily accommodate small dinners like your kitchen equipment, but will also take you on the road to serve customers at a mall or other locations. If you’re looking for inspiration for ideas on what type of food business to invest in, check out all of these ideas.

14. Gift shop

A shipping container can be a great impulse buy outlet to sell antiques, gifts, candy, and more. You can design your gift shop with multiple shelves and display cases, and custom doors that open to allow you to easily display items to attract customers. You can even plant yourself in an ideal location, or be mobile so you can arrange to move from one location to another during peak tourist season.

15. Florist

If you love gardening, you can start your own profitable flower shop and florist with a converted shipping container. You can use the shipping container to go straight to where people congregate providing a convenient and accessible shopping experience on the go. These containers are very suitable for growing plants that offer constant temperature and humidity conditions, as they are able to withstand extreme weather and temperatures.

16. Bookstore

Bookstores can be a perfect shipping container business idea as they offer plenty of space for shelves full of best selling books or rare edition prints. With your revamped container, you can let people easily browse titles and even borrow books.

If you’re looking for more small business ideas, check out our article on Small Business Ideas for Beginners.

Image: Envato Elements

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