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Used Shipping Containers and Storage Units: Rent or Own?

08.10.2012 - Posted by Updated On 08.10.2012    

The popularity of using shipping containers as portable storage units has helped to create growth in a new industry, countless jobs, and opened up some fantastic environmental benefits through repurposed and recycled shipping containers.  One important thing to consider is the purchase or rental options that are available to you, and which one makes the most sense for your situation.

Deciding between renting and buying a storage container often comes down to a basic financial decision between a few key factors:

How long will I need the container?

In most cases, if you need the container for less than 24 months it makes sense to rent it.  You won’t have to deal with reselling it, and you have a clear “out” at the end of the period.  If you’ll need it for more than 24 months the math could change and it would make more sense to purchase the container.

What is the delivery cost?

This is a sunk cost no matter if you’re renting, or buying.  Someone with a truck will need to move the container to your location.

40' shipping container

What is the monthly rental cost?

When renting, the monthly cost should always be considered.  In every conceivable case it’s less than a lump-sum payment, but as time passes you could end up paying more in rental fees than you would have if you had purchased the container outright.

How much does a new or used shipping container cost?

This number will be larger than the deposit and the monthly charges associated with renting a container, but if you need the container for a long enough period it could be a wise investment.

Am I moving the container to someplace far away?

If you’re using the container to move to a distant place, renting may not be an option; simply due to the fact that it would be impractical to return it to the original location when you finished using it.  If you do need the container for a shorter term and are using it for a long distance move check to see if the company that you’re renting it from has other locations where the container can be returned – and if they have any charge for dropping it off at the new location.

To help make your decision easier, we’ve created a simple spread sheet that allows you to enter in the information above and see which option is best for you.  Container rental and delivery prices vary from area to area, as do the purchase prices of shipping containers.  You’ll search Google for rental prices in your area, and you can search on ContainerAuction.com for purchase prices in your area.  If you have any questions you’re always welcome to contact the ContainerAuction.com staff and they’ll be happy to assist you, no matter if you’re purchasing through the website or not.

altStorage Container Rent or Own: Comparison Calculator



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