Should I Buy My Storage Container?

Each day, you make important business decisions. Maybe you have a product line expansion in progress or a new marketing strategy ahead. Because your attention can only be on one thing at a time, you may rush into storage and shipping options without a lot of forethought.

When it comes to choosing a shipping or storage container, many business owners decide to rent, not buy. This makes sense if your needs are only short term. Still, purchasing your storage containers can also work well for your business needs. It all depends on your business goals—and your budget.

Consider Your Goals

In the past, when businesses had storage needs, their only option was to store off-site in a business storage facility. Today, businesses have more flexible options.

Because it’s easy to locate cargo containers on business or industrial property, more businesses choose containers for anything from excess inventory storage to temporary workspaces. For example, a business in the middle of remodeling might need a lot of sturdy storage or additional office space during construction.

Of course, if you have a consistent need for long-term storage, it’s not a bad idea to purchase a container instead of renting it. To help you decide, consider a few advantages and disadvantages before you buy.

Assess the Advantages of Buying Your Storage Container

What are your long-term business needs? Are there products you need to store separate from your main inventory? If your warehouse is already bulging at the seams but you can’t afford to expand for several years, you might benefit from purchasing your cargo container.

Consider these other advantages, as well.

Modify to Your Specifications

Sure, renting storage boxes is convenient and cost effective, but what happens if you need to install windows and skylights? Some rental companies may provide these options, but you may not have a lot of choices.

Purchasing gives you the benefit of modifying your container to suit your specific needs. Instead of getting a cargo container with only one door at the end, you can install roll-up doors or steel-framed deadbolt doors that only open from the inside.

Likewise, you might need a waterproof floor or electrical outlets and a phone line. Or you may need to insulate your container against temperature extremes.

Keep in mind that not all container companies offer unlimited modifications. Ask your container company what modifications they offer.

Work or Sell from Inside the Container

As already mentioned, buying a cargo container allows you to modify it—which, in turn, allows you to specify the container to your work needs.

Let’s say you’re able to sell to a new market but can’t yet rent a building. Your customers are impatiently waiting for new inventory in their area, and you might lose out on business if you wait a couple of years. If you own your own customized storage container, you can deliver it to the site of your choosing and work/sell out of your own container. Yes, you may face some business restrictions, but the option is still there.

Buy a Used Container

If you decide to buy, check out what used containers are available at your storage company.

As always, pay attention to the quality of the container if you’re worried about potential temperature or weather damages over time. A reputable seller will truly refurbish used containers, not just slap a coat of paint over the rust. So, check carefully to know what you’re buying.

Not only are refurbished storage containers a great buy, you’re contributing to a greener environment by reusing old containers. Ask your seller how they refurbished your container, pick your size, and customize as you desire.

Consider Disadvantages, Too

Let’s face it: there are times when it isn’t in your best interests to buy a storage container. You don’t have the budget to buy, your needs are short term, or you’re only shipping goods one way.

As mentioned earlier, buying a container isn’t the best choice if you only need something for a brief time. If you need a quick solution to shipping big loads of inventory, renting makes sense. If you’re moving goods into a new warehouse soon but need extra space for a few months, ask your storage company about rental prices in the interim.

While buying a container may be a one-time tax write-off, you can take a tax deduction each time you rent storage containers.

When you buy, you’ll pay anywhere between $3,000 and $7,000 for a new 20-foot container. Although used containers are cheaper, you can still put down a decent amount of money depending on how many containers you purchase.

Renting costs may be more sensible for you if your budget is tight. On average, many companies charge $4 to $10 per day to rent. Ask your storage company if it offers discounts for longer rental periods.

Now that you know more about your options, you’ll know exactly how to manage all that extra inventory and keep your business costs manageable into the future. If you have further questions, ask your storage company representative.