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Gap Containers Blog

Should I rent or buy a shipping container?

  • September 23, 2020
shipping containers for sale and hire

This is a question we get asked all the time, here at Gap Containers.

Is it better to rent or buyThe truth is; it depends on your specific requirements and circumstances. In some situations, the best option is to hire a shipping container, either on a short or long-term basis. In others, it makes more sense to purchase a shipping container outright. And to help make your decision, there are several key factors that you should take into consideration.


1. What it the shipping container needed for?

First things first, it’s important to think about the shipping container’s purpose.

Will it be used in the traditional sense to transport goods? If so, how many journeys will it make? If it’s only required for one-time use or a couple of inbound and outbound trips, renting is likely to be the most appropriate option. However, if you’re looking to ship goods long-term (i.e. for more than a year), it’s usually worth investing in your own container and re-selling it at a later date.

Will the container be used for storage? Again, if you plan to store goods for a short time, renting makes sense. Whereas if you intend to store goods for more than 12 months – or wish to permanently install the container in one location – you’ll need to make a purchase.


2. Would you like to modify the shipping container?

Our rentable containers come in four standard sizes – 10, 20, 30 and 40ft – and, when hired long-term, these can be adapted to include your company livery and colours. But this is where the personalisation ends. If you wish to modify them in any other way, you’ll need to buy your own.

We currently offer a bespoke fabrication service, whereby a shipping container can be made in a diverse range of sizes (i.e. 6ft-40ft) to meet your exact requirements and painted in a colour of your choice. These can either be bought as a standard shipping container or converted into a container office, home, mess room, restaurant and more. If you’re purchasing, the options are endless.


shipping container for sale or hire


3. What is your budget?

If it’s for short-term use, renting a shipping container will be the most cost-effective option.

If it’s needed for a long time, things get a little more complicated. Technically speaking, in this situation, buying the shipping container makes more financial sense. Not only will it reduce the day-to-day cost, you can sell the structure (once you’ve finished using it) and recoup some of the original investment. But it all depends on your budget at the time. Can you afford to buy a shipping container outright? If not, hiring is a viable option, that costs as little as 85p per day.


4. Are your needs likely to change?

Renting a shipping container gives you a lot more flexibility.

For example, if your business’ needs were to grow (or become more streamlined), it’s possible to change the size of the container and replace it for one that is better suited to your current demands. You can also hire more containers during busy periods and return them when business is quiet.

That’s why, for anyone who suspects their requirements will change in the future, we typically recommend hiring on an ad-hoc basis (rather than committing to just one size and quantity).


5. Do you have time to manage the structure?

This is another big factor to consider when making your decision.

To keep them in optimum condition, shipping containers must be properly managed and maintained. They need to be cleaned regularly, transported safely and secured using a suitable padlock or lock box. And most people like to add their brand or corporate colours to the outside design.

If you have the time and inclination to do these things yourself, buying a shipping container could be the right option for you. But if not, our advice is to hire. That way, you can simply hand over the responsibility. All of our shipping containers are supplied clean, dry and secured with a padlock. What’s more, they come pre-modified with your livery and are delivered directly to your door.


Member of the team at Gap Containers


Still not sure on the best option for you?

Please feel free to get in touch.

Our team of experts are always on hand and happy to help in any way they can. They have extensive knowledge and experience in this area and, having asked the five questions above, can offer tailored advice on whether renting or buying a shipping container is the most suitable option for you.

Either give us a call on 0870 240 9405 to discuss your container requirements in detail. Or, if you prefer, send an email to and we’ll respond as soon as possible.


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