Storage Container Costs [Rental & Purchase]
Storage containers are perfect as a temporary storage solution. Those containers are also referred to as ISO containers, these units may be used to store machinery, equipment, supplies, documents, and even inventory items temporarily.
For temporary storage, rental is better than purchase. In this post, we will review storage container rental costs and purchase prices for different types of storage containers.
If you’re in the market for a storage container, there’s a lot to consider before making a decision on which is right for you.
Generally, you should expect to pay between $89 and $200 per month for a storage container. But your price could be much higher or lower than that depending on which type of container you get, which additional features you want, and your location.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to storage container costs. To get a complete overview of the prices in this space, keep reading.
This article provides an extensive look at the various costs that you might incur while either renting or purchasing a storage container. But to save you some time, we’ll provide a quick list of some of the most important pricing information to keep in mind while shopping for a storage container:
- The average cost of self-storage units is between $90 and $290 per month
- Portable storage units cost between $150 and $250 per month (plus delivery and pick-up charges)
- Shipping containers cost between $125 and $500 per month if you want to rent one
- You can buy a shipping container for between $1,200 and $7,000
- Extra features like insurance and improved security will add to your monthly price
Types of Storage Containers to Choose From
Before diving into more pricing information for storage containers, let’s take a moment to review the different options that are available to you. Here’s an overview of three types of storage containers that might suit your needs.
When some people talk about storage containers, they actually mean self-storage units. These are pretty straightforward. They are individual units for storage, which are available in large self-storage facilities.
Many self-storage facilities exist outdoors. Consumers are able to drive up to their unit and load and unload items from it whenever they want.
Other self-storage units are available on the interior of large buildings. These work in the same way as the other type of self-storage units. The main difference is that they also tend to be climate-controlled.
That means choosing an interior self-storage unit could be a good option for you if you need to store objects that could be damaged in harsh conditions.
Portable storage containers are more convenient than self-storage units. With this option, a company will drop off a portable storage unit in front of your home. Then, you can just load your items into it directly from your home instead of having to travel to another location to do so like you would with self-storage units.
Once the container is loaded, the company will come and pick it back up. Then, if you’re moving, you can have the container delivered to your new address. Or the company that you use can place the portable storage container in one of its facilities and store your items there until you need them again.
Some people who are searching for a storage container may also be looking for a shipping container. These are exactly what they sound like: a storage container that you can use to ship items from one location to another via freight.
But shipping containers can be used for a lot more than just transporting objects and storing them. Some people actually buy these to turn into homes, outdoor bars, garden furniture, and many other types of useful things.
Average Cost of Self-Storage Units
Now that we’ve covered the different types of storage containers that are available to you, let’s start diving into some pricing information for each type.
So, how much should you expect to pay for a self-storage unit?
The average price of a storage unit can vary based on factors like your location and the features you receive. But the biggest factor that impacts the price of self-storage units is price.
Here’s a table that shows how much you should expect to pay for self-storage units of varying sizes:
|Size||Dimensions||Average Monthly Rental Price|
|Small||5 x 5 ft - 5 x 10 ft||$90|
|Medium||5 x 15 ft - 10 x 15 ft||$160|
|Large||10 x 20 ft - 10 x 30 ft||$290|
Average Cost of Portable Storage Units
The cost of a portable storage unit will vary some based on which company you decide to buy one from. Here’s a table that shows how much you should expect to pay based on the size of the portable storage unit that you want and the company that you decide to get it from:
|Company||Unit Size||Monthly Storage Cost||Delivery, transportation, and other fees||Total Price You Pay|
|Go Mini’s||12 feet||$172||$246.80||$418.80|
|Go Mini’s||16 feet||$186||$246.80||$432.80|
|Go Mini’s||20 feet||$211||$246.80||$457.80|
|1-800-PACK-RAT||12 or 16 feet||$216.99||$159.98||$376.97|
As you can see, the average cost for a portable storage unit is quite a bit higher than the average monthly rental cost for a self-storage unit.
This is because, with a portable storage unit, you get a level of convenience that storage units can’t match. With this option, the company delivers the container to your door and picks it up when you want. This can make it much easier for you to take care of your storage needs.
That being said, the higher price of this option makes it a solution that you should only pick if it makes sense for your unique needs.
For example, maybe you don’t need the items that you’re placing into storage to be delivered anywhere. And maybe you don’t mind transporting the items to another location for storage yourself.
In a scenario like this one, it would be a better decision to go with a self-storage unit. That’s because you would save a lot of money per month by doing so and you wouldn’t have to pay for services that you aren’t actually going to take advantage of.
Average Cost of Shipping Containers
Shipping containers are a bit different than portable storage units and self-storage options. Many people who are interested in shipping containers want to purchase one instead of rent one. However, you still can technically rent a shipping container.
If you’d like to rent a shipping container, then you should expect to pay between $125 and $500 per month depending on size, add-on features, and conditions.
If you’re interested in purchasing a shipping container, then this table will show you how much you should expect to pay for one depending on what type of shipping container you want:
|New||20-foot||$5,000 - $6,000|
|New||40-foot||$6,500 - $7,000|
|Used||20-foot||$1,200 - $2,500|
|Used||40-foot||$2,600 - $3,300|
The prices shown above are for shipping containers without any add-on features. If you want special additions for the shipping container that you buy, then you should expect to pay more for it than what we’ve shown above.
One other thing we need to mention is that shipping container prices are pretty high in the wake of Covid-19. Used containers are also more difficult to come by right now because the demand for them is so high.
That being said, shipping containers should begin returning to their normal price ranges soon. This will happen once the supply of new and used shipping containers rises enough to meet the pent-up demand from the pandemic.
Things to Keep In Mind When Buying Used Containers
Buying a used shipping container is a great way to save yourself some money. And often, used containers are available for sale not because they’re in bad shape. But because they simply aren’t in good enough shape to make long international voyages anymore.
If you think that purchasing a shipping container is the right move for you, here are some things to check out while evaluating your options and making your purchasing decision:
- Check to make sure that there aren’t any loose floorboards
- Look for rust and dents, a little bit is okay, too much is problematic
- Check out the seller online to get a feel for their reputation before signing a contract
- Ensure that the doors of the container open and close easily
Is It Better to Rent Or Buy a Shipping Container?
If you’re interested in getting a shipping container, then this will likely be the biggest question that you ask yourself while looking for one. There is no hard and fast rule here. Instead, it may be better for you to rent or buy a shipping container depending on your goals.
Maybe you’re interested in shipping containers because you’d like to customize one for a unique purpose. For example, you can create a new living area out of a shipping container or cut it up and use parts of it in your outdoor space.
If you plan on making customizations to your shipping container like these ones, then you’ll need to buy one.
But if you plan on just using a shipping container to store some things or transport them from one part of the world to another, then renting will almost definitely be the better option.
The reason for this is obvious: renting a shipping container costs much less than purchasing one.
So the best thing to do while making this decision is to start by evaluating your own needs. Then, once you’ve determined what you hope to get out of your shipping container, it’ll be easier for you to figure out whether you should buy or rent one.
Portable storage containers are the ideal solution for a move because they make the process of getting your important objects from one location to another super easy.
Many people who look up storage container cost information are doing so because they have a move coming up soon. If that applies to you, then it’s likely that your best option will be to use a portable storage container.
But that being said, there are a lot of different portable storage containers on the market nowadays. If you’re having a tough time figuring out which one is best for you, we’ve got you covered.
Below, you’ll find an overview of the costs and features of several of the biggest names in portable storage containers.
Storage Pod Cost Comparision
|Size of Home||450 miles of transportation||1,750 miles||2,050 miles|
|1 bedroom apartment||$1,080||$740||$1,560|
|2 bedroom home||$1,620||$1,480||$2,730|
|3 bedroom home||$2,260||$2,170||$3,830|
|5 bedroom home||$2,700||$3,310||$4,630|
PODS offers several different services. You can rent a local storage unit from the company, store your objects with a moving company, or rent a portable storage container for your move.
Here’s a breakdown of PODS’ prices for portable storage containers:
|Feature||7-Foot Container||12-Foot Container||16-Foot Container|
|1st Month Rental Fee||$164.99||$189.99||$199.99|
|Move Container to a New Location Fee||$89.99||$89.99||$89.99|
|Final Pickup Fee||$99.99||$99.99||$99.99|
UPack is a moving company that also offers portable storage units. The company is somewhat unique in that it charges a flat rate of $150 per month for each unit that you want to store.
You also have the option of hiring UPack to move your objects from one location to another. The cost of doing this will vary, as noted in the following table:
Unfortunately, 1-800-Pack-Rat doesn’t offer any standard quotes on its website for the portable storage unit that it offers. The amount that you will be asked to pay will vary based on your location and the specifications of what you want from the company.
SmartBox charges its customers between $79 and $89 for its portable storage containers. On top of this, you will also have to pay the company a flat $99 fee for delivery and a flat $99 fee for drop-off.
Each additional month that you want to rent a storage container from SmartBox, you will need to pay another $79 to $89. And keep in mind, the company will charge you more than this if you want them to move your goods from one place to another.
Factors That Can Impact Storage Container Costs
The prices that we’ve provided above show the average costs of various types of storage containers that you might be interested in. However, you could end up paying either less or more than the average price for a storage container.
As you shop for the best deal, there are several factors that can impact exactly how much a company charges you for a storage container. In this section, we’re going to cover six of those features so that you can make sure to get the best deal possible for someone in your situation.
Time is probably the biggest factor that can impact the price of a storage container. That makes sense. If you’re going to ask a storage company to hold your stuff for a year or longer, they’re obviously going to charge you more for that than they would if you wanted to only store something with the company for a few months.
However, every storage container company approaches the concept of time differently. For example, some facilities will give you a discount on each successive month that you add to your rental.
So if the first month costs you $150, your monthly price could get to under $100 by the time your agreement is done.
Some storage facilities will also require you to keep your items with them for a minimum number of months. So be sure to check about a company’s time policies before signing an agreement with them.
The size of the container you intend to rent will also impact on its rental as well as delivery and pickup costs.
With various storage containers, you will have a range of container size options to choose from based on your space requirements. For instance, you can choose between standard and high-cube containers.
Age of the Container
Just as is the case with shipping containers, storage containers come in a myriad of conditions. The rental cost for each container is partially determined by its condition.
For the purpose of this guide, we are going to classify storage units into two broad categories based on their condition:
New Containers (one-trip)
Are you looking for a unit that exhibits minimal wear and tear? You should consider getting the newer, commonly referred to as one-trip containers. These are the units that have only been used a couple of times. Basically, the newer the shipping container, the higher the price.
You may also expect longer lifespans from one-trippers because they have experienced less wear and tear than used containers with a longer life at sea. Such units are associated with minimal risk of unknown chemical contamination.
For the newer storage containers, you should expect to pay about $3,000 for a 20-foot container and about $4,500 for a 40-foot standard shipping container. The 40-high cube containers, on the other hand, are priced at about $5,000.
Used Storage Containers
As a container ages, it will show more signs of wear and tear and wrinkles. This being the case, renting a used container will be more affordable than renting a new one.
Most people who shop for storage containers don’t realize this, but the season that you search in can have a big impact on the price you pay.
Most storage container companies are at their busiest from May – September. That’s because this is when most people are moving so the demand for storage containers is at its peak.
So one way to save money on storage container costs is to try to delay your need for one until the off-season of October – April arrives. If you could do that, you could save quite a deal on the overall price you pay for your storage container.
Where you’re located can also have a big impact on the price of a storage container. Generally, if you live in a densely populated urban area, you will have to pay more for a storage container than you would if you lived in a rural area.
Delivery and Pickup
The cost of delivering the container at your location and picking it up at the end of the learned or rental period will also be included in your quote. The delivery and pickup fees for storage containers are determined by several factors.
For instance, there are instances when you have to pay for special permits as well. These costs impact how much you pay out of pocket to put your container to use. The fees will also be partly influenced by the distance the container will be moved.
This is why it is advisable to get yours for the nearest provider so as to save on delivery fees. In most cases, the providers set a flat delivery fee for a certain mile radius.
They may charge additional fees for any distance covered beyond the maximum limit. Most providers will bill for the additional distance on a per-mile basis.
If the provider has a hard time moving the container to the chosen location, often as a result of site constraints, you may be charged more for the delivery.
The provider may charge you more if the delivery team has to go up long dirt roads or even squeeze into sketchy delivery locations.
If the team gets to the site before you and has to wait for you, you may also invite additional charges. In this case, you may end up getting paid by the provider about $75/hour for the wasted time.
If you’re going to be storing valuable items in a storage container, you want to make sure that the value of those objects is protected. That’s why many storage container companies offer insurance for an additional monthly fee.
Every company has a different approach to how it offers insurance. So it’s important to shop around a bit if you want to insure your items in order to make sure that you’re getting a good deal.
One thing to keep in mind here is that some homeowner and renter’s insurance plans will cover the value of items that are taken from your home and placed into storage containers. So it may be worth checking into your coverage before signing an insurance agreement with a storage company.
Many storage companies offer add-on features for customers who are looking for something above and beyond what’s typically offered with a storage container. If you need extra features with your storage container, you should expect to pay more.
One of the biggest examples of this is climate control. Most people who use storage containers won’t need them. But you might if you’re going to be storing items that could be damaged by harsh temperatures.
Security is another feature that can influence the price you pay for a storage container. The more security that a facility provides, the more that they can charge you for this feature.
It’s usually a good idea to do some shopping around to compare your different options. Then you can assess which facility offers the right blend of security and affordability for your preferences.
How to Get the Best Value On a Storage Container
There’s so much to think about when it comes to finding the right storage container for your needs. This can sometimes make it feel virtually impossible to make sure that you’re getting the best bang for your buck while shopping for one.
However, getting the best value on a storage container isn’t actually that difficult. The most important thing to do to ensure that you find the right option is a lot of research.
You should look into all of your local options, understand how they differ and get quotes for the specific containers that you want. Do that, and you’ll be well on your way to finding the best container for you.
Ultimately, finding the best value is a balancing act. Your goal is to find the best price on a storage container that meets the minimum features that you need.
The Bottom Line
Generally, most people who need a storage container will be able to get one for about $100 – $200 per month. But your price can vary widely based on factors like:
- Which type of storage container do you choose
- When you rent your container
- How far you’re moving
- What additional features do you want
- And more
Ultimately, storage containers are like anything in life: you get what you pay for. So be sure to do your research to find which local options offer the best blend of price and features for your specific storage needs.