Unique and Inexpensive: Ever Considered Opening a Business in a Shipping Container?

After an earthquake devastated much of the New Zealand city of Christchurch in 2011, the future of the city's central business district became uncertain. The solution was a surprising one, and, though it was intended to be a temporary one, it is still very much in use. The central city is filled with more than 30 shipping containers which have now been converted into stores and food outlets, and have become a tourist attraction in their own right. While the Christchurch shipping containers were a matter of necessity, perhaps there is something to the idea of using a shipping container as your retail or hospitality premises. So what are some of the key benefits?

The Price Factor

The low cost of converting a shipping container into a business is perhaps the most alluring aspect of the idea. But how does it save money?

  • A shipping container business is infinitely cheaper than buying or renting an existing structure which will then need to be outfitted for your purposes. A shipping container is prepared offsite and then transported to its destination, requiring far less labour than a traditional retail or hospitality space usually does.
  • This destination can be a rather compact space. All it needs is power and water. Since a shipping container building doesn't require much space at all, this means that less land needs to be leased.
  • You can also rent a portion of an existing prepared site, if subdivision is permitted by your local council.
  • You could perhaps take advantage of a temporary lease if desired. This is another way to keep costs down, perhaps allowing you to test your business before committing to a long-term contract.
  • Your shipping container can be anchored in place, but this is easy to undo, meaning it can quickly be removed and transported to a new destination or owner.

The Originality Factor

The concept of using a shipping container for something other than its intended purpose is becoming more common. For example, a shipping container can quickly be changed into a stylish living space. Having said that, there is still something unique about the idea of using a shipping container as a place to sell products or to serve food and drink. Changing the external look of a shipping container is quick and easy. So while your shipping container business will be unique, you can make yourself stand out even more by painting your new premises in a bright, bold colour.

Not every business is suitable for being housed inside a converted shipping container. But for those that qualify, it can be a fantastic way to save money and stand out from the crowd.