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Understand the Pricing for a House Made from Storage Containers

Last Updated: January 17, 2023 note: Need a storage container at an affordable price? Fill out the 30 second questionnaire below and our storage container partners will send you free price quotes.

Shipping container homes, also referred to as storage container homes, are a green, sustainable, and quick alternative to conventional building methods. More and more people are looking to container homes for their affordability and convenience. Container homes offer a simple building process that takes less time.

Advantages to a Shipping Container Tiny House #

There are a plethora of advantages that come with building a shipping container tiny house, some of which include:

  • Affordability: Typically, shipping container homes are cheaper compared to other building materials. Not only that, but since the majority of the work is completed on a factory floor for a fixed cost, there are few surprise expenses.
  • Easy transport: Shipping containers are incredibly easy to transport (the word "shipping" is right in the name, after all). There is virtually nowhere you wouldn't be able to send or receive shipping containers. They are also simple to set up on a prepared foundation, requiring less work than other building materials.
  • Prefabrication: Container homes are often available in prefabricated models, which reduces overall construction time. The majority of the building code inspections are done at the factory, which saves even more time. Even if you are looking to design a custom home, a prefabricated structure can still be helpful.
  • Recycling: When you construct a shipping container home, you are repurposing a leftover product to make your home. Rather than allowing the container to go to waste, it is being reused.

Buying a Custom-Made Shipping Container Home #

Custom-made shipping container homes are built to your exact budget and specifications. Custom units are more expensive than prefabricated units, but customization allows you to make it more your own. To customize a container home, you can either pick an existing base model and customize from there, or you can order a completely custom home designed by you. Prices range widely depending on your designs and wants for fully custom models, but it is still typically cheaper than traditional building methods. Choosing a base model and customizing off of that is usually cheaper than buying a completely custom unit, but offers less in the way of customization.

How Much Do Shipping Container Tiny Houses Cost? #

The cost of shipping container tiny houses depends on the age, condition, and size of the containers, as well as any add-ons or customizations you choose. You also need to consider the cost of delivery and permits, if necessary. What follows is a general pricing guide to provide an idea of what you can expect to pay for your shipping container guest house.

  • On average, a storage container home costs between $1,400 and $4,000 depending on the age, condition, and size of the containers.
  • Site preparation for shipping container homes has an average cost of $10,000, with assembly averaging around $3,000.
  • Electricity, flooring, plumbing, and windows increase contractor fees, with costs averaging between $50 and $150 per hour.
  • Electricity, HVAC, and plumbing have an average cost around $7,000 each.
  • Doors and hardware have an average cost of $2,000, as do closets and shelves.
  • Flooring and insulation have an average cost between $5,000 and $5,500.
  • Roofing has an average cost of $3,000.
  • Adding windows has an average cost of $4,000.
  • Finishing and painting the shipping container home has an average cost of $6,000.

Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Shipping Container House #

Cost is an important factor of the buying decision, but it should never be the only thing you consider. To ensure you get not only the best possible price but also the best possible product, avoid the following:

  • Building without insulation: Insulation is necessary for any home, but especially for container homes that are built with non-traditional materials. The strength and type of insulation depends on the climate of your location, condition of the container, and style of the home. There are multiple types and styles of insulation, with each offering different benefits.
  • Changing container structure: Shipping container homes are highly customizable, which is one of several reasons they are gaining popularity. However, you can over-customize and impact the structure of the container itself. If you impact the durability of the container home, you may need to put in additional support beams, adding to your costs.
  • Incorrect containers: People commonly think that shipping containers are universal in size, but this is not true. It is important that you consider all of your sizing options (generally 20', 40', and 40' high cube) to ensure that you purchase the right size of home.


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