Ever since modular homes become a major architectural trend, people have been touting the benefits of shipping containers for sale as the key to affordable, sustainable housing. But just how much does it cost to repurpose a container into a functional living space? It’s safe to say that the overall cost of this project will largely depend on the shipping container you source from suppliers. Its size will factor into what you’re going to spend on other considerations such as plumbing, HVAC, electrical work, insulation, flooring, roofing, site preparation, assembly, etc.

So, if your building a modular home on a limited budget, being economical in choosing a container is essential. To help you keep your expenses at a minimum, here are some buying tips you should take note of.

Start Building a Low-Cost Home Using Shipping Containers for Sale

Buy from a Local Seller

Finding bargain priced containers means little if they need to be shipped to a location that’s miles and miles away. High transportation costs will just offset what you save during initial purchase. For instance, if you’re going to have the container shipped over a distance of 25 miles or more, you’re looking to pay at least $5 per mile in delivery fees. A good workaround to this is to find a local company that serves your area. Local suppliers will offer lower transport rates for such jobs and will be able to deliver the container to your construction site faster.

Opt for a Used Container

On average, people spend somewhere between $2,000 and $5,000 on each container. Estimates for a new 40-foot shipping container are as high as $6,000, but a secondhand one will only cost you around $3,000 to $4,000. Smaller 20-foot containers are bound to be cheaper as well, especially if you buy used. Since you’re going to be heavily remodeling the container anyway, it might be better to buy a pre-owned one. The trick here will be to have the product thoroughly inspected for defects and damage that will affect its structure.

Keep Your Order Simple

Most will agree that the fun part of building a modular home is the modification of the unit. If you want to keep your expenses low, however, you should not go too crazy with personalization. Each addition and alteration will drive up your expenses higher. Unless customizations and specialized specifications are absolutely necessary, keep your order simple. Most containers are ready for building with little modifications needed. You can get by with just foundation, insulation, electrical, plumbing, and a few doors and windows. You can always have more work done once you’ve saved up some money.

Focus on the Structure

If there’s one thing you shouldn’t skimp on when building a shipping container home, it’s the structural aspect of your project. Don’t sacrifice the construction’s stability and the safety of future inhabitants for the sake of being thrifty. You have to make sure that the foundations and structural components are set up right. After all, they have to carry the weight of the container, the people and everything you plan to put in it, too.

Use Low Maintenance Materials

You get the most value out of your home if you use low maintenance materials in its construction. This means you won’t have to replace parts every few years. For example, instead of installing a wooden roof, go for a metal one instead. Metal roofing is arguably more durable and requires little to no upkeep once fitted. Steel flooring is also a viable and durable option for replacing the original hardwood flooring of your unit. It’s guaranteed to last a very long time before it needs replacement.

Remember, buying an affordable container is just the first step of building a low-cost home. There are many factors that you would need to consider as well. Fortunately, trusted suppliers in the Dallas, Houston, and Seattle areas like Equipment Management Suppliers, can help you make good choices.


How To Build A Shipping Container Home With A Small Budget, ContainerHomePlans.org

How Much Do Shipping Container Homes Cost?, MetalBuildingHomes.org