A Renter’s Guide
These days, more and more businesses in a variety of industries are finding a need for more storage space, and metal storage containers are offering the perfect solution. In addition to their many advantages and features, they are extremely convenient and relatively inexpensive to rent. With an on-site, ground level storage container, you have year-round access to your business’s products, equipment, inventory and the like (whether in-use, out-of-season, or what have you) and you avoid having to relocate to a larger space or deal with expensive off-site commercial storage units. This makes renting a storage container a perfect fit for many different types of businesses, including the following:
- Manufacturing and warehouses
- Restaurants or Food/Beverage Services
- Healthcare facilities
- Mechanics and repair businesses
- Sports facilities
When deciding you’re interested in a storage container for your business, you have two options – buying or renting. Renting offers a multitude of benefits – including cost-savings, short-term storage solutions, low maintenance, and more. We’re here to walk you through the process of renting a storage container – what to consider, and whether it’s right for your business needs.
For starters, renting a storage container is a great fit for businesses that require extra space for limited periods of time. If you know your project duration, your storage needs are seasonal, or even if you’re simply confident you won’t be needing the storage container on your site forever, renting is the best option. It’s more affordable, and you won’t have to dish out a huge chunk of cash upfront. Even if you’re unsure about the duration of your need for the container, most suppliers can set you up with a month-to-month contract so you can arrange to have it removed when you no longer have a need for it. Here’s just a few benefits of renting:
- You avoid paying for storage when you no longer need it.
- You don’t have to worry about delivery, to or from
- There’s a variety of sizes to choose from, depending on your needs
- They’re completely secure, safe, and durable
- There’s no assembly required
- They’re portable and on-site for convenient access
- You’re covered under contract, so don’t stress about potential issues down the road
Storage containers come in a few standard lengths: 10-foot, 20-foot, and 40-foot. Some also offer “high cube” varieties of these sizes, which are usually 1 foot taller (9’6”) than a standard unit (8’6”). Many suppliers also offer customized sizes, for an additional cost. These sizes are created by either cutting the containers down or welding them together.
Some suppliers also offer an extra wide option that is usually 10 feet wide. The additional 2 feet of width allows two wooden pallets to be stored side by side and still provides a walkway between them. If you have bulky machinery or equipment that won’t clear an 8-foot entrance, you might consider the extra wide sizing.
Suppliers usually offer several options in terms of your contract duration. While rental contracts can usually range anywhere from a few months to several years, depending on the supplier, if you plan to have the container for more than a year, you might actually be losing money by renting. Take into consideration that suppliers may offer lease (instead of rental) options that cost less if you’re looking to use for upwards of a year, or lease-to-own options if you need it for several years. It’s also quite common for suppliers to offer discounts for longer rental contracts. If you feel it’s best to go with a month-to-month plan – which gives the flexibility to extend or not, depending on your business’s needs in real time – note that most suppliers require a 1-month minimum contract and a 30-day termination notice.
Of course, your rental cost will depend on several things – including your contract terms, size, location, customizations/features, and more. Most suppliers’ contracts will involve monthly fees, rather than daily. Typical costs for renting a storage container are:
- Standard containers: between $75-$300 per month
- Customized containers: between $125-$500 per month
Remember that your monthly rates oftentimes go down if you extend the duration of the rental or lease. Additionally, a standard container implies a dry unit – why is by far the most popular, abundant, and most cost-effective type. Refrigerated and insulated units are also available from many suppliers as customized options.
When comparing quotes, don’t forget to factor in delivery fees – even though many suppliers offer lower delivery fees for rentals vs. purchases. You may also find it assuring to add on insurance to prevent you from suffering the consequences of any damage or vandalism incurred to the unit while you were renting.
One great advantage of storage containers is that they offer many features and customizations, depending on what you and your business are looking for. Whether your business needs a quick, simple, short-term fix to your storage problem, or you’re looking to invest in a savvy space with industry-specific accommodations, your supplier should be able to handle it. Here are just some of the add-on features to choose from:
To access your unit, you can add single- or double-doors, a swinging (cargo) door, premium (personnel) door, roll-up door, or even sliding glass doors! While a swing-out door usually comes with a locking mechanism for high protection, a premium door has a handle and opens even more easily. Roll-up doors are great for storing large equipment or items and the unit does not need frequent access, and sliding glass doors are better for offices, stores, or living spaces.
You can choose from several options for the flooring in your container. The standard flooring is typically plywood, or you can go with plank, aluminum, steel, or vinyl for something a bit sturdier. Note that the steel and other material types of flooring you may add-on normally gets installed over the standard plywood. Also keep in mind before you customize your flooring that storage container floors are durable, weather-resistant, and built to last in their standard forms.
Most containers come with a standard lock, but you can also customize one depending on your security needs. For instance, you can add an advanced lock that internally locks and requires a key to release. It’s almost impossible to break open from the outside.
Do you plan on needing to move your storage container frequently? If so, you might consider a container on wheels for easier mobility, or a mobile office rather than a storage container. Either way, many suppliers will mount any size container onto wheels and a chassis that fit your dock bay. If you plan on frequently moving items in and out of the container, you can also add a ramp with a non-slip surface for safe access.
Some buyers looking to store excess files, documents, or storage materials prefer shelving in their unit rather than a wide-open space. Some suppliers offer shelving with adjustable widths, heights, and wrap-around options.
If your storage items or field of work requires temperature control, you can add ventilation features to protect your items that may be sensitive to heat or cold. One option is adding exhaust vents that move air more efficiently and prevent humidity from damaging the contents of your container.
Many suppliers now allow you to finish the interior of your container with electricity, plumbing, air conditioning, heat, drywall, studding, carpet, and roofing if you prefer!
Compare Best Suppliers
Since there’s so many options out there and you have limited time, it’s not the easiest process to choose the best supplier for your company’s needs. Even if the first supplier you speak to seems to have everything you’re looking for, it’s best to compare a handful of prices, options, and contracts. While you don’t need to call up tens of suppliers, asking the same set of questions to 3-5 suppliers and comparing their offerings is a good idea before making a final decision, Here’s a few helpful questions you might consider asking when on the phone receiving a quote:
- What is the container condition, and how old is it? Is there any damage?
- What are your different contract lengths, and how does the price vary by term? Do you offer any discounts for longer terms?
- How much notice do you ask before I terminate my contract? (especially if you’re opting for month-to-month)
- What is your delivery fee?
- What coverages (damage, theft, dysfunctioning features) do you promise while under contract?
- What are your damage insurance options and how much extra do they cost?
- What is your process for returning or removing the container?
When you’re ready to start shopping around for quotes, we can help! At no cost to you, we guide you through your storage container decision by making your life easy – based on your needs and desires, we match you with the best suppliers (up to 5) that service your area. You get to compare and make the final decision. No obligation whatsoever to buy!