5 Business Ideas for Shipping Containers

Shipping containers used for transporting goods overseas are an untapped industry for entrepreneurs that wish to take advantage of a green business. These sturdy metal containers, often 100 square feet or more in size, are in abundance at shipyards around the country, ready to be recycled into new products or for new uses. Shipping companies often “retire” these containers after a few uses because of changes import specifications, vendors or customers. Once retired, these containers sit there waiting to be re-purposed, otherwise they just sit and waste away.

Five Novel Business Uses:

Shipping container mallInnovative business owners and developers have found that these shipping containers are perfect for many different types of construction projects. With a little creativity, and a little reconditioning, these containers have been changed into some wonderful structures.

1. Coffee Stand  Starbucks, in an effort to be creative and stand by its environmental policy of being “good citizens to the Earth,” has taken a retired shipping container and changed it into a walk-up coffee stand in an area where they could not put in a stand-alone building. This experiment has been so popular that the company is planning to change many of their stores into this type of building.

2. Shopping Mall  An innovative developer in Michigan thought that these containers could create the perfect eco-friendly shopping mall. Each container is connected by walkways, and each one is an individual store. Of course, you will not see super-sized stores in this mall, but every unit is occupied, and there is no lack of business.

3. Apartments  Another developer in the Michigan area discovered that these containers could be easily changed into micro apartments, perfect for those with limited need for space or limited income. The units meet all health and safety standards and were quickly occupied.

4. Storage Facilities  Developers all over the country have discovered that is is more economical and more environmentally sound to re-purpose these shipping containers into self-storage units than to build these units from scratch. This is an incredible opportunity to save resources while providing a valuable service.

5. Tool Shed  These containers make great personal storage units on your own private property. A business has begun purchasing and refurbishing these shipping containers into personal workshops and tool sheds. Because these items are still considered to be “mobile” structures, many areas will not require special permits to have them on your property and they are not a built-in structure which will produce more taxes on your home.

These are just a few of the most recent uses found for these retired shipping containers. With some imagination, these containers could be re-purposed into any type of business or structure. It is an environmentally friendly type of business that will draw a lot of attention from potential clients due to its uniqueness. What is perhaps the most impressive, however, is that they are very low cost in comparison, and the potential for profit is very high.

Jonathan Billings is a small business entrepreneur and offers this article to share unique and affordable uses of containers typically thought of as only temporary shelters for valuables on job sites and other short-term uses. At StorageContainer.com  you can either lease a self-contained job site office, or buy several for a cool community project!

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/clhendricksbc/8459875381/