18 Shipping Container Business Ideas

Are Shipping Container Homes Cost-Effective
Are Shipping Container Homes Cost-Effective?
November 6, 2023
18 Shipping Container Business Ideas

For small businesses that are looking for a place to call their brick-and-mortar HQ, converted shipping containers may not seem like an adequate first choice. Yet there are hundreds of small businesses and successful start-up companies that have turned to shipping containers to set up all sorts of operations, ranging from general office work to retail.

Shipping containers are sustainably made and recycled, highly resourceful, easy to customize, and extremely budget-friendly. Made with industrial-grade steel, they can withstand many different types of weather. Shipping containers can also be stacked and customized to create any sort of layout or size imaginable and at a fraction of the cost you’d pay to build it.

Best Shipping Container Businesses

Here are 18 small businesses you can launch from a renovated shipping container, converted into a personalized structure for you.

On-Site Construction HQ

Many construction companies use shipping containers on-site to set up their office and run everyday operations from. They provide plenty of space to store tools and materials, are weather-proof, and have advanced security locks on them.

Event Space

Host events from portable shipping containers or set up your own event space to be rented by others. Parties, work events, small conferences, professional workshops, music events, theatre, and awards nights can all be hosted from a dressed-up community events space made from connected shipping containers.

Plant Shop Or Gardening Center

A gardening store, plant shop, or nursery can take advantage of a shipping container’s outdoor functionality. Customize yours to allow sunlight in, open it up to the outdoors, and use its physicality to create the perfect plant environment.

Trade Workshops

Carpenters, woodworkers, and more tradespeople are tapping into converted shipping containers to create professional spaces wherein they can pursue their passions. Have a designated workspace ready to go without having to spend a fortune renting the space.

Hospital Or Health Service

Launch a mobile health clinic or temporary hospital with converted shipping containers providing shelter. Many times, they have been used in this capacity, including during natural disaster relief, in war zones, in remote areas, and more. Clinics can be easily based out of a shipping container.

Pop-Up Shops

Pop-up shops are seasonal. They come and go. What better way to make an impact than to drop a shipping container on location, branded and customized to attract a crowd. From selling Christmas trees during the holidays to rap artists selling merch, pop-up shops frequently rely on portable shipping containers to set up business.

Trendy Retail Shops

More retail boutiques and trendy hot spots are openly using shipping containers to gain credibility. Fortunately, shipping containers can be bought on even a small budget and stacked in various interesting ways to attract the eye.

More and more, trendy retailers – such as clothing brands, jewelry stores, gift shops, book stores, and thrift stores – are tapping into the aesthetic and functionality of shipping containers.

eCommerce Companies (Inventory & Warehouse)

From small-to-large eCommerce companies to growing Etsy shops, shipping containers provide you with a way to work, store inventory, and fulfill orders. Combine together a few containers and you can create the perfect headquarters to base your business from.

Educational Facilities

Schools, daycares, and educational facilities can use a budget-friendly, portable shipping container to create classrooms from. If a school requires extra space while construction is being done, a shipping container is advantageous to use in this context as well. The layout is ideal to accommodate any size classroom or daycare.

Farmer's Markets

Frequently, shipping containers are used in agricultural and farming areas. As they are weatherproof and highly adaptable in layout, many farmers can utilize these containers for agricultural and farming projects, including selling their produce and goods to the local community.

Coffee Shops

Coffee brewers, coffee distributors, and coffee shops alike don’t need a ton of space. A shipping container provides all the square footage they need for storage, tables and chairs, and to interact with customers. Starbucks has even recently set up a few locations using renovated shipping containers.

Gym Or Fitness Center

A gym can be easily established from a shipping container. A fitness center, yoga studio, or personal training business can be based from here, storing equipment and providing a home base from which you can host and attract new clients.


A restaurant or bar can be made from a converted shipping container with ease, providing a trendy, modern industrial feel. A restaurant setting allows you to really get creative with the decor and layout as well.

Shipping Container Restaurant Business

Repair Shop

If you have a skill in the repair field and want to turn it into a business, buy a shipping container to convert into a small workshop area. Whether it’s bicycle repair, computer and IT repair, auto repair, or something else, a shipping container will provide you all the square footage you need to work and service clients.

Art Studio

If you want to start a business around an artistic skill, consider using a renovated shipping container for it. Artists, musicians, photographers, writers, and more all have used shipping containers to create studios in which they can freely create, edit, and showcase their works.

Real Estate Office

A real estate agent who is moving around a region or who is constantly busy showing new properties may require a hub around which to build their clientele. A renovated shipping container is a great option for realtors and agents as it’s inexpensive, portable, and is sure to meet every business demand.

Visitor's Center

If you have a campground, city, hotel, or travel attraction in need of an information booth or visitor’s center, shipping containers can provide a ton of space. Install bathrooms, information stations, and a customer service counter area. They can work on a budget and with flexibility.

Apartment Building

Do you want to build a series of apartment rentals to earn income from? Try using shipping containers. They work on a budget and can be added in fast to complete housing quickly without compromise. Stack them, combine them, break them down and use them for parts, and create the ultimate multi-story building equipped with hallways, stairs, and all the architectural displays you love.

Start Your Shipping Container Business Today

Fast, Easy Payment Options To Get You Started Quickly.

Start Your Shipping Container Business With Ironclad Containers

Get in contact with the team at Ironclad Containers if you want to buy a shipping container to use for a business idea. Let us know what you’re looking to do with yours and we’re more than happy to provide an estimate.

Shipping containers are easy to convert, simple to use, and can be customized in some unique and amazing ways. Design yours the way you want and work to get everything just right. Tons of businesses are already based out of shipping containers from Ironclad Containers. Join them and the entrepreneurs to come, and reach out to a representative at Ironclad Containers today.

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