How Much Does It Cost To Convert A Shipping Container To An Office?

How Much Does It Cost To Convert A Shipping Container To An Office?

Converting a shipping container to an office is an alternative lifestyle that is adopted by many Western countries. This is saving them space and money and benefits the environment passively. 

Overall, the cost of converting a shipping container is roughly $8000 to $22000. In the process of conversion of a shipping container to an office, you must consider the host of factors relevant to the conversion, not only the price of the container.

If you are interested to learn about the cost in detail, I implore you to go through the article.

How Much Does It Cost To Convert A Shipping Container To An Office?

We usually get excited to see the price of a shipping container in a sale or online. The price is indeed alluring considering a house or a shed would be more expensive. But what we fail to regard is that there is a much more relevant expenditure that pursues with the purchase of a shipping container. 

Shipping container-sized 20 feet costs $1,500-$3000. However, after the necessary renovation and alterations, the final cost usually goes to $8000 minimum. But in these days of inflation and the upsurge of construction prices, the overall cost can hit the $22,000 quota. 

However, if you are handy with tools or can use your creative instincts, you can create a beautiful shipping container office within a tight budget too. 

Convert A Shipping Container To An Office

11 Individual Costs Of Converting A Shipping Container To An Office

Starting from planning and finally achieving a shipping container office will put a heavy toll on your pocket. If you don’t plan your costing and budget well, your excitement for a new shipping container shed might be overcast by the unbearable basket of bills and debts. Don’t worry. I have listed the cost individually so that you can have a proper idea about your budget. 

1. Cost Of A Shipping Container 

The range of the price of a shipping container starts from $1,200 and can go up to $8,000. The main influence on this cost game is played by the size of the shipping container. A 20-foot shipping container will cost you around $1,500-$3,500. Whereas a 40-foot shipping container will be around $2,500-$4,500. 

Current conditions of the shipping container also play a striking role in pricing. A used shipping container can be purchased even at $1,200. Depending on the grade of the shipping container, the price can be up to $8,000. As your purpose is to build an office inside the shipping container, I would suggest going for a mid-range 20-foot shipping container. 

2. Delivery Cost 

We often ignore this cost thinking this must be a petty expense. However, delivering such a monumental establishment is far different from a regular Amazon delivery. The delivery cost is often higher than the cost of an actual shipping container. On average, it may charge you around $3,000. 

This cost may vary depending on your location, the distance from the vendor’s location to yours, and the route the container will take to get to your place. Also, the container’s condition, size, and quality will also have an impact on the cost. 

3. Stationing To The Ground 

After delivery, you have to make a major decision. Whether you want your shipping container to be permanently attached to your property or you want to keep the portability option open. Whatever your decision is, you have to separate a cheque for this. To station a shipping container to the ground, you have to invest around $500 to $600. 

As the base or frame of the shipping container is already built-in, you just have to form a base to securely set the shipping container to the ground. On the contrary, if you want to keep your shipping container portable, you need to build a base on the deck block. This might cost you around $800-$1000. 

4. Doors And Windows 

If you are using the shipping container for your office, it is very crucial that you add at least two windows and a door. You may be fine with the typical shipping container door as it is. But experience says that handling such heavy metal doors is not everyone’s cup of tea. If you want a separate door, you can seal the current door and cut it out to build a door. 

You can cut out a frame for your door and windows by hiring a fabricator for a professional and smooth cut. It may cost you $15 to $20 per hour, and it probably would take 3 to 4 hours to finish the framing. So, the cost would be $45 to $60 to hire a professional. For a steel frame, the size would decide the price but on average a 5 x 5 steel window would cost $150. 

So, for two windows the cost will be $300, and for a door frame the cost will be around $250. For material, your total budget should be $300 + $250 = $550. For the professional hand and delivery, you can add another hundred dollar bill. So, in total, the cost of windows and doors is $650 to $700. 

How Much Does It Cost To Convert A Shipping Container To An Office?

5. Insulation Cost 

Another costly yet vital factor of a shipping container. As you wish to use the shipping container as an office, you must properly insulate it. A shipping container is made of metal with no access to air and moisture. In such a situation, you need to insulate the container to keep the heat flow in balance. There are some cheap options for insulation, but I highly discourage them. 

Styrofoam or bubble wrap are some cheap options people use to insulate a house or shed. But these cheap options won’t provide a long-term service. And as a shipping container is a metal box, such options will never be adequate. Hence, you need to properly insulate the container with proper material.

For a 20-foot shipping container, the price would be around $1500-$2000. Similarly, for a 40-foot container, the cost would be lifted from $3,000 to $5000. This is almost as costly as a shipping container itself. However, if you could install the insulation material by yourself, you can save on the labor cost. 

6. Partition Cost 

Partition cost is an optional cost, and it would depend on the size and amount of partition you want to install in your shipping container. If you are using a container as an office for a couple of people, you can partition an area to make a break room or coffee room. You can also install a partition wall for the bathroom or a second office room. 

To add a partition wall on an average 20-foot shipping container, the cost would be around $600 to $800. This is pricier than a normal partition as for a shipping container you would require metallic and special material. The cost would increase if you wanted to add more partitions. 

7. Ventilation 

You might be convinced that windows and doors are enough to provide you with adequate ventilation. But for a shipping container, it is not enough. As with the metallic outlook, hardly any air or moisture can penetrate inside the room. 

And if the weather is not in favor or the shipping container is situated in such a location that you can’t open the window, you are going to suffocate. So, proper ventilation should be installed. If that can be a natural way then best. But if that can’t be managed or isn’t viable any artificial methods should be granted. On average, the cost of ventilation is $300 to $1000. 

8. Electrical Installation

Running electricity to the shipping container is certainly the most daunting task of them all. Here, you can’t even consider the cheaper option as the container is made of metal. So, the wires and panels should be extra protected to avoid any short-circuit casualties. You also should consider the labor cost as only high professionals should be hired to run electricity there. 

Compared to other costs, electricity installation is quite inexpensive. This will out and out cost you from $600 to $2,300. Let me remind you that this is not the electricity bill of your shipping container, this is the installation cost to implant wire to your shipping container to run electricity.

9. Furniture And Electronic Devices 

An office is just a room without a desk and chair, be it a concrete office or a shipping container office. Thus, you need to decorate the office as per your demand, wish, and requirements. Also, don’t forget to add a computer set up in your newly built office. 

Well, decorating an office is always an art and you can’t put a price on art. Kidding! You can plan out your requirements and draw a budget according to that. For desks, chairs, computer setup, file drawers, and other relevant necessities, you can separate a $500 cheque. 

How Much Does It Cost To Convert A Shipping Container To An Office?

10. Permit Fees 

And after doing all this, you might still not enjoy your beautiful shipping container office because some officials might come at you and ask for documents for that container. To avoid such embarrassment, you must fetch a permit. 

You should clear the permit fees before you start building a shipping container officer at your premises. But don’t worry the cost is not so high. You can get a permit by submitting $15 to $100.  

11. To Sum It Up

These are the basic cost criteria that you must have a budget for. Of course, as per your wishes, the cost will and might get higher. In the chart below, you can comprehend the cost and budget in a concise way. 

Shipping container $1200-$8000
Delivery cost $3000
Stationing $500-$1000
Doors and windows $650-$700
Insulation cost$1500-$5000
Partition cost$600-$800
Electrical Installation $600-$2300
Furniture and Electronic devices$500
Permit fee$15-$100
Total $8,865-$22,400

Is It Cheaper To Buy A Shipping Container Shed? 

The overall expenditure might make your breath heavy and mouth dry but when you consider the cost of building a house or a shed, you will find this reasonable. Nowadays, there are many pre-built shipping containers that are customized beforehand and sold upon the purpose you are seeking the shipping container. 

A pre-built shipping container office would cost $16,000 to $40,000. As you can see, this pricing is much higher than converting a shipping container into an office. the gap is a mere thousands of dollars, rather it is literally double the conversion cost. 

It is true, you won’t have to customize all the listed things personally but considering the price gap, I guess it is not worth it.  In conversion, you have the liberty to opt for the design, budget, costs, and decorations that you prefer. But in a pre-built office container, you don’t have that kind of freedom. 

Also, even if you buy a shipping container office, you have to spend some extra to personalize the shipping container. The only advantage of this pre-built office is that you can start using the office right after the delivery and don’t have to plan and spend costs individually. 

Final Words

Buying and converting a shipping container to an office is never an impulse decision. Before you jump on that, you must take into consideration all aspects and all kickbacks. I am confident that you now have a clear understanding of the budget for your new shipping container office.

If you think building a shed might be cheaper, kindly read this article Is A Shipping Container Cheaper Than Building A Shed? to learn more.

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