Is A Shipping Container Cheaper Than Building A Shed?

Is A Shipping Container Cheaper Than Building A Shed?

Investing in a separate room on a property premise requires utter consideration and contemplation. There are so many factors that manipulate the correct choice of the shed. Cost is undoubtedly one of the most prominent factors.

A shipping container is cheaper than building a shed by comparing the square foot of both. However, the cost of renovation, size, permit fee, condition, and location impacts the total cost. 

Cost consideration for both a shipping container and a shed must be measured with precision. If you don’t want to blow your mind with misleading information lurking around the net, keep reading the article. 

Is A Shipping Container Cheaper Than Building A Shed?

Shipping containers have been taking away the concept of a shed and revolutionizing it with a better and quicker solution for an outdoor facility or office or storage. The most convenient feature of it is that you can get an instant housing facility without waiting for it to be built from scratch.

This might peak a question inside your head. As you are getting a pre-built establishment, does it mean it is more expensive than building it from the ground? To your surprise, it is quite the contrary. 

A used 20-foot shipping container costs around $2,500 which if broken by a single unit would cost $15.63 per square foot. On the other hand, a 12 by 12 shed costs around $3,000 to build from the ground. So, it cost around $24.19 per square foot. 

This cost represents the space expense that one must spend to either get or build a shed. However, there are a lot more relevant costs and expenses that can impact the overall budget of the shed or shipping container.

Is A Shipping Container Cheaper Than Building A Shed?

7 Cost Comparison Between A Shipping Container And A Shed

Internal and external circumstances have a role to play in the overall budget of the premises. It may occur to you that a shipping container is cheaper but after renovation and modification, the overall cost might cross the budget to build a shed. So, before you make the final decision, take into consideration the host of factors for both options. 

1. Size 

A shed doesn’t require much space. In gist, it is a little larger than an average room. As you are to establish the shed beside your home, a tacky and expansive room might be an eyesore. Thus, your primal decision should be how big you want your shed to be. 

For a shipping container, there are lots of variations. Among them, 20-foot, 40-foot, and 60-foot are most common. However, if you want to convert the shipping container into a shed, a 20-foot shipping container would be most suitable for you. The dimensions of a 20-foot container in 20 x 8 x 8.6. It makes a wonderful composition to be consumed as a shed. 

A 20-foot shed costs around $2,500. If you want a brand new container, the price may elevate to $3,000-$5,000. On the contrary, a shed with dimensions of 12 x 12 will charge you $3,000. If you want to make the shed bigger, the outlay will raise exponentially.  

2. Production Cost

Whether you decide on the shipping container or building a shed, you can’t expect them to turn up in your garage from thin air. can you? For a shipping container, it should be delivered from the vendor’s warehouse, and for the shed, it should be built by professionals. 

Delivery of a shipping container doesn’t come cheap. Depending on the distance between the vendor’s warehouse to your home, the cost may be around $500 to $1,000. Whereas the production expense of building a shed is mostly labor costs and the delivery of tools and materials. 

It takes 4 to 6 days to primarily build a shed constructing for four hours on average. Usually, the labor cost to build a shed can be around $50 to $100 per hour. So, you do that math. This labor cost will be higher for complicated jobs like plumbing and electrical. Although, you need to invest in them for both cases. 

3. Material Costs 

For a shipping container, the container cost is the material cost. As you don’t have to build a shipping container on-site, you don’t need to sign a separate cheque for materials only. But as you are building a shed, you need to consider the cost of materials. 

The material cost to build a shed can differ depending on the material. If you are settled for a wooden structure, you will need to pay $3,000 to $15,000, unless you can provide the lumber. For a vinyl shed, the cost will be from $200 to $1000. And if you are creating a metal shed, you will need to pay $500 to $7,000 for the material only. 

4. Permit Fees 

Needless to say, you will need a permit from the county authority if you want to install a shed or a shipping container at your home. To fetch a permit, you will need to pay a fee for the license. Each state has its unique and distinctive rules applicable to permit charges and fees. The permit fees to build a shed can be from $100 to $300.  

Generally, the fees for such a permit are quite minimal but it may cost you more on installing a shipping container than to build a shed. Although the scenario would be reversed if the authority charges the fee based on the square foot of the shed, not on the material. In general, you would need to pay $15 to $100 for a shipping container permit. 

5. Insulation Cost 

If you opt for a shipping container, you first and foremost insulate it. As a shipping container was initially designed to carry goods, it lacks the quality to be habitable. So, to convert it to a livable place, you must insulate the shipping container. The expense of insulating an entire shipping container is around $1500 to $3000.

On the contrary, insulating a shed is much cheaper than a shipping container. If you build the shed with wood, the cost for insulation is zero as wood is a natural insulator. But the material of your shed is vinyl or steel, you need to separately insulate it. It will cost you around $300 to $900.

6. Partition Cost 

When you are building a shed from scratch, you can design it the way you would like. That means you can install a partition while the construction is still on. From the additional material and labor cost, a shed partition can be installed within $400-$700, depending on the size of the partition wall and complete shed. 

Quite the reverse for a shipping container. As a container is built with metal, you will need a special metallic partition wall to be installed. The cost can be around $700-$1000 for a partition for a 20-foot shipping container. 

7. Intension Of Use 

The purpose of using a shed or a shipping container has an unrecognized impact on the total cost. As the shed or a container is very versatile, you can use them for an office, garden, workshop, or for a storage facility. If the shed is used for office only, you can run electricity from the main power grid which might cost you around $600 including labor costs. Meanwhile, if you want to install and run electricity to the shipping container for office purposes, you may need to pay from $1,200 to $1,500. 

Is A Shipping Container Cheaper Than Building A Shed?

Can I Buy A Shipping Container For Under $1000? 

When you are exploring the online market for a shipping container to purchase, you may come across container models that have an asking price under $1000. You may wonder why you should pay more if you could avail yourself of a shipping container at such a cheap price. 

To burst your bubbles, you should not walk on that path even if that is alluring. You will certainly get a shipping container under $1000 but it would be in such dilapidated conditions that you will need twice as much money to restore it to a good condition. 

Thus, don’t fall for those lucrative offers and purchase shipping containers from a reliable source. It would be best if you could check the facility yourself and decide on the model as per your demand. 

Shipping Container Vs Building A Shed. Which One Is Suitable For You?

Every option has its pros and cons. Now, you need to decide which one suits you. As you can see, the shipping container is a few steps ahead in the game of cost. But, that doesn’t mean, you are just scratching building the shed off the list. Because, from purchasing, delivering, installing to renovating, the price may deter from being in your favor. 

On the other hand, building a shed might fall in your fortune, especially if you can provide your own material or cut the cost by purchasing handed-down materials. You have the liberty to customize and design your own facility, which is a priceless feature. Also, for a shipping container, you would need a clear space without hindrance. 

But you can build a shed without clearing the hindrance and building the shed around it. In gist, the cost of each option can be elevated and reduced as per your will and determination. So, you need to consider each factor listed above and contemplate your position to determine the cost. 

Final Words 

In the race for cost, the shipping container is certainly the winner.  So, if you have voted in favor of a shipping container and wondering what could be done inside a shipping container, I implore you to read Can I Use A Shipping Container As An Office?

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