Buying vs. Renting a Shipping Container: Pros and Cons
Jun 2021

Buying vs. Renting a Shipping Container: Pros and Cons

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At Sigma Container Corporation (SCC), we often get asked whether it’s better to buy or rent a shipping container in Ontario. The answer varies depending on your needs, the structure and how it’s fitted out, as well as the circumstance.

Ask yourself some important questions before deciding on which is the right move for you. For example: How do you plan to utilize the container? How many years do you intend to use it? Are you planning to make any modifications or alterations?

How you answer these questions is essential to determining which option is better: buying or renting. To help you decide, we’ve put together some pros and cons that have aided our customers make that decision in the past. Here’s how to figure out whether you should buy or rent your shipping container:

How long do you plan to use it for?

Begin by asking yourself how long you plan to utilize the shipping container. Owning a container means that you have it for your disposal forever. This is good for businesses that partake in projects or needs without a foreseeable end.

However, if you’re not sure how long you’ll need your container, then a rental is a worthwhile alternative. For many customers, buying a container is worth it only if the cost of purchasing will be offset within the timeframe of using the container. Do the math, and if you find that you may not need a container forever, then renting will give you flexibility and time to decide if the investment makes sense for your business. This way, you will not have the responsibility of disposing of or selling the container, while being able to access the container for as long as you want. Shipping container rentals are also a great option for businesses with a time-bound project or seasonal business demands.

Do you plan on transporting the container?

Customers may choose to ship their container to a location outside of Ontario or multiple other places. On the other hand, containers can also be used as storage or office space that are placed and maintained at a single location.

If you buy a shipping container, you typically need to get a truck to transport it or find an outside moving provider. Moving a container in this way is usually more expensive than transporting a rental through a shipping container mover like SCC. Bundling your container rental with moving services from the same company reduces coordination, stress, and even dollars since there is less to manage.

How much are you willing to spend?

The cost of both renting and buying a container vary greatly depending on different factors. The container’s age (if you’re looking to buy second-hand), size, and built-in modifications influence the cost. For example, a newer, larger container with more modifications is going to cost you more than an older, smaller, and unmodified container. Also, storage unit containers typically cost less than office containers, which require more modifications to make it usable on an everyday basis.

Rental prices in Ontario range between $50 to more than $500 per month, based on your needs. This cost often includes transportation fees, which are based on the distance between the rental company and the point of delivery. The fees can range from $100 to $500 depending on the distance. Some shipping container rental companies may also add minimal modifications such as shelves or paint, which can be joined to your payment plan.

What size are you looking to purchase?

Shipping sizes vary greatly, and range from over 50 feet in length to under 10 feet. Large containers are great for huge quantities of cargo, but they do come with their own issues. They often require more planning, space, and the cost of transportation increases exponentially. If you don’t have access to a big warehouse or business property, then large containers can be an unwanted stress and expense. Smaller shipping containers are ideal if you don’t have a large property, as they can operate out of even a parking lot area.

At SCC, we have containers of various sizes for different needs. We have seen that many customers also get multiple smaller containers for ease in movement and storage. Deciding on a size that works best for you is important to determine if you should buy or rent. Purchasing a container will make it more difficult to mix and match container sizes. Renting a shipping container will also grant you the flexibility to test out different container dimensions according to how your business evolves.

Do you wish to modify or upgrade your container?

Often, organizations will wish to make changes to their shipping container to better align with their business strategies. If you’re looking for a container, but are not yet sure which one best fits your needs, then a rental may be a better option. This is because renting makes it easier to exchange or upgrade your container if the need arises.

Buying is more of a commitment and is a great option for those whose business needs will remain the same for the foreseeable future. If you buy and then want to upgrade or modify your container, you will need to find a way to dispose of or sell your current model. This may be an unwanted hassle for many.

Ultimately, whether you choose to buy or rent a shipping container comes down to your unique situation and business needs. Weigh out the pros and cons, as there will probably be multiple factors to consider before deciding. Reach out to our team at SCC for quotes on rentals, as well as new or used containers; we will be happy to provide you with the container that best suits your needs.

To learn more about storage container rentals in Ontario, call Sigma Container Corporation at 1-877-225-7762 or contact us here.

Tom Bray is a freelance writer with over five years experience writing for online publications and over ten years in business and sales. He studied journalism and media and has written for various online outlets on multiple topics. His specialty subjects are shipping containers and transport logistics.

Tom’s passion for writing and transport logistics motivates him to provide frequent direct marketing content that can show you how a shipping container can be effectively utilized and modified to each person’s needs.

You can connect with Tom via email at