Shipping container hire versus buy

February 14, 2022

Deciding which option is best for your needs


If you’re considering getting a shipping container to use for shipping, storage, an office, or some other use, you may be wondering if it’s better to buy or hire.

You can buy or hire shipping containers in various configurations and grades, so finding a 20ft or 40ft shipping container for hire or purchase are both viable options. If you’re not sure which option would be best for you, here are some key considerations to take into account.


1.  How will your shipping container be used?


One of the first things to take into account when deciding whether to purchase or hire a shipping container is what you’ll be using it for. For example, will you use it for storage, convert it into an office, or use it to ship items overseas for your business?

If you want to hire a shipping container for moving, for example, you’ll need to confirm that the company you’re hiring the 20ft or 40ft container from can collect it from your location and deliver it to your chosen destination.

And, if you’re considering hiring a shipping container for storage, it’s important to think how long you’ll be using it for, as the cost of hiring a container long-term may be more than buying it outright. This is particularly true if there are shipping delays, like those caused by COVID-19 supply chain issues.


2.  Will the shipping container require modifications?


While some shipping containers for hire allow for minor modifications, if you want major modifications, you’ll need to buy the shipping container. However, you can hire shipping containers in a wide array of sizes and functions, including 20ft and 40ft shipping containers, high cube, and even shipping containers specially designed for use as office space.

If these configurations match your needs, or only need minor modifications, hiring could be the most cost-effective and easiest option.

However, if you want to make more non-traditional modifications, like adding windows, or if you need to retrofit a shipping container and turn into a retail or hospitality space, be prepared to make a more permanent commitment and buy the shipping container.


3.  Is it for long term or short-term use?


Aside from the purpose of the shipping container you’re looking to hire or buy, the length of time you’ll need the container for will help you decide whether you should hire a shipping container or buy one.

If, for example, you only need one for short term storage or office space, hiring a shipping container may be better for your bottom line. But, if you need to use the shipping container for longer, like for long-term storage, purchasing it may be the best option.

At OZBOX, the timeframe we use to help our clients decide whether they should buy or hire a shipping container is the 18-month mark. If you need it for less than 18 months, it’s generally cheaper to hire a shipping container. But if you need it for longer than 18 months, we consider it’s worth purchasing a container outright.

Some other instances where buying could be more beneficial than hiring:

  • When you’re building a permanent structure, like a shop, office, retail or hospitality location, or even a home.
  • If you’re using a container continuously for cargo or transportation needs.
  • If there’s a higher risk of damage.


4.  What’s your budget?


Budget can also play a large part in your decision to buy or hire a shipping container. Looking at shipping container hire in Melbourne, prices can vary quite significantly from company to company. At OZBOX, you can hire a shipping container from $2.50 per day . This means you’d be looking at under $1,000 a year as a shipping container hire cost.

To buy a new shipping container, you could be looking at costs in the thousands of dollars. So, if you’re on a tight budget, or need to manage your cash flow, this may not be an acceptable cost. If this is the case, shipping container hire may be the better way to go – even if it’s only for the short term.


5.  Can you manage it yourself?


One of the benefits of shipping container hire is that someone delivers the container where it needs to go and collects it when you no longer need it. They’re also there to help if you have any questions or need advice or support. And, if you find the container you currently hire doesn’t quite suit your needs, it’s simple to replace it with another container that does.

If you purchase a shipping container yourself, however, you’re responsible for ongoing arrangements. This means that you’re stuck with the container, even if it no longer suits your purposes, or if you need to move it somewhere else.

Additionally, if you no longer need the container you also need to take responsibility for selling it. While some companies may buy back containers they’ve sold, be prepared to recoup less than what you paid – even if you’ve only had it a short time.


6.  Where are you located?


Your location also influences how easy or difficult it is to hire or buy a shipping container. If you’re looking for a shipping container to hire in Melbourne, for example, you may find this an easier option than if you’re located in a rural part of Australia.

If you buy a container, bear in mind that you’ll need to factor in shipping container transport, which can increase exponentially the further away you are from a major metropolitan area.


7.  Do you need a shipping container permanently?


One way to work out if buying a container is the best option long-term, is to start off hiring one. Shipping container hire costs from a company like OZBOX are affordable, so you can trial first-hand which option will be best, without significant capital outlay.

If you decide, like many other shipping container users, that hiring is much easier and affordable, you’re set to go. If not, you can simply return your 40ft or 20ft shipping container and buy one for permanent use.

If you’d like to find out about shipping container hire or buy, get in touch with the team at OZBOX today.


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