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Buying or Renting Storage Containers: What’s Best for You?

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Determining whether you want to buy or rent a storage container can be difficult. You might already know that shipping containers offer secure, wind and weather-tight storage, but need further information on the difference between buying and renting. In some cases, you might only require a container for a brief time.

However, in other situations, you’ll want a container on hand for a while. In this blog, we’ll discuss the differences between renting and buying, and analyze what factors may make one more favorable.

Top 3 Benefits of Renting

Renting a storage container might be best for you if:

1. You Need Flexibility

Renting a storage container offers unparalleled flexibility, making it an ideal choice for those who prioritize versatility. With a storage rental agreement, you can cancel any time after the first 28 day rental period. Following that, we pro-rate rental payments to the day after you call the container for pickup. If your needs change or you no longer require the container, you can easily terminate the rental without any long-term commitments. This flexibility provides peace of mind for those uncertain about future storage needs. Renting allows you to adjust your storage capacity or transportation needs as necessary, ensuring that you only pay for what you need.

2. You Want to Save on Short-Term Needs

When making financial considerations, renting a storage container can often be a more cost-effective solution for short-term needs. Purchasing a container requires a significant upfront investment while renting allows you to allocate your resources more efficiently. Renting can be cheaper, depending on your rental period, as the cost is spread out throughout your agreement. If you require a container for a limited time or have a fluctuating demand, renting provides a budget-friendly alternative. It allows you to access the required storage or transport capabilities without the burden of long-term ownership costs, such as maintenance, insurance and depreciation.

3. You Don’t Worry About Container Repair

One of the notable advantages of renting a storage container is you don’t have to worry about container repair and painting. Container maintenance can be time-consuming and costly, especially if you own the unit. When you rent a container, we’ll take responsibility for repairs, repainting and general upkeep. This ensures you receive a container in wind and weather-tight condition and eliminates the need to allocate resources for maintenance. By renting, you can focus on utilizing the container for your specific needs without worrying about the logistical and financial aspects of repair and refurbishment. That makes the process of storage more convenient and hassle-free.

Two southwest mobile storage containers sit under a cloudy sky.
The decision to buy or rent storage containers comes down to three factors: price, storage term length and ownership preference.

Top 3 Benefits of Buying

Buying a storage container might be best for you if:

1. You Use a Container for a Custom DIY Project

If you have a consistent and ongoing need for storage or transportation, buying a container provides a reliable solution. Once you make the initial investment, you have the container at your disposal whenever required without monthly rental payments. This can be particularly advantageous for businesses with predictable storage demands or those that regularly transport goods. Owning a container also allows you to customize it according to your specific requirements, such as adding windows, electrical outlets, cutting out walls, adding skylights and more.

VIDEO: Watch us customize a 20ft container

2. You Need a Container for an Extended Term

Buying a storage container can be more cost-effective for extended periods of use. While the upfront cost may be higher than renting, owning a container eliminates ongoing rental expenses. Over time, accumulated rental costs can surpass the purchase price of a container. As the owner, you can explore various revenue-generating options, such as renting out the container to others when you don’t need it, potentially offsetting the initial investment cost. By owning your container, you can utilize it as a long-term asset, potentially yielding financial benefits through cost savings and additional income streams.

3. You Modify a Container for Specialized Use

Buying a storage container gives you complete control over its maintenance and customization. Unlike renting, where the responsibility for repairs and upkeep lies with the rental company, owning a container allows you to manage its condition personally. This means you can ensure proper maintenance, regular inspections and necessary repairs, keeping the container in optimal shape. Additionally, you can customize the container to fit your specific needs, such as adding insulation, ventilation or specialized features. If you have welding experience or other specialized skills, modifying a container on your own can save you money in the long run.

But if you don’t have the skills or expensive equipment required to modify on your own, no worries! The experts at Southwest Mobile Storage can help turn your vision into a reality. If you need roll-up doors or an insulated interior with exterior vents, we can make it happen.

Whether you modify a container yourself or buy one for us to modify, you’ll have a container that is customized specifically for you.

A dozen beige Southwest Mobile Storage storage container sit in a storage lot.
Whether you’re in need of temporary storage or a portable solution, having the flexibility to buy or rent storage containers offers convenience and versatility.

Buying and Rental Options

Whether you want to rent or buy, we carry a wide selection of containers available for purchase, including standard containers, refurbished containers, insulated containers, high-cube containers and more.

Here are the most common dimensions of storage containers:

  • 8ft x 8.5ft x 10ft
  • 8ft x 8.5ft x 20ft
  • 8ft x 8.5ft x 40ft

In addition to these standard sizes, we may also carry uncommon sizes like 15ft, 24ft and 30ft units. Speak with a container sales representative today about container availability and receive your free container quote.


Deciding whether to rent or buy a storage container can be challenging, as it depends on individual needs and circumstances. Renting offers flexibility, allowing for easy prorating after 28 days, making it suitable for those uncertain about their future requirements. It can also be cost-effective for shorter-term needs, as the expenses are spread out over the rental period while we take care of repairs and maintenance.

On the other hand, buying a container is beneficial for custom DIY projects and long-term storage needs, providing ownership and the ability to modify the container to specific requirements. It can be cost-effective in the long run, eliminating rental expenses and potentially generating additional income.

Ultimately, the decision should be based on factors like the duration of use, customization needs and financial considerations.

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