Renting a Container or Purchasing a Container?

Storage containers for rent have become a very popular means of storing your contents. Containers are now available in all major metropolitan areas throughout the nation. Shipping containers as storage units have changed the storage industry, most people prefer the convenience of mobile storage vs standard mini storage for many reasons.   Container Alliance has formed a network of small businesses that are familiar with your needs and can provide the best quality and service for you to rent a container and have it delivered to your location. This guide is designed to help you become informed about what you are facing when renting a storage container.

This container rental guide serves to help you get informed about renting or leasing mobile shipping and storage containers, the factors of storage rental prices, and more. Renting or leasing is a great cost effective way of gaining access to a portable storage container without spending thousands of dollars up front.  If you plan on keeping the container for a short amount of time for temporary use, renting is the best option for you.  If you are not sure how your neighbors or municipalities are going to react to your storage container, we would strongly recommend considering storage containers for rent, rather than choosing a shipping container for sale.  This will give you flexibility.  Businesses that would rather expense the rental over a monthly basis are better off renting the container vs purchasing the container to carry on financials as an asset. The cost of renting a container to be used for a short period of time is much more economical than purchasing your storage or shipping container.

The Container Alliance partner will also take care of delivering and picking up your unit so you do not need to worry about finding a new home for your container when you are done using it.

Why choose a shipping container as a storage container for rent?

ISO (International Standards Organization) shipping containers are designed for ocean freight shipping. Ocean freight containers are engineered to withstand heavy loads and vigorous marine environment. Shipping containers are excellent for storage purpose because they are over engineered for ocean freight shipping. Storage / shipping containers are also available with a plentiful supply at a fraction of the price that is typically associated with engineering and building something as strong and dependable as a typical ISO shipping / storage container.

Storage containers are constructed with 12- or 14-gauge corrugated steel sides. Container frames are made of minimal 6-8-gauge steel. Containers have approximately 1" hard wood floors that are treated. Standard containers come equipped with a cargo door. Cargo doors are excellent because they seal tight from rodents and the elements. They also give you the ability to open the entire end of the container and load very large items. Roll up doors are convenient because they are light weight and easy to open. This confidence comes with obvious downsides. Roll up doors are not as secure and are not 100% water tight. As a typical garage door water tends to seap below the door. They are typically also not rodent proof. Ask the Container Alliance partner in your area about door options and specifications.

How Much Do Storage Containers for Rent Cost?

Standard storage rental prices, as opposed to Insulated containers, typically range in "rental costs" from around $75 per month to $295 per month depending on size or door configuration. Dry containers are by far the most popular and abundant and therefore the cheapest. These dry containers are often available with different door configurations such as double door container rentals and open side container rentals.

Modified Dry or Insulated containers to be used as modular offices are also very popular and range in storage rental prices from $125-$500 per month depending on the size and options selected.

You can also expect to pay "delivery / pickup" charges. It is very common that the Container Alliance member you find in your area will charge much less for delivery on a rental container as they would if you were purchasing the container and having it delivered to the same location.

Insurance or damage waiver fees may often apply to your monthly bill as an additon to your monthly rental amount. These fees are a great way to extend the partner's insurance benefits to the customer. These insurance fees are designed such that you do not have to worry about typically nonsingular damage to your container rental while you have it, graffiti etc. If you see or hear your alliance partner mention insurance fees do not be alarmed or discouraged, these fees save you the hassle of making sure your home or business owners insurance is covering the container you are planing to rent.

Rental Period: When renting portable storage containers, you need to take into consideration the rental period you will be billed for. The standard in equipment leasing is the typical 28 day term but there are many variations. Companies offer daily rates, weekly rates and monthly rates. Please ask your Alliance partner or competitor what the rental period means to you.

Common Sizes: 20ft rental containers and 40ft rental containers are the most common sizes for rent. Some partner companies may offer 24ft rental containers that are very popular for construction usage and 45ft high cube rental containers that are popular for large format storage including warehousing and distribution.

Door Configurations: Typically rental containers have a cargo door on one end of the container but most companies offer double door options (Cargo doors on both ends) or Open Side rental containers which have a cargo door on the side that allows the entire side to open on the rental container.

20ft double door rental

Open Side Door Option

open side rental container
Typical Dimensions


Exterior Interior Door Opening
Length Width Height Length Width Height Width Height
10' Standard Dry Container 10' 8' 8'6" 9'3" 7'8" 7' 9 7/8" 7'8" 7'5"
20' Standard Dry Container 20' 8' 8'6" 19'3" 7'8" 7' 9 7/8" 7'8" 7'5"
40' Standard Dry Container 40' 8' 8'6" 39' 5" 7'8" 7' 9 7/8" 7'8" 7'5"
40' High Cube Dry Container 40' 8' 9'6" 39' 5" 7'8" 8' 10" 7'8" 8' 5 1/2"
45' High Cube Dry Container 45' 8' 9'8" 44' 5" 7'8" 8'10" 7'8" 8' 5 1/2"
20' Refrigerated Container 19' 10.5" 8' 8'6" 17' 11" 7'6" 7'6"* 7''5" 7'3"
40' Refrigerated Container 40' 8' 8'6" 37' 11" 7'6" 7'6"* 7''6" 7'6"
40' High Cube Refrigerated Container 40' 8' 9'6" 37' 11" 7'6" 8'4"* 7''6" 8'4"
Typical Weights / Capacity
Cubic Capacity Tare Weight Max Gross Max Payload
20' Standard Dry Container 1,165 sq. ft. 5,050 67,200 62,150
40' Standard Dry Container 2,350 sq. ft. 8,000 67,200 59,200
40' High Cube Dry Container 2694 sq. ft. 8,775 67,200 58,425
45' High Cube Dry Container 3043 sq. ft. 9,810 72,800 62,990
20' Refrigerated Container 1,010 sq. ft. (967)** 6,503 52,800 46,407
40' Refrigerated Container 2,051 sq. ft. (1959)** 9,700 67,200 57,450
40' High Cube Refrigerated 2,380 sq. ft. (2,289)** 9,590 70,550 60,960

Most small businesses, contractors and residential users with space concern choose 20ft portable storage containers. 20ft containers take up less space and do not require as much room for delivery as the 40ft portable storage containers.

Besides the typical sizes that are designed for the shipping industry, companies often offer containers in other lengths. These containers are typically cut down to make other sizes in length. These often come in sizes as small as 10ft and range up to 45ft', 48ft or 53ft. The larger sized containers 40ft, 45ft, 48ft and 53ft are also often available as "high cubes". High cube containers are 9.5ft high with a much larger total storage capacity.

On Site Container Delivery and Installation

It is very important to confirm that it is possible for a Container Alliance partner to deliver a container to your location. Typically your supplier will deliver the container using a"tilt bed" roll-off style truck or trailer. The smaller trucks that typically deliver 10ft and 20ft units resemble medium sized flat-bed tow trucks. These trucks have fixed axles and vary in terms of maneuverability but as a general rule of thumb these trucks typically require 60 ft. in a straight line to back, or pull into the area you need the container. After the truck pulls into the location of desire, the driver will then lift the front end of the bed and pull straight forward until the container slides off the truck and onto the ground.

Container Uses:
  • Jobsite Container Storage
  • Pre build self storage facilities
  • Construction Storage
  • Mobile field office
  • Tool Storage
  • Overflow Equipment Storage
  • Inventory Storage
  • Work Area / Work Shops
  • Emergency Shelters
  • School Buildings, surplus supplies
  • Artist Studios
  • Flower Stands
  • Firework stands
  • Fire training facilities
  • Military training
  • Movable exhibition spaces
  • Agriculture Storage
  • Farm Equipment and supply storage
  • Ranch Storage
  • Paint Storage
  • Files, Books, Business Record Storage
  • Sports equipment storage
  • Snack bars, Concession stands
  • Boat, Classic or Collector car, Truck, Motorcycle, Tractor, ATV, Snowmobile storage
  • Automobile Storage
  • Guard Shacks
  • Hunting Shelters
  • Driveway portable storage units
  • Retaining walls
  • Secure perimeter barriers
  • Fencing and Storage
  • Containers as Structures
  • Wine, Vintner Storage
  • Temperature controlled storage for food products
  • Overflow Cargo Storage
  • Field research storage
  • Generator sound insulator
  • Residential moving and storage


The delivery of a storage container is normally done with a semi tractor-trailer that is a large and long piece of equipment. Furthermore the trailer that carries the container tilts so the container slides off the bed of the trailer. Here is a list of things to consider before you agree to have a container delivered to your site.


Because the tractor and trailer weigh in excess of 30,000 lbs., most drivers will not drive off of a road or paved surface. In considering the resting location for a container, if your location is any distance from a well-packed road or driveway, it is best to discuss this with the trucking company delivering the container prior to scheduling the delivery. Issues such as slope, amount of moisture in the ground and driver experience all need to be considered before any off road delivery is attempted.


Containers are designed to be supported at each of the 4 corners. Supports or piers at the mid length of a 40 foot container will be of no benefit in normal applications. The ends can be supported with a concrete footing, railroad ties, asphalt or a bed of gravel. Although it is possible to land the container directly on the ground with no support, the best site is one that provides suitable stability to keep the container level with adequate drainage. Furthermore, an uneven site can cause the doors to bind (see ‘Door Alignment’ below)


Because the container slides off the back of the trailer, you will need more than 80 feet of space in front of the location where the container is to be landed. Some delivery companies operate a 2 axle bobtail that, for delivery of a 20' container, will require 40 feet of turn space.


Because the container will be delivered on a slide off trailer make sure you have at least 14 feet of overhead clearance on the road to the delivery site and 20 feet of overhead clearance at the location where the truck will tilt the container to slide it off. This means all trees and overhead wires must be out of the way!


Occasionally after a container is delivered the doors may be difficult to close. Because the container weights 5,000 lbs. or more there will be some settling and it is possible that the doors will be difficult to operate. If this occurs the container can be straightened by lifting the low or settled corner and inserting some material that will re-support the corner and return the door to proper alignment. Lifting of the subsided corner can be done with a simple hydraulic jack, ‘Johnson Bar’ or small forklift.