Deciding to Rent or Buy

Shipping and Storage Containers: When to Lease or Buy

Learn how to decide whether to buy or lease a shipping container, four questions to ask before deciding, and examples of rented container uses.

At ConGlobal, customers often ask us about the buying options for shipping containers. When does it make sense to lease, rent-to-own or buy a container outright? The truth is it depends on the circumstances.

Choosing between these options can be tricky, especially if you aren’t sure about your long-term requirements. But a good rule of thumb is if you need a shipping container for weeks, months, or around a year, renting is typically better. If you need a cargo container for more than a year, buying is the better option.

Because that guideline doesn’t work in all circumstances, let’s dig into the four major factors when deciding whether to lease or buy shipping containers.

  • Duration of use
  • Type of use
  • Container maintenance costs
  • Available budget

Factor #1: How long (and how often) do you need the container?

If you need a shipping container for a short-term period, leasing is your best bet. If your need is long-term (and you plan to use it consistently), you should consider buying because rental rates may cost you more than the actual value of the container.

Factor #2: Why do you need the shipping container?

If you need the shipping container for extra storage for a project or at a job site, renting often makes sense. Buying is the best option if you need a custom size or modifications like personnel doors, windows, electricity, and climate control. Most leasing agreements restrict you from making modifications.

Factor #3: Do you have the time and resources for container maintenance?

When you lease a container, the rental company is responsible for maintenance. When you buy a shipping container, you will be responsible for maintaining it, and that will require time and resources.

When you own a shipping container, you must inspect the unit regularly to maintain your container and protect what’s held inside. To extend your container’s lifespan, the ConGlobal team recommends the following proactive maintenance:

  • Remove debris, water, snow, or ice from the roof.
  • Look for rust, dents, and scratches, and tend the steel as necessary.
  • Inspect and replace caulk and weather stripping annually.
  • Lubricate cargo hinges to ensure doors open smoothly.
  • If your container sits on a soft surface like gravel or asphalt, it could settle and need re-leveling.

Factor #4: What is your budget?

Leasing is a cost-effective way of getting immediate access to a storage container without spending thousands of dollars upfront. Leasing is the way to go if you need to pay in installments and don’t want to worry about maintenance costs.

Purchasing a container may cost less if you use it for more than a year. Even though buying and maintaining a container can be expensive, if you have the funds, shipping containers are a great investment. Our customers can return their containers.

Our customers have rented containers for:

  • Seasonal or excess inventory storage for retail merchandise.
  • Construction material storage during a building project.
  • Furniture storage for a home or business remodeling project.
  • Sports equipment storage for a sports event or county fair.

We have worked with Bill Vlantes in Houston for the last 15 years for the supply and trucking of our shipping containers and have always received excellent service. On occasion when we’ve needed expedited service, they accommodated our requirements and consistently met our project schedules.
Mike Carroll, CB&I

What makes ConGlobal the best shipping container supplier?

We have the largest selection: ConGlobal has the largest selection of storage containers and can source containers nationwide to meet the needs of our customers.

We have a location near you: Our nationwide network of container yards means you can buy from the location nearest you and lower transportation costs to haul it where you need it.

We have what you need: Our access to a vast network of equipment owners and suppliers allows us to source containers easily, even special requests.

We make repairs in house: Our facilities have on-site repair shops staffed by in-house, highly skilled technicians and craftsmen.

We don’t hide costs: We provide up-front and transparent pricing to our customers.

We deliver: We offer our customers reliable, turn-key container delivery to make bringing home your container simple and hassle free.

Our sales team stands ready to provide you with the most up-to-date, local pricing.

Get a quote started today.