Work Inside the Box: The Rise of the Shipping Container Office

Home-Based Businesses

Other than being a dedicated space for the running of business, an office is important because it helps you create a separation between home and work; a line that can become blurred if both happen at the same place. Finding space for your business’ office can be expensive, however, especially when you’re just starting out.

With all the things that new entrepreneurs need to do with their limited start-up capital, office space often ranks quite low on the priority list. This results in most entrepreneurs running their businesses from home – a less than ideal situation.

Thinking inside the box

Thanks to shipping containers, however, getting an office for your business does not have to eat up a big proportion of your finances. With these metal boxes, you can have an office at a very low price saving your business a significant amount of money.

Shipping container conversions have been on the rise for the last few years and one of the areas where they are being used a lot is the construction of offices. There are several factors that make shipping containers ideal for office conversions, these include:

  1. Availability. Shipping containers are widely available thanks to the booming global trade. With so many retired shipping containers laying idle in yards, acquiring a used shipping container for a conversion project is really easy and affordable.
  2. Robustness and durability. Cargo containers are designed to withstand the rough conditions of the sea to keep the cargo stored inside safe. This tough build and durability makes them ideal for uses outside of shipping as structures made with them can withstand all manner of stresses and last a long time.
  3. Versatility. These metal boxes are very versatile and can be converted into a variety of structures with very few and cheap modifications.

Advantages of using shipping containers for office construction

There are several advantages of constructing an office using a cargo container, the most obvious one is cost. Sea container construction is cost effective, and that’s why it has become so popular around the world for making all kinds of structures.

Other than the low initial cost of setting up, the office you construct will belong to you enabling you to save on monthly rent. This cash can be reinvested into the business to help it grow.

Besides the reduced costs, using a shipping container is advantageous in the following way:

  1. It’s eco-friendly. Re-using old shipping containers is a form of recycling which makes it great for the environment. And at a time when consumers are increasingly becoming environmentally aware, basing your business in an eco-friendly structure could help you earn a few extra points with current and future customers.
  2. Security. Shipping containers are tough enough to keep everything you store inside safe and secure. You, therefore, don’t need to worry about your property being stolen when you close for the night.
  3. Mobility. For on-site office needs, mobility is a big concern as the office has to be moved to a new location once the job is complete at the current site. Sea containers can be transported to a different location easily eliminating the need for constructing another office at the new site.

For start-ups and small businesses, any avenue that could help save a few dollars should be exploited fully as these funds can be reinvested into the business. A shipping container office will provide excellent accommodation for your business without the crippling costs of hiring out space or constructing an office with regular materials.

Tiger Containers, one of Aussies largest container suppliers, sells high-quality shipping containers for conversion into offices and have the capability to install all the modifications you need to create your ideal office. Check out their products at Tiger Containers

Ashley Bryan

Owner at

Owner of Website Strategies, providing website optimisation services for Australian and NZ businesses.

Comments (2)
Jef Lippiatt

Jef Lippiatt, Owner at Startup Chucktown

I'm definitely a fan of re-purposing shipping containers. I'd definitely like to have an office / retail shipping container setup for my business, but I'm not sure about all the local regulations here in the United States (specifically Charleston, South Carolina). However, I think it is an inventive way to stretch money and end up with a unique solution.

Yee Trinh

Yee Trinh, Cofounder at

Shipping containers are great not just for offices and construction sites, but I’ve seen great usage of them in the F&B and retail industries in Australia.
They are good alternatives for small cafes doing takeaway food and coffee, bars and even restaurants looking to nail the industrial style for their décor. Due to their mobility, they’re also good for pop-up events where you can set up shops and kiosks quickly.
Nowadays, people are also turning to shipping containers for their personal home office. Home based businesses are growing as a preferred lifestyle, and with limited space in Australian homes, shipping containers are perfect for housing a separate office away from the house. The turnaround time is quick and may be cheaper than conventional buildings. Just pick a prefabricated design and they can plop one in your garden once you have council approval. It's a good investment and gives you a clear separation between personal and work space.