Container Rentals: The Ultimate Guide To Renting Shipping and Storage Containers

While the needs of businesses vary dramatically from industry to industry, the one thing they all have in common is a need for storage. 

Purchasing and owning that storage can be costly and some companies don’t have the margin or operational structure to buy and maintain their own storage containers. Those that find themselves with a temporary need for storage or those that want to avoid the costs of acquiring and maintaining their own containers often opt for container rentals or leasing. Container rental comes with its own set of questions and processes that can sometimes feel overwhelming.

If you are looking to rent a shipping container, we have everything you need to know right here. Rent-A-Container has a team of professionals who work tirelessly to make this process easy for businesses and individuals alike. Our daily goal is to make renting intermodal containers as easy as possible.

To learn more about container rentals, read on or contact Rent-A-Container today.


how do I rent a shipping container


Why Rent a Shipping Container?

Whether you are considering shipping containers for your business or for personal use, the reasons to rent a container stack up quickly. Let’s take a look at renting vs. buying containers and how you might be able to use your unit.


Renting vs. Buying Storage Containers

If you plan to use a shipping container often, you might wonder why you should rent instead of buy. For year-round use, buying a shipping container may be your best bet. 

Most businesses, however, do not use shipping containers on a daily basis. Instead, there are selling seasons or specific use cases. Once a shipment is complete or storage is no longer needed, then what? Where does a purchased unit go? You have to move the shipping container and/or find a place to store it. Both of these tasks cost money.

There is a significantly higher cost to buying a shipping container outright compared to a container rental. For example, an 8-foot by 40-foot high cube container with a standard door can easily cost as much as $4,000 to purchase. But a rental container with the same specifications can cost as little as $115 per month. 

In this case, you would have to use your purchased container for more than 40 months to outweigh the cost benefit of renting the same container. And that does not take into account the fees tied to taxes, storage, transportation and maintenance.


Common Uses for Rented Shipping and Storage Containers

A couple of obvious uses come to mind when you think about storage or shipping containers: storage and shipping. But the versatility of rental containers goes far beyond what’s in the name. Because rentals are shorter-term and lower-cost, rented containers offer an agile solution to all kinds of business and logistics scenarios. 

The following are some common uses for rented containers:

  • Construction jobsite storage
  • Tool and supply storage in agriculture
  • Overflow educational storage space
  • Additional storage for personal use
  • Small-scale, warehouse-style storage for retail businesses

Are you in construction and looking for more cases where shipping containers can come in handy? Check out these 15 reasons to rent or buy construction storage containers.


Choose Your Rental Container Size

When you start to understand how it works to rent a storage container, one of the first considerations is how large you want the container to be. Let’s take a look at some of the most common container sizes.


10 ft. Shipping Container Rentals

At 8 feet wide and 10 feet long, a 10-foot shipping container is a great option for anyone who needs to fit a lot into a small space. While 10-foot container rental prices can vary widely and depend on availability, these smaller containers can sometimes be more expensive than larger options. That’s because this is not a standard size for overseas freight, meaning the container has to be modified for storage use.


20 ft. Shipping Container Rentals

The 20-foot shipping container is one of the most popular options for renting and buying. These tend to be the most affordable and convenient option. They are the same width as the 10-foot containers (8 feet), meaning they can still pack a lot of storage space into a small spot.


Recommended Reading: How Much Can a 20 Foot Shipping Container Hold?


40 ft. Shipping Container Rentals

If you have the space for a 40-foot storage container, this can be your best option for high-volume or large item storage. While they offer double the space of the 20-foot containers, they are not double the price. And they are often the best value per cubic foot of storage space.


Recommended Reading: How Much Can a 40 Foot Shipping Container Hold?


45 ft. Shipping Container Rentals

The 45-foot shipping container tends to be the largest option available. Often called sea crates or railcar containers, these large containers are a common sight on huge sea freighters, trains, or cranes at port. That, of course, is not the only use for these containers, which offer the most storage per unit of any common container rental option.


Select a Shipping Container Style

Size is the first step, but then you have to make several decisions about the style of the container you plan to rent. 



A standard shipping container is 8 feet, 6 inches tall. If you need a little extra height, you can opt for a high cube container. These containers offer an additional foot of height (at 9 feet, 6 inches). While that may not sound like much, the additional foot of headroom multiplied by the total floor space of the container adds up quickly.

High cube containers are available in almost all of the same sizes as standard storage containers. However, the 10-foot container is often only available in standard height.

Keep in mind that more space is not always better. Carefully calculate the total amount of space you have or will need to understand whether a high cube or standard container best fits your needs. And if weight is a concern, remember that the added height of the high cube adds pounds, too.



A standard shipping container will have a single door on one end of the container. That configuration is perfect for most uses, but sometimes you need multiple entry points or maybe even an entire open side. Which door style you select will depend on what you intend to use the container for.

Specialty container rentals offer plenty of alternative door options to meet your needs. When renting a container, you will likely see an option to select a single-door or double-door container, as well as a side-door container.

The double-door container offers a set of doors on each short end of the container. If you need wide access or the ability to retrieve items from various places inside the container, the side-door option offers doors along the entire length of the container.

Think this option may be right for you? Learn more about the advantages of double-door shipping containers.


Container Rental Accessories

Depending on what you would like to use your rented shipping container for, you may benefit from a couple of accessories. Purchasing shipping container accessories is most convenient as an add on at the time you pay for container rental. 

Here are two of the most common accessories for rental containers.


1. Door Handle Extenders

Newer shipping containers are usually easy to open, but older ones may have some rust and can be difficult to open. Plus, doors on shipping containers of any age or condition can be frozen shut in cold temperatures. 

Container door handle extenders can solve these problems. Attaching to the existing door handle, these handles add length — and therefore additional leverage — to the handle. That means the door will be easier to open.


2. Ramps

Getting a dolly, hand truck or even a small vehicle into a shipping container looks simple enough, but the small space between the floor of the container and the ground can create quite an obstacle. This is especially true if you are making repeated trips back and forth. 

One simple shipping container accessory solves this problem: the ramp. A good storage container ramp will go over the container’s lock to create a seamless transition from ground to container floor. Ramps often come in dual-wedge varieties to accommodate wheels and full-length wedge ramps to offer a wide range of entry options.


Renting and Shipping Container Delivery

Once you have completed the shipping container rental process, it’s time to get ready for delivery day. While the process is designed to be as simple as possible, storage container delivery is not as simple as sitting back and waiting for the truck to arrive. 

The intermodal container delivery process can differ from provider to provider, but our container rental guide outlines the basic process for delivery with Rent-A-Container below:

  • At the time of the order, you provide the delivery address, a contact phone number and the direction you would like the shipping container doors to face.
  • You receive a call from a rental container logistics professional to discuss the date of delivery, the delivery site and any questions you have.
  • The delivery date and time window is finalized and confirmed with a local container delivery partner.
  • On delivery day, you receive a call prior to the arrival of the shipping container.
  • The delivery truck driver arrives and confirms the final container site with you.
  • The storage container is moved to the site.
  • You inspect the container and address any concerns with the delivery driver.

For 10- and 20- foot containers, the most common delivery method is a tilt-bed truck. The beds on these vehicles can gently tilt down to lower the storage container to the desired place. An alternative option that can accommodate the larger container sizes is a truck that pulls a separate tilt bed or roll-off trailer. 

Less common is the flatbed truck. To use this method, you must have access to heavy machinery capable of lifting the shipping container off of the truck’s bed.


Site Selection and Prep for Storage Container Rentals

Another important consideration before you receive your container rental is where you will put it and how you need to prepare the site. Shipping containers are extremely heavy, and the trucks that deliver them are even heavier. That’s why you need to select a dry, hard and flat surface for your container.

Cement slabs, parking lots and compacted gravel can make excellent storage container sites. A flat surface is extremely important because irregular elevation can prevent the container doors from opening. Any moisture at the site can corrode the floor or walls of the container over time — not to mention cause the delivery truck to get stuck or damage your property.

Even if you have found a place with the perfect surface to accommodate your shipping container, you need to ensure that you have enough space for the delivery to happen. Here are the general space requirements for delivery of a shipping container:

  • Between 16 and 20 feet of vertical clearance at the site.
  • At least 14 feet of vertical clearance beneath anything the truck will have to drive under to reach the site.
  • A total width of 12 feet at the delivery site.
  • Sixty feet of straight clearance from where the back of a 20-foot container will sit and 100 feet of straight clearance from the back of a 40-foot container.

Before delivery day, clear any debris, vehicles or other obstacles that could prevent the delivery truck from getting to the site with enough clearance to deliver the container. Shipping container site preparation can speed up the container delivery process. Smooth deliveries can go as quickly as 15 minutes in some cases.


Container Rental FAQ

Even the most comprehensive container rental guide can’t cover every question you might have, but we can certainly cover the most common ones. Read on for answers to frequently asked questions about container rentals. 


How Do I Rent a Shipping Container?

Asking, “How do I rent a shipping container?” may seem like a beginner’s question, but it is a critically important question to ask. That’s because every provider’s process is different, and some are far more complicated than others. At Rent-A-Container, our goal is to make the container rental process as easy and stress-free as possible by offering a simple and digital three-step process:

  1. Enter your zip code and browse our shipping container listings to pick your container.
  2. Check out on our website.
  3. Sit back and relax until delivery time. We take care of the rest.

With our month-to-month rental terms, when your rented shipping container has served its purpose, you can simply login to your Rent-A-Container account and click “pick it up.” We’ll arrange the collection while accommodating you and your needs.


How Much Does It Cost to Rent a Shipping Container?

How much it costs to rent a shipping container varies. The price of a storage container rental depends on the type of container you need, how long you need it for, whether you are renting in bulk, your location and the market rate at the time. 

At Rent-A-Container we promise two things: low cost and flexibility. We offer price match guarantee and no long term contracts, with rates starting at just $115 a month for a minimum three month rental period. 

There are no hidden costs when renting a shipping container from Rent-A-Container. All you have to pay up front is the delivery fee, pickup fee and first month’s rent plus tax.

Customers can rest assured that they are getting the best price when they choose Rent-A-Container.


When Can a Rented Shipping Container Be Delivered?

Delivery of a rented shipping container will differ based on the provider’s policies and your location. At Rent-A-Container, most container rentals can be delivered within 7-10 business days. If you have additional restrictions for delivery, our team can work with you to accommodate and get your shipping container delivered. 


Can I Rent an Insulated Shipping Container?

You can’t modify a container you are renting, so if you need an insulated storage container, you will need to rent one that comes with insulation. Many companies, including Rent-A-Container, offer insulated container rentals. Just be sure to specify that you need an insulated container before you make your purchase.


Do I Need a Permit for My Rented Storage Container?

If you plan to store your rented container somewhere, your city, state or county may have laws on the books that require you to get a permit. Shipping container permitting requirements vary by location, so you will need to do some research. Call your local government or visit their website to understand your permitting obligations. 

For details on your state’s building codes for container buildings, visit the Modular Building Institute’s Building Codes resource.


Can I Have a Shipping Container in My Backyard?

You may be interested in having a rented shipping container in your backyard or somewhere else on your property if you plan to use it for home or tool storage. Residential areas often have specific rules on whether you can keep large items like shipping containers on your property. Most municipalities will allow this without any effort, although some on the other extreme will outright ban storage containers. To find out the rules for your location, contact your local government.


Rent-A-Container: Your Container Rental Guide

The professional team at Rent-A-Container works tirelessly to simplify storage and shipping container rental. This container rental guide is just one step in that process, and we hope it is helpful to you.

To discuss your container rental needs or get answers to any of your questions, get in touch with our helpful team by calling (800) 880-7061 or contacting Rent-A-Container online. If you’re ready to rent and receive your container, find the one that fits exactly what you’re looking for at the price you want in Rent-A-Container’s available inventory.

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