August 14, 2020 / ,

Why So Many Businesses Love Their Container Offices


Reading time: 5 min

Shipping container offices or on-ground container offices are often associated with the modular construction industry and modular building suppliers. Even we, at VESTA Modular, have an inventory of shipping container offices that our customers love.

Now technically they’re not a modular unit, or you wouldn’t refer to them as “modular shipping containers,” at least. Regardless, they match the sentiment, the convenience, and the portability offered by many of our modular building designs, and we thought we’d talk about why they’re so beloved across the U.S. and much of the globe.


What’s the difference between a Modular Office and Shipping Container Offices?

The difference between your standard, modular office trailer and your, “on the ground,” shipping container office has to do with the structure itself and the foundation. 

Most portable or modular offices are built onto a foundation that keeps your office above ground level. Oftentimes you’ll see small steps or ramps leading to their doors and entryways. In contrast, a shipping container office can be set right at ground level as long as the foundation is properly compacted and leveled.

Additionally, a modular office is completely assembled in a warehouse or offsite factory and built out into modules with floors, walls, and roofs built from the foundation up. 

A shipping container office has often lived its life, even if only for a short while as a standard shipping container. Only later will it be retrofitted with amenities such as windows, framed walls and insulation, desks, and even bathrooms.


You can follow this link for a detailed guide on the variety and uses of office trailers that are available on the modular market.


The Big Benefits of Container Offices

  • Affordable purchase and lease options
  • Portability
  • Customizable floor plans
  • Multi-use office and storage space


Affordable purchase and lease options

Depending on your budget and general handiness, there are a couple of options for purchasing a container office. These mobile structures can be leased, typically on yearly lease schedules and optimized for your specific needs if you don’t have the funds to purchase one outright or you simply don’t need one for the foreseeable future. Or, if you know your company is going to regularly need them for many years or decades, you can purchase them and tote them around from jobsite to jobsite.

*Always check with your office supplier for leasing lengths and pricing as these will vary depending on the number of containers, distance to be transported, and available inventory options.


Option #1: The Easy Way (Recommended)

Buy or lease a pre-assembled shipping container office from an office container supplier. Companies that sell and lease containers will have a large selection of containers available to you, most likely at the best price for the high quality condition that they will be in. 

Additionally, a company, like ourselves, is used to customizing office modules for many of our clients. Some companies should be able to help you with floor plans, adding bathrooms, and any other materials you’d like your container to be assembled with.

Many companies will also help you with the logistics of delivery and pickup when you’re done using your shipping container.

Option #2: The Office Container Kit (Intermediate)

If you’re a generalist when it comes to constructing and carpentry and you have a decent set of tools around, then there are container office kits that you can use to assemble and build your own office. 

You’ll need to purchase your own container and any additional supplies outside the kit that you want your container to have.

Option #3: “Bob the Builder” Level Skillset (Pro Status)

This way requires you to do the full purchase of each custom part of the container as well as design and install all the parts yourselves. This will allow you to potentially purchase “As-Is” or Wind and Watertight condition containers for less money, but will require you to have a high level of expertise in proper wall and building assembly, the time to build the container, and a way of transporting your container once it is completed.


Sourcing an Office Shipping Container

If you look around the web, you’ll find plenty of outlets for shipping containers for sale and lease. While you’re sure to find them from crowd-favorite sites like Craigslist or Ebay – from a random person on the internet – we recommend sourcing your shipping container offices from commercial providers for one major reason:

Modular building suppliers and shipping container distributors are professional businesses with reputations on the line, and they (we) owe you answers to questions and concerns. It is in the interest of your commercial container supplier to resolve any issues with the quality or condition of the shipping container office you receive, the delivery process, and the pickup of the container.


Who is purchasing these Container Offices?

Container offices, as mentioned above, are designed for businesses in industries that frequently need to change the location of their office space. Traditionally they’ve been associated with:

  • Construction Companies – private builders, general contractors, government roadwork and facility construction companies, school construction
  • Trade Companies – electricians, civil engineers, mechanical engineers, plumbers, drywall, etc.
  • Farmers and Agriculture Researchers
  • Commercial and Retail Office Spaces
  • Healthcare Offices and Hospitals
  • Emergency Response and Disaster Response Teams


Common Specs and Dimensions of On-Ground Office Containers

The standard dimensions of office shipping containers are 20 foot and 40 foot container sizes. Their dimensions are typically as follows:


20 Foot Shipping Container Offices


20 Foot Shipping Container Office



8 Feet Wide

20 Feet Long

8.5 Feet Tall Height (Standard shipping containers)

9.5 Feet Tall Height (High cube shipping containers)


40 Foot Shipping Container Offices

40 Ft. Container Office



8 Feet Wide

20 Feet Long

8.5 Feet Tall Height (Standard shipping containers)

9.5 Feet Tall Height (High cube shipping containers)


Standard Office Container Specs and Materials:

  • Painted Steel Exteriors
  • Windows
  • Air Conditioning and Climate Control (Thru Wall HVAC Unit)
  • Vinyl and Painted Wood Floors
  • Windows
  • Paneled and Insulated Walls
  • Standard Side Door Entrance
  • Easy Access Double Door for Storage Entrance
  • Secure, Lockable Access Points
  • Fluorescent Lighting


Customizable Floor Plans

A major perk of these spaces is that despite their simplicity, the spaces themselves are highly versatile. This means that you can choose to have your office container for only one single office space or lay it out for multiple work spaces. Walls can be installed or removed to give privacy and segment your spaces. This includes the installation of bathrooms as well.


The multi-use office container

As pictured above in the 40 foot floor plan, a shipping container office does not have to only be purchased to accommodate your office work space. With the customizable floor plans, you can use your space for desk work and also have a significant space to store your tools and valuable construction equipment and work materials. The double door storage area makes for a great way to store and secure metal pipes, drills, saws, fittings, and other materials you don’t want to have cart around all the time.

The storage area also allows for your company to purchase large quantities of materials that you can protect from the elements. This should also allow you to buy enough materials to receive bulk discount rates.


Mobile Office Space is Invaluable

The mobility of these office containers is invaluable. If you are completing a section of a large construction project, simply move your container to the next part of the campus where you’ll be doing work. This works for companies that will regularly be changing job sites throughout the year.

It’s also what allows them to function in the temporary building space. The fact that a company can drop this off to you and pick it back up once you’re done, makes leasing these possible for any type of company. You don’t have to be in the construction or trades to benefit. We see plenty of people in the medical and retail spaces taking advantage of external offices for organization purposes, for social distancing, and to expand their back storage rooms and inventory areas.


VESTA Modular has your Office Shipping Containers

If you’re ready to make the leap to using container offices, give us a call or click the button below that says “Request a Quote”. One of our experts would be happy to answer any questions you might have and find you the right shipping container space for your next workspace.

Related Blog Posts

A permanent modular office building with autumn leaves in the background

5 Benefits of Using Permanent Modular Office Buildings

Permanent modular office buildings are a great solution for any business looking to increase ROI for their headquarters or satellite offices.

Read More

Advantages of Using Modular Buildings for Jobsite Trailers

Modular buildings can be used as jobsite trailers in industries ranging from construction to healthcare, making them great as mobile offices and more.

Read More
Modular Municipality

Modular Buildings: A Comprehensive Solution for Municipalities

Modular municipal buildings are a versatile and cost-effective solution for cities, counties and towns looking to expand or upgrade their infrastructure. These buildings are constructed…

Read More