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Cargo Container Storage Options: Rent, Lease to Buy, or Purchase?

There's no doubt cargo container storage is an excellent way to secure your items and protect them from the elements and vandalism. One-trip storage containers—like the ones we offer at SiteBox Storage—are robust because of their steel construction. And since they began life as overseas shipping containers, they're built to be resistant to wind and water, corrosion, rodents, and other nefarious vermin.

Shipping container storage boxes come in three size options: 8' x 10', 8' x 20', and 8' x 40', with various door placement options. But today, we're talking about payment options. In this article, we'll examine these options:

  • Rent a cargo container
  • Lease-to-own a cargo container
  • Buying a cargo container

Let's look at the differences.

What Rent, Lease to Own, and Buy Really Mean

It can get confusing, particularly if you're familiar with renting hotel rooms, offices, or apartments. If you rent a hotel room for a week, there's no major paperwork involved. If you need an apartment or office, you'll normally need to sign a lease agreement. That agreement binds you to the agreed-upon time frame, and breaking a lease can be painful. Even more complicated, extending a lease often means an extension of the same length or set time period. For example, a six-month lease might be extended another six months, three months if the landlord is understanding and flexible.

With cargo container storage, it's a little different. You don't need a long-term rental agreement, although you'll let the vendor know how long you think you need the container. And if you discover you need it longer, tell the rental company. No extra paperwork is involved.

Some companies that rent or sell cargo containers, like SiteBox Storage, bill in 28-day cycles. The delivery and pick-up fees are included in the first month. That means when you're done, you're done. There's no worry about an invoice for a pick-up fee showing up later. It's already taken care of.

With a lease-to-own, you've decided you need to own a cargo container box, but want to pay for it over time. This is not a problem. The most common agreement is 26 months, although it can range from two to five years. Once the last payment is made, it's all yours. Depending on the contract, the delivery fee may be included in the agreement's first payment. But delivery is always an option.

Of course, you can buy a cargo container storage box outright. It's likely cheaper in the long run than leasing to own, but both options have advantages as options to purchase a cargo container. You and your accountant are the only ones who can determine if buying a container is the best option for you. 

It All Comes Down to Two Options – Rent or Buy a Cargo Container

Of course, the length of time you'll be using the cargo container for storage is just one of the factors when choosing to rent or buy. Interestingly, even if you have the capital, buying the container may not always be the best option. Some customers rent for years at a time, possibly indefinitely. Of course, how they expense the rental out may be part of the reason. If the rental is used as an operating expense, it might make sense to rent instead of buy.

And while there is little maintenance involved (cargo containers are quite tough), the renting party may not have the staff or desire to do any routine maintenance.

There are many types of businesses that use cargo containers for storage. Some businesses that need storage containers indefinitely, however, often will purchase units. For example, they may want to make modifications to suit their situation. These modifications may not be possible if they rent the unit. And since they are going to use them long term, it makes sense to alter the container to suit their unique situation.

For instance, they may want a paint scheme that's in line with their business's colors, or they may even add a logo to the paint job. So when it comes to branding the unit for their company, buying makes good sense.

If you need the cargo container for a short time, rental is the way to go. When you rent, the delivery and pick-up fees are added to the first month's rent, as mentioned above. And any normal wear and tear repairs needed are handled by the rental company's trained service team.

Some people need a temporary place to work while starting a business. For instance, an entrepreneur may want to start a restaurant. A pop-up kitchen may allow them to "test the waters," and tweak their concept. While some modified office containers may fit the idea, a regular container can serve as a secure mini-warehouse for supplies.

If you want to learn more about your options for rental, lease to buy, or buying options, contact our expert sales staff today. They'll help you with all the details, including logistics.

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