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Onsite storage for tools, materials, and other jobsite equipment is often an important aspect of keeping your remote workplace organized, efficient, and secure. The old adage—a place for everything and everything in its place—is good business practice.

We’ve published a complete guide to leasing onsite storage containers to help you with the process of choosing the appropriate temporary jobsite storage for your situation. It will list your options and give you the criteria for making the best choice. Here's a quick "blog-sized" version of it, but you can also visit download the full guide as a pdf

It will give you the tools to make the right decision about onsite storage for jobsites. It could save you time and money.

Here’s what it covers:

What is an Onsite Storage Cargo Container?

Yes, this is basic, but let’s start simple.

The cargo containers used for onsite storage are usually one-trip shipping containers. They’re manufactured overseas and used to ship one load to the United States. Constructed of heavy gauge steel, these containers are rugged enough to stand the rigors of an ocean crossing and more. They’re also water- and rodent-resistant to keep the contents free from contamination. Additionally, lockable swing out cargo doors are fitted at one or both ends. These end doors permit easy, but secure access to the container. They are manufactured in 10-, 20-, and 40-foot lengths; they are 8 feet wide and 8.5 feet tall on the outside. Once offloaded and emptied, they’re inspected and modified (if necessary) for their new life as an onsite temporary storage container.

Cargo shipping containers are arguably the sturdiest and most secure option for protecting gear and supplies on construction sites or other venues. With the variety of lengths available, they’ll store and protect anything from boxed or crated parts and supplies, up to full-length conduits and piping.

For more in-depth material about what a cargo shipping container is, read our full post.

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The cargo container used for onsite storage is also not without a few drawbacks. We’ll get to those in a minute. But before we cover that, let’s answer a critical first question.

Why Rent an Onsite Storage Container?

Some of the factors in determining whether renting a mobile onsite storage container are:

  • How much storage capacity do you need?
  • How long is the duration of the job or storage need?
  • How secure do the items you’re storing need to be?
  • Is there another form of fixed storage rental available close to the job site?
  • Would it be more cost-effective to transport your items to and from the job site?
  • Will you be able to set up a relatively permanent location on the jobsite for your storage container?

Answering these questions is the first step in determining if leasing an on-site storage container is the best choice for your situation.

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We talk about construction work sites a lot. But, construction sites aren’t the only location where temporary onsite storage is needed. Below are a few more reasons you might want to rent a cargo container storage unit.

5 Common Uses for Onsite Container Storage Units

Of course, we’ve already talked about using container storage units for construction site purposes. They provide secure, vandal-resistant storage for tools, equipment, and parts. But, with the price of lumber, copper, and other building materials on the rise, you need to make sure nothing “walks” off the job site.

Another reason you might want to lease an onsite storage container is to provide temporary warehousing of retail goods. Often seasonal items and special purchase goods require more space than you have. Setting a mobile storage cargo container near your store can give you the much-needed, secure, and weather-resistant enclosure you need. While we’ll get to this a little later, storage containers also allow much easier ingress and egress for your employees when retrieving the products.

There are times when you’re relocating your business, either across town or across the state. You can temporarily store a lot of supplies, furniture, and office equipment at the new location, as long as you can find a solution that’s sturdy enough to give you peace of mind. While a gated storage facility can fit the bill, a mobile storage unit can often be parked at the new location, saving time and money by only moving your stuff once.

One of the most interesting uses we’ve seen is schools and universities using mobile cargo container storage units as more or less permanent storage facilities.

While not mentioned yet, cargo container storage units can often be modified to make room for mobile offices on a job site, or even emergency command centers to serve as secure offices for natural disasters and other crisis events. We’ve written more in-depth. about these five common uses for container storage.

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While we’re on that subject, lets check out some of the possible modifications that may be available for cargo storage containers that increase their value to your operation, simply by using accessories.

Accessorizing Onsite Storage Containers

When it comes to storage, you may not want to just stack your stuff on the floor in a jumbled mess. There are some easy accessories and modifications for container storage that can help, like the installation of pipe racks, shelving, and benches or tables. While you might add some yourself, many leases will include them pre-installed. You can even get a unit with bike racks installed for your workers who pedal their way to the job site.

Wall dividers, with or without personnel doors, can be installed to keep items separated by craft. Usually used in cargo containers with cargo doors on both ends, this is a valuable option to consider, particularly on job sites.

Some units are prewired for lighting and electrical outlets. Be sure to check availability if this is an option that would benefit you.

Many of our units are modified specifically to be used as mobile offices. They’ll have grated windows, climate control, and essential office items such as tables and wiring. On 20- and 40-foot containers, a dividing wall can provide both office and storage space, all in one unit.

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So, let’s bring it down to the final considerations you’ll need to decide on whether a portable storage cargo container is the way to go for you.

Container Storage: the Pros and Cons

There are a variety of businesses that can use container storage! Their sturdy design makes them one of the most secure and vandal-resistant storage choices available. A look at the pros and cons of using converted cargo containers for storage is worth discussing.

Ease of ingress and egress is one of the major benefits to your crew. Since the cargo container storage or mobile office sits right on the ground, you won’t need stairs, ladders, or handrails to enter the units safely. Occasionally, the addition of a small ramp is also helpful.

Location considerations top the list. If considering renting a cargo container for mobile storage, you need to ensure you have enough room. The room needed to drop off a container varies with the length of the box.

If you have limited room, a trailer storage container may be your only option. Additionally, the location for the container needs to be fairly level to ensure the doors will open and close easily. You can make some adjustments but within certain limits.

Duration is another factor to consider. The leases for most cargo container storage units are contracted in 28-day increments. The lease agreement includes the drop-off and pick-up fees. Renting for a few days or weeks could mean you need to check into something else, even if less secure.

The contents, or what you will be storing in the onsite mobile storage container, should also be factored in. Be sure to check with the leasing company to make sure what you want to keep inside can be legally stored. And remember, the more valuable or expensive the contents to be stored, the more secure the mobile storage should be. You can’t get much more secure than an all-steel cargo container. 

Mobility is the final consideration. Once set in place, it may be difficult, at best, to move the container to a different location. It’s not like hooking up to a tractor or pickup and hauling it around. If you think there’s a good possibility of moving it, contact the leasing company to see what your options are.

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Easy Customizations for Onsite Storage

There are always inquiries about customizing containers at SiteBox. From the folks who just want to buy the container and turn it into the concept of their dreams to the people who want you to build them a                                   out of an empty container. (You fill in the blank, we’ve heard it all.)

We’ve worked on custom projects at SiteBox too, and we’ve done some of those customizations too, when the moment and the project were right. Which led us to a new concept in customization.

When you hear custom, that typically means "completely customized from top to bottom.” That sounds costly, right? And it can be. It would require full design services, engineering, and planning - all before the manufacturing even starts. But, the reality is that when we started doing customization of our SiteBox units, we realized that most customers asked for a few common specifications. 

So, why not start with those common requests? At SiteBox, few made-to-order configurations. In doing so, we can save a lot of steps, which means time, effort, and money saved for you!

Our SiteBox custom brochure will outline 9 common layouts that we’re offering in our customized units:

  • 10’ Laboratory
  • 20’ Mobile Office with Restroom
  • 40’ Mobile Office with Restroom
  • 20’ Restroom Unit
  • 40’ Restroom Unit with Locker Rooms
  • 20’ Data Center
  • 20’ Guard Shack with Turnstile Option
  • 40’ Tool Crib
  • 40’ Multi-Section (Mostly Open Concept)

Starting with one of these configurations could make it easier to get to the custom space you need! These designs have been used in construction, manufacturing, retail sites, and as portable labs. We’re open to your new ideas too!

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Steel Modular – It's What We Do

At SiteBox Storage, our business is steel modular storage containers, mobile offices, and customized structures. We’ve been doing it since 2005. We get that you have your specialty too. That’s why our team of experts is ready and willing to answer your questions and consult on your project, whether that’s renting a simple storage container, or purchasing a made-to-order customized structure.

Give us a call. Hopefully, this condensed version of our portable storage container guide gave you a good idea of whether you should consider leasing a mobile storage unit (or even a mobile office unit) for your next project. However, if you need more information, contact us and we will answer your questions and make suggestions to make your next storage rental one that will make you happy.