How Much Does a 20 Foot Container Cost? Key Factors to Consider


A whopping 17 million shipping containers are moving across the globe at any given moment. That may not come as a surprise to you given the volume of eCommerce (and regular commerce) that takes place in cities small and large, every day.

What people may not think of when they consider shipping containers is the more creative uses people have cooked up for them.

From building a home to a bunker, containers have been the muse for several designers in the last decade and have created a whole new means for affordable shelter.

So then, what does an average 20-foot container cost in your market? Can you muster up the cash required to get your hands on a container for shipping or more creative ventures?

Keep reading to find out!

Average Container Costs

If you’ve come to this post looking for rough averages, we can tell you with a base level of certainty that you’re going to pay between $2000 and $3000 to pick up a 20-foot container. Note though that, depending on a variety of factors, you could fall well outside of that range.

Here’s what those “factors” are:


The cost of living always has an impact on the price of goods and services. Buying a 20-foot container in Boise will almost certainly set you back less than buying a container in San Francisco.

This is what drives many people that are in the market for 20-foot container cost quotes to shop outside of their local markets and fish for deals in much smaller, cheaper towns.


A beat-up container is going to cost less than one that’s in great condition. The same can be said when comparing a used container to a new one.

That begs the question, how much does having a great-looking container mean to you?

We’ve known people that just plan on using containers as the “bones” of a home and therefore, will gladly accept a used container given that they’ll be adding insulation to the inside and various exterior features to the outside.

People that are using containers for shipping may not be able to invest in one that’s beginning to rust away due to the durability implications ware has when you’re moving containers across the world.


A 20-foot container will fall into a certain price range (as we shared earlier) that will be comparable to other, similar containers. Know though that if you choose to pick up a bigger container (say a 40 footer), you’re going to be staring down a steeper price tag.

Granted, price per foot diminishes the larger your container is. That might mean that doubling your container space from 20 to 40 feet could only cost you 50% more as opposed to double the price.

Container Features

Not all containers are created equally when it comes to features. We’ve seen containers that can open from either side and even have the ability to open their roofs. Other containers come with insulation, a must if you’re planning on residing in it.

We’ve even seen steel storage containers come pre-fabricated with window cut-outs, electrical outlets, and more which makes plopping them down on a piece of property and taking shelter a breeze.

All of that to say that the more turn-key your container is, the more money you’ll end up paying.

Most shippers won’t be looking for bells and whistles when it comes to picking up a container. People that are planning on creative container uses though may be interested in buying into a more “finished” product.

Delivery Costs

Delivery costs are the number one ancillary price infiltrator for containers and something that a lot of people don’t pay mind to when they’re initially shopping around. While we’d love to share with you what a 20 foot container shipping cost might look like, the variances are too great to disclose given that distance has a huge impact on what you can expect to pay.

If you’re planning on buying shipping containers out of your market given your locality’s high cost of living, make sure the additional costs you’ll pay in shipping don’t offset the savings you’re pursuing by expanding your shopping radius.

Seller Variances

Even when you weigh all of the practical cost impacts we’ve shared, you’ll still find that prices can vastly differ among containers that have very similar market pressures. That variance is because sellers can charge whatever they want for containers!

Of course, overpricing containers in a way that ignores market conditions wouldn’t be prudent seeing as how people aren’t looking to overpay for products. Still, we see plenty of container shops launch massive marketing campaigns to draw enough attention to their inflated products to start generating sales.

Be wary of those loud sellers and always shop around, even with container dealers that don’t have the means (or the skills) to draw attention to themselves. Many times, it is the quiet sellers that are offering the best prices.

You Now Have an Idea of 20 Foot Container Cost

Using our 20 foot container cost averages in conjunction with the variances we’ve shared should help you get an idea of how much you’re likely to pay when you invest in a container. Know though that what we’ve discussed just helps you land on a ballpark range.

The best way to know for sure what you’re liable to pay for a container is to call a seller up and ask for a quote. You can also visit a website like CBOX and see their prices online.

Our team wishes you the best as you continue exploring your container-oriented projects. If you find yourself in need of more information as you move towards buying, consider exploring more of the helpful content on our blog.

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