Want to start a shipping container business but are not sure where to begin? We’ve got your back. In this blog, we’ll take you through all of the steps, plus important things to look out for. So keep reading for all you need to know about using shipping containers to make big profits.

Setting up a shipping container business is a wise move for several reasons. Containers are assets with intrinsic value; they’re both functional and have good resale potential.

Of course, shipping container investment is not without its risks. Therefore, you’ll need to find a reliable platform to buy shipping containers at the best prices. Container xChange, an online marketplace with 100,000 containers available in 2,500 locations, can help you with that. We work with only vetted members, so there’s no worry about fraudulent activities. 

Check out how easy it is to use xChange to find containers you need within your budget. Simply type in the location plus the container type you want, and then press ‘search’. You’ll find offers that match your criteria in no time at all.

0 results found on the platform.

Container prices start from 0/unit.

Currently no match for your search

Change your search criteria or fill out the form below to get notified via email when there is a new match for you on xChange!

    Looking for something in particular?

    Let's schedule a call, and we'll help you out.

      Showing 0 of 0 results

      Load more

        Looking for something in particular?

        Let's schedule a call, and we'll help you out.

          Interested in this deal? Let us give you a call and fill you in on all the details

            Interested in xChange and want to learn more about container opportunities in your area?

            Call one of our experts at +1 (213) 458-5411, or simply fill out the form, and we will get back to you promptly.

            Why start a shipping container business?

            When it comes to starting a container shipping business, there’s a long list of reasons why it’s a good move. Here are a few of them:

            Why start a shipping container business

            Tangible assets: Unlike many other kinds of assets, shipping containers are physical objects with a very practical function: to ship cargo via road, rail or sea. As long as goods are being moved around the world to meet commercial demands, your containers will be needed.

            Long-lasting: If you’re looking for long-term assets, shipping containers are the perfect fit. They’re well-maintained and inspected regularly; they can easily last up to 25 years. So you don’t have to worry about replacing them often.

            Potential for steady income: According to the International Chamber of Shipping, over 11 billion tons of goods are transported in containers each year. So there’s heaps of potential to make a steady income by leasing containers to shippers. You can even modify containers for commercial purposes or rent them to other businesses for storage. It’s easy to do when you’re using an online trading and leasing platform like xChange to connect easily with industry players.

            Make big profits: Making sure you know exactly where demand is high and supply is low is a sure way of bringing in large profits, whether you’re trading or leasing out equipment. We’ll explain exactly how to do this later on in this blog, so keep reading.

            How to start a shipping container business

            Starting a shipping container business might seem overwhelming, but don’t worry. We’ll break it down into simple steps for you.

            Do your market research 

            Before you begin, you’ll need to asses the current demand for containers both locally and internationally. Make sure you have a good handle on the market situation, so you know what you’re heading into. You’ll also need to establish what specific niche you’ll be targeting, such as shippers, freight forwarders, NVOCCs or container traders, for example.

            Identify your competitors

            It’s extremely important to identify your competitors and figure out what they’re doing well, and where you can top them. Check out similar businesses online and try to work out how you can solve customer’s pain points and satisfy their needs better than your competitors.

            Create your business plan

            Creating a business plan is important, especially if you want to get investors on board. Your plan should be a roadmap of how you’re going to get your business off the ground, as well as ensure that it’s successful. Here are some important sections to include:

            • Business description: This section should explain what your business does.
            • Competitor analysis: In the competitor analysis, you’ll need to explain who your competitors are and what sets you apart from them.
            • Marketing strategy: Here you should detail how you’re going to reach your target audience and convince them that your products or services are better than your competitor’s.
            • Products and services: Outline your products or service offerings.
            • Operations and management plan: This section should cover exactly how your business is going to run; how many staff you’ll need, what kinds of processes will be put in place, etc.
            • Financial plan and projections: Here you should include your budget plus all financial requirements.

            Choose a legal structure

            There are four main types of business structures: Sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and limited liability company (LLC). You’ll need to do some research in order to figure out which structure works best for your needs.

            Register your business

            Register your business and organize all permits and licenses required in your jurisdiction. For example, US-based companies acting as freight forwarders or NVOCCs must obtain an Ocean Transportation Intermediary (OTI) license from the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC). You’ll also need to register your business with the tax authority in your state. This process varies widely from country to country, so make sure that you do your research and get this done as early as possible to avoid any fines or penalties.

            Find a secure online leasing and trading marketplace

            It’s crucial that you find a safe and reliable marketplace to source the equipment you require for your shipping container business. Luckily, Container xChange is exactly what you need. Trade and lease out containers safely at the best prices, and build lasting relationships with partners along the way.

            You can also make all payments directly on the platform with the xChange Wallet. What’s more? Keep track of your transactions in one place—convenience at its best! 

            Open a business bank account

            It’s important to have a separate business bank account from your personal account. This is first and foremost more professional, but it also helps you if you need to apply for loans or credit. Besides this, having a separate bank account for your business makes tax returns quicker and easier. 

            Running a shipping container business means sourcing containers efficiently. Explore our marketplace for shipping containers for sale to find the best options. Join our network to access new, used, and specialized containers from reputable suppliers at competitive prices.

            Now that we’ve learned all about the steps to take, let’s dive into the 5 ways to make money with shipping containers.

            Containers in shipping terminal

            Top 5 shipping container business ideas: How to turn a profit with containers

            There are five main ways of turning a profit with shipping containers. You can choose to use one of these methods or all five for your business.

            1. Buy and sell containers

            The ‘buy and sell’ method is simple: Buy containers in low-demand (surplus) locations and sell them again in high-demand (deficit) locations. Container trading is a lucrative business opportunity for trucking companies as well, especially to beat the freight recession in the US. This business is scalable, allowing you to adjust based on market conditions. You can start by buying a few shipping containers and gradually expand.

            But how do you buy containers in low-demand regions and sell them where demand is high? Right here on xChange. Read on to find out more.

            How to start a container trading business? 

            You can start your container trading business by using a safe and secure online trading marketplace like Container xChange. It’s also useful to have access to up-to-date market prices and trends, as this allows you to seize opportunities as they arise. 

            Luckily, we’ve got xChange Insights for exactly this purpose. On Insights, track container prices in over 180 locations around the globe, plus check out the cheapest and most expensive areas to buy containers in, any time of day or night. 

            Let’s go over a quick ‘buy and sell’ scenario now:

            First things first, you check Insights and see that a 20ft cargo-worthy container is selling for a low price in Chicago, US for $960. Next, you hop onto our trading platform to buy containers at this price in Chicago. 

            Once you’ve bought your containers, you notice that 20ft containers are priced at $2,490 in Minneapolis, US. So you hop back onto the trading platform and sell your 20ft containers in Minneapolis, making a profit of US $1,530 per container. 

            Now just imagine you buy and sell 30 containers in these two locations—the profits will be rolling in! Learn more about how to make money using the ‘buy and sell’ method right now. 

            2. Shipping containers for storage

            Shipping containers are designed to withstand harsh conditions, making them excellent for storing valuable cargo and equipment. You can either use containers for storing your cargo or rent them to other businesses and earn a steady income. 

            Using containers as storage units is more cost-effective than constructing permanent facilities or renting storage spaces. Moreover, containers can be stacked vertically, freeing up valuable ground space at your storage facility. 

            Used shipping containers are ideal storage containers. This way, you can secure containers at low prices and establish your shipping container rental business easily. Find used shipping containers for as low as $950 in some locations in the US. 

            3. Containers for construction companies and builders

            Shipping containers are easily customized and cater to a wide range of industries, including construction. Here are a few ways you can modify shipping containers for your business:

            • Mobile business: Containers make excellent pop-up shops, cafés, or food stalls. Their portability allows you to set up businesses in various locations without significant investment.
            • Container Homes: Builders repurpose containers into affordable housing solutions. These homes are cost-effective, eco-friendly, and can be customized to meet different needs.
            • Temporary housing and storage: For construction companies, containers can be converted into dormitories or temporary housing for construction crews working on remote sites. As we mentioned in the previous section, containers also provide excellent storage solutions.

            These are just a few of the many ways you can use a converted shipping container. As a business opportunity, you can either use containers for your own business or, buy containers and modify them to cater to the needs of other companies. For example, you can buy a cargo-worthy container at a low price. Modify it into a shipping container home and sell it to make profits! 

            However, to make the most of these repurposed shipping containers, you’ll have to secure containers at the best prices. That’s where Container xChange can help you. We have 100,000+ containers available on our online trading marketplace. Find the containers you want at the prices that suit you. Simply click the banner below to find offers from vetted sellers in your location! 

            Shipping container business small banner

            4. Buy, reposition, and sell containers

            This method works in almost the same way as the ‘buy and sell method’, except that you lease your containers out for the one-way move from the surplus to the deficit location and make money on the pick-up charges as well.

            Let’s say that you see that cargo-worthy 20ft containers are selling for US $1,100 in Dalian, China. This is a low price, so buying in this location is a good move. Next, you find out that the same containers are selling for US $1,395 in Norfolk. 

            As you can see, container prices in Norfolk are higher than in Dailan, so you’re likely to make a good profit here. Plus, the pick-up charges for this stretch are US $400. So, if you buy containers in Dailan and sell them again in Norfolk, plus lease them out for the move at US $400, you’re looking at a profit of US $695 per container. 

            We’ll discuss more about how you can use the Container xChange leasing marketplace to make the most profits while leasing shipping containers in the next section.

            5. Lease out containers for one-way moves

            For the container leasing business, you’ll buy containers in good condition at the best price. The idea is to build up a fleet that can be leased out for one-way moves to make a steady income. For this option to be a success, make sure you’re leasing out your equipment along popular stretches with high pick-up charges.

            You can leverage the Container xChange platform to make profitable leasing decisions for your business. Read on to find out more. 

            How to start a container leasing business?

            To start your container leasing business, you’ll need a steady supply of containers at low prices and a global network to lease your containers. On the Container xChange trading platform, you can buy containers at the lowest prices. Then, use our leasing marketplace to look for vetted container users for one-way moves. Leverage the xChange Insights platform to find the most lucrative container trading and leasing places globally and expand your business. 

            Check out how we can help you establish your container leasing business by getting a free demo today! Click the banner below to schedule your call.

            Shipping container business small banner

            4 things to keep in mind when starting a shipping container business

            Starting a business always comes with its own set of risks. So what are some of the things you need to keep in mind before you explore shipping container business opportunities? Let’s find out now. 

            Market volatility: Container prices are always changing, and these fluctuations could affect your return on investment. Especially if you sell your inventory at the wrong time. So be mindful of what’s happening in the industry, as well as the current prices, before making any business decisions. To stay informed about industry developments, sign up for our free, detailed monthly container logistics reports here

            Container depreciation: Even though containers are an in-demand asset, they still depreciate over time, especially if they get damaged or have undergone multiple container repairs. This is something to take into account when buying shipping containers for your business.

            Damage and loss: Containers can get damaged and sometimes even fall off ships. This is why it’s important to have container insurance so that you can recover your money when disasters strike. Luckily, with Container xChange, you can get the best insurance for your equipment. Find out more about the container cover we offer here.

            Unreliable partners: Sometimes, an untrustworthy lessee or buyer can default on payments, resulting in a loss of income for you and your business. For the long-term success of your business, it’s important to work only with reliable shipping companies and vetted partners, like on xChange.

            Vetted container logistics partners

            Earn profits by making Container xChange a part of your shipping container business plan 

            To run a successful business, you need the right tools. Choosing a platform for trading and leasing that is safe, secure, and easy to use should be right at the top of your to-do list. This is where Container xChange comes in. So let’s learn more about the benefits of using our container logistics platform now. 

            Full transparency on prices

            Container xChange offers complete transparency, with all the prices stated upfront. This means you can browse and compare multiple container offers at the same time to find the options that best fit your budget. You’re also able to negotiate directly with the seller if you feel the price is too high. 

            0% commission and fees

            On xChange, we don’t charge any commission on deals. So the price you agree on with a partner is the amount you’ll shell out or be paid. No unwanted surprises, and no added fees while buying containers.

            Vetted partners

            All members on xChange have to undergo a mandatory vetting process and background check, so you can rest assured all partners you work with will be trustworthy and reliable. Plus, check out reviews and ratings before deciding who to work with.

            Ready to start getting the containers you need for your container business now? The first step is organizing a demo with one of our helpful experts, who’ll give you a sneak peek of the platform and show you exactly how you can use it to make profits on containers. So click below to start your journey with us today.

            Shipping container business big banner

            Shipping container business: Common FAQs

            Are shipping containers profitable for business?

            Shipping containers can be used to make huge returns on investment. You can buy them at a low price and sell them again at a higher price, lease out your equipment for one-way moves, or buy in low demand areas, reposition and then sell in high demand areas to make profits.

            How do I start my own shipping container business?

            There are a number of steps to starting your own shipping container business. These include: Research the shipping container market, creating a comprehensive business plan, and finding a reliable shipping container supplier to buy containers from.

            How much does it cost to buy a shipping container?

            The cost of a shipping container varies depending on factors like the container type, condition and the current market situation. Location is also a big factor affecting price. For a cargo-worthy 20ft dry container in the US you’re looking at US $1,090 and for a 40ft dry container, US $1,850.