Factors That Determine the Price for a Container Home and How to Build One

These days, more and more people are making the decision to get a container home built for them. This is a good thing on so many levels. From the way the industry is going, it doesn’t seem like container homes will displace regular homes any time soon, those who are familiar with these steel-can houses can testify about how affordable, convenient to build and comfortable they are. Container homes are also eco-friendly since you will be helping to take some containers off the docks.

If you are a fan of simplicity with elegance, then container homes are a thing for you. However, as with every building project, before you set out to get a container home for yourself, you actually have to consider how much it is going to cost you and what the process of getting yourself one would really be like.

While it’s true that steel container homes offer a fast and sustainable alternative to regular conventional building, building one isn’t without it worries too. There are details you have to worry about as well as other issues peculiar to these types of housing such as location, durability, and protection against the elements among others. Let’s begin with how much a container home project will really cost you.

How much does a shipping container home really cost?

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Usually, the cost of building materials and labor for conventional houses can be likened to the cost of building container homes to an extent. But this is really not always the case. How much you will have to pay for the container house depends on a number of factors, starting with the cost of the main material which is the container itself. Generally, the cost of a steel container like the ones you can see in this image can vary from anywhere between $1400 and $4000. This value tends to vary based on the size of the container, the container it is and a long list of other reasons.

But the container itself isn’t the only factor to consider here. How much you will have to pay on your installation is based on if you want to install additional features to the house and which one you want. One of the beauties of shipping container homes is how it gives you the freedom to explore and customize the home according to your preferences. You can install day to day fixture like windows, floors, electricity and so on.

Generally speaking, you might spend anything in between $150,000 and $175,000 which is still a lot less than what building a conventional home would cost you. In fact, this isn’t the best you can do as far as price is concerned. For small sized container homes with minimal installation and additional fixtures, you should be able to finish it with as low as about $10,000. It gets even better if you are a handy person and you can handle the process yourself. In this case, you can spend as low as $ 4000 since you won’t be spending extra on hired hands.  

Steel container homes have downsides as well. Read about some of the pros and cons here.

Additional costs that will affect overall pricing

  • Permits: in most cases, you will be required to get an official permit before you are allowed to build your container home. This can be either temporary or permanent based on the city or state you live in and the costs will also vary accordingly.
  • Site preparation: you will also need to spend some money on site preparation. This depends largely on the size of the container you are bringing in as well as how much work you will need to do on the site before it can be fit enough to accommodate your container home. Bear in mind that you should place your container home on a strong and stable foundation in an area that is not prone to flooding.
  • Delivery fees: there is a very good chance that you will be charged delivery fees. How much you will pay for this depends largely on the supplier you are dealing with. You might be charged a flat rate for delivery within a particular area and required to pay extra for delivery outside the specified area. You also need to confirm with your supplier for additional delivery costs as well.

How to build a container home

Building an ultra-modern home from a steel box is a step-by-step process. If you are hiring experts to handle building for you, they will work you through the process from land preparation to final construction. A lot goes into building a steel container house, but at the end of the day, it is well worth it. Some basic steps you need to follow include the following

Research: It is important that you get as much information before starting your project. This would include information like finding the right contractor and supplier for the job, how much it will cost as well as possible laws and legal requirements you will have to fulfill among other things.

Design and planning: how big will the home to be constructed be? Will you be using a single container or more, how luxurious would it be? And so on. Speak to your contractor or architect about the structure you want and check out the most practical concept for your container home.

Site preparation and delivery: Once you find a trusted supplier and experts to get the job done, you can start preparing your site.  In most case, container homes are delivered complete or near completion and only some installations are done on-site.

Finishing touches: these include final touches to the interior decoration, insulation, plumbing, electrical systems, doors and locks and so on. Your container home can be just as sophisticated as conventional building and the best part is that it can be completed in a fraction of the time.

Before you build a shipping container home, you should read these tips: https://www.quora.com/What-are-some-things-to-know-before-building-a-shipping-container-home


If you are opting for a steel container home, you can find an expert to enlighten you more about it and put you through about the processed you need to follow as well as the costs.

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