Getting Started With Shipping Container Homes

Plan & Budget


Suppose you’ve just heard about these things called Shipping Container Homes and you’re wanting to learn more about them.

Don’t worry; we get lots of emails from people just like you every week asking us what they are and where to learn more about them.

We have been the number one resource for all things related to shipping container homes for the last several years. Our website is dedicated to educating shipping container enthusiasts.  We have an abundance of articles aimed at helping you navigate your journey.

Today we’re going to start from the beginning and explain exactly what shipping container homes are and then provide you with some must read articles if you want to learn more.

What Are Shipping Container Homes?

Shipping container homes are homes or offices which have been built by converting and repurposing shipping containers.

These shipping containers can be used or new, 20 or 40 feet long.  There are several options available to you, but all that matters as far as the definition is that some type of shipping container is utilized at the heart of the construction.

Blue Shipping Container Home

Thousands of shipping container homes have already been built in countries around the world including the US, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, South Africa, India, Germany and the Netherlands.

You can see more pictures of container homes in Get Inspired section.

Are Shipping Container Homes Popular?

Now that you know what Cargo Box homes are, you’re probably wondering if anyone actually builds and lives in them.

The answer is a resounding yes.  Across the world over the past 15 years, Container Homes have risen over 5x in popularity according to Google Trends.

Pros and Cons of Container Homes

One of the most popular reasons people build container homes is because of the price. With the right choices, container homes can be built affordably which means that they can offer a route to financial independence for many people.

Another great reason why they are so popular is that they are quite environmentally friendly. Every 40ft shipping container reused for a new purpose like a home saves more than 8,000 pounds of steel.

For many people, building a shipping container home is a perfect choice.  That said, it isn’t the right decision for everybody. 

It’s worth reading through some of the downsides to shipping container construction as well so you know what you’re getting into.

Are Shipping Container Homes Dangerous?

This is a fair question since you will be living in this home with your family. It needs to be safe!

Providing the home is built correctly and the containers are converted appropriately, then yes, shipping container homes are absolutely safe.

We have covered this thoroughly in our article just how safe are shipping container homes if you’d like to read more.

Constructing Your Container Home

If you’ve considered the options and have made the decision to construct a container home, that is fantastic! Get in touch with us along the way with any questions you might have. We can’t wait to see the results. Remember to contact us once you’ve finished construction and send some photos!

We’ve spoken with numerous people who have built their own shipping container home and there are several mistakes which people make along the way which end up costing them a lot of money. Two of the most common mistakes are buying the wrong type of shipping containers and using the wrong insulation material.

Read more in our article 5 mistakes to avoid when building.

Once you’ve read this and are becoming more familiar with container homes, you may be interested in our huge case study with dozens of container homeowner interviews. In these interviews, we ask the homeowners to share their best advice for people who want to construct their own container home.

The top three pieces of advice are:

  1. Purchase the right type of container.
  2. Review your local building regulations and permits before you start building
  3. Use contractors who have previously built container homes.

Planning Your Shipping Container Home

By now, you are well aware of what a shipping container home is, why people build container homes, and you’ve even seen some of the beginner mistakes that people make when constructing shipping container homes.

Now consider these 8 questions to ask before you build.

The biggest decision you will have to make is whether to build it yourself or bring a contractor in to build it for you.

The majority of people decide to build it themselves.  One reason is that it is much cheaper, but also because it brings you closer to the home since your blood, sweat, and tears have been poured into it!

We understand that there are people who don’t want to build it themselves. As idyllic as building it yourself sounds, it can become very stressful, especially if you are doing it for the first time.

Hiring a contractor can help take away a lot of these headaches, leaving you to do all the fun stuff like designing the kitchen and flow of the house.

It’s all about making these decisions now, so you know what to expect. Planning your project is so important, as the old saying goes: “A failure to plan is a plan to fail.”

We won’t get into planning too much in this article except to say you need to do it! Read our comprehensive article on how to plan your shipping container home. From design to budgeting, all the way through using contractors, it’s all there.


When you’re new to the concept of container homes, the amount of information available can be overwhelming, but we hope this article has helped to get you started.

Remember there are dozens of articles on our website all about shipping container homes.

Building your own container home can be extremely rewarding not only financially but also as a sense of personal achievement.

Let us know in the comments section below if you have decided to move forward on the shipping container journey. 

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