If you’re starting a small business, often cash flow will be tight in the beginning and you have to spend carefully so you don’t blow your entire budget before you’ve even gotten your gig off the ground. These days more and more people are taking advantage of shipping containers and converting them for all manner of uses. Cargo containers are not expensive, and repurposing one or more shipping containers for start-up businesses can really help you save on costs.
Let’s look at just a few ways that repurposed containers might be good for your business start-up.
As a new business or company, a lot of start-up capital can be consumed very quickly by leasing expensive office space. You can avoid these costs in the first instance if you, or a business partner, has space at home to set up a simple, yet effective, office converted from a shipping container.
Depending on how much space you require in the beginning, a 20-foot shipping container will likely be enough to get you started. You can always upgrade to more spacious leased office space down the track as cash flow increases.
You could either purchase a new shipping container or save even more dollars by investing in a slightly used one. The trick is to team up with a container supplier that also specialises in shipping container conversions.
Generally, your new office can be built off-site and then delivered to your property for installation and the connection of electricity. Construction doesn’t take long, because most of it is already there. It’s just a matter of putting in some windows, maybe a desk affixed to the floor and wall, and changing out the two swinging steel doors for something more appropriate.
Insulation will also be required to keep the temperature inside the container at comfortable levels all year round. You can also install a split system air conditioner that cools in summer and warms in winter.
The best way to come up with ideas for your home office is to brainstorm with the design team who will be carrying out the conversion. These people are experts and will be able to guide you every step of the way to deliver the results you need within your budget.
Try not and go overboard with the slicing and dicing of the container, with lots of windows for instance. If too much of the original structure is cut away, it will compromise the strength and rigidity of your shipping container office.
It’s actually quite a straight forward process to convert a shipping container into a home office, and it’ll prove to be a positive talking point with your clients as well.
A Shipping Container Restaurant, Cafe Or Bar
If your start up is in the food business, or you’re searching for innovative ideas, then perhaps a converted shipping container restaurant is the solution?
One really cool thing to keep in mind with shipping containers is if you maintain the integrity of the container, you’ll actually have yourself a mobile kitchen or mini restaurant that can be taken to events, trade shows, concerts and all sorts of things.
Other businesses have created complete restaurant set ups on a more permanent basis, where something like a 40-foot container has been utilised to form the main part of the structure or even several converted containers.
Small cafes and bars are the perfect fit when it comes to shipping container conversions, in particular mobile ones. Once again you can set up shop at various events, then simply pack up and have your bar or cafe moved to the next venue.
Some of the trendiest inner-city bars and cafes have been made from used containers. All it takes is some imagination and to team up with a good designer and you’re away.
It’s definitely a real money saver too, no matter what sort of establishment you’re going for. Mobile or permanent, a shipping container restaurant, fast food outlet, trendy cafe or small bar is a fantastic idea for start ups on a budget.
Pop Up Shops
This is a mobile idea, where you convert the inside of the container into a mini shop. It could be for:
• A tiny convenience store
• Flower shop
• Sporting goods hire
• Mobile phone store
• Mini hairdressing salon
• Real estate office
Seriously, there is no shortage of ideas for the kinds of pop up stores you can create with a converted cargo container.
Clothing is one of the easiest conversions. Mostly all you need is some fittings to hang and display the clothing range. You might also want to choose a side opening shipping container for this idea, rather than one with the doors on the end. That way you can simply open those side doors and your container boutique suddenly becomes much bigger.
The doors themselves can even be utilised to display clothing.
If you are considering starting up your own storage company, rather than have all the traditional storage sheds built from scratch, you could use shipping containers as is. They don’t even really need any conversions for this purpose.
All you’ll really need is the land to put them on, create a site office from a converted cargo container, then have all your shipping storage containers placed in rows throughout the property.
It’s one of the simplest storage solutions there is, and to set this up wouldn’t take very long at all when no actual construction is required. The only thing you’d really need to do is have power installed in the containers for lighting and so on.
Because of their modular design, shipping containers are also able to be stacked if need be.
There are many ways a shipping container can help start ups save money, with the home office being one of the most common applications.
For ideas, the best thing to do is have a chat with your container company and discuss the options for shipping container conversion and think about using repurposed containers. You might just come up with a concept you haven’t even thought of yet.
Take a look at our next article on the pop-up retail space.