Make your Own Shipping Container Office

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{Images via here, here and here}

Is it worth it?

In the world of fierce corporate competition and constantly rising rents, the expense of renting office space is a problem many companies — including budding startups — commonly face in the search for adequate headquarters. If you are one of the business owners plagued by the office space puzzle, rest assured: yes, it is definitely worth it and it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and half your savings.

Thanks to the soaring popularity of cargotechture, an increasing number of companies worldwide are opting for prefabricated facilities as a more cost-efficient and eco-friendly alternative to brick-and-mortar workplaces. Durable, portable and infinitely transformable, shipping containers can be quickly redone into inexpensive business space for a range of industries such as retail, arts, entertainment and even catering (follow the link to find out how food kiosks made from steel cargo units have turned around Toronto’s dining scene).

Impressed? Read on for some ideas on how to do up your container office based on your industry, workflow and overall budget.

Just the right size

The first thing you will have to decide on is the size of your office – ergo, the number and dimensions of the container units you will need to create it. Cargo containers usually come in 10-, 20- and 40-foot versions and can be easily stacked together to create a multi-story structure. Based on your vision of suitable corporate headquarters, you can transform smaller containers into offices and deploy more spacious ones as waiting rooms or lounging areas. Of course, you can experiment with office layout in a number of ways once you get your hands on the necessary number of adequately-sized steel cubes.

Stitch and connect

In case you intend to use the container structure as a portable office, you should not secure it to the ground. Small container units can be transported easily, but if you want your workplace to be immobile, you will have to build the foundation using poured concrete (the quickest option, though you can use other materials as well) before you place the unit on the selected spot using a crane. Next up, you will have to connect the containers with the help of special clamps or heavy-duty bolts (or simply weld them together) and reinforce the structure in case you are planning to remove some of the walls.

Zoe 11.11.15-2{Images via here, here, and here}

From the ground up

Some experts recommend replacing the container flooring because of the chemicals used for the initial treatment, but if you do not want to engage in thorough overhauls, you can leave the original base, wash it with a stringent solvent liquid and encapsulate it with flooring material of your preference, such as laminate or tiles. Use a plasma cutter, grinder or cutting torch to make the necessary openings for the windows and doors, then seal the cracks for optimal thermal insulation. If you do not like the square shape of the office, you can drop the container’s flat roof and raise a slanted one – but you should consult an engineer about the costs and best procedures for the modification beforehand.

Finishing touches

The décor will depend on the function of the office and your own design-savviness. Your container workplace can be anything from a minimalist photography studio or a modern administrative centre with PCs and file cabinets to an eco-friendly eatery, retail store, ticket office, kiosk or even a gallery. Deck the unit with furnishings required for conduct of business and – voila, your new business space is ready for the first big job!

Room for innovation in cargotechture springs endless: from long-term accommodation and home offices to portable camps and kiosks, shipping containers can be transformed into literally any facility you need. Go ahead and order a stack of containers: with just a bit of creativity, elbow grease and patience, each of these steel boxes can be put to good – and lucrative – use.


The above post was written and submitted by Zoe Clark. You can find her on Facebook: Twitter: and Google+:


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