Posted on

Converted Shipping Containers

Last Updated on September 11, 2023

Have you ever seen those houses made out of shipping containers on TV and thought, “Wow! How in the world could I get something like that?” Well, that’s the result of converting shipping containers.

Converted shipping containers can be used for so many different things, like for storage, classrooms, chemical stores for farmers, and as we have mentioned, shipping containers can even be converted into a fully habitable home. Do you want to spice up your office or start a food truck? A converted container is your answer.

The history books don’t tell us exactly when we started converting shipping containers, but it’s likely that those shipping containers weren’t only used for shipping from the very beginning.

In the 1960s, the shipping and freight industry, including several shipping companies, saw a golden opportunity: Containers that were sturdier and cheaper than cargo containers. They took the world by storm and thus, the rise of the shipping container began.

Shipping containers are all built to strict standards, and can be expected to last for many decades, alongside their cheap price and sturdy material. If they’re secure and watertight enough to transport dangerous cargo across the oceans, we bet they will be secure enough for your home or business.
So, are they all the same? Not exactly, but they do have consistent dimensions that make it easy for converters to work with.

Why are they so good for conversion, though? It’s simple:

  • Their low cost
  • Rock-hard durability
  • Watertight as a shark
  • High level of security
  • They’re good for the environment
  • They are easy to paint, if you want to give your converted shipping container some character

How Do You Find A Good Shipping Container Conversion Company?

As with any company you will work with, you have to know everything you could about them. Not all companies are created equal; to find a reputable shipping container conversion company, here’s what you need to do:

Ask around – Word of mouth has and will always be the best marketing tool. Ask for recommendations from people who have used shipping container conversion companies that you know, or just go on forums like Reddit. We recommend searching for conversion case studies and articles; these resources often share which conversion company was used. Facebook groups are also a goldmine.

Look for companies with plenty of experience It’s not always a guarantee, but the older the shipping container conversion company, the likelier it is that they know what they’re doing.

Check online reviews – online reviews can be a great way to get an idea of the quality of a company’s work. Negative reviews will be a given, but you must read between the lines, as not everyone has the same experience.

Get quotes – quotes are basically the price the company will charge you for the work, so you can compare the quotes to match your budget. Remember, the customer is always (at least usually) right, and this is where the customer service part comes in. If you don’t feel looked after during the quoting process, then you might find working with the company challenging in the long run.

Get referrals – “Hey, this company has done some conversion work for me in the past. Let me send you X’s number and you can hit them up” is how 90% of great work and service start: referrals.

Ask for details of previous projects – Everyone wants full trust in their conversion company, so you can ask for examples of previous works and see how closely they resemble what you have in mind.

At the end of the day, you need to know why each shipping container conversion company is special, so you need to know what they are doing differently to lesser companies. For example, are the converted shipping containers watertight? Are they secure? What method is used for painting the containers?

If you’re planning on buying second-hand, then there are plenty of used shipping containers on the market, and several reputable suppliers (like us!). However, sometimes the stars align and you get an opportunity to buy a container that has already been converted into a home or place of business. Sounds perfect, right? Only way to know how, though, is by calling shipping container suppliers or visiting their sites.

Everyone is special in their own right, but some suppliers specialise in specific types of conversions. For example, here at Billie Box Ltd we specialise in converting shipping containers into chemical storage for farmers, but that’s not all; we also build mobile offices, canteens and classrooms.

Read our facts about shipping containers blog post…

Examples of converted shipping containers

The sky is the limit for converting shipping containers, and you would be surprised at how versatile they can be and how creative you can get. Here are some examples:

Shipping Container Homes

Traditional homes are great, but maybe you’re looking for that extra spice in an unconventional and cost-effective home, and a second-hand shipping container might just be what you need.

Don’t worry about safety, as shipping containers are made from heavy-duty steel, so they’re tough. They are also weatherproof for those painful December rains. So, if you’re on a budget or feeling different, a shipping container home could be the perfect option.

converted shipping container homes
A whole street of shipping container homes

Container-Based Eco-homes

Let’s face it, the world is going through an energy crisis, and we all need to do our part to conserve energy. So, using a container-based eco-home is a great way to reduce energy consumption and reduce our carbon footprint.

These homes are designed to be as energy-efficient as possible and in a wide range of sizes. Because of their effective lining and insulation, you can save on your monthly utility bills. Plus, living in such an eco-home gives you the gratification of doing your part in making our little blue planet safer.

Mobile Offices for Building Sites

Shipping containers are very common on building sites and for good reason. With a few modifications, a shipping container can be turned into the ideal breakroom for contractors and other workers or even to store their tools. These mobile offices made from converted containers are sometimes called modular buildings. Interested?
Take a look at our mobile offices…

A School Classroom in A Single Shipping Container

Remember how crammed your class was at school? Well, what if there was a way to fit an entire classroom into a single shipping container? Turns out, there is! Converting shipping containers into classrooms isn’t just great for schools, but many businesses can use it for training courses, seminars, professional development, and more.
Here at Billiebox, we have got a wide array of interesting classroom options.

Chemical Stores for Farms

If you’re a farmer, you know that keeping your crops healthy is crucial to your success. So, storing chemicals safely and securely can prevent disaster. Instead of using needlessly complicated chemical stores, you can just convert a shipping container like ours.
Visit our dedicated Chemical Stores website

Restaurants and Takeaways

Everyone knows food trucks, but have you heard of food containers? Specialist container converters who work with the restaurant industry are building some fantastic spaces for diners. Some container-based restaurants are even gaining popularity and because of their niche, they’re perfect for social media trends. The best thing about these containers? Takeaway.

An added bonus is that if work is a bit slow and you don’t like the spot where you’re set up, you can just pack up and go to a new location!

Permanent Market Stalls

Long gone are the days of long tables and big umbrellas, with container-based market stalls being the new player across the country. Not only do they provide an easy way for vendors to set up shop, but they’re also big on sustainability. Plus, they just look cool!

You can lock your market stall up safely when you’re not open for business, so converted shipping containers make great anti-vandal market stalls. For example, have a look at this market built using shipping containers near our depot at Felixstowe.

The cost of buying a converted shipping container

“Okay, this all sounds great, but how much will it cost me?” Well, the cost of buying a converted shipping container will vary depending on the conversion company, the specification of the conversion, and whether you buy a new or used container. For big and fancy container conversions, this price can rise considerably, especially if the build takes a couple or more containers.

Converted shipping containers and suits have one surprising thing in common. How, you may ask? Well, in the same way an off-the-rack suit is cheaper than a bespoke one, a ready-made converted shipping container will be cheaper than one made to your exact requirements.

Finally, transport costs are a big factor in the price of converted containers – the further away from a manufacturer or depot you are, the more you will need to pay for transport.


Ultimately, ever since shipping containers were invented in the 1950s, we quickly found out we can use them for way more than just transporting goods. In this case, it’s all about your creativity in how much you can use them for your business or personal life.

If you think investing in a converted shipping container seems daunting, don’t worry! There are plenty of converting shipping container experts who can help you build your next beautiful living space, productive office, and so much more.

We can help!
Here at Billie Box Ltd we convert containers into chemical storage for farmers, site offices, classrooms, mobile offices and canteens. To find out more please get in touch for a quick quote.