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Converted Shipping Containers

converted shipping container by Billie Box Ltd

Last Updated on June 22, 2022

Converted shipping containers are used for many purposes including storage, classrooms, chemical stores for farmers and even homes. Used containers are full of possibilities. They can be converted into a living space, office or even a place to cook and serve food.

Nobody can say for sure when shipping containers were first converted for other uses. But it’s likely that shipping containers have been used for many purposes other than shipping since they first gained popularity.

The first shipping containers started to be used by the majority of shipping companies in the 1960s. They were adopted by the shipping and freight industry because they were cheaper and more sturdy than traditional cargo containers. Today, they are still popular and are used for many purposes other than shipping. Read on and we’ll give some examples. We have written facts about shipping containers previously on our blog.

Shipping containers are great for conversion because they are sturdy and reasonably cheap to buy. Shipping containers are all built to strict standards, and can be expected to last for many decades, or possibly longer, with only minimal maintenance. They are secure, watertight and the fact they are built with consistent dimensions makes them easy for specialist converters to work with.

Benefits of using shipping containers for conversions

  • They are low cost
  • They are durable
  • They are watertight
  • They are secure
  • They are a great way to recycle or ‘upcycle’
  • They are easy to paint

How to find a reputable company that can convert shipping containers for you

When looking for a company to convert a shipping container for you, it’s important to do your research. Not all companies are created equal, and some may not be reputable or experienced with conversion projects.

Here are some tips for finding a reputable container conversion company:

Ask around – there may be people who know who have had experience with a conversion company that they can recommend. We recommend searching for conversion case studies and articles, these resources often share which conversion company was used. Facebook groups and property forums can also be goldmines.

Look for companies with plenty of experience companies that have been doing container conversions for many years will likely have a lot of experience and be able to do a good job.

Check reviews – online reviews can be a great way to get an idea of the quality of a company’s work. Remember to look for negative reviews, but be mindful that everyone will have different expectations and experiences.

Get quotes – this will give you a good idea of what each company will charge for their work, you can compare the quotes to find a suitable price range. Pay attention to customer service when speaking to potential converters. 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 – Speak to people who have already had conversion work carried out, if the specifications or design of the work they commissioned is similar to yours then this can be particularly helpful.

Ask for details of previous projects – check out their previous works and see how close they are to your project ideas.

Look at features but look for companies who talk about the benefits of their particular methods of conversion. For example, are the converted shipping containers watertight? Are they secure? What method is used for painting the containers?

There are plenty of used shipping containers on the market, and several reputable suppliers (like us!). However, there is sometimes an opportunity to buy a container that has already been converted into a home or place of business, so if you’re looking for one that has already been modified for use as a living space or workspace, search for second-hand container conversions or ask suppliers if they have second-hand conversions in stock.

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 and we also build mobile offices, canteens and classrooms.

Examples of converted shipping containers

When converting shipping containers the choices are almost limitless here are some popular examples:

Shipping container homes.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a shipping container? If you’re looking for an unconventional and cost-effective home, you might want to consider using a second-hand shipping container. Shipping containers are made from heavy-duty steel, so they’re tough and weatherproof. If you’re on a budget or want something that’s a little bit different, a shipping container home could be the perfect option for you.

converted shipping container homes
A whole street of shipping container homes

Container-based eco-homes
Do you ever think about how much energy you use in your home each day? If you’re looking for a way to reduce your energy consumption, you could consider making the switch to a container-based eco-home. These homes are designed to be as energy-efficient as possible and in a wide range of sizes. With effective lining and insulation, they can help you save money on your monthly utility bills. Plus, when you live in an eco-home, you can feel good knowing that you’re doing your part to help preserve our planet.

Mobile offices for building sites.
Shipping containers can make great mobile offices for use on building sites. With a few modifications, a shipping container can be turned into the perfect place for contractors and other workers to take a break or store their tools. Mobile offices made from converted containers are sometimes referred to as modular buildings. Take a look at our mobile offices.

A school classroom in a single shipping container.
We all know that schools are struggling to find enough space for all their students. Well, what if there was a way to fit an entire classroom into a single shipping container? Turns out, there is! And it’s not just for schools either – this could be a great solution for many businesses. View our classrooms.

Chemical stores for farms.
If you’re a farmer, you know that keeping your crops healthy is crucial to your success. You also know that it’s important to store chemicals safely and securely. Chemical stores made from converted shipping containers are the answer! Visit our dedicated website.

Restaurants and takeaways.
Shipping Containers are gaining popularity as a way of quickly building food-serving premises. Specialist container converters who work with the restaurant industry are building some fantastic spaces for diners. You may have already seen some of the great container-based restaurants popping up in towns and cities throughout the world. Containers are also perfectly suited for use as takeaways. They’re secure, safe and if you don’t like the spot where you’ve set up your business you can even move your restaurant to a new location!

Permanent market stalls
Permanent market stalls made from shipping containers are becoming more and more popular throughout 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 really cool and can be locked up securely when they’re not open for business. Shipping containers make great anti-vandal market stalls. There is a market built using shipping containers near our depot at Felixstowe.

The cost of buying a converted shipping container

The cost of buying a converted shipping container will vary depending on the company you choose to do the conversion, the specification of the conversion and whether you buy a new or used container. For some types of luxury, or very large, container conversions this price can rise considerably, especially if multiple containers are required for the build.

Price is also affected by whether you are buying off the shelf or you wish to have a bespoke conversion designed to your exact requirements.

Transport costs also impact the price of containers – the further away from a manufacturer or depot that you are, the more you will need to pay for transporting your purchase to your location.


Since they were invented in the 1950s Shipping Containers have been used for so much more than just transporting goods from one place to another. There are many ways you can use converted containers creatively in your business or personal life and it all depends on how creative you want to get!

In this short article, we have only touched on a few ideas for repurposing shipping containers, this is a huge subject and one that is rewarding and fun to research.

If the prospect of investing in a converted shipping container seems daunting, don’t worry – there are plenty of experts out there who specialise in converting shipping containers into beautiful living spaces, productive offices and many other uses.

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.