If you’re considering selling your home and downsizing you’ve come to the right place. Shipping container homes are becoming more and more popular and for good reason. They are much more affordable and have less maintenance than a single-family home or condo.  

There are many factors to consider when budgeting for shipping container homes. Similar to building a traditional home, there are unavailable costs.

Before you commit to purchasing and building out a shipping container you must know the price. Keep reading to find out just how much money you’ll need. 

Container Cost

Shipping containers come in a variety of sizes. You’ll also need to consider if you need more than one vessel. 

The most common sizes are 20-footers (8x8x20) and 40-footers (8x8x40). A new 20′ container will cost you around $3800 while a 40′ will be closer to $5800.

Keep in mind that used containers will be cheaper. However, it’s important that if you decide to buy a used one, inspect it for damage.

A newer container will typically have a record of its trips available and you’ll be able to see what was being stored in it. Since you’ll be living in the shipping container, it might be beneficial to have this information. 

You might want to opt for a new one so you have peace of mind since this will be your primary residence. You may end up saving more money in the end by buying a new container. A used or older one will likely need repairs costing you.

The container will last longer if it’s taken care of properly. You also always have the option to choose different sizes to make a larger home.

Land and Foundation 

Before you pick out your container you need to have a place to put it. The land cost is going to be dependent on the location.

More populated areas such as Washington D.C., New York, and California are going to be more expensive. However, in Mississippi land is much more affordable. 

You can’t have your container delivered without some type of foundation. There are many options to choose from, pre-poured concrete is a great choice. You can also do a poured concrete slab or stone.

The price is typically based on square footage, so if you plan to have a smaller home you won’t need a huge slab poured. It may also depend on the original foundation.

You might have to pay extra to have the land prepared for the pour. The average cost of a concrete slab in the United States is about $5,000

Materials and Labor

Once your container is securely on the foundation it’s time to make it livable. If someone’s told you don’t have to insulate your container home they are wrong.

Investing in insulations will allow you to live in it year-round. Without insulation, your container won’t be comfortable, it’ll be too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer. 

There are a few different types of insulations you can choose from, blanket, foam, or spray. Depending on which one you choose, you could spend as little as $0.50 per square foot or as much as $2. The blanket insulation will be the most affordable option. 

You’ll likely want to install an HVAC system and insulation will also help reduce how hard it has to work. Purchasing and installing the HVAC has a wide price range depending on how much the company charges for labor and the quality of the unit you purchase.

Plan to spend about $6500. Keep in mind if you’re building a larger shipping container home you may need more than one. 

You don’t want to see the insulation so you’ll have drywall installed which will cost you up to $3 per square foot. You’ll then probably want to add a few windows so you can get some natural light. You can have windows put in for as little as $100 per window. 

You’ll need to decide if you want to upgrade your container to higher-quality materials or save money and use standard materials. You can choose from hardwood flooring which will be more costly or laminate. For budgeting purposes, plan to pay around $5000.

The same goes for the countertops. There’s a difference between quartz and granite and you’ll see it in the price. If you’re working on a budget stick with the quartz. 

You’ll need storage space for your dishes and personal belongings. Adding cabinets and shelves will cost about $2000 after labor and you might also want to install a custom closet.

If you’re downsizing you’re probably getting rid of a lot of your old things. Considering how many dishes you bring with you to your new home, you might be able to save some money on cabinets by purging and keeping only what you need. 

You’re going to want to have plumbing in your new home so you can shower and wash your clothes and dishes. Including piping and labor, you can expect to pay close to $7000.

You’ll still need to factor in the cost of the bathtub or shower and the sinks. You may be able to save money on a cabinet with a built-in sink for the bathroom and kitchen. Your initial electric installation is going to be about the same cost. 


Adding a roof isn’t required but it could be beneficial. A lot of heat can be lost through your roof, meaning you’re spending unnecessary money.

It can help regulate the inside temperature and prevents rainwater from dripping into your windows. If you decide not to install a roof, you’ll need to invest in a drip bar or the windows to prevent leaks.  

Water will gather on top of your container if you don’t add a roof. This can lead to mold and bugs which you don’t want. 

A shed roof is the most affordable option. It’s great for allowing water to run off and keeps your home’s temperature regulated.

The best thing is it doesn’t take long to install and later if you decide you want to invest in solar panels you can. Adding a roof will cost about $3000. 

Add ons and Decor

Once you get the inside livable and to your liking, you can start to add on and work on the outside appearance of the container. Adding an awning and a porch will really make your container feel more like home.

You should also consider painting the interior and exterior. The paint will cost between $30 and $60 per gallon. Typically you’ll want to paint a layer of primer first.

Then two, maybe three coats of the desired color and a top coat to protect it. The amount adds up quickly so start by painting the inside first and if you can fit it into your budget paint the outside. 

Miscellaneous Fees

It’s important that you don’t forget your property taxes. If you’ve previously been renting, you haven’t had to worry about that but now that you own land and a luxury shipping container you’ll need to factor it in. 

Insurance is another fee that can add up quickly. While you might not have as many possessions, you still want to insure your home. You’ve invested a lot and you’ll want to know that if a storm comes or the unexpected happens you’ll be covered. 

You’ll likely have a one-time delivery fee too. This amount will be dependent on your location and the distance the driver has to go. All in all, at the end of the day you’ll spend anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000 for your new home. 

Shipping Container Homes

Now that you know how much it costs to buy shipping container homes, it’s time to decide if you want to follow through with the project. As you can see it’s much more affordable than a traditional home. If you don’t need a lot of space, this might be the best option for you. 

We build the best shipping container homes around. We’ll help you throughout the whole process and answer all your questions. Don’t wait to start building your dream home, start today! 

About US

With affordable prices and guaranteed quality, Filco Shipping Containers makes it convenient for businesses to get the storage solutions they need

While it may take months and sometimes years to build a traditional home, building a shipping container home may only take a few weeks. This can be ideal if you don’t have another place to live while it’s being built.

You won’t have to spend as much money on other living rearrangements. If you’re planning to lease your container you can start making a profit more quickly.