What Kind of Shipping Container Do I Need for My Business in Spokane?

Posted on:
Jun 03, 2022

20 ft ground level office drybox

Gone are the days when a shipping container was only used to move cargo from one place to another.

While the shipping container remains the gold standard for Washington shipping companies, these practical, cost-effective, and durable containers can serve a variety of functions for any business.

If you’re starting a Spokane shipping company or another kind of business, you may be wondering what container is best for your space, your business needs, and your budget. In this guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about new, used, modified, and custom containers.

If you need to ship products quickly and efficiently, store business equipment or merchandise, or you need a temporary office on your job site, there is the perfect shipping container in Spokane waiting for you.

So what kind of container do you need? What should you look for? Here’s a guide to help you out.

What Kind of Shipping Container Do I Need for My Business?

Shipping containers are durable, secure, long-lasting, and highly versatile. The type of shipping container you need depends largely on your business and your goals. There are almost as many uses for shipping containers as there are types of shipping containers available on the market!

Here are a few of the top reasons to purchase a shipping container for business:

  • Ship cargo short and long distances
  • Ship refrigerated cargo
  • Storage
  • Convert to a retail business or tiny house
  • Use as a portable office
  • Build an extension

How do you choose the best container for your needs? Here are a few things to consider as you shop for your shipping container.


Before you purchase a container, ask yourself some questions about how you plan to use it. What shipping services will your business provide? Will you use your container to store general items like equipment? Or something delicate like vegetables? Will people need to be able to stand inside your container? Will your container sit in a permanent location? Are your shipping product locally, nationally, or globally? How often will you need to access your container? Will you need extra security?

There are shipping containers designed to meet all of these needs and more, so the answer to each of these questions may influence your decision.

If you aren’t sure what you will use your shipping container for yet, you can always purchase a general container and modify it later.


Size is another important factor to consider when purchasing your shipping container. Containers come in various heights and widths that deviate from standard sizes.  Think about the height, weight, and quantity of product you plan to store or ship. Or does your container need to be tall enough for a tall person to be able to comfortably stand up inside? Would a smaller, more affordable container meet your needs?


Where do you plan to keep the container? Knowing where you’ll put the container will help you determine the size you need so you have plenty of space without blocking the container doors.

If you plan to use it for storage in a small backyard, then a small shipping container may be best to fit your needs. On the other hand, if you need lots of storage at a worksite or for product overflow, choosing a larger container may be a better option for you. How private is the location where you plan to keep your container? If you’re worried about intruders, consider a container will high security features.


Finally, your budget will help you narrow your search based on size, modifications, whether you will be buying new or used. Used containers are a very popular choice for the price. Since containers are durable and long lasting, buying a used container is a low-risk investment. What if you plan to ship precious, delicate, or dangerous cargo? In this case, you will need to pay more for specialty containers that meet your needs.

You may also choose to rent instead of buy. Renting a container can be a great money saving option until you’re ready to purchase.

What Should I Know About Purchasing a Shipping Container in Spokane?

If your business is in Spokane, you could benefit from renting or buying a shipping container locally. Shipping container prices vary globally based on availability. Having an abundance of shipping container options available to you in the Spokane area means cost savings for you.

You can pick up your shipping container or have it delivered to you from within your own city, cutting back on your costs and wait times.

Shipping containers are popular for Spokane business owners due to their durability in our climate. They were originally created for overseas shipping, so they are all built to withstand rain and moisture.

Manufacturers make shipping containers using Corten Steel so they can stand up to any form of extreme weather. There are add-in insulation options for even better protection if you plan to store sensitive items like artwork, documents, or electronics.

Furthermore, containers are very secure. They are self-enclosed with tight seals so rodents, bugs, and pests cannot get inside. Most containers have strong lock boxes so intruders can’t break into them with a crowbar.

Types of Shipping Containers

There are a wide variety of containers on the market to fit just about any need. Even if you plan to ship temperature-sensitive products very long distances, there is a container to meet your needs. Keep reading for a breakdown of the many types of shipping containers on the market.

General Purpose Containers

Also known as “dry containers,” general purpose containers are the most common type of container. They are weatherproof and suitable for almost all kinds of cargo. Dry containers can come with add-ons like liner bags and flexitanks.

General purpose containers are suitable for just about any type of shipping or project and come in a wide variety of sizes and colors.

Office Containers

Manufacturers can modify shipping containers to serve as temporary or portable offices. Popular on building sites, modifications include windows and doors, shelving, insulation, HVAC, wiring and electrical, and more.

You can purchase a container and have it custom-built into an office or purchase a pre-fabricated office container.

Used Containers

Used shipping containers are an ecological choice and can be easier on the wallet. Since containers are extremely durable, have long lifespans, and can undergo any number of modifications, there is little risk to opting for a used container.

Shipping companies retire 40-foot containers most often, so if you’re in the market for a 40-footer we highly recommend buying used.

Cold-Storage Containers:

Refrigerated storage containers can keep food fresh on long journeys. Modern models hold a temperature range of -10°F to +80°F. They can be fine-tuned to meet temperature needs.

Look for refrigerated units that are fully electric, have fully-insulated walls, and stainless steel walls. Keep reading for more details on ISO Reefer Containers and Insulated Reefers, both of which are forms of cold-storage containers.

Roll Door Containers

Roll Door containers have a garage-style roll door opening in place of a traditional container door. Roll Door containers eliminate extra space required for doors that swing out.

If you need frequent access in and out of your container at a busy worksite, roll door containers may be the best option for you.

Double Door Containers

Also called “tunnel containers,” these containers have doors on both ends. The wider entry space makes it easier for items of iron and steel to pass through easily. Both sets of doors have weather-tight seals and secure locking systems, making them just as safe as single-door containers.

High Cube Container

High Cube containers are similar to general containers but, on average, are one foot taller. They are ideal when you need a larger storage capacity or to store tall items.

These units contain a floor recess toward the front of the container to center it. The interior has a “gooseneck chassis” style which allows it to stand taller and lie lower.

High Cube containers come in 40-foot and 45-foot models.

Flat Rack Containers

This type of container has collapsible sides which fold down to create a flat rack. Flat Rack containers are good for oversized goods such as heavy machinery, vehicles, and construction equipment. It can carry up to 45 metric tons.

Even though the sides fold down, when they are up and locked into the position, they are just as strong as non-collapsible sides.

Open Side Containers

Open Side Containers are similar to the general purpose container except that it has doors on the sides as well as the back. The additional entry points allow for easier loading and unloading.

These containers are ideal for anyone needing to store items that are too bulky to fit through the standard door opening.

Open Top Containers

This type of container has a removable top so you can load goods from above. It’s ideal for loading tall cargo that must be handled with a crane. Lashing rings on the upper and lower side rails help stabilize cargo.

Some open top containers are convertible with a removable roof. Some do not have roofs, so you can cover it with a tarp or leave it uncovered.

Modified Containers

Whether you want to alter your shipping container to be a tiny home, a grain bin, a fireworks stand, a food truck, a storm shelter, or even a swimming pool, the possibilities are endless.

You can purchase a general purpose container and do your own modifications, purchase a pre-modified container, or you can pay for modifications to an existing container.

ISO Reefer Containers

Shipping services use this refrigerated container for perishable items like fruit, vegetables, dairy products, and meat. ISO Reefer containers have an attached refrigeration unit that is connected to an external power source to provide consistently chilled for frozen temperatures. Adjustable ventilation holes expel warm toxic air to keep food fresh during long-distance transportation.

ISO Reefer containers come in 20-foot and 40-foot models.

Insulated Reefers

Insulated Reefers take the ISO Reefer to the next level.

Manufacturers construct these containers using a vacuum flask. They have regulated temperature controls with a mechanical compressor to heat or cool the unit. This helps them stay cold even while traveling through the hottest climates.

Insulated Reefer containers are often used to ship highly-sensitive medical and biological items like blood, organs, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals.

Half Height Containers

These containers have a low height with a low center of gravity making them ideal to handle heavy, dense loads. They are often used in the mining industry for transporting items like coal and stone. They are also often used in the offshore oil and gas industry to transport pipes, tools, chains, hooks, anchors, and more.

The most common size for a half height container is 20 feet, but other standard sizes are 10 feet, 15 feet, 23 feet, and 30 feet.

Tank Containers

Manufacturers make tankers using anti-corrosive materials, giving them an extra level of protection for liquids, gasses, and powders. These tanks must be 80% full but not more than 95% full, allowing for thermal expansion and eliminating the risk of dangerous liquid surges.

Tank containers have stainless steel walls surrounded by insulation and a protective layer of polyurethane and aluminum. The is tank enclosed inside a steel frame for safe transport.

Swap Body Containers

These types of containers do not have upper corner fittings and are not stackable, so shipping companies use them for land-based shipping only. They are easily interchangeable for road and rail and come with a convertible top.

European shipping services use swap body containers more than American companies do.

Ventilated Containers

Ventilated Containers have lateral openings allowing airflow and circulation. They are ideal for goods that need regulated temperature settings and fresh air. They also help prevent damage from condensation, humidity, and heat build-up.

Ventilated containers come with options for natural ventilation and forced ventilation. Forced ventilation containers use fans, air channels, and ventilation flaps

Shipping Container Sizes

The world of shipping containers is not one-size-fits-all. There are standard sizes and more popular sizes, but builders can fabricate shipping containers to fit any sizing need. Keep reading for sizing terminology, common shipping container sizes, and what to know about custom sizing.

Sizing Terms

If you’re new to the world of shipping containers, you might not know some of the vocabulary surrounding sizing. Here are some basic terms to know about shipping container sizes.

ISO: International Organization for Standardization. This organization sets global standards for quality in a variety of industries.

High Cube: A shipping container taller than standard size by one foot.

TEU: A unit of measure which is approximately 20 feet. For example, a 20-foot container is one TEU.

Tare Weight: The weight of an empty container.

Max Load: The maximum weight a container can handle.

Sizing Guide

Shipping containers most often come in 20-foot, 40-foot, and 45-foot models, but there are many other sizing options available. Keep reading for a guide on standard shipping container dimensions and more.

20-Foot Shipping Containers

The most common unit is the 20-foot shipping container. This size is suitable for most businesses. These containers can typically handle a maximum gross weight of 30,480kgs.

Dimensions: 20′ long x 8′ wide x 8′ 6” high

Tare Weight: 4,409 pounds

Max Load: 44,000 pounds

40-Foot Shipping Containers

40-foot containers are the most cost-effective choice. Not only do they have double the volume of the 20-foot container, but they are also generally priced just 15-25% higher. They can handle a maximum gross weight of 60,000 kg.

Dimensions: 40′ long x 8′ wide x 8’6” high

Tare Weight: 8,159 pounds

Max Load: 44,500 pounds

45-Foot Shipping Containers

45-foot shipping containers offer a lower-cost way to transport items in bulk. The extra volume and weight capacity allow greater efficiency for the shipment of most cargo and goods.

Dimensions: 45′ long x 8′ wide x 9’6″ high

Tare Weight: 10,362 pounds

Max Load: 66,139 pounds

Custom Sizes

Depending on your needs, builders can modify shipping containers to be much smaller or much larger than the three standard sizes.

It’s not uncommon to see custom shipping containers in 10 foot, 15 foot, 24 foot, and 54 feet sizes though any shipping container can be modified to any size.

Shipping Container Modifications

When it comes to shipping containers, if you can dream it, you can do it. Shipping containers are the blank canvas of shipping, storing, and sustainable building.

Here are typical container modifications available to you.

Standard Modifications

Installing one or more roll doors is a popular modification to shipping containers. Roll doors provide convenient access to items stored in your container.

Adding a single-man door is an affordable and easy way to convert a shipping container into an above-ground storm shelter.

Special Projects

Special projects are creative modifications such as adding doors and windows, putting in sliding glass doors, installing electrical wiring, and more. You can even connect shipping containers together to build large houses and office buildings.

Modification Accessories

Are you doing your own modification? You can purchase mod accessories including roll up doors, man doors, windows, commercial doors, sliding glass doors, barn doors, marine hatches, locks, shelves, vents, and much more.

Shop the full list of Dry Box modification accessories here.

Shipping Container FAQs

Do you still have questions about purchasing a shipping container for your business in Spokane? Here are some of our most frequently asked questions.

What Are Shipping Container Prices?

To understand how much shipping containers cost, let’s start with used containers. Shipping companies retire 40-foot containers more frequently, so these are the easiest used containers to get. A used 40-foot container can cost anywhere from $1,200 to $3,000.

A new 4-foot container will run approximately $4,200 to $7,000.

A used 20-foot container is actually often more expensive than a 40-footer. On average, a used 20-foot container will cost between $3,500 and $5,000.

Prices vary based on shipping container availability. Presently, there is a global shipping container shortage so prices may skew higher.

Custom containers vary based on size and modifications.

Can I Rent a Shipping Container?

Of course! Reasons to rent a shipping container include cost savings, being able to easily upgrade to a larger size, having transportation fees included in the rental cost, and saving yourself the hassle of maintenance and repairs.

Learn about container rental here.

How Do I Get a Shipping Container Delivered?

DRY BOX will deliver your container within 48 hours to your worksite, home, or another location.

Here are some delivery tips to be aware of:

  • The ground should be solid, smooth, and level
  • 40-foot containers require a minimum of 120-feet of straight clearance, 10-feet wide, and 16-feet high
  • 20-foot containers require a minimum of 70-feet of straight clearance, 10-feet wide, and 16-feet high

If your delivery site has a 4% grade driveway or higher, an ‘S’ curve, a horseshoe curve, or doesn’t meet clearance requirements, we may still have a solution for you.

Contact us with questions and one of our delivery experts will discuss your delivery with you in detail.

Shipping Containers for Spokane Businesses

If you’re starting a business in Spokane, it can be difficult to decide which shipping container is right for your needs. We hope this guide has made your decision clear.

To recap, here are the top things to consider when choosing a shipping container for your Spoken business.

  • Purpose
  • Size
  • Location
  • Budget
  • Modifications
  • Rent or Buy
  • Delivery or Pick-Up

For more guidance, contact DRY BOX for all your shipping container needs. Our experts are always happy to answer questions and help you determine the best shipping container for you.

Contact DRY BOX

If you need a shipping container in Spokane WA, call us at 509-606-2699 to get our latest rates. You can visit us at 8414 W Geiger Blvd in Spokane, WA for your convenience.


    Corporate Headquarters

    132 Estep Rd
    Chehalis, WA 98532

    Office: 360-262-1841 (Local)

    Branch Manager, Kirk Vigre

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    2021 E Marc St
    Tacoma, WA 98421

    Branch Manager, Aaron Norlin

    Portland Container Yard

    10400 N Burgard Way
    Portland, OR 97203

    Office: 503-946-9744

    Branch Manager, Kyla Matthews

    Coeur d’Alene Container Yard

    3175 W Seltice Way
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    Branch Manager, Ryan Earle

    Salt Lake City Containers

    2820 W 500 S
    Salt Lake City, UT 84104

    Branch Manager, Clarence Wright

    Spokane Container Yard

    8414 W Geiger Blvd
    Spokane, WA 99224

    Office: 509-606-2699

    Branch Manager, Ryan Earle