Lofts Restaurant Bistro & Bar made from shipping containers , 3d rendering
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5 Businesses To Run In Shipping Containers

If you’re hesitant to start a business because of high construction or rental costs, then using a shipping container as your structure may be the right choice. Not only can you save a lot of money from renting or construction, but you can also make your business mobile.

5 Businesses To Run In Shipping Containers

Another benefit of using shipping containers as your business’s shop or office is their durability. Initially, shipping containers are meant for moving cargo overseas. This is why their material is strong enough to survive extreme weather conditions. Thus, using one as a structure for your business allows you to use it for years to come.

Here are some businesses you can run in shipping containers:

1. Cafe

If you love coffee and you want other people to enjoy it, too, then starting a coffee shop may be right for you. You don’t have to rent the most luxurious space to start your cafe because you can use a shipping container.

Many coffee distributors and coffee brewers are putting up a  shipping container cafe just like Starbucks. You don’t need a massive space to sell coffee, especially if you’re a startup. Sometimes, all you need are tables, chairs, back-end storage space, and counter space. What matters most is your coffee’s taste to establish a loyal customer base.

The thing is that you can relocate easily because you can move your shipping container cafe to anywhere across your state. By doing this, you can test which area gives you the most profit.

Exterior container bar in garden 3D render

2. Mobile Restaurant

Another idea is to put up a shipping container mobile restaurant. As mentioned, you can move it to any location to find a spot to cater to more people.

Compared to traditional restaurants that aren’t mobile, you need to invest thousands of dollars in customizing your kitchen, renovating space, and finding a location. If you’ve decided to rent a space and it didn’t work out, you may lose more money when you keep it running. But, with a mobile restaurant, you can relocate quickly to find a more profitable site.

3. Bar

A pop-up bar is also a good business idea because you can find events to put up your shipping container bar. Of course, you need to coordinate with the event managers to not have problems operating during their events.

There are many festivals, concerts, and the like, and a pop-up bar during these events are more likely to earn you good money, usually within just a few hours!

4. Hair Salon

Another exciting business idea using a shipping container is a hair salon. You also don’t need a wide space when putting up a startup hair salon. What matters most is your hairdresser’s skill. If you’re doing it solo to maximize your skills or you only have two employees, then you can start with a smaller space. You also need to invest in your equipment, such as basic seating, hair-cutting tools, and mirrors.

Since you can transfer from one location to another, you may want to consider high-traffic areas. These include transportation hubs, high streets, and other micro-enterprise stations.

5. Micro-Retail Store

Nowadays, you don’t have to go traditional when establishing a retail store. It’s because real estate’s efficiency is decreasing, and it’s at its premium. Excess space doesn’t produce more profits as compared to before.

With shipping containers, you can now afford a micro-footprint that allows your customers to engage, interact, and shop. When you have a micro-retail shop, you don’t have to worry about stocks, rent storage spaces, and maintaining levels of inventory, with traditional retail shops, especially if you integrate online shopping with in-store shopping.


One of the biggest reasons why many people don’t start a business is the cost of renting or leasing a commercial space. But, because shipping containers are becoming more popular as alternative structures, you can start small with one. Whether you’re planning to put up a cafe or a retail shop, you can easily customize it according to your preferences.


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