Shipping containers or sea cans are versatile and durable metal structures that can be used for various purposes, such as storage, transportation, workspaces, homes, and more. They’ve been the standard for transporting goods across the world for decades, but they can be used for so much more. In this article we’ll walk you through some of the different use cases for shipping containers and whether you should rent or buy one based on your needs.

Buying a Shipping Container

Many people choose to purchase their own shipping container or sea can so that they can hang onto it for as long as they want or to utilize it in another way. Since they are highly durable structures, they are the perfect canvas for any project that’s going to require 4 walls, a roof, and a floor. With some clever customizations you can tailor it to your preferences, including the size, color, features, and other modifications. Here are some common examples for what you can do with a purchased container.


Originally designed to transport cargo overseas, shipping containers are the go-to solution for storage. Whether you’re a business who’s looking to store inventor, equipment, or other materials – or you’re a personal user just looking for some extra space to keep your personal property protected and secure, a shipping container can offer all the space you need at a relatively low cost.

Custom Projects and Builds

As you may have seen online or on TV, shipping containers can be used to create all sorts of structures – from houses, offices, workshops, or even garages. By purchasing your own container, you can essentially do anything you want with it – whether that’s designing your dream workshop or just a room to relax in.

Shipping and Freight

Lastly, as mentioned above, shipping containers were originally designed to transport goods overseas. Thanks to their steel shells and their wind & watertight design, they can withstand any harsh weather conditions that you throw at it. If you’re looking for something to ship your items safely – a sea can or shipping container is what you’re looking for.

Benefits of Buying a Shipping Container or Sea Can

Like most anything, purchasing a shipping container has some definite advantages compared to renting one. Depending on what you’re needs and goals are you may want to carefully consider which is right for you. Here are some of the main advantages of purchasing a sea can.

You Own It

When you buy a shipping container, you have full ownership and control over it. You can use it for whatever purpose you want, without any restrictions or limitations. You can also modify it to suit your needs, such as adding windows, doors, insulation, plumbing, electricity, etc.

Cost Savings

Buying a sea can or shipping container outright can actually be more cost-effective than renting one in the long run, especially if you plan to use it for more than two or three years. Additionally, should you ever not need it anymore – you can always resell it to make some of your money back.


Purchasing your shipping container can ensure that you get a high-quality and durable product that meets your specific needs. You ‘re able to choose from different types, sizes, and other additional factors such as a new or used container, standard or high cube, etc.

Renting a Shipping Container

Now on the other hand – you can also choose to rent a shipping container or sea can. Typically, in this scenario you’ll end up paying a monthly fee to the company that owns the container to allow you to use it for your rental length. Renting a shipping container is a good option if you have a short-term or temporary need for a container. Here are some common examples of when renting a container might be the best option.


One of the most popular uses of a shipping container is for moving. Many choose to utilize containers as a moving truck alternative as it allows you to receive it well before your moving date so that you can conveniently pack and load it at your own pace. Many companies will even move it to your new destination for you – just be sure to ask before you finish your rental application if that’s what you intend to do.

Renovations & Home Projects

Shipping containers are also a fantastic solution during home renovations or other short / long term projects. Whether you’re a contract in need of storing your tools, materials, fixtures, or other equipment OR you’re a homeowner who wants to keep your furniture safe, protected, and out-of-the-way – you’ll find no better option than a storage container on your driveway.

Temporary Projects / Events

Another common case for renting a container is using it as a storage space for any short-term projects (construction, manufacturing, etc.) or even for events. Since they are highly durable and made of industrial grade steel, they are the perfect place to store all your things off-site without having to worry about thieves.

Benefits of Renting a Shipping Container or Sea Can

Much like renting a car or home, renting a shipping container or sea can comes with its own set of benefits. Here are some of the potential benefits you’ll experience should you choose to rent a container for your next project, move, or another situation.

Convenient & Affordable

Renting a shipping container can be more affordable and convenient than buying one in the short term, especially if you only need it to move or for some extra storage for a few months. The container can be delivered directly to your home or location where you can have instant and easy access to your contents whenever you need it. When you’re done with it – just call and have it picked up again.

Variety & Options

When renting a container, you’re able to select whatever size or type you need at that point in time – whether it’s just a small 8 ft container to store away some of your furniture while you’re doing a home project – or a 40 ft container for all your construction materials – you’re able to select what fits best at that point in time.

Quality & Reliability

When you rent a container, you can be sure that you’re getting a good quality product that’s up to the task of protecting your things. Rented containers are inspected and maintained to ensure that they are free of damage and are WWT (Wind and Watertight) so all your possessions remain safe and dry while stored away.


Choosing whether buying or renting a shipping container is the right choice can be difficult – both options have their pros and cons, so you need to weigh them carefully and decide what works best for you. Luckily, if you’re still on the fence – we can help!

At Van Isle Containers we can provide you with either a shipping container / sea can rental or help you purchase the right container for your specific needs. With a wide variety of sizes, types, and modification options available, we’re your go-to provider servicing all of Vancouver Island. Check out our selection of containers for rent here – or if you’re looking to purchase one – check out our containers for sale here.

If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by clicking here!