12 Unique Shipping Container Business Ideas

12 Unique Shipping Container Business Ideas

Looking to start a business with your shipping container, but not quite sure what to start?

Unique shipping container concepts are the newest trend - and there's a lot of unique and fun ways to approach this business.

If you're looking to start a shipping container business, we've put together 12 different ideas for you here:

1. Start a bicycle company ($3.6M/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$25,000 — $1,000,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$30,000
Skills

Xavier Claveria Masip from Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain started Santafixie over 12 years ago, a bicycle company.

  • Revenue: $300,000/ month
  • Founders: 3
  • Employees: 20
  • Location: Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Case Study

Born in 1982 in Barcelona, I studied in a liberal and secular school where art and music were an important role in education.

My personal goals were focused on my music band, I love playing the guitar, but although it may sound weird, I ended up studying for a degree in Economics. But as you can imagine, I was not the typical economics student, it took awhile for me to finish my degree. I liked it, but it was just too soon for me to sit and decide what I would be.

A few years later, in 2010, I was working as a financial controller. Everything seemed to be fine, good salary, good position, and a whole career ahead to professionally grow. But I felt empty. I quit my music band and my job and I moved to London, where it all started.

how-we-built-a-250k-month-fixed-gear-bike-business

2. Start a cooking classes ($1.2M/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$100,000/month
Time Commitment Per Week
Min. 5 hours/week
Skills
Interests

Monika Reti from many, USA started Hipcooks over 8 years ago, a cooking classes.

  • Revenue: $100,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 8
  • Location: many, USA

Case Study

In true Hipcooks fashion: I’m not a culinary school graduate — I’m a hack! Here’s my story:

I’m first-generation American (Mom is from Germany and Dad from Argentina). My parents were young foreign students in the US and their friends were the other international students: I was a kid surrounded by people from different nationalities, like Spain, Russia, France, and the UK. I was a child foodie and loved to experience culture through food.

I caught the travel bug early, living in Argentina (studying economics in college), traveling through Europe, and moved to England for graduate school (I have a Master’s in Economics from LSE.) While in school, I cooked my way through a series of London restaurants in the gastro-boom of the ’90s, just for fun. My first job was on the West Coast, as an econometrician at the RAND Corporation.

how-i-started-a-cooking-classes-business-with-7-locations

How Much Can You Make?
$350,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$150,000
Time To Revenue
330 days
Skills
Business model

Adam Vieira from Montreal, Quebec, Canada started Station 16 Editions / S16 about 9 years ago, a art gallery.

  • Revenue: $350,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 10
  • Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Case Study

I met Carlo De Luca (my partner and current president of Station 16) in 2010. I was very active in the Montreal street art scene and had many artist connections because of it. Coincidentally, he was also looking to diversify his textile silkscreen shop into paper printing, which I had been doing a lot of.

In 2011, we started working with local Montreal artists to create quality silkscreen prints - a type of printing made famous with Andy Warhol's work. We began showcasing these prints online and in art fairs. That’s when Emily Robertson (3rd founder, and Art Historian) came on board. She had taken an interest in our project and suggested we open an art gallery showcasing the prints and street art talent we were really interested in.

Shortly after that, a few other friends that we were in contact with were building on the idea of a Mural festival for Montreal. They asked if we would be interested in supporting it. So in June of 2013, we debuted at both the Gallery and the Montreal MURAL festival on St. Laurent. It initially opened as a pop-up, and we haven’t closed our doors since.

growing-an-art-gallery-to-150-000-month

4. Start a mobile yoga business ($72K/year)

How Much Can You Make?
Average Initial Investment
$600
Skills

McKenna Rowe from Los Angeles, California, USA started Chakra 5 Yoga over 11 years ago, a mobile yoga business.

  • Revenue: $6,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 13
  • Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

Case Study

After working for many years at a tech firm where I was often logging 70 hour weeks, I decided to take a sabbatical to study yoga.

You can really spin your mind up doing too much thinking sometimes. Get out and DO something...even if its a baby step towards your dream.

I received my registered yoga teacher training in 2009. I fell in love with yoga and started teaching pop up yoga classes around downtown LA, at places like the Fashion Institute, residential buildings, and art spaces, sometimes with a live musician accompanying.

how-i-started-a-mobile-yoga-studio

5. Start a shipping container hotel

Examples of a successful shipping container hotel:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a shipping container hotel:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a shipping container hotel ➜

6. Start a shipping container restaurant

Examples of a successful shipping container restaurant:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a shipping container restaurant:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a shipping container restaurant ➜

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7. Start a shipping container gift shop

Examples of a successful shipping container gift shop:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a shipping container gift shop:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a shipping container gift shop ➜

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8. Start an office space rental

How Much Can You Make?
$15,000 — $300,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$166,666
Skills

Examples of a successful office space rental:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a office space rental:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting an office space rental ➜

Case Study

I’m Lucas Seyhun. I’m the founder of one of the earliest New York City coworking spaces, The Farm Soho, established in 2014. Unlike most of our competitors (don’t want to give any names), we adopted the affordable workspace model which became our fuel both before and during the pandemic.

Now we cater to all these as well as established businesses discovering the agility and cost-effectiveness of flexible office space rental as opposed to conventional long leases; and also to event organizers in need of unique spaces backed up by expert support.

i-created-an-airbnb-for-startups-in-nyc-make-3-6m-year

9. Start a shipping container coffee shop

Examples of a successful shipping container coffee shop:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a shipping container coffee shop:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a shipping container coffee shop ➜

10. Start a phone repair business ($2.7M/year)

How Much Can You Make?
$225,000/month
Average Initial Investment
$500
Skills

Examples of a successful phone repair business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a phone repair business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a phone repair business ➜

Case Study

My name is Matt McCormick, and I started TechUnwreck. We do bulk iPad, iPhone, Chromebook, and Laptop repairs for schools & businesses through a unique mail-in solution. We’re a division of JCD Repair which I started in 2008, catering to retail customers needing an iPhone, other smartphones, or iPad fixed in about 30 minutes in person.

In 2021 we expect to do about 30,000 device repairs per year and $3 million in sales.

how-cracking-my-screen-led-me-to-build-a-2-7m-year-business

11. Start a storage rental business

Examples of a successful storage rental business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a storage rental business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a storage rental business ➜

12. Start a book store

Examples of a successful book store:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a book store:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a book store ➜

Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story
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meet the author
Pat Walls

I'm Pat Walls and I created Starter Story - a website dedicated to helping people start businesses. We interview entrepreneurs from around the world about how they started and grew their businesses.