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Buying vs Renting : Storage Edition

Posted on: 02/03/2020
Fork in the Road Rent - Buy

Trying to decide whether to rent or buy a storage unit can be daunting. Several factors must be considered. One of the major questions asked is, “How much does a storage unit cost to rent compared with the price of a purchase?” There are other factors to consider besides how much storage costs, but it’s a significant one. 

We will provide you with some insight into the cost of renting a storage unit vs. buying one, and we’ll explore other considerations as well. While we can’t make the final decision for you, we can provide you with the information you need to make an informed choice. As North America’s largest portable storage container, mobile office, and worksite solutions provider, we do know a thing or two about the subject matter.

Why Rent or Buy a Portable Storage Container?

Portable storage containers are a lifesaver for businesses and companies across the industrial sector. Whether your construction site needs a safe place to store equipment and supplies overnight, or you need a spot to stash inventory and seasonal supplies so your retail store has more customer space, portable storage containers offer a safe, secure, and convenient space to house and protect your operation’s valuable goods.

Benefits of Renting a Portable Storage Container 

  • Cost: One of the biggest reasons why renting a portable storage container is often more appealing than buying one is cost. When weighing how much storage costs to own against the price of renting, smaller payments are often more appealing.
  • All-Inclusive: When calculating how much a storage unit costs to buy, take into consideration the extra expenses you’ll need to add to the purchase price. You’ll be responsible for insurance, maintenance, relocation (for jobs where you will move from site to site), delivery, pickup, and repair. While renting, these costs are built into your monthly expenses. If you’re using your unit to store heavy-duty equipment, these inclusions could save you thousands over your rental period and reduce the stress and hassle of portable storage container use. 
  • Built-In Security: When you rent a portable storage unit from Mobile Mini, weather and theft-based security is included with your unit. All of our portable storage containers are made from 100% corrugated steel. Corrugated steel is one of the strongest metals on earth and can withstand even the most extreme weather. Our units also come standard with our tri-cam security system. These locks cannot be cut, picked, hacked, or tampered with; they’re virtually theft-proof. 
  • Adaptable: Any business owner knows their operation’s needs are ever-changing. When you rent a portable storage unit, you can upgrade or downgrade that unit as your needs change and grow. This flexibility ensures that you are always using the exact amount of space that you need and never paying for square footage that you don’t use. How much your storage container costs will reflect the amount of space you need, which could fluctuate over time.

When Is a Good Time to Rent a Storage Container?

We get asked this question a lot. While the ultimate decision of renting or buying is always up to you, we encourage customers to consider a few key points. 

Renting portable storage units is ideal for shorter-term periods because they fulfill your commercial storage needs without confining you to the same unit permanently. Leasing also means you don’t have to worry about what you’ll do with the storage container long term or deal with selling or removal. If you find your commercial storage needs falling into these categories, then renting a portable storage unit is likely your best bet:

  • Your storage needs are temporary.  If your storage needs will eventually end, then renting a portable storage container is going to be your best bet. 
  • Your storage needs move around a lot.  If your storage needs will likely shift from site to site throughout the year, then chances are renting is the best decision. Mobile Mini can assist with the relocation of empty units to meet your evolving needs. Having our team do the heavy lifting on this one saves our customers a ton of stress, planning, and headaches. 
  • You hate maintenance.  Another great aspect of renting a portable storage unit is that service and maintenance can be included in a service contract. This is a great service aspect for businesses that don’t want to have to worry about servicing their unit throughout their usage period. 

    If you are going to need your portable storage container for longer than 12 months, or you have unique needs for your storage space, then you may want to consider purchasing a unit. 

Benefits of Buying a Portable Storage Container 

  • Permanence: Not all storage needs are temporary. When you’re comparing renting with buying, consider how long you would need to use the unit. When you calculate how much it costs to rent a storage unit for an extended period of time, it may add up to more than the purchase price. If you plan on using your portable storage unit for 12 months or longer (we call those long-term storage needs), then chances are purchasing a portable storage container is going to be your best bet.
  • It’s Yours!: Sometimes, you want to leave your mark on your portable storage container. If you want to use your portable storage container to market your company, buying is the best option because you can customize the design and aesthetic of your unit. 
  • Challenging Materials: If you are looking to store unusually-sized equipment, machinery, or things like toxic or hazardous materials in your portable storage container, it can sometimes make more sense to buy a unit since most rentals come with content restrictions, especially around toxic or highly reactive or incendiary materials. 

When Is a Good Time to Buy a Storage Container

If you fall into the following categories, buying a portable storage container might be the best decision for you and your business:

  • Long-term storage needs. As mentioned, If you plan to use your portable storage container for longer than one year, buying a unit may make the most sense.
  • Storing hazardous or volatile substances. Most storage rental companies, including Mobile Mini, have limits on what you can and cannot store in their units. Unfortunately, hazardous, toxic, and volatile substances usually fall under that list as they pose risks to the structural integrity of the units. If you and your team plan on storing these materials, purchasing a unit might be the best decision. 
  • You need specific unit modifications. If your business requires any special or permanent modifications to your unit in order to meet your storage needs, purchasing a unit is probably your best bet. Most rental companies don’t allow permanent modifications to their containers, so if you do fall into this category, you’re likely going to want to look into buying your own portable storage container.

The Mobile Mini Difference

While we can’t tell you whether renting or buying a portable storage unit makes more sense for you and your business, we can provide you with the best rental experience on the market. When you rent from us, you’re joining a team of award-winning customer service agents who are there to assist you throughout your rental journey. We are there to support you from rental to pickup, helping you assess your storage needs, answering questions about how to use our containers, and making sure that your unit is removed when everything is said and done.

Most people aren’t storage experts. Most of us don’t think about storage until we absolutely have to. When you rent with us, you have access to a team of experts. This means that when you wake up with a burning storage question, you can call us and count on our support. Contact us today and find out why we are considered one of the best players in the storage game.