The Cost of Building a Shipping Container Home

You visited this website and you read description of different container homes. You are in search of a simple, affordable, elegant, and sublime living place. Your budget range and have no experience of buying or constructing a home.

After reading all the articles, you have chosen a shipping container home. Are you worried about the cost of container home? Do not worry. This article is for helping you out.

Shipping container home cost calculator

We have discussed many shipping container homes, their locations, their architecture but we do not have as much focus on the cost of building a shipping container home. Today, we will discuss this aspect so that after selecting a shipping container home, you will become able to calculate the price of a home of your choice.

Estimation of budget for a shipping container home.

Well, it depends on the complexity of the shipping container home. If you want a simple home with a single bedroom and bathroom, it will cost different from that one which has more than one bedroom and bathroom. We will take an example of a simple one as a criterion. From a simple beautiful shipping container home cost calculation, you can move to a diverse one easily, just add up the values.

Average per square foot cost for a shipping container home.

If we talk about average value, then according to experiences and researches, per square foot cost is $290. So, we take a home with one bedroom and one bathroom.

For this home, it will become $184,000.

This shipping container house comprises an area of 630 square feet. This can also be described in this way one bedroom, one bathroom home in two 40 feet high cube used shipping containers.

This all is done for your understanding so that you will become able to calculate the cost of shipping container home of your choice at the end of this article.

Further explanation of architecture of shipping container home.

As I said before, this is a simpler one. Two bedrooms can also be designed in this framework instead of one. It will cost the same. But size of bedrooms will become small. Mostly people like large sized bedroom, so we will consider this one in our article.

Mackenzie and Spenser decided to build their own shipping container homes to live in their dream free home. Life Uncontained Shipping Container Home

( Life Uncontained )

Different tools and helping figures for calculation.


40 Ft. High Cube (One Trip) 2 Each $5,000 $10,000
Delivery of Containers 1 Each $2,000 $2,000
Crane 1 Each $1,000 $1,000


Dumpster 1 Each $4,000 $4,000
Storage on Site 1 Each $500 $500
Portable Toilet 1 Each $350 $350
Temporary Power 1 Each $300 $300
Tool/Equip Rental 1 Each $1,000 $1,000


Rough Grading 1 Each $500 $500
Trenching for Utility Hookups 1 Each $150 $150
Foundation Excavation 1 Each $500 $500
Foundation Footing Drains 1 Each $300 $300
Backfill 1 Each $500 $500
Compaction 1 Each $300 $300
Gravel 1 Each $600 $600
Topsoil 1 Each $500 $500
Finish Grading 1 Each $500 $500
Seeding/Sod 1 Each $400 $400
Planting, Landscaping 1 Each $500 $500


Stem Wall Foundation 156′-0″ LF $25 $3,900
Anchor Bolts, Hold Downs 8 Ea $100 $800
Slab insulation (M&L) 16 Sheets $90 $1,440
Exterior Foundation 122′-3″ LF $3.25 $400


Walkways and Patio 1 Each $5000 $5000


Steel beam 36′-0″ LF $208.33 $7,500


Metal Studs Walls (Mat’l) 150 Each $6.61 $992
Metal Stud Track Mat’l 40 Each $6.98 $279
Metal Studs Ceiling (Mat’l) 60 Each $6.61 $397
Nails, Screws, Fasteners 1 Each $500 $500
Labor (Walls) 197.45 LF $25 $4,936
Labor (Ceiling) 630 SF $7.50 $4,725


Walls 1678.25 SF $2 $3,356
Ceilings and Soffits 630 SF $2 $1,260


Roof 630 SF $7.5 $4,725
Floor 630 SF $7.5 $4,725
Wall 1,100 SF $7.5 $8,250


Vinyl Windows (Mat’l) 12 Each $200 $2,400
Install Windows 12 Each $800 $9,600
Exterior Doors (Mat’l) 2 Each $500 $1,000
Install Exterior Doors 2 Each $500 $1,000
Interior Doors (Mat’l) 3 Each $178 $537
Install Interior Doors 3 Each $172 $516
Door Hardware 1 Each $925 $925


Cabinets 5 Each $300 $1,500
Cabinet Hardware 1 LS $100 $100
Granite Countertop Kitchen 1 Each $815 $815
Granite Backsplash Kitchen 1 Each $250 $250
Granite Countertop Bath 1 Each $550 $550
Medicine Cabinet 1 Each $500 $500
Toilet Accessories 1 Each $150 $150


Interior Painting Walls 1679 SF $3 $5,037
Interior Painting Ceiling 630 SF $3 $1,890
Exterior Painting 1100 SF $2 $2200
Wood Flooring 434.4 SF $6.4 $2,780
Wall Base 1 Each $1000 $1000
Case Molding (Material) 1 Each $300 $300
Case Molding (Labor) 1 Each $800 $800
Carpeting 143 SF $4 $572
Ceramic Tile Floor 50.6 SF $9.9 $500
Ceramic Tile Walls 252.4 SF $11.37 $2,870


Service Panel 1 Each $450 $450
Rough Wiring 1 Each $1,500 $1,500
Phone, Cable, Internet Wiring 1 Each $500 $500
Lighting Fixtures 1 Each $1,000 $1,000
Exterior Lighting 1 Each $750 $750
Devices: Outlets, Switches 1 Each $800 $800
Lighting Control Systems 1 Each $500 $500
Doorbell System 1 Each $100 $100
Smoke, CO2 Alarms 1 Each $150 $150
Electric Wall Mtd Fireplace 1 Each $750 $750


Drain/Waste/Vent 1 Each $1,500 $1,500
Water Supply Piping 1 Each $1,500 $1,500
Gas Piping 1 Each $1,500 $1,500
Tankless Water Heater 1 Each $1,500 $1,500
Kitchen Sink 1 Each $800 $800
Bathtub/Shower/Faucet 1 Each $1,500 $1,500
Toilet 1 Each $1,000 $1,000
Bathroom Lavatory 1 Each $500 $500


Ductless Mini-split AC 1 Each $6,000 $6,000




OH and Profit 22% $137,177 $30,179




Refrigerator 1 Each $600 $600
Gas Range/Oven 1 Each $1,500 $1,500
Microwave 1 Each $200 $200
Dishwasher 1 Each $1,000 $1,000
Washer/Dryer 1 Each $2,000 $2,000




Permits $2,000
Survey $1,500
Architect’s Fees $6,000
Engineer’s Fees $1,500


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As a buyer is not an engineer, he must discuss all aspects with experts. This article is written after discussing with experts of their related niches regarding the construction of a container home. Two important criteria are for the calculation of the shipping containers cost:

1- Calculator designed for calculation

2- Sense of putting exact data into calculator

As world is progressing rapidly. People have knowledge of everything at a distance of one touch. You tube is one of informative sources.

( Majestic House Model That You Can Build with Shipping Containers )

Adding different parts to shipping containers will cost more.

It is a simple thing that if you add more structures in your home, these will charge accordingly. Let us take an example. If we add a separate roof on the used shipping containers, then it will cost more.

Roof is an important protective measure. Otherwise, weather changes can harm the shipping containers. Let me know you that roof will cost $9 per square foot and $6 would be added in this for installing asphalt shingle roof on shipping container for protection and beauty. After adding these all, it becomes an amount of $9450 for this specific shipping container home which we are discussing.

Similarly, addition of a deck with all other accessories for example, iron guards, stairs will charge more respectively.

Cost of the shipping container homes also depends on the location of the home.

Place where all facilities are present already, then it may help you in saving your money. But mostly shipping container homes are liked and owned by adventurers. They want to be at the place where nature exists, in fact, we can say they want their house away from the rush of the world.

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So, depending on the location, price range will change. If we take an example of a water source for your shipping container home, then cost of wells and tanks must add in this.

For drilling a well, you must save $5,500. And for septic tanks supply, it will range from $3000 to $10,000. This amount is put here after talking with related fields experts. This is very important thing.

Discussion with experienced people in particular area, matters a lot. It helps you making a range of each thing according to past experiences of people.

( Red Custom-Built Container House that Dazzles with its Color )

Do you want to save your money by laboring yourself in your shipping container house?

Yes, I am not kidding. I told you the price of the shipping container home which is built by laborers and engineers without your involvement.

Now, what about the one who has just appointed on job and has a limited budget?

Or what about him who has budget but want to take part in construction of his shipping container home because he is fond of this?

So, yes, this part of article is for those one who can do labor themselves. This is not difficult if you know how to do. I will discuss about all the parts of construction where you can do laboring yourself and ultimately, it will save your money.

Do you know term DIY?

DIY is basically, laboring yourself. This is act which can save your money. The more you will labor, the more you will be able to save your amount.

The cost of this shipping container houses about which we are talking, becomes almost half if you labor maximum in construction. DIYing is an interesting thing for those who are short in budget. So, do not despair.

Even with limited budget, you can afford an attracting shipping container home. You just have to do some work yourself in this case. I searched about this completely and I got the following construction sites where you can labor and can save your money.

Construct foundation of your shipping container home without being worried.

Foundation is the base of the shipping container home. It must be good enough so that it can lift the weight of whole house.

The house which I considered above has foundation basis in whole perimetry. If you want to decrease cost of the home, pier foundation is best one. This one is also termed as post foundation.

Giving you the concepts about this, large columns are designed to set on the ground in this. The base level becomes higher than the level of the ground. As this one is DIY saving, you must labor yourself in this.

But mainly foundation is designed by expert engineers. So, contact to experienced one for architecture and then take part in construction.

( Simple and Elegant Container House )

Next category which can decrease the cost is drywall.

Ceilings and walls are made hard through calcium sulfate dihydrate panels named as gypsum panels. The commonest size of this sheet is 4 into 8 feet. However, there is a specific range of these values. It is selected on the base of the architecture.

Now, how can this save money?

The design model which is discussed above has 5/8” thickness. You can construct drywall yourself with less thickness. Each 5/8” sheet is priced as $21. If you labor yourself, then you will save $3093. A major saving, indeed.

Are you greenery lover but you also want to reduce the budget? Here is the solution.

Garden in the container houses is an attracting feature. This is a simple work which you can do yourself. No need of any special skills in this case.

By doing landscaping by your hands, you can save your budget to $450.

You can add ornamental plants of your choice in your hand made garden. You can tell your children that all plants in this garden are planted by me. This becomes a super feeling of joy along with savings.

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( Super Cool Modular Container House )

If you know how to weld windows and doors, you can save a large amount.

Welding is specific professional skill. It can not be done by everyone. If you are lucky person who can do welding then it is great. By doing welding you can save your money.

Windows are weld in the wall for air conditioning as well as for keeping an eye outside the room. These require a great support to be in the wall permanently without any damage. Do welding yourself and save $9600 in case of windows. But take care of all the metal support of windows.

Likewise doors can also be installed by yourself. A container house compromises of big as well as small doors. Big ones are on the main entry of the container home and small ones are usually of the bedrooms and bathrooms.

All doors installation cost differently depending on the size. For the large door on the main entry of above described home, you can save $1000 by installing it yourself.

And for the small ones in the interior of the shipping container home, the amount which can be saved is $500.

Well, it all depends on your capability of laboring.

If you do not find this difficult, then it is well and good.

Case molding is also done especially around windows and doors. Every work has a purpose. The purpose of molding is decoration and protection. It can be done by yourself by selecting the reliable and cheaper material. It can save $800. This is not much difficult. A man can do this if he decides to do this. Saving desire is enough to motivate anyone.

( Dreamy Container House Model with Outdoor Cinema )

Do framework of your shipping container home yourself and save your money.

Framing is skeleton of the house after which additions are made to the construction to finalize the architecture. Different materials are used for framing. Wood and metals are preferred.

According to the material used, the cost of the container house changes. In the above description, metal framing has been done. Just do wood framing and it will save $9600.

One thing to take care here. Wood of good quality should be used, bad framing will affect the structure of the container house. So, be wise and see all the qualities and then select a good one for your beloved home.

Read Also : How much does a Shipping Container Cost in 2022 ?

Painting of home can also be considered as a hobby as it is an interesting task.

I think this is the part in construction of a home which everyone wants to do. This is easier one, I mean not difficult as welding. What do you think?

This enjoyable task can aid in saving your money if you do this yourself. According to considered model, if you do this yourself, you can save an amount of $18,327. O what a big amount! I think this does not require as much effort as it is saving the amount.

( See the two-story Shipping Container House with a Basement in the Middle of the Forest )

Save $11,800 by doing cheap insulation.

Yes, this is reality. Most common insulation is fiberglass. Again it also has various varieties, go and check all the qualities and then decide according to your capacity.

Kitchen is also a site of saving.

Do you like a well-furnished kitchen?

Or do you like a simple one with opened area and shelves?

Well, it depends on your own choice. If you like a kitchen equipped with cabinets, then you can save in way that you set the cabinets yourself. The design of cabinets also affects this. Choose simpler one wisely with good quality.

Per cabinet will save $150 and according to given model, you can save $750. Again comes this, if you select even more simple kitchen, then it will save your money according to things which will you cancel out from the list.

Save more $400.

This is possible if you do floor finishes yourself. It will help you to save $400. Install all the components of floor finishing yourself.

Almost all the parts have been discussed broadly which can save your money if you labor. Rest comes the work of electricians, plumbers and mechanical contractors. These cannot be done by a man who does not have any idea. Like if we talk about electricity work, this is such a dangerous act without any experience.

So, professionals must do these all carefully. But by above all savings, price of the shipping container house becomes half.

Wow, its nice. This is enough amount which you can save after that you will get a beautiful and peaceful living place at any area of the world.

Shipping Container Home Costs

Let me tell you, how much you have saved;total price of the shipping container house without your labor was $183,656.

When you do labor yourself, you save $91,914.

At the end, the amount which is utilized becomes $91,742.

The Total DIY Savings

Install Landscaping ($450)
Install Framing ($9,600)
Install Drywall ($3,093)
Install Windows (9,600)
Install Doors ($1,516)
Install Insulation ($11,800)
Install Cabinets ($750)
Painting ($18,327)
Install Molding ($800)
Install floor and wall Finishes ($4,000)
Be Your Own Home Designer ($6,000)
DIY SAVINGS ($65,936)
Previous Construction Cost Estimate $137,177
Adjusted Construction Cost Estimate $71,241
GC’s OH and Profit at 22% $15,673
Subtotal $86,914
Adjusted Soft Costs $5,000

I am highly hopeful that this article will help you a lot in calculation and estimation of budget for a shipping container home with or without your labor. Thank you.

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