Do you own a shipping container and want to start a business with it? If YES, here are 50 best profitable business ideas you can do in a shipping container. Renting a standard shop or office facility can be financially tasking for aspiring entrepreneurs who probably are about to start their first business.
This is the reason why people are switching to the use of empty shipping containers. It is cheaper and less expensive to maintain except for the payment of council fees and mandatory bills as required by the nature of the business you want to run.
Although not all businesses can fit into a shipping container, but trust me people are becoming more creative with these shipping containers and you may be surprised to see how entrepreneurs are designing and branding their shipping containers to fit into the nature of business they want to run.
If you are wondering if you can start your business with an empty shipping container, then here are 50 best business ideas you need to see.
Best Businesses You Can Start With a Shipping Container
Table of Content
- Smartphone Accessories Store
- Acai Bowl Business
- A Minimum Animation Studio
- AutoCAD Drafting Firm
- Beach Bar
- Open a Coffee Kiosk
- Start a Coin Dealership Business
- Electronic Repair Shop
- Real Estate Agency Business
- Start a Medical Marijuana Dispensary
- Open a Book Store
- Clothing Store
- Open a Liquor Store
- Open a Thrift Store
- Open a Souvenir and Card Shop
- Shoe Repair Shop
- Open a Shave Ice Shop
- Sewing Machine Repair Shop
- Self-Serve Frozen Yogurt Shop
- Rock Chip Repair Shop
- Open a Pet Store
- Open a Paintless Dent Repair Store
- Open a Juice and Smoothie Bar
- Open a Screen Printing Shop
- Open a Cell Phone Repair Shop
- Open a Shawarma Stand
- Open a Sandwich Shop
- Open a Grocery Store
- Open a Flower Shop
- Open a Cupcake Retail Shop
- Open a Small Cosmetic Store
- Open a Candy Store
- Open a Business Center
- Open a Money Transfer Business
- Laser Cutting Shop
- Kettle Corn Production Shop
- Open a Jewelry Repair Shop
- Homemade Chocolate Retail Business
- Open a Bubble Tea Outlet
- Open a Consignment Store
- Fishing Tools and Accessories Store
- Open an Organic Food Store
- Start the Production of Customized Greeting Cards
- Start a Locksmith Business
- Open a Toy Store
- Start Drone Repair Business
- Barbeque Stands
- Cooked and Roasted Maize/Corn Stands
- Popcorn Gourmet Stand Business
- 50. Small Chops and Drinks Stand/Kiosk Business
Smartphone Accessories Store
If you are looking for a business to start from an empty shipping container and you know you have interest in the technology cum cell phone industry, then you should consider starting your own smartphone accessories store.
Smartphone accessories store retail Cases, which are designed to attach to, support, or otherwise hold a smartphone, mass storage component (SD card, SD card slot and special USB micro-B flash drive), chargers and external batteries, selfie sticks, smartphone tripod mount, et al.
Acai Bowl Business
Acai bowl bar business is one of the businesses that an entrepreneur can successfully start with an empty shipping container in the corner of a busy street. Acai is referred to as a superfood, filled with antioxidants that originated from Brazil. An acai bowl is basically a really thick smoothie that is topped with oatmeal, fruit or peanut butter et al.
An animation studio is a company that is involved in the production of animated media. The wide-ranging of such companies conceive of products to produce, own the physical equipment for production, employ operators for that equipment, and hold a major stake in the sales or rentals of their animation works.
This type of business is not capital intensive and you can start the business from your savings and from an empty shipping container. If you are hardworking and you have the right network in place you can generate your start-up capital from one business deal.
AutoCAD Drafting Firm
Another business that can be started on a small scale from an empty shipping container is AutoCAD drafting business. AutoCAD draftsmen play a major role in the construction industry, as a matter of fact, AutoCAD draftsmen are responsible for creating technical drawings and plans for building and manufacturing by using computer-aided design and drafting (CAD or CADD) software programs.
Drafters may work in a specialty area or be generalists. An AutoCAD drafting firm may specialize in architectural, civil, electrical, or mechanical drafting and use technical drawings to help design everything from microchips to skyscrapers.
If you live around the coastline where there are beaches, you would have come by bars strategically positioned around the beach; locations that sell stuffs ranging from alcoholic drinks to barbecue cum fast food. As a matter of fact, U.S states including California, Hawaii and Florida are key places where beach bar businesses thrive the most.
As an aspiring entrepreneur who is interested in starting a business from an empty shipping container, then you should consider starting a unique beach bar business especially if you live in a city that has lovely beaches that attracts loads of tourists from time to time.
Open a Coffee Kiosk
If there is any business that falls amongst the businesses that is most suitable to operate from an empty shipping container, then coffee kiosk should be top on the list.
A coffee kiosk business prepares or serve specialty snacks and nonalcoholic beverages including ice cream, frozen yogurt, cookies, donuts, bagels, coffee, juices, smoothies and sodas. Purchases may be consumed on site, taken to go or delivered. Just ensure that you prepare a wide variety of coffee if you want to attract a good percentage of coffee lovers in your location.
Start a Coin Dealership Business
A coin dealership business is one of the businesses that is open to interested entrepreneurs who are looking to start their first business from an empty shipping container. Coin dealers purchase coins for investment purpose.
As with stamps, precious metals or other commodities, coin prices are periodical based on supply and demand. The market for antiques and collectibles, such as coins, jewelry, books, figurines and memorabilia et al has continued to soar because we still have people who appreciate antiques and collectibles.
An electronics repair shop is one of the businesses that an aspiring entrepreneur who is looking towards starting a business from an empty shipping container should consider starting. One good thing about this type of business is that you can learn the technical skills from someone who is already in the business or from a technical school.
All you need to do is to rent a shop in a good location and then setup your shop and advertise your business. If you are lucky to be one of few electronic repair technicians in your community, you will sure make good money from this type of business.
Another business that can be started from an empty shipping container is a real estate agency business. Real estate agency or a real estate agent (broker) is a person who acts as a middleman between the sellers and buyers of real estate/real property.
They are involved in searching for sellers who sell properties and buyers who to buy the properties. A real estate agency (brokerage firm) usually receives a payment called a commission for successfully matching a seller’s real estate with a buyer’s real estate need; such that a sale or rent/lease can be made.
Medical marijuana business is gradually gaining ground in the united states of America and loads of entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the new development to make money from it, simply because the demand is high, and it attracts lower sale taxes especially in Colorado.
So, if you live in a country or state that legalized the use of marijuana as an alternative medicine, then you should consider starting your own medical marijuana business from an empty container if you don’t have the capital to a rent a standard facility.
Another business that can be started from an empty shipping container is a book store. Simply put, a book store is a place where books, magazines, newspapers, text books, writing pads, greeting cards / postcards and stationeries are retailed.
Some book store even go ahead to secure license to operate a mobile money center or a money transfer center. Starting a bookstore business is just like starting any other retailing business; it will require startup capital (money), planning (feasibility studies, market survey, budgeting), and of course time. Book stores have become an essential part of our world.
Clothing store is yet another business that can be comfortably operate from an empty shipping container. This is indeed a thriving business. One of the reasons why the clothing store (boutique) business will continue to thrive is that people can’t do without putting on clothes.
People that patronize clothing stores cut across the rich and the poor, the highly placed in the society and the lowly placed; everybody need clothes to cover their nakedness.
One of the easy to start and thriving business line that an entrepreneur who is looking towards starting a business of his or her own from an empty shipping container is to go into retailing. The retail business is indeed a wide business of which liquor store business falls under.
A liquor store is a retail shop that is licensed to sell prepackaged alcoholic beverages usually in bottles to customers who are likely to take home or elsewhere to consume.
Please note that In the United States of America, the Liquor store business is regulated which is why The Twenty-first Amendment of the United States Constitution gives states the power to regulate the sale and consumption of liquor and other alcoholic beverages. It is important to note that State regulations vary widely.
Another ideal business that can be started from an empty shipping container is a thrift store. A thrift store sells used goods, with the intent of donating a significant portion of their proceeds to any charity organization of their choice. Thrift stores are a considered social enterprise.
They sell mainly used goods that are donated by members of the public, and are often staffed by volunteers. Due to the fact that the items for sale were acquired for free, and business costs are low, the items can be sold at competitive prices.
Open a Souvenir and Card Shop
Souvenir is one of the businesses that can operate from an empty shipping container. A souvenir shop is a store that mainly sell souvenirs, memorabilia, and other items relating to a particular topic or theme. The items sold often include coffee mugs, stuffed animals, t-shirts, postcards, handmade collections and other souvenirs. Souvenir shops are normally found in areas visited by tourists.
Shoe Repair Shop
Opening a shoe repair shop is another business that can be started from an empty shipping container. Any human you find in any street in the United States of America would put on one form of footwear or the other. Shoes cum footwear could be pure leather, synthetic leader, fabric or rubber. And the fact that these shoes are subjected to wear and tear goes to show that there is indeed a very large market for shoe repair stores.
Another business that can be started from an empty shipping container is a shave ice shop. Shave ice or ground-up ice desserts are commonly served throughout The United States of America in a conical paper or plastic cup with multiple flavors and with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and/or azuki bean paste at the bottom of the cup.
They are often flavored with local ingredients such as guava, pineapple, coconut cream, passion fruit, li hing mui, lychee, kiwi fruit and mango.
Sewing Machine Repair Shop
The fact that people and businesses make use of sewing machines for commercial or private purposes on a daily basis means that the sewing machines would need to be serviced and repaired when damaged. For whatever reasons; sewing machine repair workshops will always translate to money for the owner of the shop.
Another business that an entrepreneur can start from an empty shipping container is a self – serve frozen yogurt shop. If you are certain that you have a winning formula when it comes to producing healthy and quality frozen yogurts, then you should consider launching your own self-serve frozen yogurt shop. It is a business that is still pretty much open for investors to come and compete for the available market.
Rock Chip Repair Shop
In this dispensation where people are looking for quick fixes as it relates to cracks on their windshield as against replacing with new ones, businesses like rock chip repair readily comes to mind. Rock chip repair business is a thriving and profitable business because the tendencies for the windshield of your car to be cracked or dent by rock chips when you drive cannot be ignored.
This type of business is open to interested entrepreneurs and good enough, starting a rock chip repair business does not need significant investment capital and it can be started from an empty shipping container.
If you live in an environment with a large number of pet owners, then one of the businesses you can successfully start from an empty shipping container is a pet store.
Pet stores sell a range of pet foods and pet supplies, such as collars, leashes, health and beauty aids, shampoos, medication, toys, pet containers, dog kennels and cat furniture et al. Some stores also offer pet services, such as grooming and training.
Open a Paintless Dent Repair Store
Another business that an entrepreneur can start from an empty shipping container is a paintless dent repair store. Paintless dent repair (PDR), which popularly called paintless dent removal, it is a method of removing minor dents from the body of automobiles.
A host of body damage in automobiles can be repaired using Paintless dent repair (PDR) techniques as long as the paint surface is intact. PDR may be used on both aluminum and steel panels.
If you are looking for a business to start in an empty shipping container, then you should consider opening a juice and smoothie bar.
Juice and smoothie bars basically make and retail smoothies and fresh-made juices. A smoothie is a blended, sometimes sweetened beverage primarily made from fresh fruit or vegetables combined with ice, frozen fruit or other frozen ingredients.
Some juice and smoothie bars give their clients option of add-ins, such as soy milk, whey powder, green tea and herbal or nutritional supplements et al. Smoothie drink is one commodity that is consumed in all parts of the world and of course those that are in the business of producing smoothies, are known to generate sales year in year out if the business is well – managed.
Another business that can be started in an empty shipping container is screen printing business. Screen printing is a stencil method of printmaking in which a design is imposed on a screen of polyester or other fine mesh, with blank areas coated with a watertight substance.
It can also be referred to as silk-screen, screen, serigraphy, and serigraph printing. One color is printed at a time, so several screens can be used to produce a multi – colored image, pattern or design.
Cell phones are used for several purposes, and some people have more than one cell phone which are used for different purposes. The growing demand of cell phones has indeed opened up a profitable business opportunity cum industry for aspiring entrepreneurs all over the globe.
The cell phone repair shop repairs, services and maintains cell phones and other similar telecommunication cum electronic devices.
Open a Shawarma Stand
If you live in the United States, Europe, Asia or Africa, you would have tasted or seen a shawarma stand in your city and in most cases, they operate from an empty shipping container. Shawarma which originated from Levantine in the Middle East is a meat preparation, where lamb, turkey, chicken, beef, buffalo meat, veal or mixed meats are places on a spit which is commonly a vertical spit in a restaurant.
It is often grilled for a whole day. Shawarma is made up into a sandwich wrap with bread or pita alongside vegetable. Vegetable such as cucumber, onion, tomato, lettuce, eggplant, cabbage, pickles or rhubarb et al are included in the preparation.
Open a Sandwich Shop
The sandwich shop line of business has minimal barriers to entry, with low startup capital and no specific licensing requirements and can be started from an empty shipping container.
The majority of sandwich shops operate as non – employers and the capital cost of establishing retail outlets are not substantial relative to many other retail industries, such as department stores. On the other hand, the high level of competition and market saturation in a declining industry can prove challenging to aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start their own sandwich shops.
Most players in the sandwich line of business are small – to medium – sized establishments that cater to the local community and they usually operate from an empty shipping container.
Open a Grocery Store
A grocery store is a retail outlet where different food and household products are sold on shelves and cabinets. People love to do their shopping in a grocery store because of the convenience it gives them to shop without moving from one store to another.
A grocery store is a very easy business to start and it is not so capital intensive. Getting the right products that people want to buy and good stock keeping records are the secrets of running a grocery store. A grocery store can be run comfortably from an empty shipping container.
If you have eyes for colors and designs, as well as have a penchant for beauty, then you may want to tinker with starting your own Flower Shop from an empty shipping container. The market for both fresh flowers and artificial flower has continued to soar. This is as long as we still have weddings, burials and other special events taking place all around us.
Another ideal business that an entrepreneur can start from an empty shipping container is cupcake retail shop. Cupcake is type of cake which originated from the United States.
It is a small cake that is baked in small thin paper or aluminum cup and designed in different unique designs to serve just one person. Aside from the fact that it is a small cake, it still contains icing, candy or all other decoration that can be found in traditional big cakes.
Without a shadow of doubt, a cosmetics and beauty store business is indeed a profitable business because it is a fact that people all over the world make use of cosmetics, perfumes, toiletries and personal grooming products.
The running cost for this type of business is pretty low and if you are able to secure a strategic high traffic location to position your shipping container, you can be rest assured to rake in good returns from your cosmetics and beauty store especially if it is well – stocked with cosmetics, perfumes, toiletries and personal grooming products.
Open a Candy Store
Another ideal business that can be started from an empty shipping container is candy store. A candy store is a retail outlet where different candies, chocolates, chewing gums, sweeties, and toffees et al are sold.
Candy stores ensure that they target locations where they can easily attract children because children are the major consumers of candy. A candy retail store is a very easy business to start and it is not so capital intensive. Getting the right brands that people want to buy and good stock keeping records are the secrets of running the business.
Open a Business Center
A business center is yet another ideal business that can be started from an empty shipping container. A business center cum photocopy shop is a business that handles business related services such as typing documents, printing documents, laminating documents, scanning documents, photocopying documents, fax and telephone services et al. It is a business that any serious – minded entrepreneur with little schooling can successfully handle.
The truth is that this type of business does pretty well when it is strategically positioned. Places like campus, school board / districts, passport office, immigration centers, licensing offices and recruiting centers are ideal for this type of business.
Another suitable business that you can operate from an empty shipping container is a money transfer business. Money transfer agencies act as third-party agents that facilitate money transfers and payments among parties in different locations.
The truth is that, this type of business does pretty well when it is strategically positioned. Places like campus, school board/districts, passport office, immigration centers, licensing offices and migrant communities are ideal for this type of business.
Laser Cutting Shop
If you intend starting your own laser cutting business from an empty shipping container, then you must take out time to learn the trade because the truth is that it only takes someone who has the technical skills and one who can truly pay attention to minute details and design to be able to make it really big in this line of business.
What you need to put in place in other to successfully launch a laser cutting business are the machines and equipment needed and how to operate them, a good knowledge of different designs, the legislation guiding the industry as well as strong entrepreneurial skills and determination.
Kettle Corn Production Shop
As an aspiring entrepreneur who is looking towards starting a business from an empty shipping container, one business that you can successfully launch with less stress, minimal startup capital and little or no technical knowledge is kettle corn production business.
With this type of business, all you will need are cast iron kettles, stirrers, spoons and sealing machines. It is important to point out that kettle corn production business is one the businesses that can’t go out of fashion because people eat food and snacks on a daily basis.
Open a Jewelry Repair Shop
One cool way of making money from an empty shipping container is to start a jewelry repair business. Jewelry repair shops provide watch and jewelry repair services, including sizing, polishing and battery replacement amongst other related services.
This business is a thriving one because one out of two persons that you come across has one or more jewelries that they make use of on a regular basis. The truth is that when jewelries are used, there are tendencies for them to wear out or get damaged hence the need for the services of jewelry repair shops.
Homemade Chocolate Retail Business
A homemade chocolate retail business is a very easy business to start from an empty shipping container and it is a business that be started with very minimal startup capital. Getting the right formula and good stock keeping records are the secrets of running the business.
Homemade chocolates are made from the home and not in a factory of some sort. Those who are into homemade chocolate retail business ensure that they target locations where they can easily attract children because children are the major consumers of chocolates and candies.
Another suitable business that can operate from an empty shipping container is a bubble tea outlet. Bubble tea which is also known as pearl milk tea, bubble milk tea, or boba is a Taiwanese tea-based drink invented in Tainan and Taichung in the 1980s. Recipes contain tea of some kind, flavors of milk, and sugar (optional).
Toppings, known as “pearls”, such as chewy tapioca balls are often added. Ice-blended versions are frozen and put into a blender, resulting in a slushy consistency. There are many varieties of the drink with a wide range of flavors. The two most popular varieties are black pearl milk tea and green pearl milk tea.
Consignment store is yet another business that can operate from an empty shipping container. A Consignment Shop is simply a shop where fairly used goods are sold at giveaway prices. It could be clothes, shoes and other fashion accessories, sport wares, automobiles, electronics, furniture, toys, books, tools, musical instrument, office equipment, machines and a host of other stuffs.
Fishing Tools and Accessories Store
Another flourishing and of course profitable business that an aspiring entrepreneur should consider starting from an empty shipping container is a store where everything about fishing will be sold.
Fishing tools and accessories such as hooks, nets, floaters, baits, containers, lines and containers amongst others. In other to do pretty well with this type of business, you should ensure that your fishing tools and accessories store is located in a fishing community or close to a coastal area.
Open an Organic Food Store
An organic food store is perhaps one of the businesses that can be started from an empty shipping container. The truth is that if you start an organic food store, you are likely going to make more money than those who are into the sale of non – organic foods.
It is simple, organic food tastes better, and it contains more nutrients when compared to the conventional food. Although organic food is much more expensive than non – organic food, but people still prefer to spend that much for the sake of their health.
Organic foods are cultivated without the use of any synthetic chemical (fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides and genetically modified organism – GMOs) – it is indeed chemical free, safer and healthier.
Start the Production of Customized Greeting Cards
Another business that can operate from an empty shipping container is the production of customized greeting cards. People love customized cards. They love the warmth that exudes from the messages that is being conveyed by the cards. Yet another thing that captures the fancy is the creativity, color combination and images that are captured in it.
If you think you have the knack for designing and graphics, starting your own customized greeting card business could be a great way to help augment your income or start a full – time business. You can help businesses maximize and keep an enticing rapport with their customers by making customized cards for special occasions.
Start a Locksmith Business
A locksmith business is indeed a profitable venture to start from an empty shipping container but you must first acquire the required training, and then work as an apprentice for a while before applying for a locksmith license.
Although locksmith business is considered to be a small-scale business, but it is regulated by the government to ensure that criminal elements in the society don’t take advantage of people. There are various aspects you can specialize on as a locksmith, you can specialize as a residential door locksmith, you can specialize as an automotive locksmith and you can specialize as a safe and security locksmith.
If you love children and you are interest in helping them catch fun, then you should consider opening your own toy store in an empty shipping container. The demand for children’s toys won’t abate anytime soon.
The truth is that the only way you can stop your child or children from demanding for toys is for you not to take them close to a toy store because if you do, then you have no other option than to buy toys for them. The basic skills that are required for you to successfully run your own toy store are customer service skills, marketing skills, accounting and bookkeeping skills and good bargaining skills.
One of the businesses you can start on a small-scale from an empty shipping container is drone repair business. There are a lot you need to know and learn about drone technology before making up your mind to go into drone repairs. Therefore, if you have decided to start a drone repair business, then you should gather all the available materials you can get on drones and ensure that you read them up.
Some of the tools you need to purchase to start your drone repair business are electronic digital tap hammer, hot bonders, blanket test and oven control systems, thermocouple spot welders, vacuum pumps and gages, portable temperature controllers and vacuum debulking/curing tables for composite repair, full color touch screen hot bonders with USB data transfer capabilities et al.
When we talk about businesses that can operate from an empty shipping container, one of the businesses that readily comes to mind is barbeque stands. This is because loads of people consume barbecued foods especially if it is within their reach.
A standard barbeque stand is known to sell barbequed beef, chicken, turkey, bacon, pork, fish and corn et al. So, if you are looking towards starting a street food related business, then you should consider starting a barbeque stands business.
Just ensure that your stand is strategically positioned in a location with high human and vehicular traffic and you won’t struggle to welcome customers.
Cooked and Roasted Maize/Corn Stands
In Africa, and of course in African dominated communities in the United States and all across the globe, you are likely going to find cooked and roasted maize/corn stands. You will quite agree that freshly prepared corn is considered to be one of the healthy food or snacks out there.
Corn is very nutritious and it is known to be eaten in various forms by both humans and livestock. If you are interested in starting this type of business from an empty shipping container, then you must ensure that your business outlet is located in a location that is prone to human traffic and vehicular traffic and for sure you won’t struggle to grow the business.
Popcorn Gourmet Stand Business
Another popular and no doubt profitable business that can be started from an empty shipping container is gourmet popcorn. It is a business that requires very minimal startup capital and little or no prior business skills, hence the need to classify the business under unskilled business.
So, if you are looking for a less stressful street business to start from an empty shipping container, then one of your options is to start a gourmet popcorn stand.
50. Small Chops and Drinks Stand/Kiosk Business
Lastly, another good business idea that can be started from an empty shipping container in any part of the world is small chops and drinks stand/kiosk. Small chops are popularly served in parties as appetizers. Small chops are made up of flour and other ingredients.
If you are looking towards starting a street food related business, then you can settle for small chops and drinks stand/kiosk business. One good thing about small chops business is that aside from preparing and serving small chops and drinks from your stand, you can also supply to people organizing parties or other events.