Aside from the heavy-duty steel containers often seen on construction sites, there are also smaller and lighter duty containers primarily made of metal or wood that are more appropriate for lighter industrial and/or commercial uses. These containers, like their heavy-duty counterparts, are available in multiple sizes: 7’, 8’, 10’, 12’, 16’ ,20’ 40’ 45’ and lengths up to 53ft. However, unlike heavy duty containers, these smaller and lighter containers are delivered to commercial and residential customers by various means … proprietary lift systems integrated into the delivery vehicle, modified “forklift” equipment which rides with the delivery vehicle (straight truck or customized trailer) and/or tilt/rollback trucks and trailers. These containers will have either a traditional swing back or roll-up door, but in all cases, the doors will be lockable in order to secure the contents of the container. And regardless of container type, these containers are weather resistant including those constructed of wood; a fitted water repellant canvas cover allows for outdoor use. As such, these lighter duty containers can be used in various industries for light industrial and commercial use.
Here are light industrial and commercial use applications for portable storage containers:
Remodeling and Renovating: Typically in this industry, metal containers are used for three primary reasons: 1) They come in larger sizes which are preferred by most contractors; 2) They are more “rugged” and as such more secure and not as easily damaged on-site; and 3) They are more weather resistant over a longer period of time. These containers are used by remodeling contractors and remediation companies on-site to temporarily store removed items from a business or residence to facilitate the completion of a project. Additionally, depending on the type of project, containers will be used to safely store equipment, materials and supplies on-site during the duration of the job. Obviously, such on-site storage minimizes the need to have to transport items to an off-site location for temporary storage; this reduces project completion time and expense. As such, when on-site, containers help support just-in-time builds and project execution. Light Construction: As in the Remodeling and Renovating sector, metal containers are preferred in this industry for the same three (3) basic reasons … 1) They come in larger sizes which are preferred by most contractors; 2) They are more “rugged” and as such more secure and not as easily damaged on-site; and 3) They are more weather resistant over a longer period of time. Typically, in the Construction sector, the larger (16’ or 20’) size containers are preferred given their use as an on-site secure “warehouse.” These containers, depending on the project, are used for tools, work site materials/supplies, small portable equipment, project plans/prints etc. Again, as was noted in the Remodeling and Renovating sector, the on-site containers provide for greater project efficiency by reducing the time and expense associated with the transport of materials and equipment “piece meal” to the job site throughout the duration of the project.
Special Events – Concerts, Festivals & Expos: Special events cover a wide array of possibilities from festivals, sporting events (i.e. golf tournaments), outdoor concerts and the like. In most, if not all cases, a metal container would be the preferred type of container due to the level of security it provides, its ability to withstand various types of weather conditions and high winds. In addition, containers provide a level of flexibility as they can be strategically placed where needed. Given the wide-ranging types of events that fall into this category, container size will vary given the type of materials to be stored and the location or available space. In some instances, space limitations will dictate container size at various outdoor events. In addition, if the items to be stored are temperature sensitive -- such as food items, then the container of choice would either need to be an insulated or refrigerated container. To that end, the advantage of having containers on-site at any outdoor event are simple: it provides the event operator the ability to have real time access on an as-needed basis to critical items required to operate and manage various outdoor special events nationwide. Curbside Pick-Up (Restaurant, Retail, etc.): COVID-19 in 2020 has changed many things in the US and across the globe relative to the way companies in various industries operate their business to ensure the safety and well-being of customers and employees. The coronavirus necessitated the creation of “curbside pick-up” service in some industries while driving change in its service execution where it already existed in others. Containers allow various types of companies to “stage” orders outside their place of business in order to minimize employee and customer contact during merchandise and food pick-ups. This also reduces the degree of contact with other people for both the employee and customer, hopefully keeping both healthier and safer. As one might expect, a smaller to mid-size metal container typically is used for its weather resistant characteristics and more compact size as they are typically positioned in customer parking areas.
Finally, restaurants have deployed portable storage containers to store sundries and carryout supplies given that most of their business has pivoted to take-out or delivery. As such, containers become a very convenient way to store supplies, and their placement is key to having these supplies readily available to staff in an as-needed environment.
Retail Inventory Management: This business sector was the first to embrace and integrate on-site containers into their business model. Given the cost per square foot for retail space across the country, many retailers today allocate most of their “footprint” to the sales floor and have minimized backroom storage space. As such, they need a means by which to augment their backroom storage; containers satisfy that need. In the retail industry, location and other variables dictate container size, however, when a retailer decides to utilize portable storage the preferred container is usually a 16’ or 20’ metal container. The metal container provides a more “finished” interior which minimizes the chance of damage to stored clothing. It is more weather resistant than a wooden container with fitted cover and is more rugged and a more secure environment for retailers storing goods outside their brick & mortar footprint. The advantages of retailers using on-site containers are; 1) Containers provide supplemental on-site storage at a lower all in cost than the retailer’s brick and mortar cost; 2) They provide flex storage for holiday/seasonal items on-site, allowing real time access to meet customer demand; and 3) Containers allow retailers to buy sale items in larger quantities thus reducing their cost and in turn maintaining or in some cases increasing profit margin.
Business Temporary Storage: This use of containers is a sub-category of Retail Inventory Management. Today, the container of preference is typically a metal container, although wooden containers with fitted covers have been used by parcel delivery services (UPS) in densely populated areas during the holiday season to increase the efficiency of delivery drivers, and in turn favorably impacting operating costs. The containers are pre-positioned by operations in densely populated areas highlighted by apartment complexes to stage packages for deliveries in the area which allows the driver to re-load after emptying out without having to return to the terminal during the day. Typically, because these containers are placed in retail or apartment complex parking lots, smaller size containers are preferred to fit into traditional parking spaces.
Campus Renovations: Colleges over the last 10-12 years have become big users of portable storage containers for various reasons. Colleges are continually adding new buildings and renovating older ones, and portable storage containers provide that on-site storage for furniture, desks and chairs, wall paintings, vending machines, water coolers, etc. As in most cases, a metal type container will likely be the container of choice as they; 1) Come in larger sizes which are preferred by most contractors; 2) Are more “rugged” and as such more secure and not as easily damaged on-site; and 3) Are more weather resistant over a longer period of time. These containers provide inexpensive on-site storage for the contents of campus buildings undergoing renovations. Keeping such items on campus eliminates the need to store these items off-site in either a self-storage facility or warehouse. In both cases, the elimination of additional time spent preparing and transporting the building’s contents to a storage facility and then back is the real convenience that containers bring to these types of projects. And with the building’s contents on-site once the renovation is complete, these items can be returned to the building on the college’s schedule and not that of an outside service provider.
Commercial Recycling Solutions: Many companies have a need for recycling solutions, and portable storage containers provide an easy solution. They are a secure and convenient solution for high-value recycling such as a company’s electronics or e-waste. In addition, they can be used to store tires for companies required by local laws and ordinances to recycle such used tires. Portable storage containers provide the best method to help these type companies deal with this short-term problem until the recycler can come by to pick up the goods to be recycled. Most of these goods are required to be locked up and secured to avoid pilferage. The convenience of portable storage containers provides the best solution to quickly and effectively deal with this type of situation. If you are a subcontractor, installing new electronic computers and laptops for a business, portable storage containers provide you with an on-site solution to securely put the old desktops and laptops safely into a container for easy consolidation, distribution and handling by the recycler.
Hotel/Motel Renovation: Hotel/Motel Renovations come in all shapes and sizes and sometimes the hotel may be swapping out hundreds of faucets and sinks over a specific timeframe or providing a facelift to all of the rooms. These FF&E (furniture, fixtures and equipment) need to be changed out every 5 to 7 years given that designs change or simply due to wear and tear. Most of these projects can take years to plan and execute, so this process is typically on-going depending on the size of the property; once a project is finished the planning for the next one starts all over again. Many of these projects require that there be some just-in-time inventory controls of the equipment and materials being used on the job site. This is where the portable storage container solutions come into play, as they can help on-site general contractors become more efficient with their crews. By placing containers strategically throughout the complex, they can ensure that the equipment and materials are close to where the work is being completed. This effectively helps reduce issues with the construction crews while minimizing issues with guests as the renovation takes place.
In some cases, the portable storage company can be leveraged as a central distribution point for materials, fixtures and products being used in the renovation. This can provide more just-in-time solutions via containers based upon construction timeline needs. This can minimize containers sitting in parking lots when they are not being used, which can reduce liability and potential theft situations.
Record Storage: Many businesses like banks, title companies, mortgage bankers, hospitals, medical offices, law firms as well as governmental agencies are required to maintain certain files for a sustained period of time in some cases. Portable storage containers offer a perfect solution for these storage needs.
Records storage services by portable storage companies help businesses unload large amounts of physical documents and files that may be cluttering up their office location. Businesses that receive a high volume of physical mail and paperwork also benefit from records storage services. In many cases, despite the burden of records collection, businesses are required to store all the physical documents they create for reference but do not have an immediate need for the documents. On-site or off-site storage ensures the records are safe and easily accessed when necessary. A typical business will store old patient records, outdated confidential files, or other types of records that may be required by law. Portable storage containers are the perfect means by which to maintain these files for that prolonged period of time. They can be stored on-site if they are accessed regularly or stored at an off-site secure storage facility with easy access when required.
Purchase to Own or Re-Sell: If you have a long-term storage project, permanent business storage need, or maybe building a container-based house or pool, you can purchase new or used portable containers in any size required to meet your needs. Used ISO Shipping Containers come in a variety of conditions and sizes from 10 ft to 53 ft high cube. The most common conditions fall into four (4) categories: One-Trip, Cargo Worthy, Wind and Watertight and As-Is.
One-Trip: One-Trip is pretty much like it sounds. They are manufactured overseas and then loaded with Cargo and shipped to the United States. Once unloaded, the containers are then sold in the open market. The prices for these containers vary by size and location which impacts distribution to a customer’s location.
Cargo Worthy: A Cargo Worthy container has been inspected and carries “cargo worthy” or “sea worthy” certification. These containers are sealed to prevent leaking and are great for ocean transportation and any portable storage solution.
Wind and Water Tight: Wind and Water Tight containers are also guaranteed not to leak or have holes. They may be repaired due to some shipping damage. These containers cannot be shipped overseas since they are not certified as “cargo worthy” but they remain a great option for various types of storage. A Wind and Water Tight container might also cost a little less given that it doesn’t have to be certified.
As-Is: As-Is containers typically have some issues with holes that may require repair and as such are not certified in any way. These containers are not typically good for portable storage solutions that require the goods to be protected from the weather, therefore these containers do cost far less than One-Trip or Cargo Worthy containers.
Outside of the ISO Shipping Containers, there are manufactures and an emerging secondary market for smaller non-ISO portable storage and moving containers. These containers are not used in the cargo shipping industry but are suitable for local and on-site storage of all types of goods. These containers are able to be moved once full as well which provides for more flexibility when compared to larger ISO Shipping Containers. There are two types of containers sold in this arena, which are new or As-Is.
New Portable Storage Containers: These containers typically are manufactured overseas or within the states and come in various sizes such as 8 ft, 12 ft, 16 ft and 20 ft. The container come in various lots of 12 to 20 per container load requiring a larger quantity purchase. As-Is Portable Storage Containers: Today the secondary market of used As-Is containers is emerging within the non-ISO container space, given that owners are periodically retiring older containers to position themselves to purchase new containers for their container fleet. These used containers are not widely available but are becoming more available from time to time with the involvement of container manufacturers/sales companies understanding where this inventory might be needed as they assist their clients in selling off such As-Is containers.
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