How to Build a Shipping Container Home On A Small Budget

Now that you know you’re ready to purchase a shipping container home, you need to make make sure you have the best information so you can stay within your budget.

A thorough plan will ensure that you don’t run out of money before you can finish constructing your home. Click here to learn how to build a shipping container home no matter what your budget is.

Although the cost of housing continues to rise, wages are not growing nearly as fast. In fact, the speed of inflation is completely wiping out any positive effects of wage growth. This is one of the main reasons that home sales aren’t nearly as high now as they were in 2005. That’s why homeowners are looking for the best deals, and even unconventional ways, to obtain housing and get a step up on the economic ladder.

One of those unconventional ways to afford a home is by building an iconic shipping container home. There are several key benefits to building and living in a shipping container home or other iconic tiny houses. They offer tremendous savings when you purchase the building materials. Over the course of living in the home, you’ll also see a significant reduction in fuel costs, and electricity and energy bills. The less energy you consume, the smaller your carbon footprint will be. Shipping container homes are an excellent way to afford sustainable housing and live out your ecological values.

The average tiny house and shipping container home costs only $23,000 to build, and up to 68% of small house dwellers do not have a mortgage. The peace of mind that comes with buying and building affordable housing is priceless. When you decide to build a shipping container home, you’re investing in your future financial well-being and happiness.

But it’s not simple to build a shipping container home, and it is essential to stay within your budget so you can experience all of the financial benefits of obtaining affordable housing. Check out this article to find out how to build a shipping container home on a small budget.

Make a Plan

The first mistake that anyone can make when starting any project is neglecting to plan. Building a shipping container home requires you to acknowledge and work with numerous moving parts. Thoroughly planning to build your shipping container home from start to finish will enable you to avoid silly mistakes, keep track of your progress, and ultimately see your vision come to fruition. If you make a detailed plan, you’ll prevent risking costly renovations in the future to fix poor planning.

Before building a shipping container home, make sure you know how you want your home to look. Putting together a well-made, functional shipping container home is like putting together a puzzle. If you don’t plan well for the final look and layout of the house, you’ll run the risk of paying for expensive, unnecessary welds.

How can you avoid this mistake?

Draw out a map of the different rooms, and take note of such details as to where you would like insulation or added walls. Think about your lifestyle, and what you can and can’t live with. Think about how practical the kitchen and bathroom placement will be. How much storage will you need? Think about how easily you can access specific areas of the home before you start making cuts or expensive welds into the containers.

Once you’ve mapped out how your home should look, you can map out your budget for each customization. Discuss everything with your contractor. They will have the experience with putting together a practical layout that meets your needs. Plus, they’ll understand the costs involved so you’ll have an accurate ballpark of expenses that you can map out for your budget.

Container Base

This is the first step to building a shipping container home. The contractor selects a container to use as the base of the home. Think of this as your home’s ‘foundation.’ Of course, making the customizations you need will turn this industrial box into a home that is more difficult. Customization is where things can get tricky and add to the expense. If you’re looking to put more of your budget into customizations, you might want to consider saving on the initial container base.

Most people who decide to purchase and build a shipping container home are interested in them for their sustainability. The good news is, you can buy a used container for your base. It’s a great way to recycle industrial products, and a used base will be much cheaper than a new one. Talk to your contractor about this. They’ll be able to source a durable and used container for your home’s base.

Know Where to Splurge

There will undoubtedly be specific aspects of your home where you don’t want to skimp. This will, of course, be unique to you and your needs and values. Before your contractor begins construction, find out what your ‘must-haves’ are for your shipping container home. For some, it’s eco-friendly solar paneling. For others, it’s an efficient cooling and heating system. Others may be interested in installing a green roof.

The most critical place to splurge on is in the structural elements of the home. Plumbing, electricity, and insulation isn’t something you can afford to cut corners on. Also, be sure to keep in mind local and state ordinances in regards to building a shipping container home. While your tiny home is very different from traditional construction, it’s still subject to permits and codes. You will have to pay for the necessary permits before you begin. If you forget to do this, you run the risk of getting into trouble with the local government, and you may have an incredibly difficult time selling the home in the future if you need to.

Remember, styling can easily be changed, but the durability of the home depends on the quality of its structure and underlying systems. Also, durable construction means you’ll save on routine maintenance, and energy and electricity consumption costs while you live in your custom-built shipping container home. Pay your dues upfront so you’ll save yourself money in the future.

Know Where to Skimp

As previously stated, styling elements can easily be changed. These are cheaper to swap out than structural elements, and they won’t affect the durability of your home. Plus, most people will want to change the interior look of their home every few years. So, make it easy and cheaper on yourself by picking affordable cosmetic elements from the start.

You can even use salvaged materials if you’re going for a green home effect. This will only magnify the sustainability of your choice. Ask your contractor to source for used containers and cosmetic materials. You can easily find affordable flooring, light fixtures, and second-hand furniture online or at a local garage and rummage sales. Buying used furniture and cosmetic goods is beneficial for the environment and your pocketbook. If you’re ecologically conscious, sourcing for second-hand materials will flex your creative muscle and significantly reduce your carbon footprint, too. It’s a great way to show off your style and your values.

Track Your Budget

When building any home, money will be quickly flying out of your bank account. Even with tiny houses and shipping container homes, they still cost a bit of coin to design and build. The most crucial saving measure is to track where all of your money is going. Without keeping accurate and up-to-date records, you won’t even know how much money you’re spending. When you stay in the dark regarding your budget, it will be way too easy to lose money without even knowing it. The last thing you want is to have to halt construction mid-project because you unknowingly went over budget. Seeing your shipping container home sit half-finished can be incredibly discouraging and possibly dissuade you from pursuing your goal. By accurately tracking expenses from the start, you’ll be more likely to get your shipping container home built efficiently and affordable.

More on How to Build a Shipping Container Home

While a shipping container home can be a greener option than traditional construction, it’s no easy undertaking. Building a shipping container home costs money, but it’s still much cheaper than obtaining traditional housing and locking yourself into a high-rate mortgage. Plus, shipping container homes allow you to live out your values. They are green, sustainable, and beneficial for the environment. If you want to build the shipping container home of your dreams, then thoroughly planning the project is essential for reaching your goal. Still, the challenges are worth it for this flexible and durable type of home.

If you want to build a long-lasting, and durable shipping container home, you will need to help of an experienced professional. Our smart and sustainable tiny home designs have even been featured on HGTV. We know how to build and design a high-quality shipping container home that you’ll fall in love with. Don’t hesitate to contact the experts at SUNdog Structures LLC and make your dream of homeownership a reality.