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How Much is a Shipping Container Home?

As the green construction movement continues to grow, so too does the popularity of shipping container homes. When you consider the overall cost and durability of a house like this, it’s no surprise they are one of the most sought-after alternative building materials. If you have ever wondered how much does it cost to design a shipping container home, you are in the right place. Here at PSE Consulting Engineers Inc., we specialize in alternative and sustainable building practices, and we have helped many clients design their dream shipping container homes. Contact us today to learn more about our design process and be on your way to having a new environmentally friendly home!

Benefits of a Shipping Container Home

Shipping container homes aren’t just built out of necessity, as some may think. These homes offer genuine benefits over traditional construction and are even more beneficial than some alternative building practices. Here at PSE Consulting Engineers, we love designing shipping container homes because we genuinely believe it is one of the most beneficial modes of construction out there.


One of the most significant benefits of constructing a building out of shipping containers is how affordable they are. In a time when material costs are at an astronomical high, you can’t go wrong with choosing to build with shipping containers. You can find a container anywhere from $1,200 used to around $5,000 brand new. Shipping container homes are much cheaper to assemble as well, meaning you get to save on both materials and labor.


Traditional stick-framed homes aren’t very durable, and they offer very little protection against strong winds, fire, and water. On the other hand, shipping containers are steel, so you can count on them to withstand anything nature throws their way. 

Easy Construction

Due to the modular design of a shipping container, transporting and building with them is relatively simple. Shipping containers are designed to interlock one on top of the other, making building with them akin to building with giant legos. This stackability makes the containers easy to transport to your desired building site and construct once they arrive.


Sustainable practices have never been more critical than they are today, and the exponential growth of the green construction movement is a clear indication of this. Green construction is expected to become one of the fastest-growing industries globally, and shipping container homes are one of the most sought-after ways to construct these environmentally conscious buildings.

Designing a Shipping Container Home

Once you have decided that a shipping container home is right for you, the next step is the design. Designing a home can be complex if you don’t have any experience doing so, but PSE Consulting Engineers Inc. has the know-how to walk you through the technical aspects of your design. In essence, designing a shipping container home is much like designing any custom home, and many of the same steps are followed in the process.

Unfortunately, shipping container builds are relatively new and, as a result, aren’t legally allowed to be constructed just anywhere. Ensuring that the building and zoning codes in your area permit building this style home is the absolute first thing you should do before you even start your design. Contact your local building authorities for more information on regional restrictions.

Now that you have determined if your plan is legal or not, you can move on to the fun part. The Design! As with any building design, we recommend taking a systematic approach to prevent future difficulties and maximize comfort inside your new home.


Determining the size of your new home is the most logical place to start with any home design, and shipping container homes are no different. Once again, you should always check with your local building authorities to determine if there is a maximum or minimum square footage that a home needs to be in your area. Once you know what size your home can be, you can decide what size your home should be. 

Ask yourself, Is your goal to build an economical tiny house, or do you want a shipping container castle? Standard shipping containers are either 8×20 or 8×40 feet long, offering you 160 or 320 square feet of living space respectively. With this number in mind, it is easier to determine how many containers you will need for your build.

Rooms & Layout

With the size of your new home in mind, you can decide on the number of rooms and how you want them laid out. Do you want an open floor plan, or are separate rooms more your style? As mentioned above, shipping containers are perfectly modular and make for easy stacking, so you have the choice of placing your desired number of rooms all on a single floor or dispersing them across multiple levels. Consulting with PSE during this stage is crucially important as our engineers are trained to incorporate your design plans while simultaneously ensuring no technical aspects are overlooked. For more ideas, look at some of the past design work we have done for our commercial and residential clients.

PSE Consulting Engineers, Inc.

At the end of the day, the cost of designing your shipping container home will depend on the size of the project. As with any other building, the bigger the house, the more you can expect to pay. Whether you decide to go big or small, you can still expect to spend less on a shipping container home than you will on a stick-framed house, and in some cases, as much as half of the price per square foot. Contact PSE Consulting Engineers Inc. today for all of your shipping container design needs and be on your way to living in the sustainable home you’ve always dreamed about.