Living in a shipping container home can be an excellent way to save money and become debt-free. The key question is whether you should build your own container home. Let’s analyze the options for having a container home.

There are three common ways to have a container home:

  1. Build it yourself.
  2. Hire a contractor to do it for you.
  3. Buy a prefabricated container home.

Each of these approaches has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Building your own container home

Let’s start by looking at the most popular option when it comes to container homes. By far, the majority of people who live in homes made from shipping containers have built them themselves. In fact, that’s the purpose of this blog called “Homes Made With Containers.” This website aims to guide people through the process of constructing their own shipping container home.

If you want to build your own container home and don’t have a large budget, make sure to read our article on building a container home on a small budget. Additionally, if you decide to build it yourself, make sure not to make these simple mistakes!

Now, let’s examine the advantages and disadvantages of building a container home.

Advantages of building your own container home

The main advantage of building your own container home is cost savings. You save a lot of money by doing most or all of the work yourself instead of paying others.

The second significant advantage of building it yourself is that you know exactly how it was constructed and that no shortcuts were taken. You know that the insulation and roof were done correctly and that there was no rush because the builder was pressed for time.

Lastly, when you design and build your own container home, you have the freedom to design and construct it the way you want. Want to stack your containers and create a rooftop terrace? Well, you can if you build it yourself! Additionally, if you’re in the middle of construction and change your mind, you’re free to alter the design of your home, although we don’t recommend making major design changes halfway through!

If you’ve purchased a prefabricated container home or agreed to a work plan with a contractor, it becomes more difficult and sometimes impossible to make changes.

Disadvantages of building your own container home

One of the biggest hurdles to building your own shipping container home is not having the proper skills, experience, and knowledge. It’s not necessary to have built a container home before, but it’s recommended to have some experience in manual construction work.

Additionally, starting a project of this magnitude is particularly challenging if you have a full-time job or other significant commitments that consume a lot of your time.

Building a container home, just like any other home, takes a lot of time and effort. It’s not impossible to do it while having a job, but it’s a bit more challenging to balance all the responsibilities.

We know people who have managed to work and build their homes, but be realistic in your expectations and understand that it will take longer to complete if you’re working compared to if you were solely focused on construction.

If you’re seriously considering building your own container home, we discuss the pros and cons in more detail here.

Hiring a contractor to build your container home

The most common type of contractor for building your home is a general contractor. This contractor is the person who oversees the daily work on your home. They usually have commercial contacts and will bring in other necessary workers such as welders, electricians, etc. You can also choose to act as your own general contractor. In this case, you would subcontract your own professionals to complete the work that you can’t do. The decision primarily depends on your skills and available time.

Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of having a contractor build your container home.

Advantages of having a contractor

Perhaps the biggest advantage of having a contractor is access to their expertise and previous knowledge, which can be very valuable. These professionals live and breathe construction, so it’s no surprise that they take their work seriously and often stand by their work.

Another significant advantage of having a contractor is time savings. Imagine having five or six people working on your container home at the same time and how much faster that is compared to working alone. This is especially important if you have another job where you can only work on your home in the evenings and on weekends.

Lastly, contractors offer great flexibility. For example, if you want to build most of your container home personally and then hire a contractor only for welding, you can do that.

Disadvantages of having a contractor

There are two major disadvantages to hiring a contractor. The first is cost. Hiring contractors to work for you can be very expensive, especially when compared to doing the work yourself. This cost can be one of the largest expenses when building a container home.

Secondly, finding experienced and reputable contractors can take a lot of time. However, a good contractor is worth their weight in gold, especially if issues arise during construction!

Buying a prefabricated container home

A prefabricated container home is one that has already been constructed and converted by a company. Prefabricated container homes are usually sold as an empty structure, ready to live in immediately. Sometimes, they are referred to as move-in-ready homes. The specifications and interior furnishings vary between models and manufacturers.

These prefabricated homes are a great option for people who want to live in a container home but have little time or insufficient experience to build their own shipping container home. They’re also a great option for those who don’t have space, equipment, or proper facilities to convert their own containers into their own property.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you may or may not want to buy a prefabricated container home.

Advantages of prefabricated container homes

Certainly, the biggest benefit of buying a prefabricated home is that it’s ready incredibly fast. Some research is still required, but the design and planning stages are virtually eliminated. Large prefab companies usually have stock available. This means your container home is already built and just needs to be shipped to you, placed on foundation blocks, and connected to utilities.

Another advantage of buying a prefabricated home is peace of mind. Building your own home, whether by yourself or through a contractor, can be stressful at times. If the stage of your life requires avoiding additional stress, a prefabricated home can be a good option. Buying a prefabricated home reduces anxiety about the unknown because you know exactly how your home will look and when it will be completed.

Lastly, prefab companies tend to offer support for planning and building permits, so you don’t have to do everything yourself. Refer to our list of prefab home manufacturers here.

Disadvantages of prefabricated container homes

The biggest disadvantage of buying a prefabricated home is that you get what’s offered. In general, containers cannot be customized. You can only choose from the available models offered. The second disadvantage of a prefabricated home is cost. Of all the options reviewed in this article, prefabricated container homes are always more expensive. This is because you’re paying a company to oversee the entire construction. This may not be a problem for some, but most people want to build a container home to save money, not spend more money. Again, this is a personal decision that only you can make.

Final Conclusion

We hope this article makes your decision about building a container home a little easier. Our recommendation is that whenever possible, you build your own container home. There’s something incredibly rewarding about seeing your hard work pay off and being able to enjoy the result every day. Have you decided to do it yourself and build your own home? Have you decided to hire a contractor or instead buy a prefabricated home? We would love to hear from you.

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