Do You Need Planning Permission for a Storage Container Business?

Is there a need for planning permission for a storage container business? Find out here.

Do You Need Planning Permission for a Storage Container Business?

Although shipping containers are movable structures, they’re increasingly used for static storage, making them frequently selected for storage businesses.

Your shipping container’s location and the surrounding area will determine whether or not planning authorisation is necessary. Compared to containers placed on private farmland or commercial property, those placed near a greenbelt, listed building or on a driveway on a housing development are more likely to need planning clearance.

This article will cover the requirements for obtaining planning permission for a storage container business - feel free to get in touch with the Storeganise Team if you have any questions.

Note: One single container will be categorised quite differently from a depot full of containers or even a structure of containers. If you’re thinking of opening your self storage facility using shipping containers, we strongly suggest you consult with your local planning office/local council and follow their instructions.

What Checks and Preparation Are Necessary to Start a Storage Container Business?

Before starting a self storage container business, you need to do your research. A feasibility study, as the name implies, will ascertain whether the business idea is practical. You might be able to conduct this inquiry independently, but you should probably hire a storage container industry expert to perform it for you.

But one question lingers: can you invest money in a storage container business and still earn a profit after paying off the debt and covering running costs?

Researching the market is essential. As a storage business’s clientele resides within a three- to five-mile radius, you can easily find the market size and estimate whether the location is viable.

The following elements of your potential market area should also be taken into consideration:

  • Present-day population (anywhere from about 20,000 people in a rural setting to 100,000 or more in an urban environment, as a general guideline).

  • Projections of population growth (more people means more prospective tenants).

  • Daily traffic in vehicles (most storage container businesses depend heavily on drive-by traffic to attract customers).

Competitive environment:

  • How many storage container businesses are there nearby?

  • How many units are occupied there?

  • Do any proposed or already under-construction facilities exist in the trading area?

All of these are crucial, as before you even apply for planning permission, you must determine whether the business is viable in the first place.

When is Planning Permission for a Storage Container Business Required?

For projects within a conservation area or an AONB (areas of outstanding natural beauty, AONB), planning authorisation is necessary for new construction, additions, work on historic structures, and other activities on “permanent” or “fixed” structures.

It’s extremely rare to need planning permission for the storage container business, as they’re often classed as “temporary constructions” and can easily be relocated due to not being fixed to the ground.

The one exception to this rule is if a temporary system is being built within an AONB; in this case, planning clearance is still required.

How to Set up a Storage Container Business

A self storage business can be pretty successful and are often described as “recession-proof”. Residents frequently need storage for their personal belongings, so if you can target the right audiences, this type of business is incredibly trustworthy.

Even though it’ll take some time and planning to establish the business and collect all necessary materials, the enterprise will likely succeed with the right systems and self storage software in place. However, don’t forget to devote a lot of time to the research stage and work with only highly respected businesses to receive your company’s resources.

Discover our action list for a prosperous self storage container business below:

1. Estimating costs and outlining things you need for your startup.

A storage container firm demands some crucial investments to launch. The initial prices are the highest because this is when you buy or rent the property, buy the materials, and acquire the containers that clients can rent.

According to Projection Hub, the average cost to set up a storage container business is $2 million. Along with these expenses, you’ll also have to pay for the creation of your website and the marketing tools you’ll use to promote your company, such as brochures, online ads, local media ads, and more.

Thankfully, Storeganise offers self storage websites with excellent features. We also create flawless software programs that run valet and self storage operations of all sizes across the globe. Feel free to book a demo tailored for you today!

When creating your business plan, take into account all of these expenses. Don’t forget to consider the potential need for a local authority’s planning approval.

2. Synthesising information in the business plan.

It’s time to draft the business strategy at this point. This is a crucial document that contains essential details regarding your intended container business plan.

To make the best of your business plan, consider the following tips:

  • Describe your aims and objectives.

  • Make an overview of your business, including its address, main building, features, and ownership information.

  • Determine the primary goods or services your company offers.

  • Make an infographic that analyses market trends and consumer wants.

  • Describe your marketing objectives and the plans you have to achieve them. You can visit our blog page for a list of self storage marketing advice and information.

  • Create an investment strategy that details the overall startup costs for a storage business and the ongoing operating and maintenance expenses for the first few years of operation.

  • Hire a competent bookkeeper or accountant, and gather essential tax and legal information.

3. Setting up the storage container business: Location and tools.

It’d be best if you first made plans for the land before putting anything else in concrete.

It may be best for you to purchase the land to reduce the risk of rental issues. Moreover, deploying a self storage management software could make your business operations run more seamlessly.

You can read our article on choosing the right self storage management software. Additionally, here are all the features you can enjoy with our valet and self storage cloud-based software.

Because customers have various needs, make sure to get a variety of shipping container sizes. The key is diversity and affordability; you’re set up for success if you can give clients the options they want at a price they can afford.


Do you need planning permission for a storage container business? Probably but not always. If you don’t apply for planning permission for your storage container business when you need it, you can be forced to demolish your building, which could result in fines and legal action.

Always contact your local planning authority to figure out whether a shipping container business is a permitted development. You may want to check whether the rules apply for a permanent structure vs a temporary structure.

Storeganise is designed to help self storage companies of any size automate their business with contactless bookings and streamline their operations. We also have a long list of software integrations that’ll benefit your self storage container website.

Sign up for our demo today to see how your business can benefit from the customer booking app when it comes to managing every aspect of your valet storage business, including contactless bookings, deliveries, collections, inventory, and automated billings.

 Frequently Asked Questions

Do container businesses require planning permission?

Yes, container businesses typically require planning approval. Still, check with your local planning authority to make sure you’re not breaking any laws.

Do you need planning permission for a container on your land?

If a container house affects the use of your land, such as switching it from agricultural to residential use, planning permission may be required. This is synonymous with building a home of any type.

Can I place a container anywhere?

You can’t place a container anywhere. You must ensure that the ground is appropriate for placing your unit. If you fail to survey the ground before placing your unit, you may not be able to verify that your self storage unit is safe, sits securely, has doors that open and close correctly, and eliminates avoidable condensation. Additionally, wherever you place your shipping container business, whether you’re using 40ft shipping containers or flat pack containers, it should always be cost-effective.