Containers on the move

A British Columbia company that rents and sells storage containers is on the move.

Jeff Tancock moves a container at Big Steel Box in the Burnt Lake Business Park Monday.

Jeff Tancock moves a container at Big Steel Box in the Burnt Lake Business Park Monday.

A British Columbia company that rents and sells storage containers is on the move.

BigSteelBox, which has an outlet in Red Deer’s Burnt Lake Business Park, has launched a moving service that allows customers to load a storage container at their old residence and then unload it at their new home. BigSteelBox transports the unit between sites.

“We’ve just seen a major need growing for a less-expensive way to move long distance,” said Jason Siebenga, who operates the Salmon Arm-based business with his father Barry and brothers Ryan and Devon.

The company has steel shipping containers ranging in length from eight to 48 feet (2.4 to 14.6 metres). The customer can load and unload it at his or her leisure, with container rental as little as $100 a month. Shipping costs vary, with home-to-home delivery from Red Deer to Vancouver running $2,195.

This compares favourable to traditional moving costs, said Siebenga, which is important in the current recession.

“We feel we’re kind of hitting the exact right time.”

BigSteelBox has offices in 16 communities, with three in Alberta, one in Washington and the rest in British Columbia. It also works with affiliated companies in other centres.

The business got its start in 1999, when Barry obtained a handful of shipping containers and began renting them out. The venture grew quickly, with Siebenga and his brothers helping set up new outlets.

BigSteelBox spread to Alberta last year, with the Red Deer office opening in April 2008.

“We felt that it was a good vibrant market to move into,” said Siebenga.

The company continued to focus on rentals and sales, with its containers commonly used for storage during construction and renovation projects, job site lock-ups, and local moves, he said.

The diversification into long-distance moving was customer-driven, with a growing number of people asking if full containers could be shipped.

“We didn’t, unfortunately, see it as much as our customers have,” confessed Siebenga.

“After getting hit over the head enough times with that, we decided maybe we should start pushing this thing.”

Despite very little marketing of its new service, which began last month, BigSteelBox has been getting a steady stream of inquiries. Siebenga expects this will help fuel continued growth. “Our plan is to move basically from west to east.”

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com