Shipping Container Homes for Sale in South Dakota + Top Builders

Current data indicates an upward trend of 5.7% in the average cost of housing in South Dakota over the past year, adding complexity to the process of crafting your dream home in the region.

A compelling alternative to traditional housing models is the increasingly popular concept of container homes. They provide an economical and eco-conscious choice for prospective homeowners.

Despite the global container home market surpassing a notable $56 billion milestone in 2021, there remains a gap in widespread understanding about this innovative housing solution. This guide is designed to bridge that knowledge divide!

For those interested in exploring shipping container homes for sale in South Dakota, this guide will introduce you to top-tier builders who service the Mount Rushmore State, along with a showcase of their standout models.

Furthermore, we will delve into the legalities around constructing container homes in South Dakota and provide an estimate of the expected costs. So, let’s embark on this architectural journey without delay!

How much do container homes in South Dakota cost?

In the realm of unique and sustainable architecture, container homes have emerged as an innovative trend. When considering the cost of a container home in South Dakota, a multitude of factors come into play.

The dimensions of the structure, the intricacy of its design, and the geographical setting of its construction are key variables that can significantly influence the overall cost. Additionally, the choice between a DIY project or engaging a professional builder is a paramount decision affecting the final price.

For instance, if you’re planning to take the DIY way and build a container home on your own, you should expect it to cost you anywhere between $130 to $175 per square foot. This hands-on approach offers more control but demands a significant investment of time and potentially steep learning curve.

On the other hand, opting for a prefabricated model from a specialized builder usually results in higher initial costs, typically around $250 to $300 per square foot.

However, this includes the advantage of professional expertise and workmanship, which could potentially save costs in the long run due to better efficiency and fewer mistakes.

Remember, these estimations do not account for any extra features or customizations you might desire. The beauty of architecture lies in its flexibility – each project can be tailored to fit individual preferences and needs.

Why Professional Builders Cost That Much More Than DIY

Before you opt for the more affordable option, you should know that container home builders take care of many aspects you would have otherwise paid for yourself. These include:

  • Buying the right materials for the project
  • Hiring experienced laborers
  • Planning and designing the building
  • Working on utility aspects like electricity and plumbing
  • Providing the finishing touches to rooms and exterior, including aspects like insulation
  • Additional items like appliances and furniture
  • Transportation and installation of the project

For that reason, if you don’t want to go through the hassle of creating everything from scratch, going for a container home builder should be the cost-effective solution.

3 best container home builders in South Dakota

If you’re interested in hiring a professional container home builder to get the job done for you, you’ll come across a variety of options. Here’s a quick look at some of the best options to consider:

1. Custom Container Living

Let’s kick off the list with one of the most successful shipping container builders in the U.S. Custom Container Living is a construction company that specializes in building homes using shipping containers.

Although the company has only been around since 2015, it has an experienced team of builders with an extraordinary passion for alternative housing projects. This is actually what drove Robert Wagoner to establish the company. 

This unique combination of experience and passion allowed them to strike a perfect balance between traditional housing’s comfort and shipping containers’ convenience and durability.

These special qualities show in the company’s wide range of models. In fact, Custom Container Living offers around 14 ready-to-build container home plans, which is one of the largest out there and the biggest on today’s list!

This huge selection of container prefab house models makes this manufacturer suitable for different budget levels and preferences, ranging from small studios/sheds to large 3-bedroom houses.

In addition to the vast collection of house models, the company is also happy to build custom designs to suit your special needs or upgrade existing ones. 

Another aspect that makes them excellent for housing in South Dakota is that they offer insulation and heating systems with all their builds within the core package!

The only downside of this company is that they take a relatively long time to build their houses, which can be a bit problematic if you’re in a hurry. 

Custom Container Liviing in front of a swimming pool
Source: Custom Container Living

You also need to book an appointment before you can visit them to discuss your expectations. This can be a bit inconvenient, considering that the company’s main office is in Missouri where they build the home and deliver it to South Dakota.

With that being said, you shouldn’t worry about legal issues due to the house, as the company can help you obtain permits and optimize the building based on building codes in the state. 

You can find out more about other customer experiences in the testimonials section on the company website.


  • Features one of the largest selections of house plans on the market 
  • Can build and modify custom plans while abiding by local building codes
  • Offer a variety of financing options to help you manage your budget
  • Include high-quality insulation systems, which are perfect for winters in South Dakota
  • Help customers obtain building permits 


  • Take up to 24 months to complete projects, which is relatively longer than average builders
  • You’ll need to book an appointment before visiting the company

2. Backcountry Containers

If you’re looking for a container home that offers a contemporary luxurious design without costing you a lot of money, you should definitely keep Backcountry Containers in mind.

This Austin-based family business was established by Jon (former aeronautical engineer) and Kristen Meier (house decorator). 

Soon after the company started taking off, other family members joined the company and contributed massively to the company’s designs, both internally and externally.

The couple managed to combine their work experience and passion for alternative living to create amazing house plans. In fact, the company’s first creation was such a breakthrough in design and convenience that it was featured on multiple media platforms. 

This includes an episode on HGTV’s Tiny House Big Living, which was called “The Simple Container” as well as features on Business Insider, U.S.Real Estate News, and Yahoo Life.

Although Backcountry Containers only offers 6 container house plans, they make it up by offering an incredible range of adjustability and customization in every aspect of their projects. 


  • Excellent choice for a luxurious yet compact house
  • Relatively affordable prices with excellent financing solutions
  • Excellent feedback from clients and featured in various reputable media outlets
  • A family-owned business with professional expertise 


  • You’ll need to apply for a building permit yourself 
  • Advanced customizations can ramp up the price

3. Snake River Tiny Homes

Snake River Tiny Homes is a family business based in Rigby, Idaho. However, like other companies on the list, they deliver their container houses all over the country. 

The company was founded in 2022 and has been offering simple housing solutions for affordable prices.

What we like about this company is that it offers sweet and to-the-point models that satisfy anyone on a strict budget.

They also offer an incredible level of customization options to give every house its personalized vibe, from foundations and flooring to finish and decorations.

The best part is that you get to optimize everything exactly to meet your budget without having to wait for a quote.


  • Ideal for buyers on a strict budget 
  • Excellent level of pricing transparency 
  • Incredibly practical yet designed with comfort in mind


  • A limited selection of floor plans
  • Fairly new to the business 

South Dakota container homes for sale you can buy right now

To help you have a better understanding of what container homes offer, here’s a brief overview of some models that you can buy directly from the previously mentioned builders.

1. Luxury 4 All Container Home by Custom Container Living

  • Price: starting from $229,900 
  • Number of containers used: 4
  • Container sizes: 2 x 40 feet and 2 x 20 feet
  • Size of the container home: 960 square feet
  • Number of bedrooms: 3
  • Number of bathrooms: 2
  • Standout feature: Comes ready with a special split air conditioning system along with an electric water heater system to keep you warm during South Dakota winters. 
  • Manufacturer: Custom Container Living

Luxury 4 All is one of the largest floor plans that Custom Container Living offers. This house is specifically designed to offer a unique touch of luxury with a spacious interior and high-end features.

The house includes 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms. The master bedroom comes with a large walk-in closet as well as its en-suite bathroom. The two other rooms are relatively smaller but still spacious and feature their own closets.

The guest bathroom also features a large bathtub as well as its own vanity space and linen cabinet.

The combination of perfect insulation and a split heating/cooling system does an excellent job to maintain the ambient temperature inside the house, regardless of the temperature outdoors.

2. Ezra By Backcountry Containers

kitchen view from Ezra model of home container by Backcountry Containers
Interior of Ezra
  • Price: starting from $54,000
  • Number of containers used: 1
  • Container size: 20 feet
  • Size of the container home: 160 square feet
  • Number of bedrooms: 1
  • Number of bathrooms: 1
  • Standout feature: patio and a rooftop deck
  • Manufacturer: Backcountry Containers

The Ezra is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a compact, modern, and highly practical design. This one is an improvement model of the company’s original breakthrough build.

The house combines the living and bedroom areas to keep the house spacious and convenient. Additionally, the house features a built-in kitchen with decent countertop space and room for appliances.

3. Ark Hudson By Snake River Tiny Homes

  • Price: $94,900
  • Number of containers used: 2
  • Container sizes: 40 feet
  • Size of the container home: 320 square feet
  • Number of bedrooms: 2
  • Number of bathrooms: 1
  • Standout feature: features a spacious central area and comes with several compatible electrical appliances, such as a gas stove and an oven
  • Manufacturer: Snake River Tiny Homes

This one is a mid-sized option from the Ark Series. The Ark Hudson features two bedrooms, one master and one smaller bedroom, along with a spacious living area.

The house also has a small bathroom with a showering unit along with a decently-sized kitchen with an oven and stoves built into it to save space.

Are container homes legal in South Dakota?

The short answer to this question is yes, building a prefabricated house, including shipping container homes, is perfectly legal in South Dakota.

However, while there are no special laws that prohibit building such houses, there are still some special aspects that you need to keep in mind before building or buying one there.

For starters, all new constructions in South Dakota, including additions, require a building permit provided by the government.

Obtaining a permit, including the required documents and charges, may vary from one county to another, so you’ll need to check with the local authorities for proper guidance.

Also, all construction projects in South Dakota must comply with the local rules and codes to become legal. For instance, you need to meet several safety standards set by the government, including fire hazards, plumbing, electricity, safe access, and more.

Ideally, you need to submit your container house plans to the municipality to make sure that it abides by all the zoning regulations in the neighborhood where you’re going to build it.

The main point here is to make sure that the house is safe for you and others, including individuals and properties. We highly recommend that you inquire about the exact rules per your county to ensure a smooth building process and avoid fines and other legal troubles.


This marks the end of today’s guide that walks you through the best shipping container homes in South Dakota. As you can see, many builders can design houses to suit your preferences and budget.

However, if you’re looking for a builder that balances both, you should consider a builder like Custom Container Living.

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