Rebuilding After Disaster

After a natural disaster, rapid response is crucial to bringing relief into an affected community. Continued support is needed to get the community back on its feet. Whether it’s organizing and distributing relief resources, providing temporary housing, or offering transitional offices to businesses, organizations must quickly come together for effective relief and recovery. Pac-Van is one of those organizations that is able to provide mobile office trailers and ground level office containers for rent or for purchase in such an event.

Planning ahead is essential. Understanding what a mobile office can provide and how it would be suitable for emergency aid and disaster recovery can help a business owner quickly make the right decisions. Pac-Van works with our customers, hearing what your needs are and sharing knowledge about our products, so you can better understand what options are available to you.

Easy to transport and pickup, mobile offices can help communities quickly return to normal. From the time first responders arrive on site to the rebuilding of permanent structures, portable structures like mobile office trailers and ground level offices (GLOs) solve an array of needs that help communities recover faster.

In the last several years, Pac-Van has provided mobile office trailers for wildfires in Colorado.

For the Duckett wildfire near Westcliffe, Colorado that destroyed roughly 2,300 acres in June 2011, Pac-Van brought in four mobile offices that housed fire crews near the command center.

Duckett Fire 1Duckett Fire 2

In June of 2014 the Junkins wildfire near Pueblo, Colorado destroyed almost 700 acres; Pac-Van provided a temporary mobile office trailer to house air tanker crew and other staff.

Junkine Fire

The Pac-Van team was there to help out in Colorado, and we were also there to help out in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee back in January of 2013 when a tornado touched down and destroyed the office building of a local business.   Pac-Van brought in two 12 x 60 mobile office, both of which were delivered and set-up within one day.

Mt. Juliet Tornado 1Mt. Juliet Tornado 2

In May of 2016 the Flying J Truck Stop in Indianapolis, Indiana was destroyed by a 3-alarm fire. Pac-Van worked with the contractor for the rebuild. A 12 x 60 wide open mobile office was brought in to serve as the truck stop’s retail store and a 12 x 60 restroom & shower trailer was provided for drivers. Both units were equipped with ADA compliant ramps and steps.

Flying J Fire 1Flying J Fire 2

Portable offices like mobile office trailers allow you to minimize downtime while your permanent facilities are repaired and remodeled. With a national network of resources, Pac-Van can quickly mobilize our storage and office space solutions when and where you need us most. Our team can even help supply necessary office equipment, furniture, storage containers and other products and services that you need to continue your company’s day-to-day operations.

How to Choose a Site for a Shipping Container


In our Renters Guide, we discussed many things to consider when renting or leasing a storage/shipping container.  Once you’ve made the decision that you need a shipping container, you will need to figure out where to place it.   There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a site.  They include:

  • Accessibility
  • Clearance
  • Grade/Surface
  • Drainage
  • Current Site and Future Changes


Overhead accessibility to the site is important.  The truck and trailer that will deliver the container will need to have a clear entrance to the job site and to the final spot on which the equipment will be placed.  This means the area should be free of hazards, including blind spots, vehicles, trees, other buildings, sand, mud, etc.  Our driver will also require 120 feet clearance in front of equipment location to allow for the unloading of the shipping container and maneuvering throughout jobsite.

Storage Container on Construction SiteClearance

Please make sure that there is at least 14 feet of clearance for the truck in order to minimize the risk of damage to the equipment.  Items to look out for are tree limbs, bridges, overhangs and power lines.


A storage container can be placed on many surfaces; however there are more ideal situations than others.  A level surface is always preferred over a location with any sort of incline.  A concrete surface is ideal but not required.  If the grade is level, a number of types of surfaces would work including, in order of preference, concrete/asphalt, gravel, grass, dirt, and sand.  If a storage container must be paced on a slight incline, a solid surface is always preferred.  As you can see, there are many types of foundations for shipping containers that can be utilized.

Storage Container on Construction Site


A container can be placed directly onto the ground, but you will need to ensure that water can drain adequately.  Standing ground water could create an issue with moisture seepage through the floor, which can result in mold and mildew, rotting of floor boards, and possible damage to the contents being stored.  If water will not drain adequately, the shipping container can be set on blocks to assist in draining.

Current Site and Future Changes

On the day your container is delivered, please be aware of the appointment and make sure the site is ready to go, clear of all debris, vehicles, other jobsite equipment, etc.  Once your storage container is delivered, please make Pac-Van aware of any jobsite modifications, changes to the landscape or condition of the equipment.  Pac-Van can come out and make a maintenance call, if necessary, which will ensure a smooth and seamless pickup when the container is no longer needed.

At the end of the day, good communication with your Pac-Van sales rep is key.  Let your rep know about the location at which your storage container(s) will be placed, and he or she can assist you in choosing the most appropriate spot.  Contact us today to be connected with your local container specialist.

Shipping Container Sizes & Dimensions

storage container for blog

Shipping containers come in many different sizes.  All of our locations carry our standard 40 foot shipping containers and our 20 foot shipping containers.  However, we have access to other unique lengths.  What are these other shipping container sizes?  With our modification (mod) shops around the United States, in some markets, we have the ability to build nearly any size of shipping container you need, such as 10 foot storage containers, 16 foot storage containers, and 24 foot storage containers.

Other common questions are: How big is a shipping container? How wide are shipping containers? What are shipping container dimensions?  The answer depends on the size of storage container you need.  Take a look at the chart below for examples of approximate dimensions of storage containers*:

Standard shipping containers dimensions

* All numbers are estimates.  Please discuss with Pac-Van representative.

We also have access to “high cube” shipping containers.  These containers have an extra foot added to their height, making them 9’6”, instead of the standard 8’6”.

Shipping Container Sizes Image 2

As mentioned, with our mod shops, we can build a container to fit your needs.  Container modifications are some of the many services we offer to you. For example, if you have a very specific need for a 30 foot shipping container due to your location and what needs to be stored in the shipping container.  Our mod shop would take a 40 foot shipping container and cut off 10 feet from one end and replace the wall.  This would then leave a 30 foot shipping container.  It is amazing the modifications that can be done.

Pac-Van can help you with your storage container needs, no matter the size.  Contact or email us today to talk to one of our storage experts.

Renters Guide for Storage/Shipping Containers

Shipping containers for lease guide

So you have decided you that you need to lease a storage/shipping container.  Many questions are probably arising… How much does a shipping container cost?  Where can you rent a shipping container?  How do you lease a shipping container?  How big are shipping containers?  Where can I find the best shipping container prices?  As when renting anything, there are things to consider.

First thing you should ask yourself: Do I want a new or used shipping container?  Both offer positives and negatives.  A new container is usually referred to as a one-trip container.  Its one-trip is the transport from the manufacturer to our Pac-Van office.  These will be in nearly perfect condition with very little wear and tear.  These will be tested wind and water tight, freshly painted, and ready to be used.  These, of course, are going to be more expensive than a used container.  When looking at used containers, there are a number of different types you can find.  Some of the common used containers will be known as used containers, refurbished containers, cargo worthy containers, and “as is” containers.  Each of these will have been used on past jobs and will likely have some noticeable wear and tear.  However, that does not mean they are not solid units.

Shipping containers for rent in Phoenix

When looking at any of the used containers, pay close attention to the condition of the unit.  Here are some specific items you should examine.

  • Doors – Do they open and close easily? The doors are the parts of the container that get used the most.  Are they in good shape?  Do you see any noticeable dents or holes?
  • Lock – Another very important piece for safety. Make sure the locking mechanism is in working order, and you understand how to use it.
  • Floor – Most containers are built with a thick marine wood floor. This is a great type of material for all the activity that will be done inside a container.  Whether it has something heavy sitting on it for a long period of time or have a forklift rolling all over it, the marine wood floor should hold up.  Check for large cracks in the wood and in the corners.
  • Roof – This is obviously important for keeping your items safe from the outside elements. Walk into the container and make sure no light is shining inside, which would be an indicator of a hole in the roof that could let in wind, water, and/or rodents.
  • Walls – The walls are also what help to keep your items safe. Don’t only look for holes, but also for rust and major dents.

Another consideration is the size of the shipping container.  How big is the location on which you plan on putting the storage container?  Pac-Van offers standard containers of 20’ and 40’ in length, 8’ wide and 8.6’ in height.  We also have access to “high cube” containers which are the same size, but after one additional foot in height, making it 9.6’ tall.  Some of our locations can also help if you have a unique size need.  For example, in some areas, we supply 16’ and 24’ containers too.

What you need to know when renting a shipping container

The last thing to consider is how are you going to get it to your location?  Many Pac-Van locations have their own trucks to deliver, but some use an outside transportation company.  While you may make arrangements to have the container moved, Pac-Van can certainly assist with this too.

As we have mentioned, as with leasing anything, there are many things you should consider before renting a shipping container.  You should know if you want new or used, what size you need, and should always inspect the container in person.  A representative from Pac-Van would be happy to discuss your needs and find the perfect storage container for your needs.  Contact us today!

Bulk Liquid Storage Tanks – What’s the difference?

Frac Tank being transported

Bulk liquid storage tanks are able to handle various types of liquids in most any situation.  We’ve covered it here and we’ve also covered which industries utilize our liquid storage tanks (beyond the oil and gas industry).  Now let’s look at some differences in our tanks.  There are two major differences in our standard 21,000 gallon storage tanks based on the design of the bottom of the tank and also the placement of the manifold.  This blog focuses mainly on “v bottom tanks” vs. “round bottom tanks” and external manifold vs. internal manifold.  It is important to remember that we offer a wide variety of tanks to accommodate any liquid storage need you may have.  All of our bulk liquid storage tanks are quality engineered to perform to the highest standards and to your specific requirements.

V Bottom Tank

Our 21,000 gallon (500 bbl) v bottom tanks are great for liquid storage.  They are easy to drain and include stairs with fixed handrails and landings.  To be able to hold 21,000 gallons of liquid, it obviously has to be big!  Dimensions for a v bottom tank are:


These are heavy duty tanks, equipped with .25” plates.  We have both smooth walled tanks and corrugated walled tanks.  Every tank has durable epoxy interior coating and a polyurethane external paint.

V Bottom Frac Tank

Round Bottom Tank

Our round bottom tanks are very similar to the v bottom tanks, besides a few (and one obvious) differences.  The dimensions are comparable:


But the clear difference is the bottom.  These liquid storage tanks are built with the same .25” plates, but have a rounded bottom.  If you are storing a thicker liquid or a high viscosity fluid that needs to be turned, rolled, or mixed, the round bottom allows for easier movement.  All of these round bottom tanks have smooth walls, which make for easier cleaning because there are no corners.  Like the v bottom tank, these round bottom tanks are easy to drain and have the epoxy interior coating and polyurethane external paint.  Instead of a staircase and landing, these tanks have a small ladder and landing.

Round Bottom Frac Tank

External Manifold

The manifold is the “chamber” that provides several outlets to remove liquid from the tanks.  In the comparison of external vs. internal, it is exactly as it sounds.  The external manifold is literally on the outside of the tank.  It is easier to access because it is on the front of the liquid storage tank, it is elevated, and it is positioned away from the tank.  You can attach hoses to the external manifold making it easier to connect to multiple tanks.  However, in cold climates, the external manifold is susceptible to freezing any fluid left in the manifold, rendering it useless until thawed.

External Manifold Frac Tank

Internal Manifold

An internal manifold is located inside the tank, with the ports and openings positioned on the front wall of the unit.  While this positioning may make it more difficult to maneuver than the external manifold, the biggest benefit to the internal manifold is that they are less susceptible to freezing and therefore perform best for use in cold climates.

Internal Manifold Frac Tank

The “v bottom” vs. “round bottom tank” and the external manifold vs. internal manifold discussion is always a good one to have.  It is also important to remember that these are just few of the types of bulk liquid storage tanks that Pac-Van can offer.  If you have liquid storage needs, please contact one of our tank experts today and we will get you the right equipment for your job.

Storage Container, Shipping Container, Cargo Container, Conex Box… What’s the Difference?

PacVan Large Conex Box

You’ve decided you need a storage container and you’ve begun doing research.  Looking at websites, you have found steel storage containers for sale.  You’ve also found shipping containers for sale.  On top of all of that, you’ve found cargo containers, conex boxes (or connex boxes), seacans, ISO containers, ocean containers… the list goes on and on!  What is the difference?  Is one better for you?

From Pac-Van’s perspective, they all mean the same thing.  All of our containers are made from 14-gauge corrugated steel sides and roof with 14-gauge steel cam-locking doors, qualifying them as heavy duty equipment.  These steel storage containers are safe and secure.

PacVan Shipping Container

So how do you determine what is best for you? First you must decide if you only need this shipping container for a limited amount of time (thereby wanting to rent it) or if you want to purchase it outright.  We have the inventory and availability to lease a wind and water proof storage container to you for a month or two, or even for several years, depending on the length of your project.  Need it permanently?  We are happy to discuss a direct sale of the container to you.  Our sales representatives can discuss the shipping containers for sale that we have in stock or you can view the inventory at your nearest Pac-Van location by clicking here.

Now it’s time to consider whether you’re interested in new (or one-trip) containers or used shipping containers.  You can look at a new, or one-trip, container that will be very close to being in perfect condition, with very minimal wear and tear.  The only noticeable wear might be from its initial transport from the manufacturer to our Pac-Van office location.  You can also look at used containers, refurbished containers, cargo worthy containers, and “as is” containers.  All of these containers have been used for projects in the past, and might have some noticeable wear and tear, but that certainly doesn’t mean that they are not solid units. Our sales representatives will be happy to discuss your needs and show you options that solve for your storage or office space challenge.

PacVan Large Cargo Container

The last consideration, after determining whether you want to rent or buy and after you decide new versus used, will be what size of container you are needing and what can fit in the space you have available.  Our standard storage containers are 20’ and 40’ however, we have some locations that , should you have a unique need, have the ability to look at custom sizes, such as 16’, 24’, and 53’, to name a few.  Many of our branch locations have a modification (or ‘mod’) shop that can take a shipping container and modify it into whatever you need; for more information on the kinds of customization we can do, please click here.

Don’t be concerned when you see so many different names for the same thing.  As with any industry, there might be regionally or company preferences for a specific term.  But please note that, whatever your preference is- whether storage container, shipping container, steel storage container, cargo containers- Pac-Van can help solve your storage and office space needs.  Contact us to find out more and to speak to one of our storage experts today.

What Can Be Stored in a Bulk Liquid Storage Tank?

Bulk Liquid Storage Tank Capacity

Recently, we wrote a blog titled Using a Pac-Van Tank for Your Bulk Liquid Storage Needs.  It covered the various industries we work with and how these market sectors use our portable tanks.  But what kind of liquids can you store in one of our frac tanks?  Before we get there, it is important to understand how the inside of a tank is lined and what kind of tanks Pac-Van offers.  Most of our bulk liquid storage tanks have a Carboline Phenoline 310 liner, or equivalent.  These liners have been physically tested by our team to make sure they can withstand various types of oils, chemicals, liquids, semi-solids, etc.  When reaching out to your Pac-Van representative, please be sure to share how you want to use the tank and what you’d like to store inside.  We offer a number of different kinds of liquid storage tanks- from external and internal manifolds, round bottom tanks, mini frac tanks, and weir storage tanks, to double wall storage tanks, open top tanks, vac boxes, and acid tanks.  We are confident we have the liquid storage container you need for your job.

Inside of a Frac Tank

What can be stored in a bulk liquid storage tank?

Water – All kinds of water can be stored in our water storage tanks.

  • Rain/storm water
  • Ground water
  • Waste water
  • Frac water
  • Snow (solid and melted)
  • Contaminated water (from containing concrete grindings to traces of arsenic)
  • Distilled water
  • Demineralized water
  • Salt water

Gas – The following oils and gases are commonly stored in our fuel storage tanks.

  • Natural gas
  • Crude oil/petroleum gasoline
  • Ethanol
  • Jet fuel
  • Diesel fuel
  • Biodiesel

Large Round Bottom Frac Tank

Oils – These oils are different than the oils you may think of when you think “oil and gas” but can still be safely and securely stored inside Pac-Van oil storage tanks.

  • Transformer oil
  • Mineral oil
  • Processing oil
  • Quench oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Cottonseed oil
  • Lube oil

Chemicals/acids – There is a long list of chemicals that can be stored in a Pac-Van tank, as well as a list of chemicals that cannot be stored in a Pac-Van tank safely.  Please contact us before storing anything acidic, as these chemicals could eat through the liquid storage tank liner.  We do have specialized tanks for more caustic acids, so be sure to talk through your needs with your Pac-Van representative.

The list below shares some of the more common chemicals frequently stored in a Pac-Van tank.  (Please note: the chemicals below are assumed to be the only chemical per tank and are not assumed to be part of a mixture.)

  • Aluminum chloride
  • Ammonium nitrate
  • Boric acid
  • Citric acid
  • Fatty acids
  • Ferrous chloride
  • Hydrochloric acid
  • Magnesium hydroxide
  • Phosphoric acid
  • Sodium hydroxide
  • Sulfuric acid (under 65% concentration)
Frac Tanks for Chemical Storage

Miscellaneous – There are other items that don’t fall into one of the above categories that can be stored in a Pac-Van bulk liquid storage tank, such as:

  • Human Waste
  • Manure
  • Mud for mixing
  • Detergent
  • Animal feed
  • Animal fat

As you can see, the list of what can be contained in our tanks just goes on and on.  If you have a liquid storage need, we can likely find the tank to meet these needs.   Pac-Van is always here to help.

Please give us call or use our Contact Us form to hear from one of our tank experts.

A Day in the Life of a Pac-Van Driver

Transporting a mobile office

An unsung hero is someone who makes a substantial but rarely recognized contribution to a project, event, process, or in Pac-Van’s case, the fulfillment of order.  Sure Pac-Van has mobile offices and storage containers for sale or rent, but have you ever thought about how your unit goes from our yard to your location?  To understand a little more about Pac-Van’s unsung heroes –our drivers – a member of our Marketing team took the day to ride along with one of our drivers to understand what goes into ensuring you receive your order when you expect it, and in the exact location where you need it.


As a member of the Marketing team, I’m in the office 99.9% of the time.  When the opportunity came up to write a blog about our drivers, I jumped at the chance to hop into a truck with one of our drivers to see what goes into their day-to-day.

I arrived at the branch at 8:00 am to find a truck with a mobile office hitched to it.  I met up with our driver, Josh, as he was loading up the essentials for delivering the 10’ x 50’ mobile office.  Those items include concrete blocks, 2” x 4” wood blocks, tie down rods, and stairs.  Once those were all loaded up, it was time for us to get on the road.  When we were rolling, I found out our driver’s day started at 6:45am.  Boy, did I feel lazy.  Josh was explaining to me how a driver’s job description changes, sometimes quickly.  At one moment, he is a truck driver, then a mechanic, and then a laborer or carpenter; he really is a jack of all trades.  This morning we were headed to a new apartment construction site, but our drivers deliver to any number of locations: factories, power plants, highway road projects, schools, hospitals, casinos, banks, restaurants, shopping centers and the list goes on and on.

Transporting a mobile office

As we were pulling out of the branch, Josh called our customer who was in charge of the jobsite.  That made me think – at this point, our drivers become the face of Pac-Van.  Josh had already spoken to our customer that morning, so he was just letting him know that we were on our way and would be there in about 15 minutes.  Final logistics were discussed, particularly as it relates to where we should pull in, which I found out was the hardest part of the delivery.  A mobile office on a trailer is wide and long.  This can be problematic to pull into a site unless some planning is done in advance.

When we arrived at the jobsite, Josh got out of the truck to talk to our customer to determine the exact spot where we were to drop the mobile office.  And now it was time to get the mobile office into position.  Once we got it in the correct location, it was time to start the installation process.  We first need to make sure the office is level, both from front to back and from side to side.  We used a jack on one side to raise the mobile office up to get it level.  A little trick to know when the unit is nice and level is to test the interior and exterior doors.  If they open and close smoothly, without sticking, odds are you are level.

Leveling a mobile office trailer

Once level, it is time to get the blocks and wedges out to brace the unit.  This is the longest and most tedious part.  After blocking, you prepare to put on your tie downs.  Josh would hammer the tie down head into ground, put in two support bars and then, using metal tie downs, he would attached them to the head and mobile office unit.  Lastly, it was time to place the stairs in front of the doors.  While all of this may sound easy, the whole process takes about two to two and a half hours to safely and securely complete the set-up of a mobile office.

Setting up a mobile office

At Pac-Van, we don’t have a “storage container driver” or “mobile office driver.”  Any of our drivers can deliver any of our equipment.  That is why they rarely have two days that are the same.  The day before I rode with Josh, he drove 400 miles delivering two 20’ storage containers and picking up a 40’ storage container.

I left Josh at this point and switched over to another driver of ours, Jared.  I rode with him next to deliver a 20’ storage container.  On our way to the site, he mentioned that, depending on the delivery distance, drivers could do 5-6 pick-ups/deliveries of storage containers or 3-4 pick-ups/deliveries of mobile offices in a day.  He also talked about how everyone has a different name for storage containers.  He regularly hears people refer to them as shipping containers, conex boxes, and cargo containers.

Delivering a storage container requires far less then a mobile office does.  Our drivers will need straps to go over the container and pins to attach the container to the trailer.  The hardest part of delivering a storage container is not knowing how much room you are going to have on the job site.  Our 20’ storage containers are delivered on the same trailer as a 40’ storage container, meaning the trailer is still very long.  Usually there is a reason someone ordered a 20’ instead of a 40’, and it’s usually a space issue, but there’s nothing that our drivers can’t work with.

Delivering a storage container

Once onsite, our drivers immediately connect with our customer to determine the exact spot they want their storage container placed.  Then it’s time to get the trailer in place, remove the straps, and drop the container.  How do you get a storage container off of a trailer?  I will let this video explain.

Our drivers are the lifeblood of Pac-Van.  This team of unsung heroes are true professionals and can put storage containers, mobile offices, etc. in literally almost any location.

Please give us a call today or stop by one of our many locations and let us help with any storage solutions or mobile office needs you may have.  Hopefully you’ll be seeing one of our skilled delivery drivers in the very near future…