JANUARY 28, 2021
When buying new or used shipping containers, many questions can arise. Things like quality, cost, size, weight, and what you plan on using it for, will all be important questions that need to be answered before making a purchase.
To help you avoid any pitfalls, we've put together a comprehensive guide for buying containers so you can feel confident before your next purchase.
Whether you need a storage container to store equipment or a portable office container for a temporary office or retail space, there are many factors to consider depending on the use.
This guide explains the precautions and factors you need to look into before you buy shipping containers.
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Like any industry, purchasing used equipment doesn’t come without risks. Here are some key factors you will want to keep in mind when you begin shopping for used shipping containers.
One of the common risks is that container conditions can differ drastically from what you see in pictures. You don't want to place an order based on photos and end up with a product in a deteriorated condition. To avoid such surprises, check your container supplier's reviews online.
Before committing to buy, having a ballpark estimate of the container’s value will ensure that you do not end up paying too much with hidden fees, exorbitant delivery charges, or excessive middleman markups.
When you need after-sale support, the vendor should be willing to extend it to you. To err is human - you may receive a container in a condition that's worse than expected. Hence, it becomes critical to buy a shipping container from a trusted company eager to rectify the problem. Avoid suppliers with a track record of refusing to satisfy customers or declines to offer any guarantee on the container's condition.
Besides watching for substantial delivery fees, you will also want to understand the handling of incidents where a container is damaged during transit or installation. It may result in either you keeping the damaged container or paying to replace it, based on who sold it or hired the delivery company.
Before purchasing new or used shipping containers, it pays to know the key elements that will influence whether or not you make a smart purchase decision. Here are some guidelines you should keep in mind while buying shipping containers.
To decide if you need to rent or buy a shipping container, ask yourself the following questions:
The rule of thumb is if you need a container for more than 3 years, you should buy a shipping container. The same applies if you plan to make modifications to the container structure. If you want to keep the container for less than a year, it's best to rent one. You can always calculate and compare how much you need to spend to buy a shipping container and the amount you need to rent it for the same duration.
Purchase prices of a storage container vary widely based on its type, age, condition, and location. Here are some estimates to give you an idea about container purchase prices.
Note: Container costs can change significantly, based on where you buy them and their condition. In addition, a word of caution - make sure that you don't go cheap on a used container - you want to avoid inferior quality and hidden faults.
The prices for renting a container vary widely and range between $125 to $500 per month, depending on the desired container size and amenities. Remember to consider all the costs while calculating the purchase and rent costs. For instance, while purchasing a container, the purchase price is more than the sticker price, and you have to pay the delivery fees. On the other hand, while renting, there may be hidden fees in the recurring billing amount.
Your intent for the shipping container drives the type of container you should purchase or rent. Below is a list of the different grades of shipping containers and what they mean.
Sometimes used interchangeably, new and one trip containers are almost the same. While new containers are brand-new ones that come from the manufacturer, a one-trip container carries a cargo load from its country of manufacture to the United States. Thus, a one-trip container is as good as a new container and guarantees great discounts compared to their brand-new counterparts.
Used shipping containers span from hardly used to completely used containers. Though a used shipping container should not be in a damaged condition, it has undergone general wear and tear. Used containers are generally classified into three categories.
Cargo-worthy containers are CSC (Container Safety Convention) certified a mandatory standard for containers in international transport. A cargo-worthy container practically offers the same performance as a new container. If you have plans to move your container in the future, go for a cargo-worthy container. However, if you plan for any exterior modifications such as window or door cuts, buying a cargo-worthy container is not a good idea. The modifications will invalidate the certification.
Wind and watertight (WWT) containers are very similar to cargo-worthy ones. They have a guarantee of being weather-tight for a limited period. WWT containers may need some repairs or patches due to the damage caused during shipping. However, it is a great container for general storage purposes and costs a bit less than the cargo containers. Without much wear and tear, the containers can stay at WWT condition for a long time.
These containers usually have visible damage. They are neither cargo-worthy nor wind and watertight. Normally, these containers have many cosmetic defects or are so old that the provider is not keen to spend time and money on their inspection. Because As-Is containers may have severe wear and tear issues, it is not a good idea to purchase them without an on-site inspection. Not all providers offer As-Is containers, and those who offer may not provide you with any guarantee. However, for the right purpose, they could be a good bargain.
Before purchasing your shipping container, you need to be sure about its size. Storage containers come in various sizes and dimensions, including 10 ft., 20 ft., 40 ft., and occasionally, 53 ft. High cube containers with a height more than usual containers are also available. The standard available sizes are –
If you are looking for containers in non-standard sizes, talk to your container supplier. You can find 53' long containers and high cube containers (taller than usual) too.
The material of construction plays an important role in the service life of containers. Check for containers made of 14-gauge Corten steel that sustains rust and inclement weather and lasts the longest.
Not all containers are ideal for all storage requirements. Based on the intended usage, you need to select the right type of container. For example, an As-Is container is good for general storage, but not ideal for keeping vulnerable items.
Transporting a container can be a hassle. Check with your provider about the delivery fees, which may be more than the quote if the delivery location is far from the container's current location. Here are different delivery options that providers often offer –
Certain features like single or double door entry, windows, office-storage combo units, and security options such as exterior bolt lock or an internal locking mechanism may not be readily available with a storage container for sale, especially in used containers. It's best to check beforehand.
You may need to obtain a temporary permit from the city for storing a container, especially in residential areas or high-traffic locations.
The site condition and the duration for which you need a container on the site will dictate the amount of site preparation. If you need a container for a few months and the site is fairly leveled and dry, there's no need for special site prep. However, if you use the container for more than a few months or want to stack it on top of other containers, you certainly need to prepare your site thoroughly. Additionally, refrain from placing your storage container on rocky land, flood-prone area, or sloping ground.
You have several options to buy shipping containers.
You can buy your container from a local dealer, a partnership that has mutual benefits. While it is usually a win-win to do business locally, it may not always be so.
While buying from an individual can offer you a good deal, you need to be cautious as you can hardly do anything if you find leaks or holes after the purchase. You may also have to work out container delivery to your location and miss the expertise container suppliers bring. Additionally, for any damage during transit, you may end up paying for the expense.
A reputable and experienced supplier can offer you the right containers at a fair price with timely delivery. Suppliers let you choose from their inventory of new or used shipping containers, and you can find something that fits your budget. If you are a business, it's wiser to go with a renowned provider. Leading container providers in the United States like Mobile Modular Portable Storage have a comprehensive inventory of new and used high-security shipping containers for sale and rent at the best price. With our in-house fleet of trucks and trailers, we ensure hassle-free and timely delivery. Our dedicated team of sales specialists will guide you from start to finish, with competitive prices and reliable products.
Choosing a container for sale or rent can feel complicated or overwhelming for new customers and needs careful consideration of many factors. Your location, space needs, and intended use, all determine the type of container. The container quality, material, and condition play a critical role in the container's reliability and service life. Get in touch with a trusted container supplier who has industry expertise and experience and who is willing to be transparent with you.
The cost of shipping containers varies widely based on their type, age, condition, and location. Besides, some applications can do with inexpensive containers, while others need nothing but the best container out there. Talk to one of our specialists at 866-459-7600.
By size, 10 ft. storage containers are the smallest available containers.
If you are looking to save on warehouse expenses, storage containers are a good investment. Shipping containers reduce storage cost per square foot by at least a few dollars, and that adds up. If you need office space at multiple construction projects, office containers save you a lot of hassle and make for a cost-effective workspace. Talk to us today to learn how our clients have used containers to save time, space, and money.
We are glad you asked. No, shipping containers are not bulletproof unless you fortify their exterior by welding thick steel plates.
New or one-trip containers, cargo worthy and wind and watertight containers are waterproof while there is no such guarantee for As-Is containers.
If you need a container for a few months and the site is fairly leveled and dry, you are good without a foundation. However, for longer space solutions or unleveled ground, you certainly need to prepare a stable foundation.
Shipping containers can last up to 25 years. Nevertheless, this depends on how well you maintain the container and its condition at the time of purchase.
As a container is a metal box made from galvanized steel, it's inherently fire-resistant.
You can certainly cut a shipping container in half using specific tools (like in this video) or by consulting your supplier. However, keep in mind that you are changing their structural integrity by modifying containers that can affect their original safety margin.
Your shipping container will need insulation for protection from extreme heat in the summer and cold in the winter, especially if you plan to use it as an office or home. You can insulate containers in various ways, including blanket insulation, expanded foam insulation, or spray insulation.
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