The Complete Guide to Buying Shipping Containers

Are you looking to purchase a shipping container? Are you wondering how easy it is to purchase one? Purchasing shipping containers is quite easy because there are many sellers in the market today.

However, other factors may affect the purchasing process. These factors include age, type of container, size, availability of containers at the time, and what your intentions with the container are. Just like purchasing a vehicle, shipping containers can be used or new and come in varying conditions.

Unless you are dealing directly with a recognized and reputable shipping container manufacturer, the high chances are that you will be buying a used container. Use the below guide to help you when looking to purchase shipping containers:

1. What Type of a Shipping Container Should I Purchase?

You want to buy a shipping container, but you are not sure what type you should get? The best type of shipping container for you will depend on what you need it for.

Different shipping containers come at varying sizes and prices. The containers also come with different access methods, some with end opening doors while others have side doors.

If you are looking for a container that you can lock up and leave, then the end door variant will be the better option. It’s also less expensive than a side door container. However, the aside door container offers you more flexibility, especially if you want to access the goods inside it.

2. What Do You Want to Use the Shipping Container For?

Shipping containers have numerous uses. Some people use them as homes, and others use them for transportation of goods. The container has a rigid exterior structure that will protect you or the goods you transport from all weather conditions, pests, thieves, and other obstacles. Shipping containers are also easy to stack in a ship when importing or exporting goods.

Shipping containers are also used to store goods in distribution centers or offsite. They are a secure, safer, and low-cost alternative to offsite storage facilities. Some containers also come specifically designed to hold potentially dangerous goods such as chemicals, flammable liquids, and paints.

3. How Much Is a Shipping Container?

When buying shipping containers, ensure you also look at the cost. If you are looking for metal shipping containers or conex boxes for sale, understanding your needs will help you better estimate the average cost of the container.

The cost may vary depending on the features, type of container, availability of stock, location, and the current exchange rate in the market. For example, you can buy a general-purpose shipping container of 20ft at $1,500 to $4,000, depending on your location and manufacturer.

Most shipping containers are priced the same. However, this price doesn’t include lift and delivery fees. Therefore, it’s very challenging to accurately state the price without a better understanding of your needs.

If you require a container with more enhancements and modifications such as refrigeration and portable buildings inside, the price may be even higher.

4. Should You Consider a New or Used Container?

For most people looking to buy shipping containers, this is one of the biggest sources of headaches. There are major differences between a used container and a new one. One major difference is the value of the containers.

Before settling on a new or used shipping container, ensure you consider your budget and your needs. How do you intend to use the container? How much money are you willing to spend on the container?

New containers are delivered directly to you from the manufacturer. These units are defect-free, clean, and have no damages. For this reason, they are more expensive than used containers.

Used containers have defects, markings and may require some repairs. Thus, they are less expensive. When purchasing a used container, ensure that it was well-maintained and has fewer defects. Ensure you also know what the previous owner used the container for before purchasing it.

You can use shipping containers for storing and transporting a range of goods such as furniture, bikes, cars, foods, and even chemicals. What the container was used for can tell you the level of damage. Buy your containers from reputable companies, and remember to ask for documentation on the previous use of the container.

5. What Is the Right Size of a Shipping Container for You?

Today, shipping containers come in three common sizes. 10ft, 20ft, and 40ft shipping containers. However, other uncommon sizes range from 8ft to 48ft depending on your needs and application. Below are the three most common sizes of shipping containers:

10ft Shipping Containers

These are the best shipping containers for people looking to store or transport only a small amount of goods. The standard height of a 10ft shipping container is less than 2.6 meters. 10ft containers measure 3 meters in length and 2.4 meters in width and take up a smaller space than other shipping containers.

20ft Shipping Containers

If you have more goods, then a 20ft shipping container is the best option for you. It’s said that these containers can hold goods up to the content of a three-bedroom home. Standing at under 2.6 meters tall, the container measures 6 meters in length and 2.4 meters in width.

40ft Shipping Container

If you need larger storage than 20ft, a 40ft shipping container is a better alternative. It’s taller than the rest and stands at 2.9 meters tall, and measures 12.1 meters in length and 2.4 meters in width.

6. Consider the Reputation and Integrity of the Seller

In many sale transactions, there is a concept known as knowledge asymmetry. This means that the seller knows the ins and outs of the product they are selling more than the buyer. When buying a shipping or Conex container, use all available resources to reduce this knowledge gap.

Issues such as low-quality repairs, stolen containers, and bait-and-switch selling are a bigger possibility when working with untrustworthy companies. Thus, look for a reputable seller that you trust.

Unfortunately, evaluating the trustworthiness of a company can be quite tricky. However, there are several things you can check when looking for a reputable company. The first one is checking their membership in specific industry-based organizations such as the National Portable Storage Association, Intermodal Association of North America, and Container Dealer’s Association.

While some reputable companies may not have membership in such organizations, it’s advisable to consider working with companies with membership. Another option is looking at the organization’s Better Business Bureau rating and their reviews on independent websites such as Yelp. It would also be best to look through their Google reviews to understand the company’s customer satisfaction rate better.

7. Check Out the Warranties and Return Conditions

Are you looking for shipping containers for sale? Then ensure you consider the return policies and warranty of the container. Depending on whether you purchase a new or used container, it may come with a warranty.

A warranty is only as good as the company it represents. If you purchase from an untrustworthy company, they may not honor the warranty. Ensure you settle for a trustworthy company.

Some companies will offer to extend your warranty for an extra fee. While this is not common, it’s also not recommended. If you consider using the container as a home, the manufacturer will likely void the warranty after making any modifications to the shipping container.

Ensure you ask questions about the return policy and warranty. If you want to return a damaged container, who will pay the shipping fee? How will the shipping back to the dealer be coordinated?

Will you incur other charges, such as restocking charges? Ensure you get clarity on the returning process before making the purchase.

8. How You Will Pay for the Shipping Container

Just like purchasing a vehicle for the first time, ensure you also consider the payment option for your container before buying it. Consider the available financing choices to make an informed decision when the time comes to buy the container. Below are some of the most common payment methods:

  • The self-funded purchasing option
  • Paying in cash
  • Bank transfers or checks
  • Financed purchase
  • Using a credit card seller financing
  • Bank financing

Knowing how you will pay for a shipping container will help you be prepared before making the purchase. If you have the money on hand, you can choose to pay for the container and avoid the process of waiting for financing approval. However, if you don’t have the money, other financing options are better suited for you.

Now You Know What to Look for When Purchasing Shipping Containers

After reading the above guide, you should now be confident about the process of purchasing a shipping container. While shipping containers are relatively simple equipment, you should consider many other things when purchasing one.

Buying a shipping container is a challenging process. You will need to research the companies, understand your needs and consider your budget to get the right shipping container. However, with a solid understanding of what you need to do during the purchasing process, you will have fewer headaches.

Did you like our guide above? Check out other posts on our site for more informative tips.

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