New and used shipping containers can be found in nearly every port and major city around the United States and Canada; picking out which ones are cheap, and which ones are inexpensive is the question that needs to be addressed.
To start, when we discuss cheap and inexpensive we're really looking at two different words. We use the word "cheap" to refer to quality. A cheap shipping container normally has a low price and poor quality. "Inexpensive" refers to price, and does not address the quality of the shipping container.
Local Dealer Disclaimer: If you're buying a shipping container from a local dealer, such as Eagle Leasing in Massachusetts, there's a really good chance you'll find a high quality container, at an affordable price. You won't need to overly concern yourself with getting a cheap or poor quality container. Many local retailers provide a great service and make sure that the container is in solid condition, and you will have no reason to complain.
High Volume Sellers: If you're buying a shipping container direct from the shipping line or from a wholesaler it's a good idea to do your homework and make sure that the container meets your specifications. In many cases no one will deliberately sell you a bad container, but due to the volume that many large sellers process it's impossible to inspect and certify all of the units. If someone tells you that it's not possible to inspect the container, and can't provide pictures or an inspection report, it's a good idea to find a new source from which to buy the container.
Cheap shipping containers are easy to pick out of the pack, and when inspecting the container it's easy to decide if it's worth a closer look in a matter of seconds.
Keep in mind that if you're buying from a shipping line or wholesaler the container will not be cleaned up. It may be dirty inside, it might stink (it's easy to clean a shipping container that smells), and the paint may not be your ideal color. If price and condition is more important than appearance, this is where you find an inexpensive shipping container.
A cheap shipping container will fail these two tests, and unless you're looking for a cheap container that needs lots of repair work, now is a good time to choose another shipping container.
If the shipping container doors close smoothly and there are no rust holes or punctures visible from the inside of the close container you might have found a container in good condition. To move on to the next step, read our article on "Container Inspection Tips for New Buyers".
ContainerAuction.com is a marketplace where shipping lines, leasing companies, and local dealers can offer their container inventory to both wholesale and retail buyers. If you have any questions about a specific listing we recommend that you contact the seller through the listing page. If you have general questions about buying a shipping container feel free to contact our office directly.