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Finding Shipping, Cargo, or Storage Containers for Sale: What questions to ASk First

09.12.2018 - Posted by Updated On 09.12.2018    

Every day, countless people begin the process of buying a shipping container. Many people are buying them to convert into storage units, others are planning to use them to help with moving or relocating, and even a few are even converting containers to housing or similar projects. It’s important to do your homework before buying a container, and it always helps to see out the advice of a professional – talking to a respected industry professional can save you both time and money.

There are a few standard questions that you should have the answers to before buying starting to search for a container.

1. Do you need help moving the container? It sounds obvious, but it will save some time if you’re prepared for this question up front. Many people can help to arrange the delivery of your container, but you’ll need to budget for this in advance.

2. Will you need help unloading the shipping container from the truck? If you’re going to be grounding the container at a location for a long period, the delivery truck may be able to ground the container without much assistance. However, depending on the available room the truck may need assistance from a fork lift or crane to unload the container.

3. If you’re using the container to move or relocate, how will you get the container back on the truck once it’s loaded? Many people want to have the shipping container on their site for an extended period while they load it at their own pace. While this sounds like a good idea there are a few issues to consider. First, the container will either need to be left on the chassis or dropped off. Many shipping companies don’t want to leave a chassis for an extended period of time and you may either need to purchase or rent the chassis, which will add to your cost. If you plan to have the container grounded (taken off the chassis), a fork lift or crane will be required to place the container back on the chassis. Depending on what you load into the container this could be an issue. A recent client had plans to purchase a container to place on their site while they loaded over a period of 30 days. Two of the things they planned on loading were cars, which would make the project impossible.

4. What will you use the container for?   Many people want to purchase a new container, however a new container may not be necessary. If you’re using the container for long term storage, a one trip or cargo worthy container may not be necessary and a wind and water tight container will save money and provide the same result. Structurally, a wind and water tight container will provide the same service at a discounted cost – the service being keeping your items clean and dry. If you're converting or modifying the contaniner, you may need a newer unit.

5. Where do you need the container to be located?  The transportation cost for an empty container can be expensive, especially with the recent increase in fuel prices. In most cases it’s always best to find a container that’s close to where you need it. The exception is if you’re looking for either a custom container that’s been converted, or possibly a refrigerated or tank container. While the cost of relocating one of these containers will probably be the same as the cost of repositioning a standard container, however as a percentage of the overall cost it will be much less.

Being prepared with the answers to these questions can save your time and possibly money, and they need to be addressed with nearly every container purchase. If you have any questions or need advice, check with a professional near the beginning of your project. Any of the container professionals can be contact directly through every listing page on If you have a general question you can always contact the staff directly.

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