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Top 5 Tips for Selling a Shipping Container

30.04.2014 - Posted by Updated On 30.04.2014    

If you're a new to shipping container trading, or a commercial company expanding into the retail sector of the market, you'll find that when selling a shipping container to a retail buyer you'll need to take special considerations; as their motives and questions are very different from a commercial buyer.

Let's start by defining a retail buyer as a person that's never purchased a shipping container before and probably won't buy more than one or two to use as storage on their property, usually a farm/ranch or for storage at their company.

The sellers on have sold over $1million worth of containers in the past 18 months and the questions and concerns of retail buyers on the website remain consistent, and you may need to be prepared to provide the following.

  1. 1. Pictures: Listings with pictures get the most questions. It's best to create a listing with two or three exterior pictures and one or two interior pictures. It doesn't always need to be the exact container, but pictures that are close will get the most traction.
  2. 2. Description: Be complete in your description. A description such as "Ex HLXU, manufactured in 1998" is likely to get little attention, as a novice buyer doesn't understand what that means in terms of color and condition.
  3. 3. Inspection/Walk Around: Most buyers will want to see the container prior to purchasing it, especially if pictures are not available. Some depots allow this, some don't, and some will try to sell your client other containers if you're not present.
  4. 4. Location: Where is the buyer located, and is it realistic for them to purchase the container which they're looking at? Is the location where they plan on putting the container realistic? Can the delivery truck move around to drop it off?
  5. 5. Delivery: If the buyer is more than 100 miles away, the transportation costs could start to increase exponentially, especially on a flatbed or container chassis. You'll need to find a good, reliable driver that's willing to work with your client and provide great customer service - after all, the driver will be considered an extension of your company.

Selling a shipping container to a retail buyer is very different than selling to a commercial buyer such as a shipping line or logistics company. A retail buyer will have more questions, the decision process may be slower, and they'll have more specific questions. Keep in mind that this container will be sitting on their property for several years, and they will be looking at it, or moving in and out of it on a regular basis.

If you have any questions about selling containers, starting out in the container trading/retail sales industry, or you are a buyer that needs help finding the right container, feel free to contact us at

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