Storage Container | Shipping Container Buying Tips

Storage Container | Shipping Container Buying Tips

Published In : 13-October-2023

SHOP AROUND – Pricing for used shipping containers will vary depending on who you are buying it from as well as the condition of the shipping container. The age of a used storage container doesn’t necessarily play a large part in how it’s priced. Generally containers stay in shipping service anywhere from 7 – 12 years. Depending on what type of shipping service the containers were utilized in will ultimately determine their condition (physical appearance). While age may play a small role in how a storage container is priced, physical appearance and structure are the main factors.

When I say “who”, I’m referring to individual sellers versus retailers. An individual seller is someone looking to re-sell a storage container they purchased, either from another individual or retailer. A retailer is someone with direct access to the containers when they come out of shipping service. We are a retailer of storage containers. We are also a wholesaler of storage containers. We sell to retailers who in turn sell to their customers.

While buying from an individual has some advantages, you may be better served buying from an expert (the retailer). As a retailer, we are able to offer you shipping containers in varying conditions and price points. You can also be assured of purchasing a container that is in “wind & watertight” condition when going with a retailer. A retailer should be able to offer you a guarantee that the storage container is “wind & watertight”.

INSPECT THE CONTAINER – It is always in your best interest to inspect the shipping container (if possible) prior to making the purchase. I don’t know about you, but I always like to look at what I’m buying before I buy it. If nothing else, it will give you piece of mind that the sales person you spoke with represented their product well.

There are several things you can look for when inspecting the container. In our opinion, the most important things are – general exterior surface rust, especially at the door bottoms – condition of the door gasket around the door area – condition of the wood floor on the interior – penetrations or pin holes in the steel panels.

Unless a used shipping container has been repainted, it will almost always have surface rust. Surface rust is very common as the shipping containers have been exposed to salt air while in shipping service. Most used containers will have patches of surface rust here and there. Try to stay away from containers with most of the exterior covered in rust. If you decide to go with a container like this, it should be priced lower than a shipping container without as much rust. Be sure to inspect the door bottoms of the shipping container as well. You should always look for a container with minimal rust at and around the door bottom area of the container.

The door gasket is an important feature to take notice of as well. The door gasket provides the watertight seal around the doors when they are closed. You want to avoid a storage container that has rotted door gaskets or areas around the doors where the gasket is missing completely.

Another area you want to inspect is the interior. The areas to focus on are the floor, sidewalls and roof. When inspecting the floor, be sure it’s solid and there are no soft spots or apparent holes. The floor is typically comprised of 1-1/8” marine plywood. Forklifts are used to load and unload shipping containers while they are in service. It’s fairly common for the floor to have shallow gouges where forklift blades have rubbed along the floor. It’s fairly easy to see if the floor is damaged. Just use common sense when it comes to inspecting the floor.

It’s also very important to inspect the interior sidewalls and roof of the storage container. You definitely want to avoid purchasing a container with penetrations or pinholes in the steel panels. If the holes are small, they can be very difficult to see when the container doors are open. An easy way to identify small penetrations or pinholes is to stand inside the container with the doors closed. Hopefully you are not claustrophobic. It is completely dark inside the container while the doors are closed. You will easily see any light penetrating from the outside.

Hopefully this information will be useful to you while searching for the perfect shipping container. Please remember that you are looking at used equipment. Most used shipping containers will have surface rust, dents & dings and scratches & scrapes. Use your best judgment while inspecting the container and I’m sure you’ll find the one that’s perfect for you.

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