Purchasing a new shipping container can be extremely expensive. Many people opt, instead, for a used container and save quite a bit of money. Based on the size and the condition of the container, new shipping containers can cost anywhere between $3,000 and $5,000. Used shipping containers are substantially lower in cost – between $2,000 and $3,000. Typically, it makes more sense to purchase a used container, depending on what you will need the container for.
Is the used container in good condition? Most of the time, the answer is yes, used shipping containers are mostly in a good condition and are completely usable. When you understand what to look for in a used container, you are sure to get the best value for your spend.
Purchasing Used Shipping Containers
When you buy a used shipping container, there are some very important things that you should consider before you complete the purchase and have the container delivered to your location.
Are the Photos of the Container Accurate?
Photos of used shipping containers can provide a great deal of information to the potential purchaser, but only if they are accurate. When you look at the pictures of the containers, look at the details. Some dealers will provide a picture of multiple containers, so it is not possible to narrow down the choice to a single container. You may need to ask for a photo of a single container, along with photos of the interior of the container and the top of the container. Some unscrupulous dealers will show photos of only the best parts of many containers and put those photos together so that they look like they are pictures of a single container. While a photo may not be of the container that you are purchasing, some companies that deal with containers have a massive inventory it might not be possible to provide a photo of a specific container. The photos provided by large suppliers generally depict the average condition of the containers that they sell. It is important to note the age and the grade of the container and know how a certain company grades the used containers that they sell.
What is the Cost of Delivery?
Always ask the seller what they will charge for the delivery of a container. If the container is located a fair distance away from where you are having it delivered, the cost of delivery may be far greater than you might suspect. You do not want to have to pay a lot more than the quote you received pre-purchase and you certainly do not want to pay too much on delivery charges. You will want most of your payment to go toward purchasing a top-quality container and not on the cost of having it delivered.
Examine the Exterior if Possible
Once you find a container that you want, be sure to walk around the exterior of it and then take stock of the condition of it. Examine all the edge seals, corner castings and the paint. Examine dents, which are mostly acceptable except when they are corroded. Does the supplier provide a guarantee that if they deliver a container and it is not what you expected that they will take it back? Some suppliers to while others do not. Clarify this before you have a container delivered.
Look Inside the Container
After assessing the exterior of the container, it is time to examine the interior. Do the doors lock and seal? Look for the gaskets, seals and door fittings and examine the locking mechanism to see if there is damage. When you open to door, smell the interior to see if you can detect rust or mold. If you do smell a musty odour, this could be an indication of a leak, but sometimes it is just because there is moisture inside of the container, but it might not be. Is the container watertight? You can determine this by closing the doors and looking for any light coming into the container through the door seal or inside the container. This will also identify any holes that are in the container. The container should be totally dark inside so if you see light then it is not wind or watertight.
After you have completed this assessment open the doors and look inside of the container. Examine the floors and look for any holes. Floors in used containers are often treated as part of weatherproofing so you should ask the seller which chemicals have been used to treat the container you are purchasing.
Are There any Guarantees?
If you receive a container and it is not what you expected, will you be able to return it? If a used container leaks and you received a guarantee that it would not leak, or there are any other issues, you want to know that you can return the container. Reputable used shipping container suppliers will offer a guarantee so that you get the container that you wanted, or it is replaced.
Each used shipping container is different because of the way it has been used, handled or treated overall. It is important to inspect a shipping container carefully from top to bottom to examine it to see if it is what you are looking for.