8 Factors to Consider While Buying a Shipping Container

Are you planning to buy a shipping container online? Well, it seems a daunting task as you will have to evaluate a hundred parameters and determine the authenticity of the container supplier. However, you cannot take a back seat and relax and shop for the container directly but take a step ahead and research well before hitting the buy button. You can find several cost-effective and efficient container options for storage and other purposes. 

If you intend to buy a container for your business purpose, then it is advisable to purchase from a genuine supplier. However, before you make the purchase decision, you need to consider the following factors. 

1. Focus on the quality and not the prices

Buying the most low-priced container might seem pocket-friendly but we never suggest this. We will advise you to buy a shipping container that is made from high-quality materials. First, you need to determine your requirements and have a mental picture of the ideal container you want to buy. When you have a design in your mind, you can choose the size and type of material easily. 

Secondly, you need to identify the container’s condition or the number of containers you want to buy for your business. It is tempting and easy to compromise on the quality and save money while buying a container. You can choose the least expensive container from the online store items, but that is certainly not advisable by any expert, including us. You might rack your brains and buy an extremely delicate container or something that needs to be fixed up. Yes, such containers are available at reasonable prices but fixing them up, or reworking on them might cause a dent in your bank balance. 

Hence, instead of spending on the rebuilding and repairing costs, it is advisable to buy a shipping container of excellent quality. It’s crucial to get an appropriate shipping container from internet sellers such as SCF containers.

2. Determine the purpose of the shipping container

If you choose a container merely on the brand name or the cost, it is an incorrect method of purchasing it. You should buy a container based on its purpose or future use. For example, when you choose a container to store tools, it needs to be sturdy. If you want to keep musical equipment or precious and fragile items, you might need a container used for sensitive items. Another example is Grade B storage containers which can be used for standard purposes but are not recommended for sensitive items. Some shipping containers can resist extreme weather conditions, while others can rust or corrode due to exposure. On the other hand, refurbished units are expensive, but can serve you for a longer duration and in extreme conditions.

So, it is the ‘why’ that affects the type of shipping container you want to purchase and not the costs or the supplier’s reputation. The other factors are also important, but they are of secondary importance.  

3. Check out the delivery charges beforehand 

We all know that container removal is a herculean task and needs to be planned to save extra delivery charges and the overall hassle. It is obvious to go through the container supplier’s shipping policies and confirm with them beforehand to avoid last-minute chaos. If the supplier is located far away, you might need to spend more than the quote they have specified. In perfect circumstances, you need to save on the transport costs and spend more on the container’s quality. So, research beforehand and talk to the concerned person responsible for the container’s transportation. Moreover, you should seek clarity regarding the shipping charges and process ahead. 

As we discuss money matters here, let us remind you about the upfront and maintenance costs. The maintenance costs will not bother you in the future, but you need to be ready for the upfront costs, materials, transport, labour, etc. 

4. Evaluate the container’s condition carefully

While purchasing online, it is necessary to dig down and check the container’s condition. If the brand supplier has provided the specifications, go through them carefully and check whether the elements align with your requirements or not. The next thing available to you is the photographs. You can click on the images and view them in zoom mode to check the actual dimensions. Mostly, photos will provide you with a detailed visual description of the container. However, one cannot compare a picture of an outfit with that of the container, and hence, there is a need to be extra careful. You can contact the supplier company and ask for additional images if the existing ones are insufficient. 

Our best tip is to visit the place personally and check the container before purchasing. This is the perfect way to determine the container’s condition and aspects such as paint, corners, edges, and others. Check for the signs of rust and corrosion and any dents. Some issues might not bother you in the long run, but some cannot be ignored. Any discrepancy in the container should be clarified with the supplier to determine whether it is okay to accept the container or walk away from it. 

While inspecting the container externally, evaluate the doors, fittings, locks, and analyze the mechanism adopted by the supplier. Look out for holes and light entering the container space. Smell the container’s internal area and check for any weird stuff. Yes, you will need to apply all your senses to assess the container’s internal and external condition. 

5. Check for any legal permits

It is also necessary to determine where you would be placing your container. If it is more of a permanent nature, it needs permits. Hence, ask the concerned authorities and check with the experts for any licenses to apply for. 

6. Place the foundation in advance

It is not mandatory to have a foundation, but we suggest placing your container on a solid one. It is one of the effective ways to protect your container from any kind of damage such as rust, corrosion, decay, and other calamities. So, having something instead of paying off the damage costs. 

7. Think about the security aspect

We have discussed the protection from external, natural elements, but you need to think about the security aspect as well. Of course, a lockbox will work and not cost you high, but you can even think of a good locking system for an extra shield. 

8. Plan out the maintenance procedures

The containers need to be ventilated time-to-time, but you might also need convenient mechanisms like fixed vents, HVAC systems, and others. Think of something that can reduce the awful smell that develops over a prolonged period. Coffee is a great option and can be easily tolerated. 

To sum it up, you should have a clear and concrete idea of the space you will need and the type of containers required. You can surely buy online after noting the above factors into consideration. Your requirements, budget, and space availability will influence the type of storage units you will need. 


1. Is there a specific size container I should buy?

There are different sizes of containers, depending on the cargo and products you want to store or transport. The most popular sizes include 20-foot, 40-foot and 45-foot containers, although there are other sizes available as well.

2. How much does a shipping container cost?

The cost of a shipping container can vary depending on its size, condition, and features. Generally, used containers start at about $1,000, and new containers start at around $2,500.

3. How do I know if a shipping container is watertight?

To ensure a container is watertight, always inspect it yourself or hire a professional to inspect it. Look for any signs of rust or holes, both inside and outside the container. You should also check if the seals on the doors are in good condition.

4. Is an insulated shipping container necessary?

If your goods need temperature control, then an insulated shipping container is necessary. Insulated containers are designed to keep the internal temperature constant, even when external temperatures vary.

5. Is it possible to customize a shipping container?

Yes, it is possible to customize a shipping container. Adding shelves, additional doors, windows and more are all common customizations.

6. What are the most common features of a shipping container?

The most common features of a shipping container include high-grade steel construction, stacking capability, forklift pockets, and an adjustable roof.

7. What is the best way to transport a shipping container?

Typically, the best way to transport a shipping container is using a flatbed trailer. This ensures that the box is securely fastened to the trailer and prevents movement during transport.

8. Where can I buy a shipping container?

You can purchase a shipping container online, from retailers, or directly from the manufacturer. It’s important to compare prices and features to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

9. Are shipping containers easy to maintain?

Shipping containers are relatively easy to maintain – just check for any signs of rust, clean the container regularly, and maintain the seals and windows.

10. How long will a shipping container last?

Shipping containers typically last anywhere from 10-20 years, depending on the quality of the material and how often it has been used.

Similar Posts