What You Need to Know Before Buying Used Shipping Containers

Whether you’re a seasoned shipping container buyer, or it’s your first time, we’ve created a guide to help you through the process of buying used shipping containers. Whether you’re buying one to make a garage, shed, guesthouse, or home, read on to ensure you make an informed purchase.

Buying Local

You can find a lot of online listings for used shipping containers, however, buying online can be very risky, as you’re not able to inspect the container before purchase. Photographs can be deceiving, so it’s always best to buy a container locally. This way you can view the container before purchase.

Buying used shipping containers locally has the following advantages:

Cheaper delivery charges

Generally, delivery is cheaper, as there is less distance to travel when you purchase locally.

Personalized help 

Local sellers are knowledgeable enough to help you find the right container for your specific needs and will be aware of any permits you may need in your local area.

Add-ons

Local sellers are more likely to be able to offer you customizations like shelves, ramps, or locking systems.

Used vs New Shipping Containers

Used shipping containers have the obvious benefit of being substantially cheaper than their new counterparts, they’re also more environmentally friendly than new builds.

There are 3 types of used shipping containers to be aware of, you’ll generally find that one will suit your specific needs best.

Cargo-worthy

These are containers that are in good enough shape to be used for shipping cargo. They are generally in excellent condition and are the most expensive used shipping containers.

Used wind & watertight

These containers have generally been used in cargo transport for 8-15 years before being retired. They will have cosmetic damage, with possible rust and dents, however, are still waterproof and windproof. These containers generally fall in the middle in terms of pricing.

As-is

Containers that are sold “as-is” come as they are—these are generally the cheapest and their condition will be inconsistent. They may have holes and are not guaranteed to be wind or watertight. They are, however, the cheapest used container available.

Considerations to Make Before Buying Used Shipping Containers

Use

Consider what you want to use your container for: a new home, an office, garage, or anything in between. This will largely inform every other decision you make about your purchase.

Type

The type of shipping container (e.g. cargo worthy) you buy will be determined by what you want to use it for, and your budget.

Size

Containers come in a range of sizes, 40-foot containers provide the best value and are the most common, but you can find containers as large as 53 feet.

Ready to Buy Used Shipping Containers?

Buying used shipping containers is a bit of an art form. If you need help or are ready to get started, get in touch with the team at Equipment Management Services for a quote in the Houston and Dallas areas today.

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