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The Ultimate Guide on How to Buy a Shipping Container

The Ultimate Guide on How to Buy a Shipping Container


The Ultimate Guide on How to Buy a Shipping Container

Getting things from Point A to Point B isn’t always as simple as it sounds. If you’re a business owner of any sort, you’re probably familiar with this line of thinking. Running a business of almost any size requires moving goods over long distances, and the unfortunate truth is this can get complicated– and expensive.

That’s the reason a lot of business owners decide to buy a shipping container. These large, metal cases are incredibly resistant against wind, rain, and other elements. They last forever and retain their value over years and years of use. Most importantly, they are cheaper to ship and send off around the country. 

But how do you purchase one (or more) for your business? If you’ve never looked into the topic before, it might feel difficult to figure out. Read on, and we’ll walk you through what you need to know about buying a shipping container.

Decide On Your Personal Needs

Before you start looking outward, it’s important to look inward. What needs are you trying to fill by purchasing a shipping container? Make sure you have a really solid answer lined up to this. 

Answering this question will require you to look into what kind of goods you’re hoping to pack into the container. How large are they, and what quantity are you planning on sending out per shipment? 

Metal shipping containers come in a variety of sizes and in a wide range. That being said, most standard shipping containers are either 20 or 40 feet long. If you can go with one of these common-sized shipping containers, it should make your search a lot easier. 

These containers are quite strong and are capable of carrying a great deal of weight. That being said, it’s still a good idea to have a sense of the total weight you’ll be planning on shipping.

It’s also recommended that you decide on a budget ahead of time too. The last thing you want to do is spend all your money on getting a shipping container and then have no money left over to actually send it out. 

Last but not least, you’ll need to know what grade of shipping container you’ll want to purchase. This will depend on your budget. Containers usually come in one of four grades: brand new, certified, WTW (wind-and-water tight), and as-is. 

An as-is container is heavily used and might not be sealed against weather or the elements. If you’re on a budget, you’ll still likely want to go for a WTW graded container. It’s best to learn more about shipping containers ahead of your purchase.

Who Can Sell You A Shipping Container? 

Now that you have a rough sense of what you’re looking for, you can start to search for who will be willing to sell it to you. Finding a seller with a deal that will work for you can be a long and involved process. You need to square your shoulders and keep yourself committed to the end goal. 

The easiest place to start may be with a cursory google search. Look around and see who has listed themselves as shipping container sellers in your area. These local dealers usually have large inventories, which means finding a container that you like might be easy. 

Unfortunately, these dealers also tend to charge the most as compared to any other kind of seller. Depending on your budget you may be forced to look elsewhere. 

If you’re looking for a bargain, it might be more worth it to go through an auction process. That can mean in-person somewhere, but more often these days it can mean online on a website like eBay or Shipped. It’s much easier to get an amazing price on a shipping container this way, though you might not always win. 

Getting The Shipping Container To You

Once you’ve made the purchase on your new shipping container, you’ll need to make one more hurdle: you’ll need to get your new shipping container home. Given the size and weight of your average container, this is easier said than done.

Ideally, the place you’re purchasing from will have included delivery in their asking price. But more often than not, sellers will leave that up to you to handle yourself.

You’ll need to rent or hire a flatbed trailer to bring that shipping container to where it needs to go. The cost of moving will likely depend on the current cost of gas and fuel since that’s the biggest expense that trucking companies have to make.

Currently, gas prices are fairly low, so it’s a good time to need a container moved.

The distance between you and the shipping container you purchased will also pay into the price of moving it. If you got a great deal on a shipping container three states over but it will cost you an arm and a leg to ship it home… it might not have been so great a deal after all.

It’s key to keep this in mind when searching and purchasing. 

How To Buy A Shipping Container

If you’re unfamiliar with how to buy a shipping container the above information should help you get oriented.

Shipping containers can be hugely helpful to businesses and corporations looking to move large quantities (or just large products) across the country and world. Buying one isn’t always simple, but it can be well worth the trouble.

Need more business advice? Check out our blog for more.