How To Buy A Shipping Container Online
Here is a list of things to consider and questions to ask when making your decision to buy a shipping container.
Before You Start - Buyer Beware
In recent years, the container industry has become more and more convoluted. It has made the buying experience a nightmare for customers and we hope this post will help you.
But before you start, beware of sales reps and companies that are riddled with false advertising and misleading customers on containers they’re buying. This post will help you determine what to look out for the container condition, price, delivery and everything in between.
As a guideline, AVOID these kind of dealers:
- No Terms & Conditions on their website
- False warranty claims by sales rep that are different than the Terms & Conditions of the company
- Selling you lower grade AS-IS condition containers as WWT (Wind & Water Tight)
- They have no BBB page or BBB reviews
- No Google reviews
Hopefully this helps get you started on the right path, now let’s get into how you can get your container.
Choose A Container Size
Shipping containers primarily come in two different sizes:
20 ft Containers
- Standard units are 8' 6" in height and 8' wide
40 ft Containers (most common)
- Standard containers are also 8' 6" in height and 8' wide
- High Cube units are 9' 6" in height and 8' wide
- This is the most common unit bought by customers
It is recommended to measure the items that you will be storing and ensure that the container will accommodate your needs. If you need more more information on the specifications and dimensions of containers, click here.
Choosing Container Conditions
There are 4 main container conditions:
- New containers have only been loaded one time from the manufacturer
- These are the highest condition of containers offered
- Units that are no longer certifiable to ship cargo on trains and ships
- Perfect for consumers that need a container to store personal items or anything else that needs to be protected from the elements
- Guaranteed to pass a re-certified to be loaded back on a ship or train
- These can be packed with cargo and shipped across the globe
- Used units and will most likely have holes, floor damage and other fixable repairs
What to look out for?
One issue that we have seen with other companies is customers buying one condition but receiving a container that is a lesser condition. We receive numerous customer complaints about these companies and you should beware.
These companies sell you an 'As-Is' container as a 'Wind and Water Tight' one. They can purchase As-Is containers very cheap and label them as any other condition. 'AS IS' containers have no guarantee and will leak, come with bad door and door seals and have holes in floors. Make sure you confirm the condition of your container and read the terms and conditions to ensure what you're buying.
Get A Quote
There are a few ways to get a quote, you can search marketplaces, do some online search or talk to a sales rep.
The best companies in the nation provide instant quotes for containers which include delivery. These companies know you want quick answers and have built tools to get you the best and cheapest prices.
Container One is one example of a company that does this, all you do is enter a zip code and you get a list of containers and their final prices in an instant. Click here to check it out.
Delivery of a container can be a big cost to factor in when completing your purchase. It is important to ensure your quoted price includes delivery of the container to your destination of choice. Some companies will quote you a container price and delivery price separately or during purchase, make sure you get the full delivered price when making a decision because delivery price can range into $1000s.
ContainerOne always generates a delivered price, so the quoted price includes everything including delivery.
Here are a few different ways deliveries are made:
Tilt Bed/Roll Off - The container will arrive on a trailer that will tilt back and place the edge of the container on the ground. The trailer will pull away and allow the container to slide, or roll, off onto the ground. Below is a video of this type of delivery from one of our customers.
Customer Assist - This requires the customer to have an anchor point on the delivery site. A chain can be attached to the container and then attached to the anchor point. The trailer will then pull away and the container will slide onto the ground.
Flat Bed - The container will arrive on a flatbed trailer attached to a semi-truck. The customer will need to provide a means to lift the container off of the trailer, which could be a crane, forklift, or any other heavy equipment.
Customer Pickup - Customers are able to arrange a date and time to go to the depot and pick up their container. It is advised to ensure you have the proper equipment needed before attempting to do so.
Check out our container delivery page for more information.
Containers are made of COR-TEN steel, which is a special type of steel that is made to withstand the elements. A shipping container can be used to transport cargo thousands of times across the sea and will last a lifetime if properly maintained. It is recommended to look for a company that offers a warranty that covers both the structural integrity of the container, as well as the doors, floors and roof of your shipping container.
Container One offers various warranties ranging from an industry-leading 5-year structural guarantee in addition to a 1-year no-leak guarantee on applicable containers. You can search your zip code here to see a list of containers and the warranties provided.
Most companies do not offer warranties with their containers. Be wary of organizations that are aiming to offload products instead of selling and supporting their customers.
Reviews and Testimonials
It is important to know if the people/companies you are dealing with on the internet are trustworthy. Always search the company you’re considering buying from in both Google and BBB (Better Business Bureau).
Here are some red flags to avoid:
- No customer review for the company in Google
- No BBB accreditation or reviews for the company
- No company website
- No pictures of containers conditions in website
Even if the company has a few reviews, go through them to ensure how valid they are. Reviews can be faked and you need to look for companies with 100+ reviews of different types of customers with detailed descriptions of their experiences.
Here is an example of a what kind of reviews and testimonials you should be looking for:
Hope you found this guide helpful and please don’t forget to share with family and friends looking to buy containers.
If you want the best priced containers from the nation's leading shipping container supplier, then: