What to Know About Buying Cargo Containers

business buying steel cargo containers purchase shipping container storage units

Cargo containers are the best way to move large loads long distances. In fact, more than 11 million containers arrive each year in the United States by sea alone.

Many of those cargo containers get reused for years at a time, but thousands of these transportable storage units also get put up for sale.

If you’re considering buying a cargo container for your business, the process can feel confusing. Here’s what you need to know about buying cargo containers so you can get the best deal and the best option for your business.

Know Why You Need Cargo Containers

Before you can start looking for a container, you need to think about why you need one.

Are you looking for a simple storage solution at your business? Will you be shipping large quantities of product in it? Do you want to transform the container into a usable office space?

The type of container you choose will largely depend on the way you want to use it.

Standard cargo containers are large metal boxes, but some include features like windows, pre-installed flooring, or even HVAC systems.

You’ll also want to check the zoning regulations in your area before you commit to a cargo container. Some cities and counties won’t allow you to use a container at your business. If you buy one anyway, you could end up facing fines or get forced to remove it permanently.

Think About the Size You Need

Once you know why you need the container, think about the size you need. Standard lengths range from 20 feet to 40 feet, but if you’re buying new, you may be able to order a custom length container.

If you’re not sure, measure the area you plan to keep the container in. You’ll want to be able to access all sides of the container for maintenance. Make sure the size you choose fits that space comfortably.

Decide Whether to Rent or Buy

You have two choices when it comes to getting cargo containers: you can rent or you can buy.

If you’re planning on using the container for years to come, it’s worth buying it outright. You’ll save money in the long-run and can use the container however you see fit.

If you’re thinking of using the container to store things for just a few months, consider renting one. 

This will save you the frustration of having to sell the container once you’re done with it. Even better, the rent you pay will likely be less than the purchase price of a container.

Consider How New It Needs to Be

With cargo containers, you can buy (and in some cases, rent) both new and used models. If you’re looking for one that’s in pristine condition, a new unit will be best, but you’ll pay a premium for it. You can save money by purchasing a one-trip container that’s only gotten used once but is still in like-new condition.

However, if you’re looking to really cut down on your expenses, purchasing a used container is your best choice. There are hundreds of used cargo containers available at any given time, and they’ll be in differing conditions.

Inspect the container thoroughly before you decide to go with a used one. This way, you’ll be able to find any possible defects and can avoid surprises upon delivery with no confusion on pricing or condition.

Research the Supplier

Unfortunately, there are scam artists in every industry, and the cargo container industry is no different. Before you settle on a supplier, take the time to research their reputation.

If other people are happy with the containers they’ve used and the service they’ve received, you’ll probably be satisfied, too. However, if the reviews all have similar complaints, proceed with caution.

The last thing you want to do is end up getting a container that wasn’t what you thought it would be or renting from a company that’s not trustworthy.

Invest in Steel

Believe it or not, shipping containers aren’t always made from the same materials. This means some containers won’t last as long or may start showing signs of wear and tear almost immediately.

The best thing you can do is look for a steel container. The steel won’t rust quickly and can withstand exposure to the elements for years without damage. This will save you money on maintenance costs and helps you get more bang for your buck.

Remember, the longer you can keep the container and the more you can use it, the more money you’ll save.

Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate

Once you find a shipping container you’re interested in, you’ll need to settle on a price. It’s always in your best interest to negotiate, whether you’re buying a new or used container.

To find out what a storage container is worth, get it inspected by an experienced contractor. Check online for ISO container inspectors and hire one to look at the unit you’re interested in. They’ll be able to give you an accurate valuation of the shipping steel container unit so you can avoid overpaying.

Don’t be afraid to ask for the best price possible on steel cargo containers. Dealers expect you to haggle and many companies, especially those selling used cargo containers, post prices that are higher than they should be.

Just remember to negotiate the delivery fee as well. You might even be able to get the container delivered for free.

Now You’re Ready to Buy Cargo Containers

Buying cargo containers is a great way to increase storage at your office or to simplify large-scale shipments for your company. Use these tips to help you find the best container for your company’s needs.

Just remember to be patient when seeking the right shipping containers. It’s always best to research your options and find a company you’re comfortable working with than it is to rush the decision.

Looking for more helpful tips on improving your company’s storage options? Check out our latest posts on business storage, shipping, transportation, logistics, cargo, and much more!

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