Buying used shipping containers can save any company money on shipping and storage costs, and since most containers are made to last for years, a used container can often work just as well as a new one. However, there are some insider secrets you might consider when it comes to buying used containers, so you know you get one that will last and that you don't overpay. Note a few tips for finding and buying affordable used shipping containers.
1. Look for steel
An aluminium container may be much cheaper, but there's a reason for that. Aluminium is more likely to corrode, especially when exposed to saltwater and the salt in the air when the container is on a ship. Steel is much more durable and much less likely to rust or corrode over time; steel containers are meant to withstand the harshest of weather conditions. Remember that even if you don't see corrosion on a container, it could be forming in corners or inside the metal. To avoid holes and damage caused by corrosion, invest in a steel container.
2. Check on delivery costs
If delivery is not included, you'll need to rent a truck and pick up the container yourself. Usually it's best to get a truck with a tilting bed so you can easily slide the container onto the bed. This type of rental can be expensive, so you need to figure this cost when comparing prices of the containers. In some cases it can be worth it to pay extra for a container that includes delivery by the seller.
3. Note if it's inspected and cargo worthy
A shipping container is not like a pallet you use for shipping; it actually needs to be inspected and certified as cargo worthy before you can use it for shipping overseas. There may also be other regulations about using it for local shipping via rail or truck. Be sure you check on the regulations in your area and that any shipping container you plan to use for more than just onsite storage has passed inspections and is legal for your intended use.
4. Always negotiate
Very often warehouses and other sellers have more used shipping containers than they can sell, since most companies do not want to pay for shipping containers to be returned to them. Negotiate with any seller; ask if their price is the best they can do, rather than assuming an advertised price is the only price they'll offer.
Some businesses, like Tasbulk Container Hire, also hire containers, so that might be another option to consider if you're not committed to purchasing them.