No matter your reason for buying a shipping container, you should consider several variables before making up your mind. You may think about purchasing a shipping container for different purposes, such as turning it into a container home or using it as your storage area. Although finding a shipping container is easy because there are new containers and used ones with different qualities in the market, you may feel overwhelmed and confused throughout the process if you do not know what to focus on. For this reason, you should determine your expectations according to your area of use and consider the factors that may affect your decision. That means you will need to familiarize yourself with some essentials about shipping containers.

We have prepared a guide for you to find the right shipping container for your project. Here is the list of 8 questions you need to answer for yourself to make the best decision about the shipping container you will buy:

shipping container

1. How will you use your shipping container?

First and foremost, you need to be able to define the reasons that derive you buying a shipping container. Since the purpose of use will determine most of the other variables, the first thing to do is make your decision clear. Although they were initially used to transport goods, shipping containers have started to serve for different purposes lately. Here are the shipping containers’ areas of use:

  • Transportation: As the original purpose of shipping container production, transportation is still shipping containers’ primary area of use. These huge metal boxes are used to transport various goods locally and globally. Some of these goods may require extra safety precautions. For instance, in order to transport frozen food products like fish, meat, or ice cream should be transported in refrigerated shipping containers. In other words, some containers are enhanced according to the requirements of the goods that will be shipped. If you plan to use your shipping container for this specific purpose, you should ensure that its quality matches with what you will carry in them.
  • Home or Office: Turning shipping containers into tiny homes or offices is a popular choice amongst people who are open to try a new lifestyle or do not want to spend too much money on conventional buildings. You can prefer buying either a used container or a new one to turn it into a living space. Most people prefer to use one tripper or new containers in order to expand the lifespan of their homes or offices.
  • Storage: People also tend to use their containers as storage areas for their belongings. Know that for storing dangerous goods; you should prefer a shipping container that has been built accordingly to ensure safety and prevent any potential danger.
  • Short-term accommodations: Shipping containers are also used in construction sites such as offices, bedrooms, or first aid rooms. Moreover, they can also provide short-term accommodation for people in a state of emergency, like an earthquake.

2. What are the sizes of shipping containers?

You should determine the size of your shipping container according to your needs. The most common standard sizes are as follows:

  • 20shipping container: This size of a shipping container is the most common one and it can store nearly the contents of three bedrooms. The external length is 20’, the width is 8’ and the height is 8’ 6’’.
  • 40’ shipping container: This size is primarily a better option for heavy equipment storage because they provide a large area. For this size, the external length is 40’ and the width and height are the same as the previous one.
  • 40’ HC shipping container: The overall structure of this size is similar to the previous ones, except for its height, that is, 9’ 6’’. Accordingly, this size of the shipping container has more storage capacity than the 40’ shipping container. 

used shipping container

3. What should be the condition of your shipping container?

According to your budget and other considerations, you should decide whether you will buy a new shipping container or a used one. Though tempting, purchasing a brand-new shipping container will be more costly unless you find a great deal. Used models will be preferable for those who are on a tight budget. If this is a better option for you, you should be willing to spend time and effort searching for a used container in good shape.

4. Which one is the better option for you: Buying or renting?

You should also ask yourself whether you need to buy a shipping container for your needs or to rend one will be enough. To decide which one is better, you should first determine how much time you use a container. If you need a storage area for a limited time or a seasonal living space, renting will be better. However, if you will use your container for a year or longer, it is wiser to have the privilege of buying a container.

5. Do you know the material of your container?

The material of a container is a big deal. Since the primary purpose of shipping containers is to transport goods safely, they are generally built to stand up to adverse weather conditions. However, not all containers are made from equally strong materials. In this sense, you should check the material of the container you plan to buy. The Cor-Ten steel containers are the best option because they last the longest because of resisting bad weather conditions for years without being damaged.

6. What should be the features and modifications of your container?

Depending on your project, your container may need extra features and modifications. It would help if you determined which add-ons your container needs. These may include one or two-door entries, windows, locking systems, wiring, ventilation system, and shelves. You can find containers with such features, but you should figure out whether buying a container with these configurations will be more cost-effective and convenient.

shipping container

7. Do you need permission to place your container in your area?

You should learn the regulations in your region before purchasing a shipping container. You may need to obtain a temporary permit to place a container on your property. Contact the authorities and ensure that you have met all the container storage requirements.

8.  Have you determined the placement of your shipping container wisely?

Although the first point you should check about the placement is the regulations in the area, you should also focus on the weather conditions and soil structure of your location. Of course, shipping containers can withstand heavy weather conditions, but the same situation may not be valid for you, too. Hence, it would be a better idea to find an area of which you can enjoy the weather conditions. Plus, it is wiser to avoid places where water can pool at the base of your container.

Since we have listed all the information you need before purchasing your container, now you are ready to find the shipping container that perfectly responds to all your needs. Read our following blog posts to get inspired for your shipping container project:

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