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  • Author: Ryan Helms

What to Consider When Buying a Shipping Container

Due to their popularity in the freight industry, shipping containers are cheap and plentiful. But they are not only useful for shipping cargo.

By making a few minor adjustments, you can repurpose a cargo container for use as a storage space, a temporary office, or even a house.

And since cargo containers can be purchased very cheaply, it is very tempting to use one for your next building project. However, there are few things you should consider before you purchase a shipping container.

First, you will need to consider what size container will best meet your project needs. Cargo containers come in a variety of ISO (International Shipping Organization) sizes.

Shipping containers are almost always 8 feet wide and 8.5 feet tall, but they come in varying lengths, such as 10 feet, 20 feet, and 40 feet. You can figure out the size you need by first considering the purpose of your building project.

A 10-foot long container is about 80 square feet, so it is best for backyard storage or a small temporary building like a ticket booth. Twenty foot long containers provide 160 square feet of space, so they are good for bigger storage spaces for small businesses, and temporary offices.

A 40-foot long container provides the most space of all – 320 square feet. These containers are best for building homes and industrial storage spaces. You can even customize and attach shipping containers together for even larger building projects.

Secondly, you should decide whether to buy a used or new shipping container. Both options have advantages and disadvantages. A new cargo container will probably be problem-free and clean but may cost a little extra money.

Used cargo containers can be purchased for about thirty to fifty percent less than new containers, but may have some damage and wear due to their previous use.

If the nature of your project requires a pristine and damage-free structure, and you don’t want to make any repairs to bring your container up to code, you should definitely purchase a new container.

The peace of mind that comes with a brand-new container will make up for the markup in price. However, if you are on a tight budget, or intend on making some modifications to your shipping container, a used container might be the way to go.

You can save quite a bit of money this way, and if you are going to customize and repair the container anyway, you might as well purchase a used container.

However, you will need to diligently inspect your used shipping container for flaws like rust spots, cracks, and holes before you use it.