6 Things You Should Know Before You Buy Recycled Shipping Containers


Steel shipping container

Using recycled shipping containers for building projects offers huge cost savings and is a very sustainable choice. Steel shipping containers can be modified to serve as pop up shops, guest houses, tiny homes, workshops, or almost anything else you can dream up. Here are a few tips for shopping for used containers for sale, getting the best deal, and finding the best containers for your project:

  1. Look for used containers for sale from private owners on craigslist or eBay. Often, they charge far less than the companies in the business of buying and selling steel storage containers. You might also be able to locate incredibly cheap shipping containers by visiting warehouses in your area, who work with shipping containers but don’t have ongoing use for them.

    Bonus Tip:When purchasing from a private party, you should make sure that the seller actually owns the shipping container. You can check on the ownership by pulling the serial number off the container and contacting the company listed on the side of it.

  2. Many times, a huge portion of the cost associated with buying used shipping containers is actually moving them from the dock to where you live. If you live in driving distance of the shipping container site, you might be able to save a lot of money by renting a truck with a tilting bed and picking them up yourself.
  3. When shopping for used containers for sale, you want to make sure that each container you buy is made from the best grade of steel, known as “Corten steel.” Shipping containers made from Corten steel were designed to sit in all weather conditions, including the corrosive salt of the ocean, for years. These containers are good investment as they will stand solid for years to come.
  4. It’s not a bad idea to have a certified inspector review the quality of your container before you purchase it. Each container can cost a few thousand dollars. You would never purchase a car without having an expert check it out, and a container is a similar investment.
  5. Always negotiate with shipping container sellers. In the shipping container industry, there is currently a buyers market. Used shipping containers are sitting unused as shipping trade has diminished due to the strengthening US dollar. Take advantage of the seller’s need to get rid of shipping containers and ask for a good deal. Don’t be afraid to even ask for free shipping; this could save you hundreds of dollars and contribute convenience.
  6. When your shipping container project is complete, make the insurance company insuring it classifies it as a Intermodal Steel Building Unit(ISBU). The material that is used to build this deal shipping containers are sustainable, strong, and highly fire and flood resistant; many insurance companies offer excellent discounts for it if it is categorized appropriately.

Have you ever used recycled steel shipping containers as a building material? Do you have any tips for sourcing them? What did you make and how do you like it? We want to hear all the details in the comment section below!


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