Shipping Containers 101: How Do You Buy One?
So you’ve decided to purchase a shipping container. Congratulations! A shipping container can be extremely useful for a ton of things, and not just for storage. Given the right choice of material, grade, and purpose, your shipping container can be an extremely versatile friend you can have for things such as house moves, actual house conversions, and even your business. How can you choose a shipping container properly, though? Here are some quick tips:
Consider the purpose. Perhaps the most important part of choosing a shipping container is knowing what you want to use it for. Normally, shipping containers are used to, well, ship and/or contain materials. However, there’s a ton of things we can ship and contain in these containers. You should consider the container’s function carefully before buying one.
- If you’re using a storage container primarily for storage, consider either getting a small one for some belongings, or a bigger one for more things. Consider hiring a moving and storage service so they can help you determine the perfect container for your needs.
- If you want to convert a storage container into a living space, consider purchasing a sturdier container you can redesign into a useful living space. Remember though that despite the sizes of larger containers, you might still be limited in terms of your accommodations so design your container home carefully.
Check for the right materials and grade. Just because shipping containers look similar doesn’t mean they all act and function the same. Shipping containers have what we call grades and materials, meaning they have different “statuses” in terms of usability, and they differ in terms of what they’re made of. These affect what we can use the shipping container for.
- Grade allows us to determine how the container was used before it’s been sold.
- “One trip” or “new” containers have been shipped directly to your area after creation. They’re the best option to take if you want to convert your container into a living space. They’re usually weather resistant and haven’t been damaged as much.
- “Cargo-worthy” containers remain in good condition, albeit being slightly used. They’re water and wind tight, and are still structurally sturdy.
- “Wind and water tight” containers haven’t been checked if they’re cargo-worthy, but they remain structurally intact.
- Materials tell us what the shipping container was made of.
- Steel containers are best for living spaces, as they’re more durable and much stronger.
- Aluminium containers are best for temporary storage, especially if you don’t worry about the weather affecting your belongings as much.
Determine the size and the environment. Aside from the grade and the materials, we also need to decide on the shipping container’s size and overall environment. These ensure we’re aware of how large the container is, and how much space it will be consuming in the area we’ve chosen.
- It helps to remind ourselves that shipping containers usually 2.6 up to 2.9 meters tall, 2.4 to 2.6 meters wide, and 6 to 16 meters long. This leaves a lot of legroom for moving around.
- Consider what the outside of the container will look like. Try to see if you want to add some accessories or specific paint colors to your container. If none, you may want to opt for a design or a color that you’re okay with.
- Availability and cost of your shipping container actually also depends on your particular area. If you live in a rural environment, you should consider the purchase and transportation cost. Meanwhile, if you live in an area where containers are needed, you might be spending a bit more. Either way, it usually costs between USD 2,500 to USD 4,000 for smaller containers, and higher for bigger ones.
Ask tips and assistance from professionals. If you’re having a bit of a hard time choosing your shipping containers, especially if you have other factors you want to consider, you may want to ask for assistance from professionals such as long distance moving companies or even designers.
- Moving companies are most likely aware and trained on how to handle shipping containers, especially for storage and long distance moving. You may ask them for assistance as to what kind of shipping container you should choose, especially if you have specific factors or situations you need to consider.
- If you plan on converting your shipping container into a residential or commercial space, designers may be the people you should consult. They’re most likely the ones knowledgeable enough to convert your shipping container into a usable space.
Shipping Containers: Buy One Carefully!
With the above factors into consideration, it helps to always choose your shipping container with your purpose and budget in mind. While most shipping containers look the same, they all have different costs, materials, and intended uses. Hopefully the above factors were able to help you choose your shipping container much easier, and you enjoy using it for your home or for your office. If you have other tips, do feel free to share them to everyone in the comments!
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