Containers.co.uk - A guide to containers for storage or shipping
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Buying a container

There are many pitfalls in buying a container - here are some things to watch out for.

In buying a second-hand container there are quite a few things to consider:

  • Does colour matter or can you paint it when you get it? Many container vendors will be able to spray a container with the colour you wish, or they will find a dark green one for you.
  • How dented and damaged is your container? You can assess damage by walking around the unit; and don’t forget to survey the roof, which can unpleasantly surprise with rust patches and dents that are less apparent from inside. You should inspect the doors carefully, looking for rust and checking that the locking bars work well.
  • If the goods you are storing are sensitive, you may wish to specify a new or newish container, whether you are leasing or buying.
  • Do you need a 40ft container or are two 20ft units better? As each container has one set of doors you will find getting two smaller containers makes access easier. Also more natural light gets in (the back of a 40ft box is very dark!).
  • Does the container already have a security lock-box? These cowlings, which usually go over the locking point, make a locked container harder to break into and hence more secure.
  • How close are you to the supplier? Transport costs (which are £100 to £300, typically) can be significant in relation to the cost of purchase, so in remote areas you should consider buying locally. Alternatively you can consider buying a pair of containers, which can be delivered by one lorry, to spread the delivery costs.
  • Look out for containers that have been “cut-down” from larger ones. These will typically require more maintenance and cannot be stacked (due to not having corner posts).
  • Should I buy a new container? If your use is likely to be long-term this is almost always a good idea. New containers require much less maintenance and are cleaner and better-looking. Newer containers are also more likely to be made from Corten Steel, which will make your box more resistant to rust than an older container.

If you are buying a significant number of units you should employ a container surveyor. He or she will be able to assess the condition and value of a batch of containers and probably make recommendations on any repair work that needs to be done.