Things to Know Before Buying a Shipping Container

Things to Know Before Buying a Shipping Container

Shipping containers can be a fantastic investment for various purposes, but it’s vital to gather the right information before making a decision. Here are the key aspects to keep in mind:

1. Choosing the Right Size

Shipping containers come in various sizes, with the standard options being 20 feet and 40 feet. Consider your intended use and available space when selecting the size. Remember:

2. Defining your needs

If you’re using it for storage, a smaller size might suffice. However, for living spaces or larger items, opt for a bigger container.

3. Space availability

Measure the area where you plan to place the container. Ensure you have enough space for delivery and placement.

4. Understanding Container Types

There are different types of shipping containers, each designed for specific purposes. The most common types include:

Dry Containers: These are standard containers used for general cargo transportation.

Refrigerated Containers: Designed for goods requiring temperature control, these are ideal for perishable items.

Non common Open-Top and Flat rack Containers: These are specialized containers for oversized or bulky cargo.

5. Delivery and Placement

Shipping containers are large and heavy, making their delivery and placement a crucial consideration. Remember:

Access: Ensure there’s sufficient space for the delivery truck to access your site and unload the container.

Foundation: Decide if the container will sit directly on the ground or if you need a foundation. A level surface is essential to prevent issues with the doors.

6. Legal Regulations and Permits

Depending on your location and intended use, there might be legal regulations and permits required for using shipping containers. Research local zoning laws and regulations. Consider:

Zoning Codes: Check if your area allows shipping containers for the intended purpose, especially if you’re using it as a permanent structure.

Permits: Determine if you need permits for modifications, placement, or usage.

7. Security Measures

Security is a crucial concern when using shipping containers, especially for storage purposes. Enhance security by:

Locking Mechanisms: Invest in high-quality locks and locking mechanisms to prevent unauthorized access.

Additional Features: Consider installing security systems like cameras or motion detectors to deter potential intruders.

8. Budget Considerations

Cost is a significant factor in any purchase decision. When buying a shipping container, take into account:

Purchase Price: Compare prices from different suppliers and ensure you’re getting a fair deal for the container’s condition.

Modification Costs: If you plan to modify the container for your intended use, factor in the additional costs.

9. Maintenance Requirements

Proper maintenance can extend the lifespan of your shipping container. Keep in mind:

Regular Inspections: Schedule routine inspections to identify and address any issues promptly.

Repainting: Repainting the container can prevent rust and improve its appearance.

10. Environmental Impact

Repurposing shipping containers is a sustainable choice, but it’s essential to consider the environmental impact. Think about:

Materials Used:  Containers are typically made from steel, which is recyclable. opt for containers with sustainable materials if possible.

Energy Efficiency: If you’re using a container as a living space or office, consider insulation and energy-efficient modifications.

11. Expert Advice

Seeking advice from experts in the field can provide valuable insights. Connect with architects, contractors, or professionals experienced in working with shipping containers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I modify a shipping container myself?  

Yes, you can modify a shipping container, but it’s recommended to consult professionals for complex modifications to ensure structural integrity.

Q: Are there restrictions on container colors?  

Some areas might have restrictions on colors for aesthetic or zoning reasons. Check local regulations before repainting your container.

Q: Can I stack shipping containers?  

Yes, shipping containers are designed to be stackable. However, stacking requires proper reinforcement and safety measures.

Q: How do I ensure ventilation in a container structure?  

 Proper ventilation is crucial to prevent condensation and ensure air quality. Consider installing vents or HVAC systems if needed.

Q:Do shipping containers require a foundation?  

While containers can sit directly on the ground, a foundation or base can help level the container and prevent moisture buildup.

Q: Can I move a loaded container?  

It’s possible to move a loaded container using specialized equipment, but it’s more challenging and costly than moving an empty one.


Buying a shipping container can be a rewarding venture, provided you’re well-informed and prepared. Consider the container’s condition, size, purpose, and legal requirements before finalizing your purchase. With careful planning, your shipping container can serve as an excellent solution for storage, living spaces, or innovative structures.