Southeast Containers shipping containerThe shipping container market has changed in the last decade.  These sturdy containers once only used for shipping goods across countries and oceans have gained popularity in other areas.  Using shipping containers as offices, classrooms, vacation cabins, hunting lodges, pop-up stores, and storage facilities has increased demand for them from business owners as well as individuals.  There are plenty of companies that sell new and unused shipping containers, but the bargains are in the used market.  Like all other items, shipping containers are sold on the Internet.  When looking to buy from one of these Internet sellers, precautions must be taken to ensure the item being purchased is worth the money spent.

As with buying a used car, a little research and verification will go a long way.  Here are some tips on what to look for:

Check out the Vendor

Do some research on the seller.  Is this a full-time business?  How long have they been in business?  Where do they get their containers?  How do they accept payment?  Are there any complaints with the Better Business Bureau?  Legitimate businesses will not have any problems answering your questions.

Container Location

Make sure the site of the container being purchased is stated.  Is it near where the container is to be used or in a different country?  Is it readily available for a truck to pick it up?  The container location is important because the price of the container may be a bargain, but delivery costs may be outrageous.


Is delivery of the shipping container included in the price?  If so, verify when and how the delivery will take place.  What size truck will be used? Ask about any additional fees for extra miles, permits needed, etc. before sealing the deal.  Also, check the location where the shipping container is to be delivered – can it be accessed by a truck?  Is there an open area to deposit the container?

If delivery is not included, ask what kind of truck is required to move the container.  Contact trucking companies to obtain quotes on the cost of picking up and delivering the container.  Do this before purchasing the container.

Container Condition

The state of the container needs to be described in detail.  If there is a picture of the shipping container on the vendor’s website, verify that the container pictured is the exact one that will be delivered.  Are there pictures of all sides of the container including the inside?  Personal inspection of the container should be a priority when all possible.  These are sturdy items, but they do rust and get dents and holes in them, and that may be a problem depending on the intended use.

Container Ownership

If the container has the name of a company painted on the side, ask to see the bill of sale.  Shipping companies do sell off old containers, but containers can also be stolen.  If there is doubt about the ownership, pass it by no matter how cheap the price.  Especially, be cautious of containers with Hanjin painted on them.  This South Korean shipping company went bankrupt in 2016, and since then their containers have been floating around the used container market.

Shipping containers can be cheaper than conventional construction for some projects.  A bit of caution and doing some homework will go a long way in protecting against scammers.

Save yourself some trouble and buy a new container from Southeast Containers.  Get a quote today by calling 386-547-4182.