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5 Critical Shipping Container Shopping Tips

Updated: Apr 7

Shipping containers have been around since the 1950s and were primarily used for transporting goods across oceans. However, over the years, shipping containers have gained popularity for their durability, versatility, and affordability. Nowadays, shipping containers are being repurposed as offices, homes, storage units, and even pop-up shops.


Here are 5 critical shipping container shopping tips

If you are considering buying a shipping container, it is essential to know what to look for before making a purchase. In this article, we will discuss the 5 critical shipping container shopping tips.


1. Rule Number One: Don't Get Scammed!

don't get scammed

In the United States, more than 90% of people seeking shipping containers turn to online marketplaces such as Facebook, Craigslist, and Offer Up. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, international shipping rates have increased significantly, which has led to higher prices for shipping containers on the market. As a result, consumers may be looking for bargains and may be targeted by scammers offering seemingly good deals at very low prices. It's important to be cautious and do your due diligence when shopping for shipping containers online, to avoid falling victim to scams.

How protect your hard earned money from scammers?

For your reassurance, you should check the company reviews and their customer service to ensure you’ll receive the best service that you deserve. You can give them a call and speak to a live agent and request more information and also research that company to make sure they are legit. If a company is a part of the NPSA which is the National Portable Storage Association, and they have reviews on the Better Business Bureau, then that’s a good sign. You should also ask them about their payment methods. Don’t trust companies that do not accept Debit or Credit Cards as a payment option. There is a 90 to 120-day purchase protect feature when paying with a credit card (not debit card). You can do a charge back or a dispute should anything go wrong with the purchase.

Never do wire transfers unless you are sure the company is legit!

Easy Shipping Container Delivery | US CONEX | Start by Getting a Quote or Call 1-813 393 1279


2. Cheaper Is Better? Wrong!


Shipping containers on wooden boats

When shopping for a shipping container, it's important to find a unit that fits your budget. However, simply buying the cheapest option may not always be the best choice. Instead, consider purchasing a used container from a shipping company as they are selling Graded and Inspected units. These units are typically well-maintained and regularly repaired.

Avoid purchasing very old, third or fourth hand containers from small local yards that may have been sitting idle for an extended period of time and may be in poor condition. To find the best deal, you may need to do some research to determine the typical cost of used containers in different types and conditions. More about shipping container prices.



3. It's Vital To Know How Containers Retailers Operate


Shipping container companies often maintain inventory at commercial depots in major cities across the United States to facilitate delivery to customers. These commercial yards typically have strict access policies and only allow authorized personnel on the premises, making it difficult for customers to inspect containers before purchase unless they arrange to pick up the container themselves.

When visiting small local yards, you have the opportunity to inspect the containers yourself and potentially find less expensive units. However, these units may have been previously owned and may have undiscovered corrosion at the base or rotten floors.

Reliable and reputable retailers usually sell thoroughly Inspected and Graded containers.


What is a Container Grade?

new containers vs old container

Shipping container grades indicate the condition of a container, with options

ranging from brand new factory builds to older containers with aesthetic and structural issues. While containers are built to withstand harsh conditions, exposure to weather and damage from machinery can cause deterioration over time. There is no universal grading system, but larger suppliers often use a more objective and recognized system. When purchasing a container, familiarize yourself with these grades and make sure the supplier is not just grading based on availability.

New/One Trip Shipping Container

One Trip Shipping Container

  • Cargo Worthy minimum standard with valid CSC Plate

  • Interior will be minimum 95% mark free

  • Floor will be clean with no transferable marks or stains, but possible light scratches from transport

  • Near New may have minimal exterior surface corrosion, and negligible denting

  • Anywhere from just landed in the depot, to 5 years old fall into this grade


B Grade Shipping Container

Used Shipping Container

  • Cargo Worthy or Wind Watertight standard with or without valid CSC Plate

  • Wind and watertight

  • Interior will be minimum of 50% mark free, some scuffing or scratching and minor surface rust

  • Floor will be stained or marked and may also have minor delamination

  • Exterior may have minimal surface corrosion and dents

  • Container may have small amount of previous repairs/patches

  • Anywhere from 5 - 10 years old fall into this grade


C Grade Shipping Container

Used Shipping Container

  • Structural condition of container may be Wind Watertight or As Is standard without valid CSC Plate

  • Interior will have extensive markings, scratches and corrosion

  • Floor will be stained or marked and may also have moderate delamination

  • Exterior will have surface corrosion with a multitude of dents

  • Container may have several previous repairs/patches

  • Around 10+ years old fall into this grade


D Grade Shipping Container

Damaged Shipping Container

  • Structural condition of container is As Is standard without valid CSC Plate

  • Interior and Exterior will have extensive corrosion and or holes

  • Floor will have extensive staining and delamination

  • Major damaged containers fall into this grade


Once you order your container the logistics team will book your delivery with an experienced driver. Delivery times in this business are 7 -14 business days and can go up to 15 - 20 business days in busy months like Sep - Nov. Here is more about the delivery process.


Easy Shipping Container Delivery | US CONEX | Start by Getting a Quote or Call 1-813 393 1279


4. Foundation! Do this to avoid headaches !

Although you don’t require a permanent foundation for your container to sit on, it is still a good idea to have something rather than nothing. Having the container on the ground may mean it won’t drain or ventilate properly, which may lead to corrosion and decay at the base.

Another critical point is the spot where the containers sits on, needs to be leveled or you will have issues closing or opening the doors. Learn more groundwork.


5. Permits

A building permit is usually only required if you are not setting up any permanent foundations for your structure. This means setting your container on concrete footings or railroad ties, for example. If, however, you are looking to turn it into a more permanent structure, you may be required to get a permit first.



It’s important to find the right supplier for your shipping containers, as some suppliers may not be as friendly as they might initially appear. US Conex can help you find the containers that are right for you, whether you need new, used, or custom containers for storage.

Easy Shipping Container Delivery | US CONEX | Start by Getting a Quote or Call 1-813 393 1279



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