Shipping containers are secure, wind and watertight. As such, they have become ideal solutions not only for transportation or storage but as tiny homes. As an intermodal reinforced steel box, its cost-effective for both short and long term solutions.
They can also be used as mobile offices or even research labs in remote locations. Want to know how to buy and own a shipping container?
In this post, we discuss a step by step guide on how to buy a shipping container in California.
Step One – Choose Your Size
As said earlier, shipping containers are ideal as tiny homes, offices, research labs, and storage units. To realize your vision, you must first pick the right size for your shipping container. There are two sizes available in California. You have the 20 ft, and the 40 ft shipping container sizes.
The sizes above are 8 ft (2.43 m) wide and 8.5 ft (2.59 m) high. Apart from the standard sizes above, you also have High cube containers. These are 1 foot taller than the standard size container (40 ft).
There are other rare sizes which you may come across as you shop for shipping containers. You have:
You can learn more about shipping container dimensions and loading rates here. Can’t decide which size is right for you? Then, consider the intended purpose of the shipping container or what you are planning to do with it.
For instance, if you are planning on building a remote office for a construction site, then a 20 ft shipping container is ideal. If you want to build a two bedroom home with shipping containers, choose two 40 ft or four 20 ft shipping containers.
Step Two – Determine the Ideal Container Grade
Shipping containers are steel metal boxes designed to be wind, and watertight. What you don’t know is that there are different container grades. Typically, there are three namely:
One tripper – these are new containers sent overseas from the manufacturer or factory to the local port.
Water and Wind Tight – refers to used shipping containers in good condition
Since you are shopping for used shipping containers, you need to know that they have grades too. These grades ensure that what you get is suitable for your needs. Below are used shipping container grades.
Available as a good quality container with clean interior. You will find the door seals intact. An A grade used container is 8 to 12 years of age. It’s fully welded, wind and watertight. The container is also vermin proof. This type of storage is suitable for storing:
Books and antiques
This is a shipping container in average quality. The surface has minor rust but the door seals are intact. It’s fully welded and watertight. This type of container is 10 to 14 years of age. As such, it’s suitable as a:
Storage for tools
Storage for vehicle parts
Age 10 to 14 years, this type of shipping container has dents and surface rust. Fair in quality, it is not wind and watertight. A C-grade shipping container is suitable for:
Storing farm stock
Storing building materials
Storing farm tools
We recommend that you select A-Grade shipping container as it’s in the best condition. But if you don’t mind a few dings, go for B-Grade or C-Grade.
Step Three – Buying from Individual Resellers
You can buy from individual resellers selling their used containers. All you have to do is search online for “shipping containers on sale near me.” This will produce results from SERP pages allowing you to find local resellers.
There are a couple of advantages to choosing this option. The first advantage is that the price is negotiable. Why? The owners are eager to get rid of the shipping containers. As such, you will find that the budget and needs match.
Second, the owner is close to you. As such, transportation costs will be low compared to having the container shipped across states. Third, buying from a local owner provides an opportunity for you to inspect the real container. Yes, shopping online simplifies everything but you don’t have the opportunity to know the condition of the shipping container.
If you buy online, you could end up with a shipping container that has major flaws. As such, you will end up losing money. What you need to keep in mind is that the seller may not be unscrupulous. It could be that the owner is not an expert on shipping containers.
There is one downside you need to keep in mind. The matter of liability. What happens if the container gets damaged during transportation or when offloading? Who is responsible? It is important to know if there is some type of cover to protect the container.
Step Four – Buying from Shipped.com
Searching online for shipping containers on sale in California will also net you, Tier-1 suppliers. These are certified suppliers which means you get a guarantee that the shipping container you are buying is in good condition.
Apart from getting a quality used shipping container, you will enjoy big savings. Shopping from national suppliers means not dealing with middlemen. Also, you will have access to a much larger inventory compared to what individual resellers have.
Apart from big savings and a large inventory, you will have access to an experienced support team. Have any questions about the shipping container grades or dimensions? The support team can answer all your questions.
One of the best auction sites is Shipped.com. Not only does the site have a large inventory and experienced support team but they include delivery and buyer protection. So, how do you shop from Shipped.com?
Browse to Shipped.com, hover your mouse pointer over “Get A Shipping Container.” Select “Search by USA city” and choose a city in California. Shipped.com will display cities with color codes:
Let’s assume you pick Oakland, California. Indicated as a Giant Depot, simply click on the city name and on the next page, choose “See The Shipping Container Deals.” On the next page, you can refine your search by selecting:
Check the deals available and click on “View Pricing” for more details about the container or click “See Deals.” View the details and complete the transaction to buy the shipping container.
Cash bank deposits
International Wire Transfers
Major credit cards
Remember, always check the availability of buyer protection before buying the shipping container.
Getting the Best Deal
Auction sites allow you to bid but with individual resellers, you have the option of negotiating. Before buying, we recommend that you do a lot of research. Learn the average price of a shipping container according to the different grade types and delivery charges.
Once you buy the used shipping container, prepare the location in your property where the container will be dropped off. Make sure there is enough clearance for the delivery truck to drive in and drop off the shipping container.
Remember, make sure the container gets elevated with wood, tires, rail ties or concrete. This maintains proper airflow beneath the shipping container. Now that the container is delivered, actualize your dreams for it.