We live in a time when practically anything can be purchased online. Shipping containers are no exception so we will be attempting to provide you with a guide that will hopefully make it easier for you to find the shipping container you need.
What You Should Know About Shipping Containers
Before you even begin to search for a container it is important that you have at least some basic information of what you are about to purchase. You possibly cannot expect to make a good purchase of anything if you do not possess enough information to help you choose correctly.
The first thing you need to know about shipping containers is that there are different types and different sizes. For the sizes, the most common ones you will find are the 10ft, 20ft, and 40ft. You may also come across other sizes like the 45ft, 48ft and 53ft. The size you choose will be determined by your need. Learn more about the different sizes here.
Types of Shipping Containers
Did you know that there are over 15 different types of shipping containers out there? What most of us know is the Dry Storage Container pictured below.
Dry Storage Container
For most folks, this represents the entirety of all they know about shipping containers. This obviously is the most popular type but not the only type. Let’s quickly list some other types of shipping containers for your consideration.
Flat Rack Container
This type of containers can have their sides laid out flat, leaving only the flat rack. It makes it easy to load certain types of cargo. Once the cargo has been dropped on to the rack, the sides are raised and secured.
Open Top Container
This is pretty self-explanatory. This type of container has an open top that can be covered with a waterproof material after it’s been loaded. This open top is in addition to the regular opening at one end of the container.
A tunnel container has two openings – one located on each end of the container. This can make loading faster.
Open Side Storage Container
Most of the containers we see have their doors at one end. For this type, one of its sides (that is along its length) is its door. This means that one of the entire lengths of its side can be opened. This allows for the easy loading of cargo that is wider than its regular door size.
Double Doors Container
A double door container is a variation of the open side storage container. The difference between the two is that the double door type also has the regular doors located at one of the ends in addition to the side doors.
Thermal or Insulated Containers
This is a special type of container used for items that need to be kept at high temperatures. In addition to being insulated to avoid the dissipation of heat, they may also have a heating system in place to ensure the required temperature is maintained at all times.
Refrigerated ISO Containers
This is the opposite of the thermal container. This type of container seeks to keep the items in the container at a required low temperature. It will usually combine a cooling system and a construction that ensures there is no temperature leakage.
Aside from these ones listed above, some other types include tanks, half-height containers, car carriers, drums, bulk shift containers, swap body containers and other special purpose containers. Knowing these different types of containers is important as it will help you decide which type is exactly what you need.
How to Get Started
The first thing you need to decide is what type of container you need. This of course will be determined by the use to which you want to put the container. Once you have done this, there are about two ways you can get started. You can visit online ad sites, or you can check for broker sites.
Online Classified Ads
You can search for containers for sale on sites like eBay, Craigslist and other sites that post classified ads. You will need to contact the sellers to discuss and negotiate other details. You will also need to consider the location of the container, the price of transporting it in addition to the purchase price, the state of the container and may be what was last stored in it.
The second route you can go through to buy a shipping container is to work with a site that focuses on linking sellers of containers to potential buyers. We can call these sites broker sites. Some of these sites will not just link you to container sellers around you, they will also provide you with the necessary information you need to ensure you make a good purchase.
Of the two options discussed above, the second option is safer and more likely to offer a better result. However, in both cases you must ensure you arrange an inspection of the container before committing your funds, so you are not shocked when you finally see your purchase.
How to Avoid Being Scammed Online
There are certain risks associated with making purchases such as this online. To ensure you do not get scammed, we will provide you with a few guidelines that you can work with to ensure you avoid becoming a victim of online fraud.
- Start by doing some research to find out the average price of the container you want to purchase. Any price that is too high or too low should be regarded as a red flag.
- Try to find out more about the company you want to purchase from. Check for reviews on Google+ or other independent review sites. Don’t rely on the testimonials on the company’s site as these could be false.
- Find out from the company if they are members of COA www.containerownersassociation.org, CTIA www.containa.org or any other reputable associations.
- Don’t be hurried into making a purchase at an especially low price on the claim that the deal will be closing soon or that a container is the last one at that price.
- Buying from overseas is very risky unless you are purchasing very large quantities which can then warrant you traveling to the country or hiring the services of third-party inspectors and facilitators. Therefore, keep it local.
- When you visit any website, ensure the company has a physical address. The phone number on the website should be for a landline and not a mobile line. If you can, visit the address or check for it is using Google maps.
- Check for the year the site was registered using whois.com. Aside from seeing when it was registered, you will also see who registered it. You should be more careful if it is a newly registered site.
- Be careful how you give out your payment information. Once some additional information like your bank account details is asked for, hold on and do some more due diligence.
With proper care and vigilance, you should be able to purchase online safely. If it looks too good to be true, it is likely too good to be true.