How to Buy a Shipping Container: A Comprehensive Guide

shipping container purchase

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‍shipping container purchase
Are you in need of a shipping container for your business or personal use? Whether you’re looking for new or used shipping containers, there are plenty of options available across the United States. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of buying a shipping container and provide valuable insights to help you make the right decision. From understanding different container types and sizes to considering condition and grading, we’ve got you covered. So let’s dive in and explore everything you need to know about buying a shipping container.

Types of Shipping Containers

When it comes to shipping containers, one size does not fit all. There are several different types of containers to choose from, depending on your specific needs. Let’s start by understanding the different container heights:

Standard Shipping Containers

Standard shipping containers are the most common type and come in various lengths, including 10, 20, 40, and 45 feet. These containers have a height of 8 feet 6 inches and are suitable for general cargo transportation.

High Cube Shipping Containers

If you require extra height for your cargo, high cube containers are a great option. These containers provide an additional foot of height compared to standard containers. Additionally, there are specialty containers available with different door configurations, which are particularly popular in industries like construction.

Container Offices

Container offices are gaining popularity, especially in the construction industry. These containers are modified to serve as office spaces on construction sites, providing convenience and flexibility.

Choosing the Right Size Container

Once you’ve identified the type of container that suits your needs, the next step is to choose the right size. While containers come in various lengths, the most common standard sizes are 20 and 40 feet. Let’s take a closer look at these sizes:

20-Foot Containers

A 20-foot container is comparable to the size of a one-car garage. It offers 1,170 cubic feet of storage volume, making it ideal for a wide range of storage needs. The price for a 20-foot container can range from $1,100 to $5,000, depending on factors such as condition and location.

40-Foot Containers

If you require a larger storage capacity, a 40-foot container is the way to go. With 2,350 cubic feet of storage volume, these containers are perfect for heavy tools and equipment storage in industries like construction and agriculture. The price range for a 40-foot container varies between $1,350 and $9,800, depending on factors such as quality and type.

It’s essential to choose a container size that aligns with your storage needs and available space. Consider the volume of items you need to store and ensure that the container will fit comfortably in your desired location.

Choosing the Right Container Condition

When buying a shipping container, you have the option to choose between new and used containers. However, the condition of the container goes beyond this simple categorization. Let’s explore the different container conditions and gradings available:

New/One-Trip Containers

New or one-trip containers are those that have been shipped overseas with cargo just once before being available for sale. These containers are in excellent shape, with minimal wear and tear. They are a great choice for customer-facing locations, as they have a fresh appearance and minimal signs of previous use.

Grade F (Food Grade) Containers

Grade F containers, also known as food-grade containers, are new containers specifically designed for shipping food products. These containers have not carried any toxic chemicals or products before, making them suitable for transporting perishable goods.

Grade A Containers

Grade A containers can be new, refurbished, or used containers that are wind and water-tight, with minimal rust and dents. These containers are in good condition and are suitable for transporting cargo safely. They are a durable and cost-effective option for various storage and shipping needs.

Grade B (Cargo-Worthy) Containers

Cargo-worthy containers are deemed suitable for cargo transportation. They can be used containers that meet the necessary standards for safe transportation. These containers are a reliable choice if you need to transport goods.

Grade C (Wind & Water-Tight) Containers

Grade C containers are wind and water-tight, meaning they are sealed and can protect the contents from the elements. These containers may have undergone repairs and are often used for storage purposes. While they may not be suitable for long-distance transportation, they provide a cost-effective solution for secure storage.

As-Is Containers

As-is containers are typically in rough condition and have significant damage. They may have holes, damaged floors, non-functioning doors, or structural issues. These containers are not suitable for transportation but can be repurposed for other uses such as onsite storage.

It’s crucial to consider your specific requirements and budget when choosing the container condition. New or one-trip containers offer the highest quality but come at a higher price, while used containers provide a more cost-effective option.

Choosing Your Door Configuration

Another essential factor to consider when buying a shipping container is the door configuration. Different door configurations offer unique advantages depending on your specific needs. Let’s explore the various options:

Standard Doors

Standard containers come with one set of double cargo doors on one short end of the container. These doors are the most common option and are available in both used and new/one-trip containers.

Double Doors

If standard doors don’t meet your requirements, you can opt for containers with double doors. These containers have doors on both small ends, allowing for easy access from either end. Double door containers are particularly useful when you need to load or unload cargo quickly.

Open-Side Doors

Open-side containers feature a long door along one side of the container, providing broad access to any part of the container. These containers are ideal for situations where you need easy access to specific items within the container.

Flat Rack Containers

Flat rack containers are unique in that they have walls only on the two short ends, allowing for wider loads. While not technically a door, the flat rack configuration provides total access to your cargo and is suitable for transporting oversized or irregularly shaped items.

Open-Top Containers

As the name suggests, open-top containers open at the top, allowing for easy loading and unloading of large cargo such as timber. These containers are particularly useful when dealing with tall or bulky items that cannot fit through standard doors.

Consider your specific cargo requirements and accessibility needs when choosing the door configuration for your shipping container. Each configuration offers unique advantages, so select the one that best suits your needs.

Buying vs. Renting: When Should You Buy?

Now that you have a good understanding of how to buy a shipping container, the next question that arises is whether you should buy or rent a container. This decision depends on several factors, including the duration of use, ownership benefits, storage requirements, and transportation logistics. Let’s explore the key considerations when deciding whether to buy or rent a shipping container:

Frequency of Use

If you anticipate needing a shipping container for a year or longer, buying may be the more cost-effective option. Owning a container allows you to use it as often as you need without incurring additional rental costs. On the other hand, if you only require extra storage for seasonal use or temporary projects, renting a container may be a more practical and cost-efficient solution.

Ownership Benefits

Buying a shipping container grants you the freedom and flexibility of ownership. You can modify the container to suit your specific needs, such as adding shelves or partitions. Additionally, owning a container allows you to transport it to different locations as needed. When you own the container, you have the option to sell it later without any design or modification restrictions.

Storage Requirements

Renting a storage container provides flexibility, especially when your storage needs may vary over time. Rental options allow you to scale up or down based on your changing requirements without the commitment of owning a container. However, it’s important to note that some rental companies may have restrictions on storing hazardous materials, so if you require storage for such items, buying a shipping container may be the better choice.

Transportation Logistics

If you own a shipping container, you need to consider how you will transport it. If the container will remain in a fixed location for an extended period, transportation logistics may not be a concern. However, if you anticipate the need to move the container frequently, you must have access to the necessary equipment and resources for transportation. Renting containers for shorter periods and having them delivered directly to your worksite can be a practical solution in such cases.

Ultimately, the decision to buy or rent a shipping container depends on your specific needs and circumstances. Consider factors such as frequency of use, ownership benefits, storage requirements, and transportation logistics to make an informed decision.

Common Uses for Shipping and Storage Containers

Shipping and storage containers have a wide range of applications across various industries. Let’s explore some common uses for these versatile containers: shipping container purchase


The construction industry frequently relies on shipping containers for storage and onsite office spaces. Containers provide secure storage for tools and equipment and can be easily modified to serve as temporary offices or break rooms on construction sites. shipping container purchase


Manufacturing facilities often require additional storage space for raw materials, finished products, or equipment. Shipping containers offer a cost-effective and convenient solution for storing these items, ensuring easy access and protection from the elements. shipping container purchase


Shipping containers have been repurposed into classrooms, libraries, and other educational facilities. These containers provide a quick and affordable solution for expanding school campuses or creating temporary learning spaces in remote areas. shipping container purchase


Automotive businesses often require storage for spare parts, tires, and other equipment. Containers provide a secure and organized storage solution, allowing easy access to essential items when needed.


Shipping containers have become increasingly popular in the retail industry, serving as pop-up shops, mobile boutiques, or even permanent store locations. Container stores offer a unique and eye-catching design while providing a cost-effective solution for retailers. shipping container purchase


Farmers and agricultural businesses utilize shipping containers for storing tools, machinery, and agricultural supplies. Containers protect valuable equipment from the elements and offer a secure storage solution on farms and agricultural sites. shipping container purchase


Shipping containers have been transformed into medical clinics, laboratories, and healthcare facilities in remote areas or during emergency situations. These containers provide a quick and efficient way to set up temporary medical facilities, ensuring access to healthcare services when and where needed.

Residential Storage

Shipping containers can be repurposed as residential storage units, providing an affordable and secure option for homeowners. Whether you need extra space for seasonal items, household belongings, or hobby equipment, containers offer a versatile storage solution.

These are just a few examples of the many uses for shipping and storage containers. Their versatility and adaptability make them a popular choice across various industries and applications.

What You Should Know Before Ordering a Shipping Container

Before you place an order for a shipping container, there are a few important factors to consider. Let’s explore some key points to keep in mind:

Find the Best Shipping Container Price

Researching the market for shipping container prices is crucial to ensure you get the best deal. Prices can vary significantly depending on factors such as location, container type, and condition. At ModuGo, we guarantee the lowest prices on shipping containers, as we diligently compare prices across cities and states. If you find a lower price elsewhere, we will beat it!

Consider the Shipping Container Delivery Method

Shipping containers are typically delivered on roll-off trailers, but you also have the option to pick up the container yourself. If you compare prices from different sellers, it’s essential to factor in the cost of delivery. Keep in mind that the closer the container is to your location, the lower the delivery cost will likely be.

For 40-foot containers, they are typically delivered on 40+ foot trailers pulled by trucks. On the other hand, 20-foot containers are often delivered on tilt-bed tow trucks, which are more maneuverable and have a smaller turning radius. At ModuGo, we ensure that the delivery truck is the best choice for your specific delivery site.

Prepare the Location for Shipping Container Placement

Before the container is delivered, it’s crucial to prepare the location where it will be placed. Delivery trucks can be heavy, so a hard surface is necessary to ensure they don’t get stuck in wet grass or mud. You can use moveable foundations like railroad ties or lay gravel to prevent water buildup around the container.

If you plan to use railroad ties, make sure someone is available to move them during delivery. Clear the delivery site and the path through your property from any debris to save time and energy on the day of delivery. Additionally, ensure that you have sufficient clearance for the truck and container to maneuver safely.

Ensure You Have the Necessary Clearance

Shipping container delivery trucks require ample space to maneuver, so it’s essential to ensure you have the necessary clearance at your delivery site. Measure the space from where the back of the container will sit to ensure there is a minimum of 100 feet of straight clearance for 40-foot containers and 60 feet of straight clearance for 20-foot containers.

The truck delivering the container will also require a minimum of 12 feet total width to make the delivery. Additionally, there should be at least 14 feet of vertical clearance for the truck and container to drive under any obstacles safely. Finally, ensure that there is a minimum of 20 feet of vertical clearance at the actual delivery site to complete the tilt-off delivery.

By considering these factors and adequately preparing for the delivery of your shipping container, you can ensure a smooth and hassle-free process.

How to Buy a Shipping Container: Team Up with ModuGo

Now that you have all the information you need to make an informed decision, it’s time to take the next steps and purchase a shipping container. ModuGo offers an easy and convenient online store where you can buy storage containers with just a few clicks. Our three-step process is simple and straightforward: shipping container purchase

  1. Place your order online.
  2. Check out securely.
  3. Sit back and relax while we handle the rest.

At ModuGo, we guarantee the lowest prices on shipping containers and provide access to tens of thousands of containers to meet your specific needs. If you find a similar container at a lower price in your area, take advantage of our price match guarantee to ensure you get the best deal possible.


Buying a shipping container doesn’t have to be a daunting process. With the right knowledge and guidance, you can make an informed decision and find the perfect container for your needs. Consider the different container types, sizes, conditions, and door configurations to ensure you choose the right container. Assess the factors that influence your decision to buy or rent, such as frequency of use, ownership benefits, storage requirements, and transportation logistics. Finally, partner with a reliable company like ModuGo to ensure a seamless and cost-effective buying experience.

Shop ModuGo today and unlock the potential of shipping containers for your business or personal use!

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