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So you have shopped around and didn’t like container prices and then turned to eBay and Craigslist to help you out. You think you found the container of your dreams. It doesn’t look too bad, there were plenty of pictures and the pricing seems decent. So do you hit the “submit” button? Here are 3 things to consider before committing.
1) Where is the container located? Sure, the container is nearly free, but if it is over 1,000 miles from you, all those savings will go out the window with a huge trucking bill. Make sure you know exactly where the container is located and how far that is from where you want it to go. Did the price include delivery? If not, get a quote on that before you commit or you might be taking on a headache instead of a solution, or worse, a very expensive cost.
2) How will it arrive at your location? Does the listing include delivery? If so, be sure to get the particulars on that. Is delivery up to a certain distance included? What are the extra costs if you are beyond that point? What kind of truck will it be delivered on? Will that truck set the container on the ground at your location or will you need to rent a forklift or other equipment to offload the container. Many hidden fees can be put in there. If they are not including delivery, have you found someone to do that for you? Have you asked them all the questions above?
3) Is that really the container you will get? Containers are numbered when they are used by shipping lines. The numbers are generally 4 letters followed by 6 numbers and then a number in a box. If you are looking at pictures of the container, the number should be clearly posted on all 4 sides of the container as well on in 2 places on the roof and in the inside of the door. If the pictures show a container, but the number is different in each picture, beware. They could be posting pictures of multiple containers. Since the container probably isn’t too far from you, it is worth a trip out to take a look at the container to make sure you know what you are getting into. Everyone describes quality in different ways. What may be a “great container” to one person may be a “pile of junk” to another. Pictures and visual confirmation are really the best ways to make sure you are on the same page.
4) What about common sense safety? So now you have the delivery figured out, you’ve looked at the container and know it is just what you want, use your common sense. Usually eBay has some safeguards on the site to help protect you. Be sure that it is a respected vendor with a good record. If you are on Craigslist, check out the buyer the best you can. You don’t want to hand over your money and not end up with a container after all that work. Common sense and intuition are great tools. You use them in every other part of your life, don’t let this be an exception!
In this age of container scarcity, finding containers on sites like Craigslist and eBay can be great. Particularly if you and the seller are in the same market and use that as a tool to meet each other. But remember to do your homework and listen to your gut. Don’t be afraid to walk away from the deal if it doesn’t feel right. But if you check everyone out and the container is what you want, great!