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Spring is finally here and it is that time of year when people start planning out their container projects. If you are looking to buy a container this year, here are 6 mistakes to avoid with your purchase.
1. Buying from an unreputable or unreliable source. Craigslist and eBay are great for some things, but when you are looking for a container, you want to go with an actual company that is selling them. There are several reasons ranging from not knowing what container you're going to get to the bigger issue of delivery. Most of the containers posted on Craigslist or eBay do not include delivery. Add to it that the container you may be looking at is several states away and any savings of going to one of these sites is eaten up in trucking fees. And that assumes you are getting the container in the pictures. A reputable container vendor will also coordinate delivery for you.
2. Using grades A, B and C as the end-all in a buying guide. Many container vendors use a grading system of their containers as A, B or C grade. The problem? Everyone's A is different from each other. One person's "real nice" is another person's "ewww". Instead, ask for the category of the container - wind and water tight, cargo-worthy, etc. For more details on those categories, please see their full descriptions by clicking here. Also, ask if you can inspect the container when you purchase it or get pictures. Some locations may not let you pick out the container until you order it, but before you pay for it. We do that in some markets so that the customer always can tell exactly what they are going to get before it arrives. That is still much better than relying on a subjective description of a container. At a bare minimum, they should have some sample pictures to show you how they rate different containers.
3. Not prepping your site appropriately. Containers are great because you set them down and they are ready to use. But, the big question is where you set them down. You want to make sure that you put your container on good firm ground or else it will sink. A 20' container weighs 5,000 pounds empty and the 40' and 40' high cubes are just less than 10,000 pounds. The last thing you want are the doors to sink down so low you can't get them open! Click here for more information on placing containers and click here for more information on blocking them.
4. Not planning before burying containers. Containers can be great storm shelters, but you need to plan and prep before just dropping one in a hole. All the strength in containers is in the floor and the 4 corner posts, not in the walls and roof of the container. Also, you want to make sure you prep the containers so it has additional protection against the additional moisture it will run into being buried. Click here for more information on turning a container in a storm shelter or root cellar.
5. Not calling in the experts when you need them. If you are getting a container for extra storage and are simply putting your container in place and using it, there isn't much extra help you need. But, if you are planning to make a house, cabin, office or other structure out of the container, you may need to bring in reinforcements. This can as simple as bringing in an electrician to do the wiring correctly or hiring a welder to safely remove the pieces of the container you need taken out. Or, it can be as involved as hiring an architect if you plan on making a full house of containers. The appeal to many people of using a container is that they can do work on it themselves. Which is often very true. But, if you are cutting out full sides of the container, stacking them or doing other modifications that compromise the integrity of the container, you really need to have an architect or structural engineer help you with the plans. The last thing you want is for the house to collapse on you and your loved ones.
If you avoid these 5 mistakes, you should be on your way to getting a container that will last you many years to come.