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The Saner Container

7 Questions to Answer Before Buying a Shipping Container

Are you thinking of buying a shipping container? Whether you are looking for a sturdy storage solution or planning to modify a container for an office or workshop there are several things to keep in mind when selecting the right container for your needs. In this article, we’ll cover what questions to ask and what you need to know when making your purchase.

What am I going to use it for?

Container under the Stone Arch BridgeHow you plan to use your shipping container will determine what container will be best suited for your needs and what you will need to do to plan for your container.. If you know how you will use the container, you will be better situated to figure out everything else below. If you are using the container for storing garage items, you will have different needs from someone looking to make a highly specialized and modified container for industrial purposes. 

Some important considerations to get you started should include the size, how it looks, specializations or modifications, and how and where it will ship from. The more you think about what is essential in your shipping container and the end goal, the easier it will be to specify what is right for you.


What size do I need?

stacked shipping containers in a dirt lotMost containers come in 20’ and 40’ long and either 8’6” high or the 40’s coming in 9’6” high. There are some specialty containers that are 45’ long. All of them are 8’ wide. These are external dimensions. What you will want to know when buying a shipping container is what size will fit your needs and what size will fit where you want to put it?



What type of container do I need?No Bull side view

Are you looking for a regular container with doors on one short end? Do you need a container with specializations such as doors on one long side, a tarp instead of a roof, or a removable steel roof? It's good to know that these additional features have associated costs. If you are looking for something beyond this, you will be looking at modifications.

What condition do I need?

Do you want your container to be fresh, clean and new (one-trip/”new”)? Does it matter if the container is used and has some rust and dents? Used containers are often painted, but it is easy enough to repaint your container once you’ve received it.

Do I need modifications and if so, who will do them?

Teal 40HC with window and ACDo you need to add something to the container to make it work better for you? This could be anything from doors, windows, insulation, heating or air conditioning or combining multiple container units together. If you would like your container modified, you will then need to determine if you want the modifications to be done before the container is delivered or if you plan to make modifications yourself.

See Our Pre-Made Shipping Container Modification Kits


If you would like our help with doing the modifications, we can help with as much or as little as you would like. We do not do design work, so you would need to provide us with a drawing showing us where you would like the modifications to be done so we can price them out for you. Give us a call and we'll help you get started on the process.

How will my container get where I need it? shipping container on a truck

Think about your property and where the container will go. The container will arrive on a very large truck and will need to be able to access that space. For reference, with a normal delivery a truck needs 80’ to 130’ to get it off the truck and onto the ground. See our video on how containers are delivered by truck.

When buying a shipping container and inquiring about pricing, reputable companies will ask where you are located. This is because delivery rates are based on how far their trucks must go to get the container to you. Also, rates on containers vary from market to market. Without at least a city and state or a zip code, it would be impossible to give a ballpark rate given both the container rate and the trucking rate.

Where can I buy a container from?

Once you've specified what you want in a container, you'll look at options on where to get it from. Cost will certainly play a factor in your decision, but the vendor's or seller's reputability has become increasingly important as scammers in this industry are on the rise. Sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are increasingly unsafe and a common place for scammers to try to scam potential buyers.

Here are some things to watch out for: 

  • Companies with incomplete information (no names or phone number)
  • Companies that seem to have no history
  • As you talk more about the order, they do not ask any questions about your property for the delivery
  • The ad lists a description of one container with a picture of a completely different type of container 
  • Too good to be true pricing

A good vendor will have all of their information readily available. They will share how long they’ve been in business and details on their history and team members, the real people who work there. They will be asking you questions about your container purchase and delivery. A great place to verify a reliable vendor is on Members of the National Portable Storage Association -

Katie+and+Julia+in+front+of+a+Super+Cubes+container+used+for+interior+designIf you have questions on shipping containers and choosing the right option for you, we can help. Super Cubes helps individuals and organizations source and obtain the right shipping container solutions for their unique needs. Reach out to our experienced team to get started.

Super Cubes is a family-owned business located in Minneapolis, MN, that provides containers anywhere in the continental US. We offer personalized service for individuals and businesses, providing high-quality containers at competitive prices. With nationwide facilities, we can modify and deliver containers close to you. Contact our experienced team for your next container project.

Post by Super Cubes
December 20, 2023