15 Tips for Negotiating Used Shipping Container Prices

Shipping Containers Depot

Did you know over 17 million shipping containers are circulating globally, yet only 6 million are in use? That’s a surplus of possibilities for you.

You’re about to dive into an innovative, cost-effective solution for space needs. In this guide, we’re going to give you 15 detailed, analytical tips to negotiate the best price for used shipping containers.

You’ll uncover how to identify potential suppliers, assess container condition, and navigate the negotiation process effectively.

Let’s help you transform these steel giants into your next business investment, residential project, or unique storage solution, while keeping your wallet happy.

Key Takeaways

  • Use platforms like Craigslist and eBay to find deals and showcase alternative quotes.
  • Consider local storage companies and firms near ports as potential suppliers.
  • Scrutinize the structural integrity and rust levels of potential shipping containers.
  • Evaluate the levels of rust on the interior and exterior of the container.

Understanding Shipping Container Market

Before delving into the art of negotiation, it’s crucial for you to get a solid grasp on the shipping container market. Understand the nuances – condition, source, size, and even delivery fees can influence cost.

Be diligent, maintain a detailed inspection record for used containers. Look beyond the exterior, inspect cargo doors and interiors for issues like water ingress.

Use innovative platforms like Craigslist and eBay to not just find deals but to also showcase alternative quotes, aiding your negotiation. Remember, expressing long-term interest can tilt the scale in your favor.

Local suppliers are gems often overlooked; reach out to storage companies and local container companies.

Finding Reliable Container Suppliers

To find reliable container suppliers, you’ll need to broaden your search beyond just online platforms. Consider local storage companies, explore firms near ports, and use Google to expand your search.

But your work doesn’t stop there. Visiting supplier websites can offer insight into their reputation and reliability. Emphasize urgency in your communications to ensure prompt responses.

To help, see the table below:

MethodAdvantageHow to Execute
Local Storage CompaniesOften offer payment flexibilityContact directly
Port-adjacent FirmsAccess to varietyVisit in person
Google SearchBroad range of suppliersUse relevant keywords
Website VisitsUnderstand reputationAnalyze content
Direct PurchaseBypass middlemenContact manufacturers

With diligence, you’ll find reliable suppliers to negotiate your used shipping container prices effectively.

Assessing Container’s Condition

Now, let’s talk about sizing up the condition of your potential shipping container.

You’ll want to be on the lookout for visible damages. Scrutinize the structural integrity and consider rust levels.

Each of these factors can either be a deal breaker or a gateway to negotiate a better price, so pay close attention.

Identifying Visible Damages

First off, you’ll need to meticulously check for any visible damages on the used shipping container. Inspect the angles, make sure they’re close to a perfect 90 degrees. Next, assess cargo doors. Are they functioning well? Are the rubber seals intact?

Don’t forget the interior. Use a flashlight to spot any holes where light might be entering. Remember, where light enters, water can too.

Careful assessment of container’s condition is essential. Use the following table as a quick checklist:

Exterior InspectionInterior Inspection
Angles near 90 degreesNo Light Penetration
Functional DoorsNo Water Entry Points
Intact Rubber Seals

This detailed analysis will surely lead you towards a better negotiation of the used shipping container prices.

Checking Structural Integrity

Checking the structural integrity of a used shipping container is your next crucial step, and it’s one you can’t afford to skip. Inspect the exterior carefully, ensuring angles align closely to 90 degrees. This is a clear gauge of the container’s structural strength. Don’t overlook the cargo doors either. Check for proper functionality and intact rubber seals, as these elements directly impact the container’s overall condition.

Next, grab your flashlight and meticulously inspect the interior. Look for any holes where light can enter. Water ingress through these holes can seriously compromise the structural integrity. Weigh the implications of this carefully in your purchase decision.

Evaluating Rust Levels

When you’re assessing a container’s condition, it’s essential to evaluate the levels of rust, as too much can significantly reduce its lifespan and functionality. Don’t just skim the surface; inspect every nook and cranny.

Armed with a flashlight, probe the interior for rust spots, paying close attention to areas around holes where water could enter. On the exterior, ensure angles hold close to 90 degrees, indicating minimal rust-induced damage. Examine the cargo doors, noting any rusty hinges that may compromise functionality.

Importance of Container Inspection

Don’t underestimate the significance of a thorough container inspection.

This vital step can help you avoid unpredictable costs, identify structural flaws, and predict the container’s lifespan.

Inspection Reduces Unexpected Costs

By conducting a thorough inspection of your potential shipping container, you’ll drastically reduce the chance of encountering unexpected costs down the line. This essential step allows you to spot potential issues, from exterior damage to interior wear.

Pay particular attention to the cargo doors and any signs of water intrusion. A leaky container can lead to significant damage, inflating your costs and potentially rendering the container unusable. By illuminating these issues before you make a purchase, you’re not just saving money – you’re also ensuring the longevity of your investment.

In essence, your eye for detail during the inspection can make the difference between a wise purchase and a costly mistake. Remember, a well-inspected container isn’t just a smart buy, it’s an innovative solution.

Identifying Structural Defects

Now, let’s delve into the crucial aspect of identifying potential structural defects, as this can significantly impact the overall value and safety of your used shipping container. A meticulous inspection focused on the container’s exterior angles, cargo doors, and interior can save you from unexpected costs and risks.

Inspection AreaDefect Implication
Exterior AnglesWeak structural integrity
Cargo DoorsCompromised watertightness
InteriorPotential leaks

Ensure the angles are near 90 degrees as deviations can indicate structural weakness. Check the cargo doors for intact rubber seals and functionality – compromised doors can lead to water ingress. Use a flashlight to inspect the interior for any holes – water entering can have serious implications. Remember, a thorough inspection helps you negotiate a fair price and guarantees a safe, quality container.

Determining Container Lifespan

In assessing the lifespan of a used shipping container, it’s crucial to understand the importance of a thorough inspection. You’ll want to scrutinize the exterior, checking if angles are close to 90 degrees, which indicates structural integrity. Pay special attention to the cargo doors. Are they functioning properly? Are the rubber seals intact to prevent water ingress?

Inside, use a flashlight to inspect for holes that could let in light and lead to potential water damage. Water entering these holes could severely hamper the container’s suitability for your needs.

Choosing Right Container Size

Understanding the importance of container size is your first step towards obtaining the best deal on used shipping containers. A larger container generally costs more than a smaller one, so you must consider your specific needs for your project. Calculate your overall budget based on this size, this will guide your choice for storage or construction purposes.

Knowledge of the market and choosing the right carrier is crucial as container shipping rates are influenced by size. Consider engaging freight forwarders to optimize logistics and explore alternative routes and ports, again influenced by your container’s size.

Negotiate long-term contracts and review them regularly to ensure agreed terms, including size, are met. This strategic approach ensures you choose the right container size for optimal savings.

Selecting Container Based on Needs

When choosing your container, it’s crucial to keep your specific needs front and center. You’ll need to thoroughly assess the size and condition, as these factors heavily influence the container’s suitability for your project.

Assessing Container Size

Before diving into price negotiations, you’ll need to assess your specific container size requirements based on your project’s storage or construction needs. This process involves a careful evaluation of your intended use for the container and an understanding of the cost differences between various container sizes.

Here are three essential steps for you to follow:

  1. Identify your project’s specific dimensions. This helps you select the perfect container that aligns with these needs.
  2. Consider the capacity and space requirements. This ensures you’re not paying for unnecessary excess space.
  3. Understand the cost difference. This enables you to choose a container that fits your budget and requirements.

Condition Importance

You’ll find that the condition of a used shipping container is a critical factor in meeting your project needs and optimizing your budget. An exterior inspection should be your starting point. Look for visible signs of wear or damage that could impact the container’s lifespan.

Pay keen attention to the cargo doors and interior, as these areas often show the true story of a container’s past. Be vigilant for any water entry points, like holes, as these can lead to water damage and ruin your project.

Before negotiating the price, understand that the overall condition directly impacts the container’s value and potential use. Remember, the key to selecting the right shipping container lies in understanding your specific project needs and the container’s condition.

Specific Usage Considerations

Understanding your project’s specific needs is the next crucial step in selecting the right shipping container and successfully negotiating its price. You must evaluate your unique demands meticulously and align them with the container’s size, condition, and potential for customization.

Consider the following steps to streamline your selection process:

  1. Evaluate the container’s condition thoroughly, inspecting both its interior and exterior. Be on the lookout for water damage and ensure its structural integrity.
  2. Determine the level of customization or modifications required, considering your project’s specifics. Can the container accommodate these modifications?
  3. Factor in any necessary repairs or remediation for the container’s new purpose. Remember, these costs and logistics can influence the final price, so plan accordingly.

These considerations can pave the way to a successful negotiation.

Leveraging Local Suppliers

When looking to negotiate used shipping container prices, it’s crucial to leverage local suppliers for the best deals and options. They offer customization, familiarity with local regulations, and reduced transportation costs. Plus, their proximity to ports and intermodal facilities means a wider selection for you.

Consider the table below to visualize the benefits:

BenefitDetailsHow it Helps
Better DealsLocal suppliers often provide competitive pricesLower cost for you
CustomizationLocal suppliers can tailor to your needsGet exactly what you want
Local RegulationsSuppliers are familiar with local rulesLess hassle for you
SelectionProximity to ports means more varietyMore options to choose from
ReviewsEasier to check local supplier reputationIncreased trust and reliability

Identifying Additional Features

So, what additional features should you be eyeing while negotiating the price of used shipping containers?

  1. Utility Integration: Check for ports that support electricity, plumbing, or HVAC systems. These integrations can save you future modification costs.
  2. Custom Features: Things like special doors, window cutouts, ramps, or shelving can add significant value. Also, consider if the container is refrigerated, especially if you’re planning for perishable goods storage.
  3. ISO-Certification: ISO-certified containers meet international standards for size and durability. They’re available in 20ft and 40ft sizes and are worth paying a bit more.

Remember to align these features with your project’s specific needs. You’re not just buying a container; you’re investing in a solution that can be innovative and efficient.

Tactics for Effective Negotiation

Mastering the art of negotiation is a critical skill when shopping for used shipping containers. Understanding the seller’s perspective and motivations can give you an upper hand, allowing you to craft strategies that appeal to their interests.

Equally important is the ability to communicate persuasively, highlighting your needs while respecting the seller’s bottom line.

Understanding Seller’s Perspective

Although you’re eager to get the best price, remember that the seller is also trying to turn a profit, so it’s crucial to negotiate with this in mind. Understanding the seller’s perspective can help you develop effective negotiation tactics.

  1. Patience is Key: Don’t rush to seal the deal. Expressing your willingness to wait might make the seller more open to negotiation.
  2. Inquire about Discounts: Be proactive and ask about any available discounts. Some sellers offer concessions for veterans or first responders.
  3. Effective Communication: Be clear about your quest for the best price. Sellers will appreciate your honesty and might be more willing to negotiate.

Mastering Persuasive Communication

In your journey to negotiate the best price for a used shipping container, mastering persuasive communication is a crucial step you can’t afford to overlook. You need to clearly express your goal, demonstrate flexibility, and inquire about potential discounts.

Considering Delivery Fees

When thinking about the price of a used shipping container, don’t overlook the potential impact of delivery fees on your total cost. These charges can notably vary based on different factors.

  1. Location: Consider the distance from your site to the supplier’s. The farther away, the higher the delivery cost could be.
  2. Supplier’s Policy: Some suppliers may offer free or discounted delivery options. Inquire about these to potentially reduce your expenses.
  3. Negotiation: Don’t shy away from negotiating delivery costs. A well-argued case could lead to a more favorable deal.

Analyzing New Vs. Used Containers

Moving on from delivery fees, it’s crucial for you to weigh the pros and cons of new versus used shipping containers before you settle on a purchase.

Used containers are typically cheaper, but their lifespan may be limited due to wear and tear, while new ones are pricier but offer longevity. Carefully inspect used containers for corrosion, dents, and rust, ensuring they meet your standards.

When deciding, factor in your budget and size needs. Also, consider the container’s potential amenities like utility integration ports, window cutouts, or refrigeration. These extras may influence cost but enhance usefulness.

Impact of Amenities on Price

Beyond the basic cost, you’ll need to consider how the amenities and extras of a shipping container can influence the final price. The useful features that make your container more versatile and valuable can up the ante.

  1. Utility Integration Ports and Special Doors: These can significantly impact the price. However, they provide flexibility and convenience, which may be crucial for your operations.
  2. Refrigeration and Insulation: Essential for specific storage needs, these amenities can bump up the cost. Yet, they might be necessary for preserving your goods.
  3. Humidity Reduction Features: These are particularly vital for sensitive items and can affect the price. But preventing humidity is essential for long-term preservation.

Gauge your needs carefully before finalizing a purchase. Remember: the right amenities are an investment in functionality.

Comparing Quotes From Multiple Suppliers

In your quest for a used shipping container, it’s crucial to gather quotes from multiple suppliers. This strategy ensures you’re not only getting the best deal, but also allows for bargaining power. Consider negotiating for discounts or added services like delivery or modifications.

Savvy buyers might also look for off-peak season deals for more favorable prices. Additionally, don’t overlook suppliers offering package deals or promotions. These could significantly reduce your overall costs.

Lastly, use customer reviews and testimonials to gauge a supplier’s reliability. Remember, the cheapest quote isn’t always the best. Quality and dependability are equally important. Comparing quotes meticulously will aid in making an informed, innovative purchase decision.

Planning for Container Security and Modifications

How will you plan for container security and modifications in your used shipping container project? This is a critical phase where innovation and strategic thinking are paramount.

  1. First, consider potential customization and modifications. You’re not just buying a container, you’re investing in a flexible, adaptable space that can meet your unique needs.
  2. Second, plan for any necessary remediation or repairs prior to use. Don’t let unforeseen damage derail your project.
  3. Lastly, don’t overlook delivery and transportation logistics.

Remember, understanding the specific needs of your project is crucial. As you navigate these steps, keep your project’s requirements at the forefront of your decisions.

With careful planning and a bit of creativity, you can secure and modify your container to realize your vision.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Prices for Second Hand Shipping Containers?

You’re looking at a wide price range for used shipping containers. It varies based on condition, size, and any extras included. Expect to pay anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. It’s quite negotiable.

Are Used Shipping Containers Coming Down in Price?

You’re observing market trends keenly, aren’t you? While it’s challenging to predict if used shipping container prices will decrease, factors like condition, age, and market demand will continue to influence their cost.

What Is the Average Value of a Shipping Container?

You’re looking at an average value of a shipping container, right? It’s not fixed. It fluctuates based on condition, source, added features, size, and delivery costs. It’s an intricate balance to strike.

How Much Does a 40-Foot Container Cost?

A 40-foot container’s cost can vary greatly. It’s influenced by its condition, source, amenities, and delivery fees. Remember to consider the seller’s reputation and location, and the specific needs for your storage or construction project.


In wrapping up, don’t underestimate the importance of thorough research and negotiation when buying used shipping containers.

Prioritize the condition, size, and any extra amenities of the container.

Always compare quotes from various suppliers and consider the impact of modifications and security on the final price.

Remember, buying used can be cost-effective and sustainable, but ensure the supplier is reputable.

Happy hunting!

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