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A Comprehensive Guide to Shipping Container Sales

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Containers have become increasingly popular in various industries due to their versatility, durability and cost-effectiveness. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of purchasing a container, discussing important factors such as container sizes, types, delivery times and modifications.

How to Buy a Container

Buying a container involves a few steps:

  1. Begin by determining your specific needs, such as the purpose of the container, size requirements, and any necessary modifications.
  2. Next, research reputable container companies that offer a wide selection of containers.
  3. You can request a quote, ask for clarification on container sizes and measurements, and visit a branch location to see the containers for yourself.
  4. Prepare for your container to be delivered. Your container will need to sit on even and stable ground. Ensure that container delivery trucks can easily access your preferred location and that no gates, fences or debris obstruct the route.
Two shipping containers rest on top of each other in a yard lot.
The process of purchasing a container requires thoughtful evaluation of your requirements, the choice of an appropriate container size and type, and verification of the container provider’s authenticity.

What Sizes Do Containers Come In?

Containers come in various sizes to accommodate unique needs. The most common sizes are 20ft and 40ft containers. The standard height for most containers is 8.5 feet, but some variations, called high-cube containers, offer an extra foot of height for specialized purposes.

Additionally, companies may provide smaller sizes like 10-foot containers or larger ones exceeding 40 feet. Consider your space limitations and intended use when selecting the appropriate container size. You can find a complete list of our container measurements here.

What’s the Difference Between Types of Containers?

Container sellers typically have several grades for categorizing their different containers for rent and sale. Container grades help you understand your container’s condition before renting, buying or modifying.

One-Trip Containers

These are the newest containers available for rent or purchase. One-trip containers are called that because they have only been used for cargo shipping for one trip. The largest producers of shipping containers are in China and India.

If container buyers in America want a brand-new container, there aren’t many options. One-trip containers are of exceptional quality and are the best option if you’re interested in modifying a container or plan to place your container in a location with public visibility.

Refurbished Containers

Refurbished containers are older containers that have had a tune-up. We remove surface rust, give them a fresh coat of paint, and can even add your company’s logo if you desire.

These containers are older, but because of our work in restoring them, they’ll continue to provide secure and effective weatherproof storage for years to come.

As-Is Containers

Containers need a base level that gives customers an idea of how well it will protect stored material. As-Is containers are guaranteed to keep stored materials dry and safe from environmental effects. They may have surface dents and rust but still reliably serve their purpose.

If you aim for a sleek appearance, you may opt for a one-trip or refurbished container to achieve that polished look. On the other hand, if your primary concern is secure storage at a reasonable cost, As-Is containers will serve you well.

A rough-looking as-is container resting under a blue clouded sky.
Shipping containers for sale come in various sizes and conditions. Whether you want a 20ft shipping container for short-term storage, a high cube container for specialized storage, or a modified container tailored to your preferences, we can help you find exactly what you need.

Beware of Scammers

When purchasing a container, you must ensure you’re dealing with a legitimate and reliable provider. Sites like Facebook Marketplace can offer incredible deals on containers. However, it’s wise to be skeptical of prices significantly lower than market value.

Container scams have increased in frequency, taking hard-earned money from many people. Be wary of any company pressuring you to pay quickly or requesting you pay through unusual channels like prepaid Visa cards or with cryptocurrency.

Always ask if you can look at the containers before purchasing. Fraudulent container sellers can steal pictures from legitimate sellers to make it appear like they have a wide selection of containers.

Look for companies with a solid reputation, positive customer reviews, and a strong record of accomplishment in the industry. Check if they are certified and registered with organizations like the Better Business Bureau. If something doesn’t seem right, don’t risk your money, and find a seller that you can trust.

How Quickly Can I Get My Container?

The delivery time for containers varies depending on factors such as availability, customization requirements, and your location. Reputable container companies typically provide estimated delivery dates during the purchasing process.

Standard containers usually have shorter lead times compared to customized or modified containers. It’s important to discuss delivery timelines to manage your expectations and plan accordingly.

At Southwest Mobile Storage, you can trust our container sales services. You can always talk to your dedicated container representative, who can provide you with pricing and delivery estimates. We try to provide you with a delivery window a day before your delivery, so you can better plan for the container’s arrival.

What Are Some Modifications I Can Add to My Container?

Containers offer tremendous flexibility for customization. Whether you’re looking to convert a container into a mobile office, a pop-up shop, or something unique, we can modify it to your specifications. Common modifications include installing windows, doors, insulation, electrical wiring, plumbing, shelving and HVAC (Heating, ventilation and air conditioning).


Buying a container involves careful consideration of your needs, selecting the right size and type, and ensuring the legitimacy of the container company. Research reputable companies, compare prices and read customer reviews to make an informed decision.

Consider delivery times and discuss any required modifications with the company. By following these steps, you’ll be well-prepared to purchase a container that suits your needs, whether for shipping, storage or a customized project.

At Southwest Mobile Storage, our container experts have many years of combined experience in the industry. Combined with our 90,000 sq ft indoor fabrication facility, we can reliably help you with your container needs, whether you need a short-term rental for storage or want to buy a container for yourself.

Remember, a container can provide an excellent solution for your business, personal or creative endeavors. Talk with us today about your container needs. We’re happy to help you identify the type of container that would work best in your situation.

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