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FAQs Before You Buy or Modify a Container

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Whether you’re looking for storage space or want to accomplish a creative DIY project, purchasing or modifying a container can be an excellent investment. At Southwest Mobile Storage, we provide containers for purchase across the United States. We have branches in Phoenix, Tucson, Denver, Los Angeles and San Diego.

Buying or modifying a container can be a big step for your company or operation, so it’s important to research and make an informed decision. You might have a few questions as you navigate the container-buying experience. No worries, we’ve got your back! Let’s take a closer look at what goes into a shipping container purchase and what types of modifications are possible.

7 Most Asked Questions About Container Purchases

Here are the seven most asked questions about buying shipping containers from Southwest Mobile Storage.

1. How much is a new one-trip container?

The price of a new container depends on several factors:

  • Your location
  • Our current inventory availability
  • Market rates
  • Add-on options you choose

If you decide to add modifications to your container, it will cost more than a standard container. One-trip containers are the best value as they have only made one cargo trip, so they’re the newest possible option to buy in the United States. Get in touch with one of our sales representatives and we can give you a quote.

2. How much is it to buy a used container?

In addition to the factors mentioned above, the price of a used container depends on the condition of the container and whether you want to modify it. We offer wind and watertight (WWT) and refurbished containers for sale as part of our used inventory. Contact a sales representative today for a quote.

3. Can I see a storage container before I buy one?

Yes. You can view containers for sale at any of our container show yards in Phoenix, Tucson, San Diego, Los Angeles or Denver. There, you can see the different types of shipping containers we offer, and we can help you choose the right one for your needs.

4. Do you offer a guarantee when I buy a container?

Yes. When you buy a shipping container from us, we offer a six-month warranty on wind and weather-tight (WWT) containers and a one-year warranty on refurbished containers.

5. After I buy a container, can you move it for me?

Yes. So long as the container is in good condition, we can pick it up and relocate it for a charge. We can move 20 ft. units if the contents of the container are secured. However, we cannot move 40 ft. units unless they are completely empty. Call us at 800-686-9114 for a transportation quote.

6. Do you buy a container back if I want to sell it?

We may buy back your used shipping containers. However, it depends on its current condition, our inventory and the conditions of the container market.

7. Can modifications be made to a shipping container I want to purchase?

Yes. We offer a wide selection of modifications to a container, from custom roll-up doors to windows and personnel doors. Tell us about the intended use of your container, and an experienced sales representative will contact you regarding modification availability and pricing.

A forklift lifting a beige shipping container.
Our newest containers are “one-trip” containers that are manufactured overseas and arrive at our branches after one cargo trip. We also offer a variety of refurbished and wind and weather-tight containers for customers looking to buy a used container.

7 Commonly Asked Questions About Shipping Container Modifications

On top of selling containers, Southwest Mobile Storage modifies containers for use in various applications. Modifying containers on your own requires heavy equipment and specialized training. Our team has a depth of professional welding experience, more than 500 years of combined experience in custom container modifications, and a 90,000 sq ft fabrication center with unrivaled modification capabilities. Below are seven frequently asked questions you may have if you want to buy and modify a container with SMS:

1. What are your most common container modifications?

The most common container modifications at SMS involve adding windows or doors. Roll-up and personnel doors allow easy access if you want to modify a container that gets a lot of foot traffic. Opening and closing traditional cargo doors can be frustrating if your container must be opened and closed several times during a workday. Other common modifications include adding rooftop “whirlybird” turbine vents, interior lighting or insulation. These modifications help temperature-control the interior of your container and improve overall airflow.

2. Do I need a design or drawing for my custom container?

Yes. We need you to provide a basic design so we have an idea of what you want. We have engineers on staff who can work with you on your project. However, we don’t provide engineered or CAD drawings. If you request any changes, we can draft the rest of your design based on your wishes. We also don’t correspond with city or state zoning and permitting departments.

3. Do you require a deposit for custom containers?

Yes. When you modify a container with SMS, we ask that you pay 50% of the total cost of your container modification before we begin construction. Once completed, the final 50% of your custom container is due before we ship it to you.

4. Do you buy back containers that have been modified?

We may buy back a custom container from you, depending on the type of modifications that were made, the current condition of the container, our existing inventory and prevailing market conditions.

5. What size containers do you modify?

We can custom-build and modify a container to any size you need. The possibilities are endless, whether you want door and window modifications or a complex fabrication project: If you can dream it, we can do it!

6. Do you offer a guarantee for modified shipping containers?

Yes. Modified containers from Southwest Mobile Storage come with an industry-standard one-year warranty.

7. I have a large project coming up. Can you handle it?

Our 90,000 sq ft fabrication facility has an extensive staff of certified welders, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, engineers, painters, and fabricators who frequently handle multiple container modification projects. With such a large in-house staff and indoor facility, we can provide you with precise, consistently high-quality custom shipping containers no matter the size of your project.

Related Content

At SMS, we take pride in every container we customize. Watch this short video to see how we modify shipping containers the right way.

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