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Your Guide to Buying a Storage Container

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Do you need secure storage? When storing your valuable possessions or business inventory, you want the peace of mind that your belongings are protected, no matter what. Whether you’re moving to a new location, looking to add storage space, or running a business requiring reliable weatherproof storage, buying a storage container could be the perfect solution.

Shipping containers have revolutionized the storage world, offering unparalleled security and versatility. Initially designed for transporting goods on cargo ships, these robust steel structures have found a new purpose in providing secure and customizable storage spaces. With their sturdy construction and weather-resistant features, shipping containers are built to withstand harsh conditions, ensuring that your belongings remain safe and protected from the elements.

This blog discusses the steps to buying a storage container, how to get a storage container quote, how to prepare for your container to be delivered and more.

3 Steps to Buying a Storage Container

Four beige Southwest Mobile Storage containers stacked on top of each other.
If you’re not sure if you want to buy a container, a storage container rental might work for short-term needs. We offer rental periods as short as 28 days.

1. Identify Your Need

Interesting in buying a storage container? First, identify your storage needs. Think about what you need to store. Is it something that doesn’t require careful attention, like stored construction equipment? Or will you need to store trickier things, like cables, pipes or wires? In that case, you may consider adding specialized storage racks to accommodate those more difficult materials.

2. Speak With a Container Specialist

Next, you’ll want to speak with a container sales representative to receive a quote. If you’re still debating which container would be best for you, they can address your questions and point you toward possible solutions. You may also want to mention if you’ll require packing blankets, dolly ramps or filing cabinets. When you receive a quote, it will detail all the items in your order. It will also include tax and delivery information.

3. Receive Your New Container

Ensure the delivery site is easily accessible and ready to accommodate the container’s arrival. This involves clearing any obstacles, such as debris, vehicles or overhangs that may hinder the delivery process. Additionally, customers should measure their prospective locations to confirm that they can accommodate the container’s dimensions. It’s also essential to communicate location-specific requirements or constraints to the seller beforehand, such as limited delivery hours or special access instructions. Finally, it helps to have someone coordinate delivery when our trucks arrive. By taking these proactive measures, you can ensure your storage container’s seamless and efficient delivery.

What to Look for When Buying a Storage Container

When buying a storage container, there are a few things to consider before making a final decision.


These are the most common shipping container sizes that we rent and sell:

  • 8ft x 8.5ft x 10ft
  • 8ft x 8.5ft x 20ft
  • 8ft x 8.5ft x 40ft

Additionally, we may have uncommon sizes with lengths of 15ft, 24ft and 30ft. We also carry an inventory of “high-cube” containers, which are like traditional sizes, but with an extra foot of height. If you know what you’ll be storing inside your container, you can pick one that will provide the exact type of storage you need.

When deciding on a shipping container size, consider how much you’ll store inside. Typically, a 20ft shipping container will hold the contents of two to three rooms, and a 40ft container will hold four to six rooms worth of storage. This can vary depending on the number of bulk items being stored. If you’re storing materials that require additional space, it might make sense to look at a 40ft high-cube container over a 20ft container.

Smaller containers are helpful because they’re portable. A trade-off occurs for any container longer than 20 feet: We can’t transport loaded containers of that size, meaning that if a portable container is your top priority, a 20ft container is your best option. If you don’t care about moving loaded containers and want to maximize available storage space, a 40ft container might better serve you.


A container’s condition is another key part of the process of buying a storage container. The most significant factor in determining if a container is in usable condition is if the container is wind and weather-tight (WWT). A container is wind and weather-tight when it can stop moisture and harsh winds from affecting the interior of the container. Storage containers are designed with harsh weather conditions in mind. That means that the same components that help shipping containers keep materials safe on a trip across the Pacific also assist you in securely storing goods.

All Southwest Mobile Storage containers are wind and weather-tight, but there are some differences in the physical and aesthetic appearance of the containers we sell. For instance, the highest-quality container we sell is a “one-trip” container. A container of this type has made only one ocean journey and has fresh paint, minor dents and “like new” flooring.

If you don’t mind having a container with dents and surface rust, you might be able to save some money by purchasing what’s known as an “As-Is” container. These containers are left as-is, meaning that beyond ensuring that they’re wind and weather-tight, their quality is the most worn. However, if you’re buying a storage container intending to modify it, a one-trip would work better.


When you get a great price on a shipping container, it feels like a breath of fresh air. However, it’s important to vet sellers before buying, as storage container scams have increased in frequency in recent years. A container that’s priced as an incredible bargain raises red flags. Why are they selling containers for significantly less than any other seller? It may be that their containers are fraudulent. Always make sure to buying from a reputable storage container seller and ensure that you see a container in person before you buy.

You’re always welcome to stop by one of our branch locations to see the containers we have on hand. We’re open Monday through Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Please contact us ahead of time so we can prepare to greet you properly.

A 10ft storage container sitting in a lot under thick clouds at Southwest Mobile Storage.
Storage containers can be found in many different sizes and qualities. This is a 10ft container, which is made by cutting a 20ft container in half.

The Incredible Potential of a Modified Container

The team at Southwest Mobile Storage has the skills and equipment required to modify containers for a variety of uses. From a humble frame, our team of expert fabricators can make even the most complex modifications. We have many years of combined experience in our manufacturing facility. Stellar modification work is our pride. Because it’s a fundamental part of our identity, we do all our modification work in-house.

We know our customers have come to expect a high level of quality when it comes to modification work. Because of this, we don’t outsource to companies that may not have the same standards. We’ve done modification work for private individuals, commercial businesses and government agencies. That means that when you work with us on modifications, you’re dealing with an organization that knows a thing or two about containers.


Buying a secure storage container provides peace of mind, ensuring the protection and organization of your belongings. So, when you have a need for secure storage, consider the steps, factors, and possibilities discussed in this blog to make an informed decision that suits your needs.

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