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How much should I pay for a 20’ shipping container?

Billie Box, second hand containers,

Last Updated on March 5, 2024

Many of you are probably finding it difficult to work out how much you should pay for a 20ft container. With our expert knowledge (nearly 60 years of combined container experience) we are here to give you some guidance.

There are many factors that contribute to the price of a 20’ shipping container.

  1. Material costs – Again if material costs such as Cor-ten steel and plywood are low, then the build cost will be lower and equally if the material costs are higher the build cost will be increased in prices.
  2. Labour rates – Around  90% of all the container production is carried out in China. The Chinese decide on how much they pay their workers and this decided on how much workload they have.
  3. Shipping Costs – For many years the new containers have been shipped with 1 cargo and the shipping costs have been swallowed up by the shipper. These containers are known as ‘Once used’.  However, if things like war and other worldwide issues occur, then the shippers may well charge for the carriage of the cargo, which will add to the cost of a container. 2024 has seen the Houthi rebels cause mayhem with the vessels coming from China to Europe and this has caused the shippers to divert their ships around the Cape of Good Hope. This has caused delays in getting the new ‘one trip’ containers into the UK and this has caused a supply and demand issue.
  4. Supply and Demand – If there is a huge glut of containers available for sale, then the price will be low. If there is low availability then the price will be higher.
  5. The used container prices take their lead from the cost of a new ‘one trip or once used’ container. If there are low volumes of new units then customers will go for a used one, which can drive up the price.
  6. Container prices can vary depending where the containers are in the UK. For example in Felixstowe, where a large number of containers are dropped off, can be cheaper than other inland locations like Birmingham, where the container has been trucked in, therefore adding extra costs.
  7. Container conversions certainly can increase the value of a container. With extra work and additions made to the container it can increase the price. We convert a new ‘once used’ container into portable offices, where we insulate them and add electrics etc.
  8. Locations can play an important role eg.if the country you are taking the container out of and into is not particularly busy with imports and exports, then there will be extra charges added to the container to cover the shipping costs.

Condition of the container

  1. The condition of a container can certainly impact the price of a container. For example if the container has become so old and there are a number of rust surrounding holes in the container, this can mean that the container is past its economical repair. A container like this will be extremely cheap. However, if a container has been built in China and used for ‘one trip’ then it will the top value.
  2. We only sell watertight and structurally sound containers, either used, approximately 13-15 years old or new ‘one trip’ units. There is about a difference of £1000 between the 2 types of container. 
  3. All are containers are checked over by our expert repairers before they leave our factories and depots, to ensure quality control.


  1. Shipping containers can be adapted to be used as other facilities such as portable offices, chemical stores, snack shacks, farm shops etc.
  2. When you convert a container, there will inevitably be extra costs, for both materials and labour.
  3. When you put a window or a personnel door into a container, this will certain add value both the cost and what it is worth when selling it on.

Price Ranges

  1. A used container can range from £800 up to £1900 per standard 20ft. 
  2. A new ‘one trip’ container can range from £1200 up to £3500 per standard 20ft
  3. The prices are determined by all of the above factors

Tips for making an informed purchase

  1. Make sure you have a budget and ensure you are asking for the correct specification. Make sure you are not comparing ‘apples with pears’ when looking at the different suppliers.
  2. We recommend you do your research
  3. We recommend you get at least 3 quotes. Compare prices and what service each company are offering you.
  4. Look at the companies you are dealing with, make sure they have a good reputation. Check out their Google testimonials for example. See what their customers are saying about them.
  5. We are a family run business and try to be as helpful as we can, giving you the best experience possible.
  6. Check out which organisations the container companies are associated with eg. We are members of the British Chamber of Commerce. The chamber does due diligence on their members.

We are Billie Box Ltd. a family run business with expert knowledge and traditional values.

We offer:

🔵 20ft & 40ft Shipping Container for storage for hire

🔵 20ft & 40ft Shipping Container for storage for sale

🔵 10ft & 20ft Chemical storage Containers for sale

🔵 20ft Portable Container Offices for sale

🔵 Bespoke Container Conversions

🔵 All with delivery to your door

📞 👉 Call us on 0800 121 7388 or visit our websites: