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Shipping Containers: a buyer’s guide

stacked shipping containers

Last Updated on January 19, 2024

Shipping containers are like a Swiss army knife, with a range of opportunities and possibilities they give you for storage. All you have to do is be creative!

Why are shipping containers so perfect for storing your belongings? They are weatherproof and theft-proof, so you will never worry about sleeping with one eye open. Moreover, the container padlock is there for extra security.

The sky is the limit with shipping containers. You can increase the options for physical retail space locations or simply have weatherproof and watertight protection for items for long-term secure storage.

“Okay, I’ll just go ahead and order a shipping container then.” Well, things are rarely as easy as they seem, as there are some tips, tricks, and little nuggets you need to understand before you buy your shipping container, and we’ve got exactly what you need to know as a buyer when looking for shipping containers for sale.

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What are the benefits of buying shipping containers?

Shipping containers have always been an important part of global trade. Used to transport goods all over the world, trade between countries would have been way different, maybe nonexistent!

The benefits of shipping containers go way beyond just storage and transportation, though. Perhaps the most obvious benefit is that containers are incredibly sturdy and weatherproof. From being shipped long distances overseas, to handling grueling weather conditions, they can handle it all. This makes them perfect for storing and shipping goods all over the world.

Another big benefit of using shipping containers is that they won’t break the bank compared to your other options for secure storage. Let’s face it, life is getting more and more expensive by the minute and few of us are willing to build a traditional storage facility or even use site storage, so buying or renting a container is a way more affordable option, and because they are so sturdy, you can use fewer containers to store the same amount of goods as you would in a traditional storage facility.

Another thing you need to know is that not all shipping containers were created equal. First, they come in several sizes, from small containers to large high cube boxes. This allows you to create a storage solution that perfectly fits your needs. If you need a container for storing a couple of chairs, you don’t need one big enough to fit an entire classroom. Beyond size and storage capacity, there are many different options for container customisations, from tunnel boxes to side openings and even open-top boxes.

Speaking of customisation, it’s better to add on the extra lock box on the door when purchasing the container. This will lead to much better security.

Shipping Container Gallery

When Buying a Shipping Container, Reviews and Reputation Are Everything

Just like trying out a new restaurant on Doordash, when it comes to shipping containers, it is vital to buy from a seller with a good reputation and lots of reviews. Nobody wants low quality, and this is how you avoid that scenario.

A reputable seller will have a history of selling high-quality containers, and they will also have many reviews from happy customers. It’s just our nature at this point, but when we see many good reviews, we’re instantly more likely to buy from this seller because it must mean that their products are good. Purely marketing psychology? Maybe, but it works.

Trust is another major factor because you don’t want to end up with a shipping container that is defective or doesn’t meet your needs. A defective container can be a disaster if you decide to convert it into a home, for example.

Additionally, reputable sellers and good customer service come hand-in-hand, so you will most likely be satisfied with the entire process.

What Are Other Uses for Shipping Containers?

Everyone knows that shipping containers belong on, well, a ship! So, they are used by shipping lines, but outside of the high seas, they are used for far more than just storage. 

Converting shipping containers is a thing, so they can be turned into homes, offices, or even classrooms. Some people have even turned them into swimming pools! What you can do with a shipping container is pretty much only limited by your imagination.

So, if you have a knack for creativity and are looking for something new and exciting, a converted shipping container can be the perfect solution.

Find out more about converted shipping containers…

Chemical storage container from Billie Box
Chemical storage container, converted by Billie Box Ltd

Should I Buy a Used Or New Shipping Container?

Shipping containers and cars are alike in the sense that you can save money by buying a used shipping container, and you won’t lose out on quality, but make sure you and the seller check the condition of the used container before you buy.

The inspection process is paramount because if your used shipping container is in bad condition, you can run into a truckload of problems that could get catastrophic. This is because there can be a lot of wear and tear on a used container, and if it’s not inspected properly, you could end up with a dud. A few bends and scratches are fine, but consider the consequences of a dud if you’re using your container as a living or working space. So, check, check, check!

Even used, how many years will your shipping container last? Well, years, if not decades. These things are built to last, and if they can handle literal storms on the ocean, we bet they can handle some rainfall and a windy week. So, again, you have to buy your shipping container from a reputable seller so you can guarantee this long-lasting condition.

MSC container ship
Shipping Containers have facilitated global trade for decades

With Shipping Containers, Size Matters

As we’ve mentioned, shipping containers come in all shapes and sizes and you don’t want to buy a container that is too small to fit all of your goods inside, but you also don’t want to buy a shipping container that is too big. For one, it will take up too much space that you don’t need. Plus, it will be needlessly more expensive.

So, what’s the best way to find the right shipping container size? Consulting with a specialist like Billie Box, of course! We can help you find the right size and type of shipping container for your needs.


Ultimately, the wide variety of benefits and uses make shipping containers an attractive option for many buyers. If you’re interested in exploring the possibilities that shipping containers have to offer, it’s important to find the right container for your needs and to learn a little about container care. By following the tips we’ve shared, you’ll be on your way to saving money and getting the most out of your shipping container purchase. 

Contact us today for a fast quote on the perfect shipping container for your needs…

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