As trade slowly comes back to normal, with lesser restrictions, the number of containers being imported to carry goods is increasing. These shipping containers can fulfill versatile needs, and be economically and environmentally sustainable space solutions.
They can serve as warehouses for storage or can even be revamped to convert them into fully functional offices, classrooms, multifunctional centers, or restrooms.
However, when you decide to buy a shipping container from outlets such as Mobile Modular Containers, apart from its utility, there are important aspects that should not be ignored.
Make sure you look out for the following before buying:
1. Space and Site Prep
Shipping containers come in various sizes, hence, this is the most crucial parameter to consider. Determine the available space for the container at your site. Remember to check local laws and geographical conditions, and allow some room for additional space.
You might be required to level the land and clear out any unnecessary obstructions to ensure that the container can be installed easily.
2. Size of the Container
Most shipping container dealers offer them in varying sizes and lengths, hence, once you determine the space available on your site, you can zero in the appropriate size of the container. Containers popularly come in 10 feet to 40 feet lengths. You can also find sizes longer than 40 feet and high cube containers (taller than the usual container).
If you're planning to modify the container into an office, food joint, or pop-up store, consider the seating requirements and the number of people you want to accommodate.
3. Quality of the Container
Check whether the container is ISO-certified. The quality of the container will change as per the metal used as well as the number of times the container has been used. A one-trip container would be in a better condition than one used multiple times.
However, you can repair and revamp a well-maintained, used container for your project. If you are on a budget, buying a used container is advisable. Physically inspect the container for major structural problems before buying.
4. Container Usage and Condition
Consider whether the container has been used to store toxic contents such as biohazards and nuclear waste. Spillage is quite common and the insides of the container may have been exposed to hazardous material. Also, check if the paint used on the container does not have adverse effects.
You also need to check dents, holes, and scratches, and determine whether they are repairable.
5. Duration of Use
The duration of use makes a major impact on your purchase decision. If you're looking for a temporary arrangement for storage, it is better to buy an inexpensive container or to even rent one.
If you're intending to use the container for more than two or three years, or want to make permanent modifications to the structure, go for a container that has been in excellent condition, even if the price is on the higher side.
6. Condition (New or Used)
Buying a new or used container depends on a lot of factors. Consider the following:
- Affordability: If you have a limited budget, used containers at markdown prices would be your best bet. However, ensure that you pick a used container that is in good condition and not too rusty.
- Aesthetics: If you need major modifications and a fresh exterior appearance, pick up a new container. If you don’t minor scratches and a few dents here and there, choose a used container.
- Special requirements: Typically, new containers come with additional features such as lock boxes. If you're looking for special accessories, the answer is simple: buy or rent a new container.
A used container may come with maintenance requirements to clear off dents, rusts and repair work for holes or other wear & tear. Work with a dealer who offers timely maintenance services – they can make your life easy.
Containers are made of different materials: steel or alloys of various metals. Make sure that a high-quality alloy is used, which is corrosion-resistant. You may even opt for galvanized metal, which would give it extra protection.
Ask about rust and maintenance requirements of the material too.
Do you plan to store expensive gear or important documents in the container? Choose a container that has heavy-duty padlocks or look for those that have been additionally secured with lock boxes, which will protect it from tampering.
Apart from these, you may further enhance security by installing wireless security systems inside or choose one that’s already equipped with such security mechanisms.
You'll need to make modifications in the container based on the end use. Used containers furnished with accessories such as stairs, HVAC cooling mechanisms, water supply, etc., are easily available. All you need to do is put some effort in homework and research to find the right one for your project.
11. Delivery and Setup
Although a shipping container can be transported to just about any location, consideration of local and federal laws is crucial to avoid unnecessary hassles later. Get the site physically inspected by your dealer’s representative to ensure that the setup is good enough for installation.
Does the dealer offer any guarantee? Will they help understand and meet local laws and in site preparation before the delivery of the container?
Consider the delivery fees and choose a credible dealer who has positive reviews. If it is not possible to physically inspect the container, make sure that the photos shared are real and you read the product description too.
Check from past buyers or references for the credibility of the dealer if you want a deal that is worth your investment. If the dealer offers quality services, spending that extra penny would be totally worth it.
Shipping container architecture is quite in vogue today as you can create affordable office spaces, both temporary and permanent in nature. Containers are seeing a lot of usage due to easy installation and modular capabilities. Easy to transport and install, shipping containers are your answer for a greener option to create commercial or residential spaces.
If you have a temporary requirement or need to move from one site to another, containers can serve as your personal office-on-wheels. Take into account the reviews your dealer has received and their after-sales services.
Make your own checklist based on the pointers above and you'll be able to find a container that reasonably fits your bill.