The first step in building a container house is to know where to buy shipping containers that are right for your project. Although cargo containers are plentiful, you have to know where you can find them for sale.
The first place to look is around your local area. You can check newspapers, stop by local warehouses, or even check on Craigslist for your location.
Some units are just sitting empty in vacant lots, and if you can find the owner of the lot, you may be able to get a great deal just to move it for them.
You can sometimes find good deals at auction sites, both local and online. The units can be bid on as they become available.
You can also find local container companies in your area by simply doing a search online. Put in the phrase “shipping container sales” or “buy a shipping container.”
If you want to be specific for your area, then type in your city and state. Give them a call to see what they have available and perhaps schedule a visit.
Buying a Shipping Container
Companies that offer delivery and set up are the best options. Some companies also offer modifications to the structure at their facilities before its delivered. For instance, if you want a few cutouts for windows or doors, they will do that to your specs before delivery.
This can be a time saver, not to the mention a money saver! If you don’t go with a company that offers modifications, delivery, and set up, you will end up having to hire other services to do it all.
You can expect to pay $2,000 – $3,000 or less for a typical container, depending on its condition and size. Some companies will charge more for high cube containers, which adds extra ceiling space for building purposes.
High cube containers are excellent for house construction purposes and are often preferred by experienced container home builders. Buying the biggest container at a decent price will allow you to save money and still be able to customize your container home.
One way to save money on a purchase is to look for after market containers. This means the cargo unit is no longer used for a company’s shipping purposes and has been retired. Many of these containers will have been in use about ten years, so be sure to do a thorough inspection to make sure you’re getting a container that is in good shape.
Pay attention to certain code words that are used. For example, “one-trip” means the container was used to make a trip one-way to another country. You also want to make sure you look for words like “cargo worthy.” It’s in your best interest to closely inspect the container before buying or have it professionally inspected.
While some dents are normal in shipping containers, large dents can indicate that the container experienced damage that may impact its support capability if the dents are in the corners where the support structures are.
Important Cargo Container Buying Tip
If you want a container that is in great shape, with little to no repairs, always ask for ‘one-way’ containers. These are units that were only shipped once from their original destination before being retired. Some of these are like new. They do cost a bit more, but the fact that they need no repair is easily worth it.