How to Purchase a Shipping Container to Build a Home?

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Types of containers

When it comes to purchasing a shipping container to build your dream home, there are a few different types to choose from. Here are the most common options:

Standard 20 Foot

These containers typically measure 20 feet in length, 8 feet in width, and 8.5 feet in height. They are great options for building a small and cozy home or a single-room studio.

Standard 40 Foot

A 40-foot shipping container is the most commonly used size for container homes, due to its spaciousness and practicality.

Measuring 40 feet in length, 8 feet in width and 8.6 feet in height, a standard 40-foot container can provide enough space for a comfortable living area, kitchen, bathroom, and one or two bedrooms.

High cube 20 Foot

This type of container is similar to the standard 20-foot container in terms of length, but it’s a foot taller, with an interior height of 9 feet 6 inches. (20′ in length, 8′ in width and 9’6″ in height).

This added height can be useful if you’re planning to create a two-story home, or if you just want to maximize vertical space.

High cube 40 Foot

This size is similar to the standard 40-foot container, but it has an additional foot of height (40′ in length, 8′ in width and 9’6″ in height), providing more room for insulation and interior design.

Where to buy shipping containers?

You can buy shipping containers from four resources: Shipping container dealers, online marketplaces, shipping companies and container auctions.

Shipping container dealers

These dealers specialize in selling new and used shipping containers and often have a wide range of sizes and types to choose from. Here are some trusted shipping container dealers to consider:

1. Container Alliance: With locations throughout the United States, Container Alliance offers a variety of new and used shipping containers for sale.

2. Conexwest: Specializing in new and used shipping containers, Conexwest has a wide selection of containers for various uses, including residential homes.

3. Equipment Management Services: EMS offers both new and used shipping containers in various sizes and configurations, including customized options.

4. Western Container Sales: With locations in several states, Western Container Sales offers high-quality new and used shipping containers for purchase.

5. Interport: Offering a variety of container sizes and types, Interport is a trusted shipping container dealer based in New Jersey.

Online marketplaces

Websites such as eBay, Amazon, and Craigslist can offer a variety of shipping containers for sale. However, it’s important to thoroughly research the seller and the container before making a purchase.

Shipping companies

Some shipping companies, such as Maersk and MSC, also sell used shipping containers. These containers may have some wear and tear from being in use, but they may also be priced lower than those sold by other dealers.

Container auctions

Auctions can be a great way to find a shipping container at a lower price. Auction websites such as IronPlanet and GovPlanet often have shipping containers available for bidding.

How much does it cost to buy a shipping container?

The cost of buying a shipping container varies depending on several factors such as its condition, size, location, and the seller.

Below these estimated prices allow you to know whether or not you are getting a good deal.

Container TypeNewUsed
20 Foot Standard$3,500$2,300
20 Foot high cube$3,500$2,400
40 Foot Standard$5,900$3,000
40 Foot high cube$6,000$3,500

Should I get 20ft or 40 ft container?

The size of your container will ultimately depend on your needs and budget. Here are a few things to consider when deciding on a container size.

First, consider the size of your property and the space you have available to place the container. If you have limited space, a 20ft container may be a better fit. If you have more space and want a larger home, a 40ft container may be the way to go.

Next, consider your living needs. Do you need more space for a family or additional rooms for a home office or gym? A larger container may provide the additional space you need. If you’re a minimalist and prefer a smaller living space, a 20ft container could be perfect for you.

Lastly, consider your budget. The larger the container, the more expensive it will be. While a 40ft container may provide more space, it will also come with a larger price tag.

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Should I buy new or used?

The answer ultimately depends on your budget and priorities.

New shipping containers will have less wear and tear and may come with a warranty. They are also likely to have fewer structural issues and may be more energy efficient.

However, new shipping containers can be quite expensive, with prices ranging from $3,000 to $5,000 for a 20-foot container and $5,000 to $8,000 for a 40-foot container.

Used shipping containers are much more affordable than buying new, starting at $2,000 for a 20-foot container and $2,800 for a 40-foot container. However, it is important to inspect them for damage before purchasing.

In addition to cost, you should also consider your long-term goals for your home. If the container will be used as a permanent living space, it may be worth it to invest in a new container for its added durability and energy efficiency. However, if the container is being used as a temporary solution, a used container may be a more cost-effective option.

How long do shipping container last?

With proper maintenance and care, shipping containers can last up to 25 years or more.

However, the lifespan of a shipping container depends on several factors, including the quality of the container, how well it has been maintained, and the climate in which it is stored.

If a container is left out in the elements without proper protection, it may start to rust and corrode, which can significantly shorten its lifespan.

Do shipping container smell?

The answer is: it depends.

Shipping containers are made from various materials, including steel, wood, and plywood. If the container has been used to transport goods that have strong smells or chemicals, it can retain those odors. However, many sellers will clean and sanitize the container before selling it.

Are shipping container bug proof?

Shipping containers are designed to be airtight to prevent the goods inside from being damaged during transport. This means that they are generally resistant to insects and pests, but they are not completely bug-proof.

While airtight containers can reduce the risk of insect infestation, pests can still find their way into small gaps or holes in the container.

This is why it is important to thoroughly inspect the container before purchasing it, ensuring that there are no holes or gaps that could allow insects to enter.

Do shipping containers have steel floors?

Yes, most shipping containers come with steel floors. These floors are typically made of steel or aluminum and are designed to withstand the weight of heavy cargo.

The floors are typically coated with anti-slip material to provide traction and prevent cargo from sliding around during transit.

If you plan to use the container as a home or other type of structure, you may want to consider installing a new floor over the existing steel floor for added insulation and comfort. This can also help to prevent any potential rust or corrosion issues from the steel floor over time.

Can you join 2 shipping containers together?

Yes, it is possible to join two shipping containers together to create a larger living space or even multiple levels.

This process is known as container stacking and requires careful planning and construction to ensure the structural integrity of the final product.

There are different methods of joining containers together, including welding, bolting, or using connectors such as twist locks.

Welding is the most common method, as it provides the strongest connection between the two containers.

Can you put a shipping container anywhere?

The short answer is no, you cannot put a shipping container anywhere without obtaining necessary permits and zoning approvals.

Local governments have regulations regarding the placement and use of shipping containers as residential homes. You will need to research the regulations in your area before purchasing a shipping container.