The prevalence of television shows extoling the virtues of shipping containers used for everything from storage sheds to modular housing has seen the demand for shipping containers sky rocket. However, the increasing cost of labor, the fluctuation in the global steel price and the increased global demand for shipped goods has also seen the cost of used shipping containers climb likewise. Where once you could pick up a freight container for a few hundred dollars, now you are looking at paying a few thousand. But despite this apparent price increase, you can still get a good bargain on a shipping container – and the process of purchasing one to be delivered to your door is significantly easier than it was several years ago.
Buying Shipping Containers Online
By far one of the biggest developments to aid in the purchase of cargo containers is that you can shop around for one online like in the Shipping Container Sale website. There are a few reputable companies that have established themselves in the consumer market over the last several years. Of course, as the demand for shipping containers increases, so do the people hoping to make a quick buck from unwary shoppers. However, you shouldn’t let a few unscrupulous players put you off buying your shipping container online. As with any online purchase there are few things you can do to help safeguard yourself and ensure that you are purchasing from a reputable supplier.
Too Good to Be True
A standard sized shipping container in reasonable condition will start from at least $2,000. If the container you are looking at is significantly less than this, it’s not a bargain, it’s scrap metal. Even if you are thinking that you will be able to spot weld or put exterior cladding on it, if the Conex box is in an AS-IS condition it is unlikely to be structurally suitable for even storage of bean bags, let along anything requiring weather tight conditions or with any weight.
Read the Reviews
Yes, we all know that reviews can be manufactured, but the reality is that most people in for a quick buck don’t do more than a cursory job of it. Do the reviews all say the same thing, or use placeholder text? Back away quickly.
Protection & Complaints Policy
A reputable company selling anything online will have a policy that explains what they do if there is a problem. Sometimes things happen completely outside of their control. Items get damaged in freight, customers misread descriptions, payments are miscoded, what matters is how the company deals with these situations.
One of the problems with buying anything online, including cargo containers, is inventory control. Is the company who is selling you a great container able to confirm that they have the exact container that is in your shopping cart? Peruse the website, a company that has a robust inventory checking system will proudly say so. A company that relies more on good luck than good control will have mention of this noticeably absent. Many companies rely on you needing to request a quote and use this time to check on the availability of cargo container you want. However, a select few have sophisticated inventory tracking and dedicated online marketplace that means you can see in real time which containers are available, where they are, and what price they are offered for.
Secure Online Payments
If you are paying over $2,000 online, you want to be sure that your payment is secure. At the very least you will want to ensure that your cargo container supplier is running a secure site with a valid and current SSL certificate – usually depicted by the URL HTTPS at the start, and a locked (green) padlock icon either next to the URL bar. They should offer a variety of payment option alternatives if you are not comfortable entering your credit card details. However, if you do enter your credit card details, these should never be stored on their backend database. Google support has more information: https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/95617?hl=en
What does the shipping container seller offer in regard to a delivery guarantee? Do they provide tracking information? Are you able to track the location of your container from your yard to your door? Do you receive a confirmed day and time for expected delivery? Can you expect that the container you have ordered will arrive in the same condition as when it left?
Fly by night operations often have no way to contact them if you have a query (and even less way to get hold of them if a problem arises!). Unlike a reputable company, who should offer not only the usual email/website contact forms, but also have a social media presence, physical office location listed, and a telephone number. Many good companies have also introduced online chat options and 24/7 answer services – although these may sometimes be monitored by an external specialist operator (click here to learn more), they will have enough knowledge and access to provide instant assistance for many customer queries. If you are dealing with an international company, they will often have people in different time zones who are able to provide worldwide assistance at all hours.
If you come away from their website with a wealth of knowledge about shipping containers and the shipping transportation industry, chances are very high that you are dealing with a firm that has a strong reputation in the industry and is able to assist you exceptionally well. A company with a good reputation is more likely to have strong industry contacts and able to purchase excellent quality new and used containers at good prices. If you are buying a shipping container online, having the reassurance of knowing you are purchasing from a company that doesn’t deal with scrap metal containers, and is able to advise which shipping containers are suitable for different uses makes a significant difference. Read their blog, look at their suggestions for payload calculations, read what they say is happening in the global shipping industry.
Buying a cargo container online doesn’t need to be a difficult job if you are working with a reputable company that specializes in selling shipping containers.