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What Do Used Shipping Containers Cost? A Comprehensive Guide

Pondering over used shipping container cost? Used shipping containers, also known as second-hand containers, refer to cargo containers that have been previously used for transporting goods by ships, trains, or trucks.

These containers are made of durable materials like steel or aluminum and come in various sizes and designs, including standard, high cube, and refrigerated.

Understanding the cost associated with used shipping containers is of paramount importance for several reasons. Firstly, if you are in the market for purchasing a container, knowing the average prices will help you make an informed decision and ensure you get the best value for your money.

Additionally, knowing the cost of used shipping containers is crucial if you are considering repurposing them for building projects such as homes, offices, or storage spaces, as it can significantly impact your overall budget.

Furthermore, when it comes to shipping goods internationally, understanding the cost of used containers can help you optimize logistics expenses and ensure a smooth and cost-effective transportation process.

Table of Contents

What is the Cost of a Used Shipping Container?

High Cube 40 foot Shipping Container
High Cube 40 foot Shipping Container

Regarding shipping containers, several solutions are available, resulting in a wide range of prices. Generally, the cost of used shipping containers will range between $2,800 and $8,300.

However, the cost of a used shipping container depends on several factors, including the size and condition of the container. For example, 20-foot shipping containers cost $2,800 to $6,500, and 40-foot shipping containers cost $4,000$8300.

Shipping containers typically go in two sizes: 20 feet and 40 feet, though there are other sizes available as well. The size of the container will affect its cost because larger containers have more space to store goods. They can also hold more weight than smaller ones.

The condition of the container also affects its price. A used shipping container in good condition may cost more than one damaged or rusty.

It is possible to find used shipping containers for sale online or through classified ads. Before buying one, however, it is important to know what type of condition it is in. Also, know how much money you are willing to spend on it.

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Factors Affecting the Cost of Used Shipping Containers

When it comes to buying used shipping containers, there are several factors that can affect their cost. By understanding these factors, you can make an informed decision and get the best value for your money.


1. Average price range for different sizes and conditions of containers: The cost of used shipping containers can vary significantly depending on their size and condition.

Smaller containers, such as 10ft or 20ft, are generally cheaper compared to larger ones like 40ft or 45ft. The condition of the container, whether it’s used, like-new, or refurbished, also plays a role in determining its price.

2. Impact of container sizes and capacities on cost: The size and capacity of the container directly influence its cost. Larger containers with higher capacities tend to be more expensive due to their increased storage space.

Condition of the Used Shipping Container

1. Price variations based on new, like-new, or refurbished condition: The condition of the used shipping container can significantly impact its cost. New or like-new containers are typically more expensive than refurbished ones.

However, refurbished containers are an excellent option if you’re looking for a balance between quality and affordability.

Supplier and Location

1. Differences in cost based on reputable suppliers and dealers: The reputation and reliability of the supplier or dealer can influence the cost of used shipping containers. Established and reputable suppliers may charge more due to their consistent quality and customer service.

2. Price range variations per location: The cost of used shipping containers can also vary based on the location. Factors such as transportation costs, local demand, and availability of containers in a particular area can affect their price.

Additional Costs Associated with Used Shipping Containers

Aside from the base cost of the used shipping container, there might be additional costs you need to consider. These can include delivery charges, customization expenses, modifications for your specific needs, and any necessary repairs.

Market Trends in Used Shipping Container Prices

The prices of used shipping containers can fluctuate over time due to market trends. It’s essential to stay updated with these trends to understand the current market value and make a well-informed purchase decision.

Comparison Between Used and New Shipping Containers

When considering the cost of used shipping containers, it’s crucial to compare them against new containers.

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While used containers are generally more affordable, you need to evaluate their condition, potential repair costs, and compare them to the benefits offered by new containers.

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Cost Considerations for Different Purposes and Uses

The cost of used shipping containers can also vary based on their intended purpose. Containers used for residential or commercial purposes may come with additional features or modifications, which can affect their overall cost.

Maintenance and Life Expectancy

Considering the cost of used shipping containers, it’s essential to factor in their maintenance requirements and life expectancy.

Containers in better condition may require less maintenance and have a longer lifespan, potentially offering better value in the long run.

Resale Value and Repurposing Possibilities

Used shipping containers can have resale value, especially if they are well-maintained and in good condition.

Additionally, they can be repurposed for various uses such as storage, offices, or even homes. Considering these possibilities can affect the cost you’re willing to pay for a used shipping container.

By taking into account these factors affecting the cost of used shipping containers, you can make an informed decision that suits your budget and requirements.

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Additional Costs Associated with Used Shipping Containers

Transport and Delivery

When purchasing a used shipping container, it’s important to factor in the costs related to transporting the container to your desired location. These charges can vary depending on the distance and accessibility of the delivery site.

There are also various delivery options available, and each option can have an impact on the overall cost. It’s essential to consider factors such as expedited delivery, offloading equipment, and any special accommodations that may be required to deliver the container safely.

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Modifications and Customizations

Modifying a used shipping container to suit specific needs may incur extra charges. These modifications can include adding doors, windows, insulation, electrical wiring, or ventilation systems.

Cost considerations for customizations will depend on the complexity of the modifications and the materials used. It’s important to consult with a professional to determine the feasibility and cost of any desired modifications.

Other Potential Extra Charges

Aside from transport and modifications, there may be other miscellaneous costs associated with used shipping containers.

These costs can include insurance coverage to protect your investment or permits required by local authorities for certain container uses.

Identifying these potential extra charges upfront will help you budget more accurately and avoid surprise expenses later on.

Market Trends in Used Shipping Container Prices

A. Understanding Price Fluctuations

When it comes to used shipping container prices, it’s important to understand the market trends and factors that can influence them.

By analyzing these trends, you can gain insights into how prices fluctuate and make informed purchasing decisions.

1. Analysis of market trends and factors influencing them: Various factors can impact the prices of used shipping containers. Supply and demand, economic conditions, changes in regulations, and even global shipping rates can all play a role in determining the market price of these containers.

2. Impact of supply and demand on pricing: As with any product, the supply and demand dynamics have a significant impact on used shipping container prices.

If the demand exceeds the supply, prices are likely to increase. Conversely, if there is an oversupply of containers, prices might decrease.

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B. Predicting Future Price Movements

When considering the purchase of a used shipping container, it’s essential to look at the factors that can predict future price movements.

1. Factors to consider when assessing the market for used shipping containers: Keep an eye on factors such as global trade trends, new container manufacturing rates, and changes in regulations affecting container usage. These factors can provide insights into the direction in which prices may move.

Stay tuned for the next section, where we will compare used and new shipping containers, discussing their costs and benefits.

Comparison between Used and New Shipping Containers

When it comes to purchasing a shipping container, one of the most important decisions to make is whether to buy used or new.

Each option has its own set of advantages and drawbacks, and understanding the key differences can help you make an informed choice.

Price Differences

The most obvious difference between used and new shipping containers is the price. Used containers are significantly cheaper than new ones, making them an attractive option for those on a tight budget. The exact cost will vary depending on factors such as the age, condition, and size of the container.

On the other hand, new containers come with a premium price tag. While they may offer the advantage of being in pristine condition, their cost can be prohibitive for some buyers.

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Factors to Consider Before Deciding Between New or Used Containers

Before making a decision, it’s important to consider several factors. Firstly, assess your specific needs. If you require a container for temporary or short-term use, a used container may suffice.

However, if you need a container for a long-term or permanent project, investing in a new container might be a better option.

Secondly, evaluate the condition of the used containers available in the market. Inspect them thoroughly to ensure they meet your quality standards and are suitable for your intended purposes. Additionally, consider the shipping container supplier’s reputation and their warranty policies for used containers.

Lastly, factor in any modifications or repairs that may be required. Used containers might require additional costs to fix any damages or make necessary modifications, whereas new containers can be customized according to your specific requirements from the outset.

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Pros and Cons of Buying Used Shipping Containers

There are several benefits to purchasing used shipping containers. The most obvious advantage is the cost savings. Used containers can be a cost-effective solution for those seeking storage or shipping options.

Additionally, used containers are readily available in the market. With the increasing popularity of shipping container architecture and repurposing, finding a used container for your project is relatively easy.

However, it’s important to consider the potential drawbacks as well. Used containers may have wear and tear, which can affect their overall durability and longevity. Therefore, regular maintenance and inspections are crucial to ensure their continued functionality over time.

Furthermore, if your project requires compliance with specific regulations or standards, it is important to verify whether used containers meet those requirements. New containers often have the advantage of being compliant with the latest industry standards.

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Cost Considerations for Different Purposes and Uses

A. Storage Applications

When considering the cost of used shipping containers for storage purposes, there are several factors to take into account:

  • Container Size: The size of the container will greatly impact the cost. Larger containers generally come with a higher price tag.
  • Condition: The condition of the container can also affect the cost. Containers in better condition may be priced higher.
  • Location: The location where you plan to store the container can impact the cost as well. Factors such as delivery fees and storage site expenses should be considered.

B. Construction and Housing Applications

Using shipping containers in construction and housing projects can offer budget advantages, but it’s important to consider the following cost implications:

  • Modification Costs: Converting shipping containers into habitable spaces often requires modifications, such as insulation, plumbing, and electrical work. These modifications can add to the overall cost.
  • Building Permits: Depending on your location, you may need to obtain building permits for using shipping containers in construction projects. Permit costs should be factored into your budget.
  • Land Preparation: Preparing the land where the shipping containers will be placed may require additional expenses, such as leveling, foundation work, or utility connections.

C. Retail and Commercial Applications

For retail or commercial uses, using shipping containers can provide cost-effective solutions. Consider the following when assessing the costs:

  • Customization: Retail and commercial applications often require customization to align with branding or functional requirements. Budget for customization costs, which may include signage, interior upgrades, or exterior modifications.
  • Transportation and Setup: If shipping containers are being used for pop-up shops or temporary installations, consider the costs associated with transportation, setup, and removal.
  • Utility Connections: Depending on your specific needs, connecting utilities such as electricity, water, and sanitation to the containers may require additional expenses.

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Maintenance and Life Expectancy

Long-Term Costs

When considering the cost of used shipping containers, it is important to take into account the long-term maintenance expenses.

  • Estimating costs of maintaining a used shipping container: The maintenance costs of a used shipping container can vary depending on factors such as its condition, age, and the environment it is placed in. Regular maintenance tasks may include inspecting for rust or damage, repainting, and replacing worn-out parts.

Life Expectancy

Understanding the lifespan of a used shipping container is crucial in determining its overall value for money.

  • Factors affecting the lifespan of a used shipping container: The lifespan of a used shipping container can be influenced by various factors. These may include the quality of the container when it was manufactured, the materials used, the level of maintenance it receives, and the environmental conditions it is exposed to. It is important to consider these factors when assessing the potential durability of a used shipping container.
  • Assessing value for money in terms of potential repairs or ongoing expenses: Before purchasing a used shipping container, it is essential to evaluate the potential costs of repairs or ongoing expenses. While a lower upfront cost may seem attractive, the need for significant repairs or ongoing maintenance can quickly add up and outweigh the initial savings.

Resale Value and Repurposing Possibilities

When considering the cost of used shipping containers, it’s essential to assess their resale value and repurposing possibilities. These factors can have a significant impact on the overall investment potential of purchasing a container.

Discussion on the Potential Resale Value of Used Shipping Containers

Used shipping containers have gained popularity in various industries due to their versatility and cost-efficiency. As a result, there is a demand for these containers in the resale market. The resale value of a used container depends on several factors, such as:

  • Age and Condition: Generally, newer containers in excellent condition tend to have a higher resale value. Buyers prefer containers that require minimal repairs or modifications.
  • Market Demand: The demand for used shipping containers in your specific area can influence their resale value. Areas with higher demand may fetch better prices.
  • Location: The location of the container can impact its resale value as well. Containers located in prime areas or near transportation hubs may be more desirable and command higher prices.

By understanding these factors and assessing the market conditions, you can make an informed decision about the potential resale value of a used shipping container.

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Factors Influencing the Investment Value of Purchasing a Container

The investment value of purchasing a used shipping container goes beyond its initial cost. Several factors contribute to the overall investment potential:

  • Quality and Durability: Used shipping containers are designed to withstand harsh conditions and are made to be durable. Containers with a higher quality build and sturdy construction tend to retain better resale value.
  • Customization Options: The ability to modify and repurpose a container can significantly impact its investment value. Containers that can be easily transformed into functional spaces, such as offices, homes, or pop-up shops, have higher potential for generating returns on your investment.
  • Market Trends: Staying informed about the current market trends in repurposing shipping containers can help you assess their investment potential. Understanding the demand for specific container modifications can assist in determining the future value of your investment.
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Considering these factors will help gauge the investment value of purchasing a used shipping container.

Exploration of Alternative Uses for Used Shipping Containers

Aside from their resale value, used shipping containers offer countless repurposing opportunities. These containers can be transformed into a wide range of functional spaces, including but not limited to:

  • Shipping Container Homes: With creative modifications, shipping containers can serve as affordable and eco-friendly housing solutions. These homes offer a unique and modern living experience.
Luxury Shipping Container House, Royal Oak, Michigan
Luxury Shipping Container House, Royal Oak, Michigan
  • Portable Offices: Shipping containers can be converted into modular offices, providing portable and cost-effective workspace solutions for various industries.
Green-roofed container home office
Green-roofed container home office
  • Retail Spaces: Many entrepreneurs are repurposing shipping containers as pop-up shops or temporary retail spaces. These containers offer a trendy and customizable setting for showcasing products and brands.
  • Outdoor Storage: Used shipping containers are ideal for secure outdoor storage solutions. Whether for personal or business use, they provide a weatherproof and lockable storage space.
Shipping container used as storage
Shipping container used as storage

These represent just a few examples of the countless possibilities for repurposing used shipping containers. The ability to repurpose these containers opens up a world of creative and cost-effective options.

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Why Choose Used Shipping Containers

Using shipping containers may be the answer if you want a versatile, durable, and cost-effective storage solution.

A used shipping container is an excellent choice for short-term storage or businesses that require storing large amounts of inventory. In some cases, they can also be used as office space or even as an emergency shelter.

These containers are often made from steel and are extremely durable. This makes them perfect for long-term storage needs, especially when placed on foundations or in concrete pads.

The great thing about these units is that they can be found in most areas of the country at very affordable prices. You can even buy them online if you don’t want to deal with going out to see them in person.

If you live near a port city like Los Angeles or Houston, there’s a good chance plenty of used shipping containers will be available within driving distance from your home or business location.

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Benefits of Shipping Containers

There are various reasons why people turn to ship containers for their shipping container home building and storage needs, including:

Low Cost of Shipping Container Structures

Using shipping containers may be the best option for you if you are looking for a cost-effective option. They are available at a fraction of the price of new containers, which means you can save money while still getting a durable product that will last for years.

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Shipping Containers Have Aesthetic Value

As long as you paint your container with an attractive color scheme and add signage with your business name or contact information, there’s no reason your shipping container should look out of place at your business location or home.

You could paint your logo on the side of your container and use it as a portable billboard for promoting specials or advertising new products or services.

Durability of Used Shipping Containers 

Used shipping containers are built to withstand extreme weather conditions and rough handling by cargo ships during transportation. This makes them perfect for outdoor or indoor storage, where heavy winds and rain may occur frequently.

It’s important to note that sometimes these units come with holes in the flooring that needs to be patched before use inside an indoor setting, but this is easily done with some extra work from yourself or a contractor if needed!

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Security from Used Shipping Containers

Shipping containers are designed to be locked up securely, so they can be used as secure storage spaces or even as personal safes if desired.

Depending on your needs and budget, you can choose from several locking mechanisms, including padlocks and combination locks that can be opened with a key or combination code (sometimes both).

This makes them ideal for keeping valuables like jewelry, electronics, or other expensive items safe from intruders or theft attempts.

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Shipping Containers are Easy to use

A used shipping container is simple to set up in just about any location because it doesn’t require construction or installation work before you can use them for storage purposes.

The only thing you need is a flat surface where you can place the shipping container on its side to look like a box instead of being upright like it would if it was still part of a ship (or plane).

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They’re easy to modify and customize to suit your needs.

If you buy new or used shipping containers, they come with varying customization options, such as color schemes, seals, insulation, and more. You can also add locks or padlocks to keep people out of your container if necessary (though this isn’t recommended).

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Multiple Uses

Another best thing about buying a used shipping container is that it can be used for other things after you’ve bought it and transported it to your property. These uses include storage units and garages for cars and bikes, as well as being converted into workshops or home offices.

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In conclusion, when considering the cost of used shipping containers, there are several key factors to take into account. These include the size of the container, its condition, the supplier you choose, and the location where you plan to purchase and have it delivered.

Additionally, it’s important to consider any additional costs associated with used shipping containers, such as modifications, repairs, or transportation fees. Market trends also play a role in determining the prices of used containers, so it’s crucial to stay informed about current market conditions.

Comparing used shipping containers to new ones can provide valuable insights into whether the cost savings outweigh the potential drawbacks of buying used. Different purposes and uses may require specific container specifications, which can impact the overall cost.

Maintenance and life expectancy are important factors to consider when calculating the long-term cost of a used shipping container. Understanding proper maintenance practices and the expected lifespan of containers can help you make a more informed decision.

Resale value and repurposing possibilities offer potential opportunities to recoup some of the initial investment in a used shipping container. Exploring potential options for repurposing can help maximize the value of your purchase.

In conclusion, it is crucial to consider all factors discussed in this content plan when evaluating the cost of used shipping containers. By making informed decisions and considering the specific needs and requirements of your project, you can find the best possible deal and ensure that you make a wise investment.

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