Five Things to Look for When Buying a Used Shipping Container

February 16, 2021 11:22 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

From storing unused items to converting them into livable spaces, there’s no shortage of things you can do with a metal shipping container. But buying a brand-new shipping container can be a waste of money when you consider how many used ones are available on the market! You can save hundreds of dollars on a shipping container by purchasing one that’s slightly used.

However, don’t rush out and buy the first container you see. This post will cover a few of the top things to consider before buying a shipping container in Houston, TX.


The first thing to consider is the size of the unit you need. Most shipping containers are either 20- or 40-footers and typically 8’ wide by 8’6” high. However, you can also find custom containers that are 15’, 30’ or 45’ long. While they may suit your needs better, it’s important to note that the custom sizes are often more expensive to purchase.

Overall shape

Now that you know how big of a container you need, it’s time to take a look at some containers up close and personal. When shopping for a used shipping container in Houston, TX, it’s important to prioritize its overall shape. You want a shipping container that’s as square as possible. A container that’s slanted like a parallelogram most likely has some structural issues that could lead to a collapse.

Doors and seals

Try to open the container’s doors. Even though they’re heavy, the doors shouldn’t be too hard to get open. If they seem stuck, the container could have a warped frame or rusty hinges. Additionally, dents in the doors can indicate cracks in the container’s seal, which could lead to pests and water getting inside the unit.

Dents and divots

It’s nearly impossible to buy a used shipping container that’s totally dent free, so don’t let a few imperfections turn you away! That said, you need to be wary of deep dents that compromise the container’s overall shape. Deep dents in the side of the container can cause structural problems, which will cost a pretty penny to repair.

Pay special attention to deep dents up on the roof of a used shipping container in Houston, TX. Roof dents tend to get worse over time as more and more weight gets stacked up on top of the container.


Just like dents, your used shipping container will probably have some rusty spots. A little rust isn’t always the end of the world, but it is something to look out for. Left untreated for too long, a small patch of rust can eat away at the metal in your shipping container, eventually leading to small holes. If you end up buying a container with some rusty spots, we recommend treating the areas and sealing them to prevent the rust from getting worse in the future.

Get a quote from A Mobile Box today

If you’re buying a shipping container in Houston, TX, look no further than A Mobile Box! We have some of the most competitive prices on new and gently used shipping containers of all sizes. Give us a call today to get a free quote for your new or used container.

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