9 questions to ask before buying or hiring a 20-foot shipping container

One of our most popular storage solutions, is the humble yet mighty 20-foot shipping container. These versatile and durable spacemakers are now finding new life in various situations, from homes to construction sites, agriculture and retail businesses and beyond. Before you dive headfirst into purchasing or hiring a shipping container, it’s essential to ask the right questions to ensure you’re making the best decision for your needs.

A new black 20-foot shipping container is being craned into a tight space for a customer in New Zealand.

We talked to our team of spacemakers, who reckon these are the key questions to consider before signing on the dotted line:

  • What’s the purpose?

    Understanding the intended use of the shipping container is key. Are you looking for temporary storage on a construction site, a mobile office space, or perhaps a creative conversion into a sleepout or guest suite? Knowing your purpose will help determine the container’s specifications so you can find the best solution.
  • What’s the condition?

    Another important question centres around quality – what condition is the container in? Is it new, used, or refurbished? Inspect for any signs of damage, such as dents, rust, or structural integrity issues. A good shipping container supplier will be happy for you to view the container before you purchase and will point out any imperfections. If you can’t physically inspect a container before you purchase it, ask your chosen spacemaker to take you on a virtual tour of their range (the good ones will be happy to help).
  • What’s the size?

    While 20-foot containers have a standard length, it’s essential to consider width, height, and cubic metre requirements. Will your items fit comfortably inside? Will it fit on your site? Will the container be transported via truck, ship, or rail? With so many shipping container size variations out there, it’s important to know exactly what you’re getting. Asking about the dimensions will help you figure out which option is right for you.
  • What are the delivery options?

    How will the container be delivered to your location? Are there any access restrictions or site-specific challenges to consider? Is space tight? Who is going to deliver it? And when? It’s a good idea to discuss all the delivery logistics with your supplier upfront. This will ensure a smooth and hassle-free delivery.
  • What level of maintenance is required?

    Like any asset, shipping containers require maintenance to ensure longevity and functionality. How much maintenance usually depends on the type and condition of the shipping container you buy. Understanding the maintenance requirements of the shipping container you choose, will help ensure you get the most value from your investment over its lifetime.
  • Should I buy or hire a shipping container?

    This question really comes down to what you need. If you are a business looking to store inventory for Black Friday or Christmas, then hiring is probably a good option. If you’re looking to tackle a long-term storage challenge, buying might make more sense.
  • How much does a shipping container cost?

    Choose a supplier that offers competitive pricing without compromising on quality. Think about factors such as condition, modifications, delivery fees, and ongoing maintenance costs. If you’re hiring a shipping container, ask to see the hire contract upfront. We’ve seen some businesses and homeowners get locked into long-term contacts without being aware of it, so we encourage you to ask your supplier how flexible they are.
  • Is the supplier trustworthy and NZ-owned?

    Lastly, partnering with a reputable and trustworthy supplier can make all the difference in your shipping container experience. Research the supplier’s reputation by reading customer reviews, checking industry certifications, and verifying their track record of customer satisfaction. Additionally, consider supporting local businesses by choosing a supplier that is New Zealand-owned and operated. Not only does this support the local economy, but it also provides peace of mind knowing that you’re dealing with a company that understands the unique needs of the New Zealand market.

There’s a lot to weigh up when thinking about purchasing or hiring a 20-foot shipping container. Whether you’re embarking on a construction project, expanding your business, or exploring ways to create a bit more space at home, the right shipping container can be a game-changer in achieving your goals. And that’s where we come in. Our team of spacemakers will answer all your burning questions and do the heavy lifting for you. Get in touch with our team and we’ll make sure you get the shipping container you need, without any unwanted surprises.

Call 0800 MAKE SPACE or send us a message about how we can help.

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