"For many applications, a used shipping container can provide just as much utility as a brand-new unit – this while selling for a fraction of the cost of a new one. What’s more, used cargo containers help in environmental conservation when the pre-owned containers are re-used or upcycled to better products. Finding a good-quality second-hand shipping container for sale can, however, be a complicated task for most novice buyers. Here we help you get the best value for your money by walking you through the key things to look out for when purchasing a used cargo container."

Used shipping containers are useful for a variety of applications. Whether you are looking for extra storage, a temporary building, or something to use for a new shipping container home, there is nothing more versatile or sturdy than a shipping container.

There are several things to look for when you are in the market for a used shipping container, so in this post we cover some very basic guidelines to help you make the best decision.

Let’s now examine some of the key points to keep in mind:

  1. Shipping container sizes - Decide on the shipping container size you need. Used shipping containers are available in a variety of sizes and configurations, with the most common being closed top containers with doors that open on one end. You can select different shipping container lengths, which are available in 40ft, 20ft and 10ft shipping container sizes. The 20 footer is the most popular and versatile size.
  2. Supplier reputation - Always deal with a reputable company that has been in business for a while. Although buying used shipping containers is not unreasonably expensive, you are still going to be spending a large amount of money on one, so you want to know that the company is going to deliver on what is promised. Fair prices and a good reputation are paramount.
  3. Container inspection - If you can inspect the container in person, it’s best to do that rather than buying a container sight unseen. Check for any holes in the container by stepping inside and closing the door. If there are holes, light will shine through. Check to see that the doors and locking mechanisms all work properly if you need the container for storage. Look for dents in the roof that can collect water and eventually turn into a rust spot. These can eventually develop into a hole. Any patches that have been made on the container should be correctly done so that they do not separate from the container structure itself.
  4. What does the delivery cost? - Used shipping containers are large and heavy and cannot simply be loaded onto a regular truck or trailer. These special containers need to be shipped with proper equipment for safety, and to ensure that delivery is seamless. Always enquire if the cost of delivery is included or if it is an added charge.
  5. Check for repainting - Even the ugliest used container can be repainted. As long as the repairs that have been made to it have been done correctly, you are investing in a container that you can use for just about any purpose. If you plan to resell the container in the future, then you want to ensure that it is in decent condition. If a container has been freshly painted, this might be an attempt to cover up rust spots. Rust is not an issue if it is properly treated with a rust converter, but you will not be able to identify those spots until they bleed through the paint.
  6. What will the container be used for? – The quality grade of the used container you purchase will be dependent on what you plan to use the container for. Basically there are 3 grades ranging from A, B and C. A means the containers is in great conditioner, while C means it’s pretty ordinary. If you plan to store things in the container, then you’ll be looking to buy an A or B grade container. If you plan to use it for food in any way, then it’ll need to be classified as a “food grade” shipping container.


look for when buying used container


If you are looking for second-hand shipping containers, be cautious and carry out your due diligence before making a purchase. Ask questions if you need information and educate yourself on what a good used container looks like.


Most people are happy with their purchase because they are getting a self-contained box that can be transformed into a variety of buildings, or used in a variety of different situations.

Used shipping containers are a cost-effective solution and alternative to spending more on a brand new container.

Choose Tiger Containers for Quality Used Shipping Containers

With nearly 4 decades of experience in the business and depots conveniently located all throughout Australia, Tiger Containers is your premier choice for the purchasing and delivery of quality used shipping containers all across the country.

We even offer a 3-month warranty, so contact us or give us a call today and discuss your requirements with our expert staff.

Need a quote? Tiger Containers are more than happy to give you a free quote >