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What to Look for When Purchasing Used Shipping Containers in Los Angeles


Buying a used shipping container might seem like a straightforward task until you realize that not all containers are created equal. Whether you’re a small business owner looking to expand your storage solutions or embarking on a unique container conversion project, knowing what to look for can save you a heap of trouble down the line. Let’s dive into the key considerations to keep in mind when shopping for used shipping containers in Los Angeles.

Understanding Your Needs

Before you even start looking used shipping containers for sale Los Angeles options, it’s essential to clarify what you need it for. Are you planning to use it for storage, as a retail space, or perhaps even a makeshift office? Different applications may have different requirements in terms of container size, condition, and features.

Key Questions to Ask Yourself:

● What’s the primary purpose of the container?

● How much space do I need?

● Where will the container be placed?

● Do I need any modifications or customizations?


Knowing your needs upfront will help you filter through the myriad of options available and zero in on the perfect container for your project.

Condition Matters

When buying used shipping containers, condition is paramount. Containers are typically graded based on their state, ranging from “one-trip” (nearly new) to “as-is” (potentially more issues than you’d like).

Things to Check:

  1. Structural Integrity: Make sure the container is structurally sound. Check for major dents, rust, or holes that could compromise its integrity.
  2. Doors and Seals: Ensure the doors open and close correctly and that the seals are intact. Poor sealing can lead to water ingress and ultimately damage whatever you store inside.
  3. Flooring: Inspect the flooring for signs of rot, warping, or significant wear and tear. Remember, replacing a container floor is not a cheap endeavor.
  4. Exterior Condition: While some surface rust is normal, excessive rust, especially around load-bearing areas, can be a red flag.
  5. Odor: A pungent smell could indicate previous storage of hazardous materials or perishables, which may be difficult to clean.

Size and Type

Shipping containers come in a variety of sizes and types, each suited to different needs. The most common sizes are 20-foot and 40-foot containers, but you can also find smaller or larger options.

Consider the following:

● Standard Dry Containers: Ideal for general storage and transportation.

● High Cube Containers: Offer extra height, perfect for larger or bulkier items.

● Refrigerated containers: These are equipped with cooling systems for storing perishable goods.

● Open-Top Containers: These allow for easy loading of oversized items.

Choosing the right size and type of container will ensure you get the most out of your investment.

Legal and Zoning Requirements

Ah, the fun part—legalities! Before purchasing a container, it’s crucial to understand the local regulations regarding the placement and use of shipping containers. Los Angeles has specific zoning laws and codes that dictate where and how containers can be used.

What to Consider:

● Permits: Depending on your intended use, you may need a permit to place a shipping container on your property.

● Zoning Laws: Verify that your location is zoned for container use, especially if you’re planning on using it for commercial purposes.

● HOA Rules: If your property falls under a Homeowners Association, there may be additional restrictions to consider.

Ignoring these aspects can lead to hefty fines or being forced to remove the container from your property, so it’s best to do your homework upfront.

Where to Purchase

Los Angeles is a bustling hub, and there are numerous places you can purchase used shipping containers. However, not all sellers are created equal.

Your Options:

● Specialized Dealers: Companies that specialize in shipping containers often offer a range of options and can provide valuable advice.

● Online Marketplaces: Websites like Craigslist or eBay may have listings, but be cautious and ensure you inspect the container before purchasing.

● Auctions: Occasionally, you may find good deals at auctions, but this can be hit-or-miss.


Always go for reputable sellers, as they are more likely to provide quality containers and a better buying experience.

Negotiating the Price

No one likes paying more than they have to, right? When it comes to used shipping containers, prices can vary widely depending on the condition, size, and additional features.

Tips for Getting a Good Deal:

● Compare Prices: Shop around and compare prices from multiple sellers.

● Check for Hidden Costs: Some sellers may tack on extra fees for delivery or customization, so make sure you know the total cost upfront.

● Don’t be Afraid to Haggle: Negotiating is part of the game. If you feel a container is overpriced, don’t hesitate to make a reasonable counteroffer.

Delivery and Placement

Once you’ve made your purchase, the next step is getting the container to your site and ensuring it’s properly placed.

Important Considerations:

● Delivery Fees: Confirm whether delivery is included in the purchase price or if it’s an additional cost.

● Site Preparation: Ensure the ground where the container will be placed is level and prepared to support its weight.

● Access: Verify that there is enough clearance for the delivery truck to drop off the container without any issues.

In conclusion, buying a used shipping container can be a great solution for your business needs—whether for storage, workspace, or something more creative. By taking the time to understand your requirements, inspecting the container thoroughly, and navigating legalities, you can make a well-informed purchase that adds value to your enterprise.

Ready to find the perfect container in Los Angeles? Start your search today and unlock new possibilities for your business!