Buying used containers privately or from eBay

Brand new shipping containers can be costly.  If you are on a budget you may be searching the auction houses or buying privately from the local ads. When it comes to these containers there are plenty of questions to ask.

Aren't all containers the same big strong metal boxes?

Defintely not.  We've seen some horrors over the years, at times we've collected from the seller and delivered to the new owner who was very excited, only to be dissapointed with whats arrived.  And by the time they've paid for delivery and positioning it really is too late.  

Some containers just were not built to last as long as others, some have been neglected (and that is not always visible).  Some are decades old (not much can still work beautifully for that long, even steel). 

Can you get inside it?

If you are lucky enough to be able to go and physically inspect the container it is advisable to get inside it and pull the doors too (don't get stuck inside).  Ideally the container would remain dark.  Any light getting in will indicate holes, rust and potential problems.  While you are in there, check the floor for any signs of damage / rot.  You wont be able to lift the container up to see what the underside is really like, but this can help you see.

Have you seen every angle / photo and roof

All containers are different.  Some have seen years at sea, some years of abuse on a building site, others are well looked after by their owner and have been used to simply store dry goods.  Ensure your seller sends you as many photos of the container as possible.  This will help you judge whether the bargain deal is worthwhile.  

Is the floor sturdy

We've been to sites to collect and move shipping containers that people have brought and sold on auction sites only to pick the container up with our crane and have the floor fall out the bottom.  This is not just costly for the seller, but often its the buyer who has organised and paid for the collection and delivery.  Are you willing to risk hundreds of pounds on transport not knowing whether that container will fall apart or not.  Ensure your seller confirms it is sound before committing. 

How will I know if it is watertight

You may not need a watertight or weathertight container, but if you plan to store personal effects then its worth the extra money to ensure your new purchase is.  Ensure your seller commits to this, else use a specialist who will.

Could the floor be contaminated

There is no doubt that some containers spend their time transporting dangerous chemicals, and sometimes they have leaked.  But respectable sellers should never have sold containers which were contaminated with anything too bad.  However, you cant always be sure.  You can however, be assured knowing that metal walls can be cleaned and that most containers come with treated plywood floors that should have staved off most bugs and chemicals, but can be cleaned, re-covered, or replaced.

Do the doors close nicely and securely and do the locks work

Security is one of the biggest concerns when hiring or purchasing a Container. When purchasing your second-hand container, we suggest ensuring that the locking bar handles are working freely – not just for security, but to ensure you can access your stored items and don’t encounter any unwanted problems further down the line.  Also, ensure your new purchase has a lock box, otherwise you'll need to find chains and other methods of securing.  A lockbox allows you to use a large / sturdy padlock (designed) for containers.

Who should I buy the container from?

Quite simply, go for reputation. Ensure that the company you purchase from has a solid reputation for providing good-quality containers. You want to ensure that, like anything, you are getting good value for your money and the company you purchase from are able to deliver on their promises…and deliver the container ideally too.

Research reputable companies…or just come to us– we have the pedigree and experience to be able to not only match but exceed your expectations!

You may be surprised how cost effective a new or used container from us could be. 
So why not get in touch with us before you take the risk. 

What our Users & Customers Say

Set Director, ITV

Excellent service all round! ST helped us with tricky props for our ITV drama and sourced, costed and delivered these promptly, expertly and within budget. The shipping containers for a large warehouse set were carefully moved and placed exactly as required for filming.

Global Business, Horsham

We've now got 6 containers on our site from ST Containers. They have been wonderful as our raw materials inbound has increased.  We are able to store products onsite, ready to use.  Our needs will grow and shrink and ST Containers have been fast, responsive and excellent value.

Mr Charnwood

We needed a container to house our possessions during a large extension on our property and the team at ST Containers helped us work out which size to go for and also allay any fears about damp / mould as the container is fully vented and feels brand new.

Worthing Rugby Club

ST Containers and Sussex Transport have been wonderful partners for us in terms of onsite storage for the club.  Our 30' container (which was adapted for us to have doors on both ends) is just perfect.  Once full we'll definitely be in contact for another.

How it Works

You confirm the size of container you need

Size wanted and length of hire (if hiring) is great to know. However, if you need some help working this out, please get in touch with our friendly team and we can help you decide.

We price for container & and delivery

We provide a competitive price for rental or purchase along with the delivery and collection fees.

All agreed and ready to proceed

Once everything is in place we will provide the hire or sale documents and contracts (that protect us all) and agree your delivery date.

Our very own drivers carry out your delivery

We are a division of a high quality transport and logistics company and our drivers are highly skilled, trained, polite and friendly.  They'll ensure you are happy with your container and explain anything you need to know.

I'm Ready to Chat Containers!

Let’s Talk


ST Containers, Downsview House, 
91 Marlborough Road,
Lancing Business Park, 
West Sussex, BN15 8SU
Proud Members of the Container Self-Storage & traders Association
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