All About Shipping Containers-
How To Buy A Shipping Container
Buying a recycled ISBU shipping container is like buying a car, though we think a little less
complicated. It's important because the is the base structure of your home or other construction
project. We don't believe you are simply buying it to be green or environmentally correct. We think
you are buying it for strength and peace of mind....
Where To Buy
- Your first choice should be to buy an ISBU near you so you can go inspect it in person. However,
most of the time that isn't possible.
- Second choice is to buy from an ISBU Association Member.
- Third, buy from a reputable dealer with history who is really in business, not just a side job.
- Certified Shipping Container Dealers: Container Dealer's Association [ LINK ]
Checking Container Quality
- No matter who you buy from, If you can't see it in person, request several high quality photos of the
inside, outside and top. ...all 4 sides, inside and out.
- Ask it's age, and/or some documentation of it's age. [ See certification: LINK ]
- Expect to replace the floor. The cost is low. If not, be prepared to seal the wood with a polyurethane
or epoxy paint coating.
- Buy an ISBU that is un-painted. Don't ask for it to be painted first. You want to see the unit with no
paint so you can better assess it's value and damage.
- Scrapes are ok. Rust is ok. What you "don't" want is corrosion. If you see an ISBU with scaly
corrosion then it hasn't been well maintained at all. Rust oxidation is common on scrapes. ...but
corrosion and scale is not common. It can mean poor care, or possibley it is not even Corten steel.
The cost to replace and patch the corrosion is usually not even worth discounts.
- Small dings and dents are ok unless they are so bad they effect your finished interior/exterior.
- Check to see if the ISBU is square, not twisted so it will sit flat and connect to other ISBU properly
- For best protection you should request and SIR certification on the containers before you buy.
[ See SIR news story: LINK ]
[ for detail graphics and photos of key ISBU areas to check, Login to your Members Section ]
Certified ISBA Members
Q- Why should you expect a Shipping Container dealer or broker to be an ISBA Member?
A- For a legitimate dealer or business the $235 annual membership is very small to pay. They will
earn it back their first sale and probably increase their business substantially if they are a Member.
Q- Since the cost of ISBA Membership is so small why wouldn't a dealer or business join ISBA?
A- There are not any good answers to this question if someone is legitimate. The credibility of an
ISBA Member is easy to check and report. it's similar to BBB but much less expensive to join and
more specific in ultimate benefits to both dealer and buyer success.
A legitimate dealer or business will join the ISBU Association.
Certification: If you are buying from a Certified ISBA Member, they will either have a Certified Liink on
thier website or give you a Certified link by email so you can verify their Member status instantly.
Test Verification: CLICK HERE
Should I Lease or Buy?
Leasing is not applicable for someone who is planning to modify and use an ISBU in a construction
project. You always want to buy your ISBU shipping container.
Leasing is only for a short term storage situation.
Shipping Container Costs
Obiously the cost of an ISBU shipping container will vary depending on a few factors.
- The country where you live
- The condition and quality of the shipping container
- How near you are to a shipping port
We see some websites suggesting prices of $1000-$1500. That is absolutely not realistic unless
you are buying a very low quality shipping container. Even a $2000 price is questionable.
Approximate U.S. prices for good used 20' ISBU shipping containers range from $2000-$2800
Suggested U.S. prices for good used 40' ISBU shipping containers range from $3500-$4500
Deliver is usually extra depending on distance.
For ISBU Association Members please Login here: MEMBERS
Who is paying the deliver costs? How much will they be?
When you get a quotation for the ISBU you must always get the exact details regarding the delivery
and delivery costs. Some dealers or sellers will "scam" the buyer in the delivery process.
Make sure the quotation is Door to Door, or know exactly how much the delivery will be from another
source. Most legitimate dealers quote the price of the ISBU + the exact price of delivery is extra, but
they can give you an exact amount before you buy.
- Pay 100% cash in advance, unless you are very confident of your dealer.
- Buy from Classifieds unless you can actually go and inspect the ISBU unit personally in daylight,
then write a serial number and take photographs to be certain the delivery is what you pay for.
- Buy an ISBU that is crooked, twisted, or has corrosion.
- Buy insulated ISBU unless it will be used alone, unconnected, or for a special purpose.
For more detailed information, or to talk to ISBA Member Support login to your Member Section.