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Should I buy or hire a Shipping Container?

If you need a container for a short time period it may be an option to rent one (if you represent a limited company, charity or government body, unfortunately we cannot rent to individuals). Here we will look at factors to consider when considering if you should buy or rent a shipping container.

Container Type

Typical used container

Most containers available to hire are standard 20ft or 40ft used containers. These are supplied in wind and watertight condition, structurally sound, and fully operational. They will be in their original shipping line colours and cannot be guaranteed cosmetically, they may have any number of dents, previous repairs and carry surface rust. We do however guarantee that they are fit for purpose, so should a natural leak occur whilst you have the container then we will come to your site to repair or replace it. We can also arrange hire of one-trip containers, which are much younger and therefore tend to be much better presented. These cost a fair bit more than the examples below, and vary by region, so please contact us if you need a quote for hire of a one-trip container.

Cost of Hiring a Shipping Container

Cost of rental of a shipping container will vary considerably according to your location, we charge for both delivery and collection in advance, so if your site is a long way from our nearest depot this can be quite a substantial cost. On the other hand, if you are close to one of our depots then we will be able to deliver and collect at a much lower price, so this may make rental viable for you.

Inside a typical used containerA couple of examples to illustrate potential costs of each option:

Example 1 – John has need for a 20’ container in East London for 3 months. Our cost for delivery is £225, with the same for collection. The container rental charge is £2.50 per day, and the rental runs for 3 months as planned. Johns total cost will be £675 + VAT. If the works overrun and John ends up keeping the container for 5 months then cost will be £1050 + VAT. Still good value, but if requirement goes any longer than 5 months he would have probably been better off buying one, especially when considering that he could have sold it on at the end of his use.

Example 2 – Fred needs a 40’ container for 6 months in East Anglia. Our delivery cost is £575, and rental charge for a 40’ is £4.50 per day. Initial charge would therefore be £1555, with £135 payable monthly after the first 90 days. Total cost for the 6 months would be £1960 + VAT. The cost to purchase would have been £1945 + VAT. As you can see, in this case Fred would have been better off buying the container, which he would have been able to keep or sell on once he didn’t need it anymore.

Please also note that we expect to take the container back in the same condition that it leaves our yard in. You will be billed for any damage to the container during the period of your hire, howsoever caused. We’re not going to quibble over a scratch or small knock, but if someone drives a forklift through the side (for instance) then we will invoice for repair costs up to the market value of the container.

Can I rent a side-opening Container?

Side opening Container

Side opening containers, tunnel containers, 20ft high cube containers and other more specialised types are rarely available as used options, most available for sale will be one-trip containers. This can mean that they are not available to hire at all, or can be very expensive when they are available. This is because they would leave our depot as a one-trip unit, but will be classed as used at the end of the hire period. In the case of a side opening container this can mean that the value may have dropped by around £2000 or more as a result, all of which would have to be included in the rental cost long with normal costs and delivery / collection costs. That said, we do very occasionally have these types of containers available, so if no other option would work for then please give us a call and we can see what we can do.

Option to Buy

At any point during rental of a container you have the option to buy it outright. The sales price will be the current market rate for the type of container, and you will be refunded or credited the collection charge which you paid at the beginning of the hire period. If you are considering this option please let us know at the beginning of your arrangement, we can send a container that is available for sale, as some of our hire fleet containers are not. Should you purchase during rental then our 12 month wind and watertight guarantee will apply from the date of purchase.

Also worth noting that we will buy back containers, so we can help at every stage if you choose to buy and then sell back to us. You are also free to look at eBay and other means of disposal, and choose whichever works out best for you.

So, if you can be sure of the duration you will need the container, and your site is not in a remote part of the country, then rental may be worth looking at, however most of our customers choose to purchase as this is more economical in the majority of cases. Please contact us for further information or a quote.

All prices correct as of March 2020 and provided for illustration only.

Where to rent or buy a shipping container? offer the UK’s largest online range of shipping containers for sale with a nationwide network of storage and conversion yards and crane equipped delivery vehicles.

If you need a shipping container feel free to browse our online range of shipping containers for sale, which also includes our ranges of flat pack sheds, container canopies and more. You can also call us on freephone 0808 1234 215 any time 9am – 7pm weekdays and our team will be happy to discuss your requirements. Alternatively, you can use our online shipping container quote form or request a telephone callback. In both cases we aim to get back to you within 1-2 working hours (may take longer for more detailed quotes).

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