Buyer’s Guide

What you should know when buying a Steel Storage Container

When planning to make a container purchase there are many options to consider. The most common sizes are 20 foot and 40 foot long standard units. These standard units both measure 8’6” high and 8” wide. Standard units are all fitted with swing doors on one end. Double door units with doors on both ends are also available when purchasing new. Units also can be purchased in a high cube variation. The height on these units boasts an extra 12” of height bringing them to 9’6”. Custom containers of all sorts are available when looking at purchasing new, but come with a premium price tag. Whether you are looking to purchase new or used Portable Storage by TKM is happy to walk you through the process of getting a container that fits your needs.

Condition of the Container

New (one-trip)

Steel storage container

The phrase “new” and “one-trip” containers are one in the same. These units are manufactured overseas and shipped to the U.S. with a cargo load. Often once they are here they are sold as new. It is important to remember that these units have made 1 trip across the ocean and it is possible that they have minor scratching or dings. Some of the advantages of purchasing one trip units are that they usually come in grey or tan and are void of large shipping logos. Price and availability are constantly changing so please contact us for a current quote. We do not keep one-trip units in stock but can usually have them delivered to us within a week.


Used Storage Units


When looking to purchase a used container you will see terms like “cargo worthy”, “wind and water tight” (WWT), or “as-is”. These terms are sometimes used loosely. It is very important to physically see the unit you are purchasing. There are many places to buy a unit online and very often the picture of the nice shiny container is not the unit you will receive. Most online sales are done through a broker that has no idea of what the container looks like that is being sold. Brokers will just have serial numbers and it is the next one off of the pile when the truck shows up. Whether you make your purchase with us or someone else, we would urge you to take a trip to the container’s location and inspect your purchase.

What to Expect

Almost all used containers will be either 20’ standard or 40’ standard. These units have most likely made multiple trips over the sea and have been handled many times. It is normal to expect large shipping logos, some scratching and minor dents. Most will show signs of surface rust especially on the outer edges and corners. It is rare to find used containers in grey or beige as most are red/brown/blue. Units can be painted to make them more pleasing to look at. However things to look for are that the unit has its door seals intact, the doors open and close smoothly, it has a solid floor, and that is it water tight and free from leaks. We here at Portable Storage usually have multiple 20’ and 40’ used containers to choose from and available for purchase. Feel free to contact us or stop by to see what we currently have in stock.

Contact Us

Portable Storage by TKM

955 76th St SW
Byron Center, MI 49315

Office Hours:
Monday - Friday (8:00am - 4:30pm)

Phone: (616) 878-4800
Toll Free: (866) 878-4800
Fax: (616) 878-4949

Rental Manager: Bob Champlin

National Portable Storage Association Member