Ask A Question

Buying Shipping Containers

Frequently Asked Questions

You Ask, We Answer… If you don’t find the answer you’re looking for below, send us your question here.

Costs & Pricing FAQ's

Container prices change frequently depending on the supply and demand. We at Bolt pride ourselves in our extensive network and historical data and are able to provide containers at a very competitive price direct from the manufacturer. For exact pricing, please visit the Bolt application.

Shipping containers are a commodity, meaning the supply is controlled based on market demand. There are various global factors that impact the supply and demand side of shipping containers. Additionally, it is common that port adjacent cities and hubs will have lower priced containers than inland more remote locations due to the associated transportation costs of getting the container to further inland locations.

Not for smaller one time purchases. If you foresee having a very large one time order or regular purchase, please contact Customer Service to get you set up with a credit application.

For retail container sales, we collect the total sales price including delivery charge and all associated fees or taxes prior to scheduling delivery.

If you are not satisfied with the container delivered, we have a four-pronged approach to ensure your customer satisfaction:

  1. Repair: The customer service center will have the resources to contact and coordinate an appropriate company or individual to repair the container.
  2. Reimburse For Repair: The service representative will have a sliding scale of fees associated with certain container damage that we will offer to reimburse directly to the customer.
  3. Swap Containers: Customer service representative will coordinate (with Bolt?) the logistics of swapping out the unsatisfactory container for a new one.
  4. Full Refund: If no other option is available and the customer insists on a refund, the customer service center will get authorization from Bolt Operations to issue a full refund to the customer

Sizes & Condition FAQ's

ISO stands for International Organization for Standardization and is an international body that sets a variety of standards for nearly every conceivable industry. With regard to shipping containers, there are two sets of relevant standards that have been determined by ISO.

These two standards govern how the containers are manufactured, their classifications, internal and external dimensions as well as other specifications and testing. In essence, all “ISO shipping containers” are manufactured to the same exact specifications.

Typically the floors are 5/4” pressure treated marine plywood made from tropical timber such as keruing, apitong, or bamboo.

We offer 10ft, 20ft, 40ft, 40ft High Cube, 45ft and 53ft shipping containers.

In general, containers are 8'6" tall, 8' wide, and the length you have selected. High Cubes are one foot taller at 9'6" with the same width and length dimensions. Please visit our product detail page to see full internal and external dimensions for your preferred product.

There are a number of ways of quoting the weight of shipping containers. The tare weight is the weight of a container without any contents (the container by itself) and the gross weight is the weight of the container including the maximum weight of contents. Typically:

  • Tare weight for a 20’ container is around 4,500 pounds.
  • Gross weight for a 20’ container is around 55,000 pounds.
  • Tare weight for a 40’ container is around 8,500 pounds.
  • Gross weight for a 40’ container is around 67,000 pounds.

Shipping containers are manufactured with vents on the upper portion of the side walls. These vents can make a containers placed in a cold or wet environment more prone to condensation and eventually rust, so it is wise to check your ventilation often.

An IICL shipping container, or also known as a Cargo Worthy IICL container, is the highest grade of used container in the industry. It is common that a wind and watertight container is of IICL quality, but has not been surveyed and inspected by an IICL member. In terms of container trading, it is very rare to have a high number of IICL containers in stock, rather it is a case by case basis.

A new, or “One Trip” container is a container manufactured overseas, loaded with goods and shipped. Once the goods have landed in their destination and are unloaded, the container is sold, thus making it a “one trip” container. This is as new as containers come in the US.

These containers will be in great shape with the possibility of some dents and dings from being handled at the ports and from transportation.

A used, or “Wind and Watertight,” container has typically been used to transport cargo anywhere from 8-15 years before it is sold off (or what is called “off hired”).

These containers will be noticeably different from one trip containers. The paint will be faded, there will be amounts of rust on the exterior and interior and dents and dings will be more prominent.

These containers are still wind and watertight though, the floors are intact, and the cargo doors still function properly. For more information on the journey of a One Trip container, please visit our "One Trip Container Journey" page.

Container grades are not as frequently used as they once were - however an “A Grade” shipping container will be a used container in fairly decent shape, comparable to a wind and watertight (WWT) container. These units will have no holes, floors will be intact, clean interior, functioning cargo doors and door seals, but will have surface rust and dents and dings.

All new and used containers will be waterproof and come with a product guarantee. However, containers sold in "As-Is" condition may have holes or irregular damage such as damaged corner posts. They are priced accordingly but are not guaranteed to be wind and watertight.

A new shipping container put directly into storage use could be expected to last up to 50 years. Obviously, this depends on many factors such as the type of use they are put to or if the original structure or paintwork has been disturbed as a result of modifications.

A used container will last less time because it will already have had a life at sea and in transport but they will still give you a very long service life. The expectancy of a used container will depend mainly on the condition of the doors and the roof.

Shipping containers require relatively little maintenance. A new shipping container going straight into secure storage use will require much less maintenance than a used container.

The steel work of a new container will deteriorate much more slowly because the age of the steel and the paint job; you can realistically expect a 50-year life of a new container used for storage. The door hinges and locking bars may require oiling every couple of years.

The door seals will deteriorate but they will last at least ten years depending on your weather and exterior conditions.

Used containers require the same attention to the doors and also there may be small dents or corroded areas that may need repainting from time to time and possibly even a patch welded on. Painting a shipping container to maintain appearance is quite common.

Any metal surface that is exposed to temperature variations will inevitably suffer from condensation but there are ways to mitigate against this. Evidence shows that the corrugated construction of modern containers helps prevent condensation.

The paint used on the exterior of the container also helps prevent damage caused by condensation. The roof of a new container is slightly bowed to give an upward arc so that external water does not lie on the roof.

Where water lies on the roof of a container it lowers the temperature of the metal and causes condensation on the opposite side of the steel.

Condensation is more likely to occur on used containers that have roof dents where water gathers. Condensation is more likely to occur when a container is sat on cold, damp ground such as exposed soil or a flooded area; the cold from the earth permeates the container above and reduces the temperature thus causing condensation.

All air has moisture in it and it is this that condenses when the temperature drops so reducing the amount of moisture in the air inside a container will prevent condensation; this can be done by ensuring items are only placed in a container on a dry day if possible; a container can be vented on a dry day by opening the doors to allow damp air to circulate out of the container and be reduced by dryer air. Also, an item called Absorpole can be placed inside a container to absorb moisture from the air over a period of time.

Guarantees & Customer Support

Due to liability, we are not able to schedule any site visits to see our shipping containers. You can, however, see photo examples of what containers will look like on our website.

Please know that the color and exact condition of your container may vary slightly, but these photos will give you a very good general idea of what our containers look like.

Routine maintenance is the customer’s responsibility. However, if your container shows up on-site and is damaged or does not meet your expectations, we will see to it that the problem is dealt with and you get what you ordered.

If you are not satisfied with the container delivered, we have a four-pronged approach to ensure your customer satisfaction:

  • Repair: The customer service center will have the resources to contact and coordinate an appropriate company or individual to repair the container.
  • Reimburse For Repair: The service representative will have a sliding scale of fees associated to certain container damage that we will offer to reimburse directly to the customer.
  • Swap Containers: Customer service representative will coordinate (with Bolt?) the logistics of swapping out the unsatisfactory container for a new one.
  • Full Refund: If no other option is available and the customer insists on a refund, the customer service center will get authorization from Bolt Operations to issue a full refund to the customer

The product guarantee would be voided if the container is tampered with or altered. This includes, but is not limited to, cases of graffiti, structural changes.

Bolt is in the business of making and keeping our customers happy - we will always make sure you get the product you purchased. There are cases, however, where we will not be able to exchange the container brought to you.

Some of those instances are, but not limited to, taking delivery of the container (once the truck leaves and you sign for delivery), the issues you see were clearly outlined and explained on our website and retail application, you have the container after a [period of time] and the container leaks,

Buying Shipping Containers 101: First-Time Buyer's Guide

There are a lot of reasons people buy shipping containers. They can be used for storage, they can be turned into semi-portable offices or workshops, and in some case, crafted into full-sized luxury homes. Whatever your reason is for buying a shipping container, you deserve to get the best quality container for the best price without a lot of hassle. In this guide, we’ll share all the insider knowledge you need to get a great deal on buying new or used shipping containers.

Upgrade & Modification FAQ's

Yes, containers are a great way to build a home and other structures! From the foundation and focal point to an accent piece, they serve as structurally sound and sturdy building blocks for permanent structures. We suggest you speak with a building professional about your ideas and plans. We can suggest, that when moving forward with a container-based project, you highly consider using One Trip/New containers. Please visit one of the following providers of custom container projects (links).

A lockbox is a steel enclosure which is mounted to the cargo doors during the manufacturing process. All new containers are built with lockboxes. The purpose of the lockbox is to cover the area where the container doors are locked which prevents anyone from reaching the lock with cutters. Older containers, such as some WWT containers, do not have lockboxes due to when they were manufactured.

Yes, they can. There are actually new from manufacturer and/or retired used insulated containers, which are ideal for temparature controlled storage of perishables and other items. If insulating a container for residential or commercial occupancy, please consult with a local building inspector or review local building codes. While all jusrisdictions are not the same, typically we suggest using a "closed cell" spray foam insulating material, to avoid moisture & mold build up caused by condensation. Please consult witha local building professional or Architect to understand your options clearly.

If you have any experience with "Do it Yourself" projects to your home or business, Shipping Container modifications are very similar. There is a wealth of video documentation on the internet with some very simple to follow how to video's. Working with steel is much different than typical residential wood materials, so please do your homework first, be safe....and enjoy your container modification project!

Delivery FAQ's

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, est te option omittam eloquentiam. Nihil dolores gloriatur at eam, te mel erant virtute. His ei mazim ignota disputando. Cu legimus impedit feugait vis, no commune invenire.

Bolt's online application will provide instant delivery rates. Just enter your zip code and begin searching products. Being searching here.

For a 40’ container you need about 110’ of straight away clearance for the truck to deliver your container. You will need about 50’ of straight away clearance for delivery of a 20' container. Given that containers are 8’ wide, you will need minimum of 10’ of width clearance for the trailer to drop off your container.

For the truck to access your property, we will require a minimum of 14’ overhead clearance. For the actual landing of the container, a minimum of 17’ is required. Please be aware that all overhead obstacles such as trees or power lines must be cleared prior to the driver showing up.

Most frequently, containers are delivered on a tilt bed, or landoll, a trailer that has the capability to slide the container off of the truck bed and into position on your property. Containers can also be delivered on a flatbed, but this requires you to have the proper equipment, such as a forklift, to offload them at your site.

Yes, in most service areas we are able to get your container delivered on the weekend. This depends on transportation availability and schedules and typically additional fees are associated.

The surface where you want your container delivered should be a solid and as level as possible. Delivery can be made on a variety of surfaces including: concrete, asphalt and even grass and dirt so long as they are firm and compacted.

We cannot say exactly as there are different requirements and codes for every county and municipality. We do suggest that you perform proper research prior to purchasing and taking delivery of a shipping container.

It is best to site a container on a dry level surface such as concrete, asphalt, or a compact dried grass area. On the other hand, a damp, soft and uneven surface is the worst type of surface. It is most important that the surface is level so that the doors open and close correctly. The weight of a shipping container is borne through its corners and therefore spacers such as paving stones or railroad ties (pressure treated wood) can be placed under the corners to level the container even on uneven ground.

Yes. So long as you have accessible roads and a proper place to land the container, we can deliver. Take a look at our service locations here.

Weather greatly affects container deliveries. It is possible to receive a container in rainy or wet conditions. However, please note that both you and the driver need to ensure that the ground is firm enough for the truck to drive on and drop the container. Please also be aware the container transportation moves much slower during harsher weather.

So long as your site has the space, we can deliver two 20’ containers on one single 40’ truck. There is typically a small fee for this type of delivery due to the amount of time and effort it takes to load two containers.

Yes, it is recommended you are present at the time of delivery to ensure that what is delivered meets your expectations as well as sign for completed delivery.

Get Price Alerts for the Best Deals on Shipping Containers