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Top 5 Tips for Buying a Shipping Container

Shipping containers are popular because they can be used for a variety of uses including home offices, spare rooms, man caves, retail spaces, cafes, secure storage, granny flats, garages, houses and workshops – to name a few!

Before you buy a shipping container in Australia, you need to choose one that suits your needs and budget. Extra storage space for your garden equipment, will require a different type than building a granny flat or commercial office.


1. Select your size

The most cost-effective options are 6m (20ft) and 12m (40ft) shipping containers. These lengths are the most widely used in the shipping industry, and this makes their price even more affordable than other sizes. If you need a bit of extra storage, and have limited space in your backyard, a 6ft or 8ft container may be a better option.


20ft containers

20ft containers are the most popular shipping container for hire and sale in Australia. This size is suitable for a range of residential and commercial purposes.

How much can I fit in a 20ft shipping container?
The volume of the 20ft is approximately the same as a single garage. It will usually be large enough to fit:

  • The contents of a three bedroom house.
  • One vehicle, with a few smaller household items.


Shipping Container Twenty Foot

40ft containers

The 40ft shipping container is the ideal size for a range of purposes including portable living, commercial office spaces and roomy storage facilities. Residential, commercial or industrial – this size has you covered! To picture the volume of a 40ft container, think of the space of a two car garage.

How much can I fit in a 40ft shipping container?

  • The contents of a 4-5 bedroom house.
  • Two vehicles, with a range of larger household items.

Shipping Container Forty Foot


High cube containers

A high cube container comes with additional 30cm height. This space may not seem like much, but the extra head space offers you more versatility in uses and will fit larger items.


  • Standard 20ft: 33.2 [m3]
  • High cube 20ft: 37.4 [m3]


2. Wind and watertight

Whether you need a shipping container for storing archive boxes or plan to build a home office, a wind and watertight container is a must. These containers are built to withstand bad weather, while protecting your valuables from the elements. Wind and watertight containers will provide comfort and reliability, making them suitable for a range of uses.

Tip: When you inspect your shipping container, ensure that there are no dents or low areas on the roof. Shipping containers are stacked on top of each other and this damage can lead to areas of the roof that collect puddles of water.


3. Doors and hinges

The most vulnerable section of a shipping container is the door. A lockbox, which is a metal box fitted onto the door before delivery, will protect the padlock from being tampered with. The addition of a high security padlock will give you extra peace of mind.

Check that the doors open and close properly. The hinges and seals should be in good condition, and the seals should be free of cracks.


Person opening shipping container. Close-up of hinges.

4. Customisations and modifications available

Before you select your shipping container, choose a company that can assist with the modifications you want. A list of common modifications include:

  • Windows and shutters.
  • A new coat of paint.
  • External security locking and security bars.
  • Ventilation and insulation.
  • Roller doors and side doors.
  • Electrical fit-outs.
  • Storage shelving.

Pre-arranging these customisations, instead of waiting until your container has been delivered to site, could save you thousands of dollars.


5. Delivery

There are some delivery factors that you need to consider before your purchase. Determine whether there is enough room for the container to fit at your intended space.

The general rule for delivery is that you need double the size of the container, plus an additional 10ft room, for the driver to fit your container in the space. This will also depend on the type of delivery truck that is needed to access your site.


Nationwide delivery

Is the company able to deliver to your location? If you are located in a capital city, it should be straightforward to organise delivery. At 1300SPAREBOX we offer reliable delivery to capital cities, suburban and regional areas – anywhere in Australia.

Whether you want to buy a shipping container in Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane or The Edge of the World (a town in Tasmania), we deliver nationwide.

1300SPAREBOX are your go-to shipping container specialists. Create your backyard retreat, portable office, spare room or a pop-up retail space. Contact us today to discuss the project that you have in mind. We deliver the right container, at the right price, with the right features.