What to look for when choosing a container

From small businesses to family homes, the possibilities are almost endless when you buy or hire a container. If you choose to go down the storage container hire route, you can use them for a variety of purposes, from self-storage to worksite accommodation. They are incredibly useful pieces of equipment, but choosing a bad container can be disastrous.nnIn this article, we’ll examine what you need to look for when it comes to choosing a container. As a rule of thumb, before you even think about browsing containers available to you, it’s important to know what you’re going to do with your new buy and think about where you’ll place it. nnSo, you’ve decided why you need a container and where you’ll be putting it. Now it’s time to know exactly what you should be looking for.n


nWhen you first view a container, be sure to smell the interior. It may sound ridiculous, but retired shipping containers have the potential to have carried almost anything; from lovely, unassuming shrink-wrapped DVDs to pungent salted fish – or even literal rubbish. As you won’t know what was in the container when you come to buy or hire it, you certainly need to check for any odours.nnIf there is a smell present from the previous contents of the container, it can be easily disguised with ground coffee. Simply pick up a large amount of the cheapest coffee you can find and spread it evenly across the floor of the container. Close the doors for around 48 hours and the coffee should have absorbed any offensive odours that could contaminate whatever you were planning on storing in there. This technique will leave behind a faint coffee smell, but that will almost certainly be better than whatever was in there beforehand.nnYou should also be aware of the flooring of your container. While container floors are made of hardwearing marine-grade plywood, those in second-hand containers are unlikely to look as fresh as the day they were installed. You shouldn’t let a few nicks and a bit of discolouration put you off, but you should avoid a container with a floor that shows any signs of rot or mould.n


nAll of the containers supplied by us at Unit Hire are designed to be anti-theft and anti-vandal. The security aspect of storage container hire is very important, especially if you use your container for the storage of documents or valuables. To ensure that you are getting a secure container, there are a few things you should look for.nnFirst things first, check that the container has a lockbox. Most containers are locked primarily with a padlock, meaning that anyone with a good set of bolt cutters is able to break into the container. As such, we recommend buying or hiring a container that has a lockbox installed. This metal box is welded onto the container doors, preventing anyone from gaining access without the key.nnThe doors are the most vulnerable part of the container so, along with installing a lockbox, you should be sure that the doors themselves are secure. Check that the seals around the doors are intact, if the doors don’t shut and create a tight seal, they are neither secure nor waterproof. Furthermore, you should check that any mechanisms on or around the door are in good working order. They might need a bit of lubrication but it’s imperative that the doors can be fully closed.n


nAside from being secure, one of the features that owners expect from their container is general durability. While your container isn’t going to look as fresh and clean as it did when it was carried out of the factory and loaded onto its first ship all those years ago, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few aesthetic details to be on the lookout for.nnCheck the outside for any surface damage. While a little bit of light rust or a couple of dents is nothing to worry about, avoid getting a container with large rusty patches or any holes, no matter the size. These factors will weaken the container on both a security, and a durability level. The best way to check that your container is entirely free from any major damage is to simply step inside and take a look around. Close the doors behind you and check if any light is entering the container. Even the smallest holes mean that the box isn’t waterproof, so it’s imperative to check.nnOf course, it’s best to pick a recently retired container. A container that’s been sitting in a field for two years is going to be a lot worse off than one that only completed its final voyage a couple of months ago. If possible, another good tip is to check the underside of the container. While this isn’t always something you can do, it pays to ask if the company you’re buying or hiring the container from if they would be able to lift the container up.n


nWe’ve already written an article on the ways in which you should consider size when choosing a container, but it’s worth briefly covering here too. When choosing a container, you’ll have to think about its size in regards to what you are planning to store and where you’re planning on keeping it.nnFortunately, containers come in a great range of sizes. From Unit Hire, you can get 8, 10, 20, 30 and even 40 foot long containers. This means that, whether you’re building yourself a new garden shed or storing the contents of your entire home (plus car), there’s a container out there for you.nnTake time to consider what exactly you’re planning to do with your container and it’ll make choosing one so much easier. Additionally, remember to prepare for delivery and be sure to have enough room set aside to place your container once it arrives. The general rule is to have double the length of the container set aside to make sure it can be delivered without any issues.nn nnAt Unit Hire, we’re always happy to help you choose the ideal container for your needs. Whether you’re looking to rent or buy an intermodal container, get in touch today!

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