The availability and versatility of cargo containers make them mainstays for commercial storage and even residential use. If you are planning to buy or rent storage containers, then you must consider three factors so you can choose the most cost-effective container to suit your needs.
1. What will you use it for?
Your purpose for renting and buying storage containers will largely dictate the specific features that you will be looking for in your container. What started out as a transport commodity is now being used as portable storage, portable homes, portable offices and even modular medical clinics. Here are some basic container features and their significance to how containers will be used:
- Free of toxic chemicals – This is particularly critical if a container will be used for human habitation such as in the case of portable homes and offices. Container floors are lined with wood that are heavily treated with potent chemicals to protect them from pest infestation while lead-based paints are used to protect the steel body of containers from damage from constant exposure to the open seas.
- If you are going to use storage containers for human habitation, you should prioritize knowing if the container that you will buy has undergone treatments to remove the harmful chemicals. If not, make sure such treatments will be done before furnishing. For added security, some put coatings made of epoxy on the floors after treatment to “seal in” any toxic fumes that may be left. Theoretically, Epoxy acts like a vapor barrier that blocks chemical vapors from escaping into the immediate vicinity.
- Insulation – Containers that will be used for residential/office purposes as well as for the storage of temperature sensitive items must be properly insulated. Heat pumps, air-conditioning units and heaters, as well as ventilation accomplish this for storage purposes. If a container will be used for human occupation, then lining the steel walls with insulating materials will be more cost-efficient than simply installing ventilation and air-conditioning units (the conductive steel body of containers makes them act as ovens in summer and freezers in the winter and installing temperature control units will require extensive power consumption).
- Security – If your house is in renovation and you decided to move-in temporarily with a relative or a friend, furniture and appliances can be stored for safe-keeping in storage containers. In this case, security is of top importance. Security options range from steel doors and locks to motion detectors that trigger sirens or lights. Some containers also come with additional lock boxes inside them as a last line of defense against theft. These theft proofing features are particularly important if storage will be on-site. There are some container companies that offer keeping your containers in their own secure compounds.
Used vs. brand-new – Basically, most containers used today by container companies are already utilized to some extent. When used to transport goods from other parts of the world, it is a common practice to leave behind containers in the destination because it is not cost-efficient to ship them back empty to the country of origin. Most companies rent or sell containers that are fully refurbished.
For this case, the wear and tear of the containers can be affected after repeated renting and leasing. As such, when buying, leasing or even just renting storage containers, your eye must be keen for cracking and dents in the metal structure as these affect the weather resistance and water proofing capacity of containers.
2. Transport, loading and unloading
Ground-level containers offer easy loading and unloading which is important for on-site storage. Some companies even deploy self-loading trucks that automatically load and unload ground-level cargo containers. For ground-level containers, surfaces where it will be deployed must be smooth, leveled and relatively firm.
If surface is a little softer than usual (such as a lawn), at least sufficient support must be provided on the four corners (containers are specifically designed to be self-supporting on its four corners). For other types of containers, make sure your container company provides cranes and fork-lift for easy loading and unloading. For long-range transport, ships, trains and even aircrafts can be employed.
3. Ease of access
Uncomplicated access will facilitate loading and unloading of cargo that will save time. Most containers come with double doors that provide easy access during loading and unloading of large cargo. For commercial storage of goods such as surplus merchandises, an industrial personnel door might be preferred. This personnel door is complete with locks and handles and sometimes overhead ledges.
Wooden doors can also be used especially for containers that will be used for residential purposes because wooden doors are more “homely” and cost less. Sliding and roll-up doors are good options for fairly large items like furniture and appliances.