United Rentals’ Guide to Renting a Storage Container

How to rent a shipping container

Once you have decided that you need to rent a storage container, several common questions are likely to arise. In this guide, you will learn where you can rent a shipping container, how to rent a shipping container, factors to consider in choosing the one that suits your needs, and essential details about shipping containers such as size and dimensions. Like when considering any other potential rentals, there are many things to think about when renting a storage container.

New vs. Used

The first thing you should ask yourself about mobile storage containers for rent is, “Do I want a new or used shipping container?” Both offer positives and negatives. A new container is typically referred to as a "one-trip" container, meaning it was shipped from the manufacturer to United Rentals. New storage containers typically have very little wear and tear. Additionally, they are wind and watertight, freshly painted and ready for use. These, of course, are going to be more expensive than a used container.

Used containers will be commonly known as "refurbished" containers, "cargo-worthy" containers and “as is” containers. These containers will have been used on past jobs, and will likely have some noticeable wear and tear. However, that does not mean that they are not solid, dependable units.

When looking at any of the used containers, pay close attention to the condition of the unit. Here are some specific items you would be wise to examine before renting a shipping container:

  • Doors — Do they open and close easily? The doors are the parts of the container that get used the most. Are they in good shape? Do you see any noticeable dents or holes?

  • Lock — Another essential piece for safety. Ensure the locking mechanism is in working order and you understand how to use it.

  • Floor — Most containers are built with a thick marine wood floor. This is an excellent material for storage containers as it is slip-resistant and durable. Whether it has something heavy sitting on it for an extended period or has a forklift rolling all over it, the marine wood floor should hold up. Check for large cracks in the wood and around the corners.

  • Roof — This is vital for keeping your items safe from the outside elements. Walk into the container, close the door and make sure no light is shining inside, which indicates a hole in the roof that could let in wind, water or rodents.

  • Walls — The walls are also what help to keep your items safe. Don’t only look for holes but also for rust and any significant dents.

What Size Container Do You Need?

Another consideration when renting shipping containers is the size of the container. How big is the location where you plan to put the storage container? United Rentals offers standard containers that are 20 or 40 feet in length, 8 feet wide and 8.6 feet in height. We also have access to “high cube” containers that are the same size but offer one additional foot in height, making them 9.6 feet tall. We may also be able to help if you have specific or unique sizing needs.

How to Prepare for Shipping Container Delivery

You will also want to consider how to get the storage container to your location. While you may make arrangements to have the container moved on your own, United Rentals is also available to assist with delivery. For more information on how to prepare and plan a shipping container delivery, check out our article on Shipping Container Delivery Tips.

There are many things you should consider before renting a storage container including what's being stored, the particulars of your site, and your budget. A representative from United Rentals would be happy to discuss your needs and to help you to find a storage container.

Contact one of our storage container and mobile office experts today.

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