United Rentals’ Guide to Shipping Container Site Preparation

Factors to consider when determining shipping container setup

There are many things to consider when renting a shipping container from United Rentals. Once you’ve made the decision that you need a shipping container, you will need to figure out where to place it. There are a number of factors to consider when determining shipping container placement. The factors to consider when placing a container include:

  • Accessibility

  • Clearance

  • Grade/Surface

  • Drainage

  • Current Site and Future Changes


Overhead accessibility to the site is important. The truck and trailer that delivers the conex box will need to have a clear path to the jobsite and to the final spot on which the equipment will be placed. This means the area should be free of hazards, including blind spots, vehicles, trees, other buildings, sand, mud and other obstructions. The truck driver will also require 120 feet of clearance in front of the equipment location to allow for the unloading of the shipping container and maneuvering throughout the jobsite.


Please make sure that there is at least 14 feet of overhead clearance for the truck in order to minimize the risk of damage to the equipment. Items to look out for include, but are not limited to, tree limbs, bridges, overhangs and power lines.


A storage container can be placed on many surfaces; however, there are some factors that make some surfaces better than others. A level surface is always preferred over a location with any sort of incline. Concrete surfaces are ideal but not required. If the grade is level and there's appropriate overhead clearance, a number of types of surfaces may work including, in order of preference, concrete/asphalt, gravel, grass, dirt and sand. If a storage container must be placed on a slight incline, a solid surface is always preferred.


A container can be placed directly onto the ground, but you will need to ensure that water can drain adequately. Standing groundwater could create an issue with moisture seepage through the floor, which can result in mold and mildew, rotting of floorboards and possible damage to the contents being stored. If water will not drain adequately, the container can be set on shipping container blocks to assist in draining.

Current Site and Future Changes

On the day your container is delivered, please be aware of the appointment and make sure the site is ready to go, clear of all debris, vehicles and other jobsite equipment.

Once your storage container is delivered, please make United Rentals aware of any jobsite modifications and changes to the landscape or condition of the equipment. United Rentals can come out and make a maintenance call, if necessary, which will ensure a smooth and seamless pickup when the container is no longer needed.

At the end of the day, good communication with your United Rentals sales rep is key. Let your rep know about the location at which your storage container(s) will be placed, and he or she can assist you in choosing the most appropriate spot.

Contact us today to be connected with your local container specialist.

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