Just drop that Shipping Container anywhere!

28 Dec

Greetings, Campers!

Evidently, Santa was good enough to some of you, that you still have some small change jingling around in your pockets, and you want to buy a shipping container or six.

Lately, I’m getting barraged with questions about actually buying containers.

Well, this IS a container home blog, after all.

So, in the next few days (after I finish this series I’m working on about finding the place to PUT those containers) I’ll write a post about how to find the boxes, and what you’ll encounter when you do it.

But, to address the most recent “question barrage”, I offer you this;


Dear Ronin,

I want to buy shipping containers. I want to build a home out of them.  But I’m concerned, because the guy I’m buying them from keeps trying to tack on an additional fee, to deliver them to my property.

This doesn’t seem fair. If I buy a car, they don’t charge me a fee to put it in my driveway, In fact, in this economy, they’re happy to do it!

What gives?


A skeptical shopper…


Dear “Skeptical”,

Are you NUTS?

Beyond the cost of that box, there’s ALWAYS the “delivery charge.”

When you buy your groceries at Wal-Mart, do they deliver them to your house for free?


When you buy furniture, do they offer to tote it to your house, for nothing?


Shipping containers weigh 8,000 pounds. They won’t fit in your mini-van, and they don’t have wheels on them so that they can be towed behind your SUV back to your neighborhood.

Have I ever said ONE TIME in this blog that when you buy a container, the delivery is included? Huh? Well?

Not just NO, but HELL NO!

That guy selling you the container is only making money off the box sitting in his storage yard. Sure, the prices are going up (almost daily, it seems) but for the most part, a decent container can still be had for under $2,000.00.

But getting it home, so you can attack it with plasma cutters and grinders is another story entirely.

It takes a semi-truck and a pretty sturdy trailer to get it to your house.

And, they don’t come cheap. So, you can expect the driver of that truck (who probably has a family of his own to support BTW), to want some kind of compensation for hauling your box to your curb.

These delivery charges are fairly straightforward fees, based on equipment and mileage costs (plus a tidy profit for the driver, I assure you). There’s a little bit of negotiating room, but not much. You’re better off trying to bargain the price of the container down a bit, to help pay those delivery fees.

If you’re buying the container at the lowest possible cost already, well…

Here’s a few things to consider;

There are different types of trailers available to haul shipping containers.There are flat-bed trailers, Container Chassis trailers, and even “tilt-bed” trailers (like the one in the photo above this paragraph).

Using a “tilt-bed” trailer means that the container can be “dumped, right on the ground. In fact, if you’re really careful, you can unload it right on  to your prepared foundation.

Alas, most of these “tilt-beds” are only used to deliver containers within a 100 mile radius of the storage yard they were harbored in.

The tilt bed driver will need at least 80 feet of hard ground and he/she must be able to back in and slide the container off the truck. If the driver can not drop the container due to lack of access to your site… guess what?

You still owe them for the transportation and even the return costs.

If you’re beyond that magic 100 mile circle, well… you’ll be required to lift the container off of a container chassis trailer.

Note the “twistlocks” in the corners and along the sides to attach the container to the trailer.

Or, you can go the “flatbed trailer ” route:

Either way, this means you’re gonna need a crane on site… or a pair of Lulls and a few REALLY heavy Duty Straps.

(That’s the route I choose, unless I’m stacking them up over two containers high.)

More on that, later…

And “Delivery cost is nonrefundable” is STANDARD.

Of course, if you have something against “TRUCKERS” you could always ship it to yourself, UPS.

Remember that it’s an over-sized package, and it requires special handling. You should be able to afford it. Let’s see… carry the three, divide by the square root of Ronin’s IQ, multiply by OMG… that comes to $214,341.86.

Glad I could clear this up for you.


See you next time!

One Response to “Just drop that Shipping Container anywhere!”

  1. clarkscottroger December 30, 2009 at 8:14 am #

    …hey a variation on the ‘get the 3 pizzas delivered to a friends house without them knowing’

    “Excuse me, Mr. ‘Doctrine? I have 2 bright green containers, where on the lawn would you like them? We take Visa/MC thank you”…lol

    Not being a major holiday guy, kind of happy to get back to whatever passes as normal life…but all of us here at the Wakefield Doctrine want to wish you and your family and your Readers a safe and productive New Year.
    Your blog (and the effort you put in it) is the thing that encourages us over here at the (“it’s been 6 months already? OMG how long is that…blog)
    Thanks for your help and encouragment ‘Ronin!


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