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FAQs about Containers to be used for Storage or Shipping Only

How do I get a quote on the cost to deliver my container? 

Oahu island- Our roll-off deliveries average $250 on 20s and $350 with 40s to most areas on Oahu. Hau’ula, north shore can be more, areas close to Kapolei can be significantly less. We will quote you a price and will not change that charge except in extraordinary circumstances, your accuracy and honesty is most appreciated when describing your delivery conditions. We do not roll-off in areas where our rig is not level, where huge potholes exist, severely wet and muddy, low overhead wires or trees etc. It is dangerous to roll-off on really uneven terrain, our rig can flip over and injure our driver and possibly others observing. We offer accurate concrete block roll-offs and recommend putting your container on blocks and not on the ground. Water wicks up into your steel floor sub frame and will rust it out much faster.

All other islands- One of the trucking companies that we work with will come out to your property, free of charge, and let you know how much it will cost to get it there. The cost depends on your properties access, where you want the container positioned exactly and how far away you are from their yard. Delivery is the least expensive for  those that are only needing to roll-off their container. Right now, only one trucker on the Big Island has the proper trailer to roll-off. All other islands only use a 20 ton forklift. Roll-off is only possible if our trucker can maneuver his truck where you need the container rolled-off, and only if we have the room to pull out and get out. This requires about 125’ total space. If you need your container against a wall or hedge, it may require a 20 ton forklift for any island including oahu. Occasionally a crane is required. Crane service costs depend on the island you are on and who you hire to do the work. It is no problem to get a quote on the job, we can get that done for you expertly. We craned a 20’ container apartment over a wall and onto a post and pier foundation in Kaneohe for a cost of about $500. It took about 1.5 hours, and the crane co is located in Waimanalo. Both forklifting and crane services will definitely cost more than rolling off because it requires two trucks and two drivers, plus an expensive and very large forklift or crane. An estimator may need to come to your property free of charge and let you know what your move will take, and what it will cost you. FYI- A 40’ weighs 8500+ lbs, 20’s weigh about 5800+ lbs. Modified 20’ containers with insulation and drywall can weigh 7000+ lbs and 40s can weigh 11,000+ lbs depending.

How should I prepare for delivery? 

Your area should be as level as possible. You never want to put a container directly onto the ground. It is highly advised to put containers on concrete blocks. If you want us to roll-off and you want to move the container sideways or in a different position after we leave, it is best to roll-off onto round wood fence posts which allow you to move your container with a nudge from a truck, or with come-alongs etc. These fence posts are about 10” thick, round in shape, and come in various lengths that average about 7’ long. You want to put one post on each corner, and two in the middle for a total of 6 fence posts. When you get your container where you want it, you want to jack up one corner at a time with a 3 or 4 ton floor jack, and replace the wood posts with 16” x 16” x 8” thick concrete “tofu” blocks available at home depot etc for about $11 each. Make sure the ground beneath the blocks is nicely compacted, and use gravel underneath each block. You only need the tofu blocks on the 4 corners for a 20 and its advised to support the middle of 40s after you get it on the 4 corners, level it and then support the middle. You can use plastic shims for leveling- wood will rot quickly. You can buy floor jacks at sears for around $100 for a 3 ton model, and approx $160 for a nice low profile 4 ton floor jack. Although a 3 ton jack will work, we highly recommend a 4 ton jack because the 3 ton strains and is near its capacity. Do not jack up a container from any point other than right on the corner, do not attempt to jack up one entire side unless you have the 4 ton jack or bigger and the container is empty. Do not go underneath a container that is being jacked up as it could crush you if the jack hits capacity, fails or someone accidentally releases the jack and it drops suddenly. We are available to put the container on blocks that we can furnish for you if desired, as well as provide any kind of modifications you might want, such as installing windows, doors, flooring, A/C, electricity, plumbing etc. We even construct legally permitted homes made from shipping containers. We are also available to give you advice on modifying your container if you are willing to do the work. We support our customers and answer the phone personally to maximize your success and minimize your frustrations. Call us at 808-339-5639.

Is it ok to place my container directly onto the ground?

No it is not. Moisture wicks up into the steel floor and rusts it out much quicker than those who place their containers on blocks. We can furnish blocks at the time of delivery, or you can buy them yourself and present them to our driver who will instruct you where to place them and when. The blocks are concrete- 16” X 16” X 5” thick and weigh about 85 lbs each. On oahu, we can roll-off accurately onto blocks because our delivery person is superb. Neighbor island deliveries generally do not like rolling off onto blocks because they don't want the container to slip and make them call for a forklift and not get paid for that forklift. Call or email us for neighbor island referrals, and you need to contract them directly and ask them all your questions directly. See the answer above this one for details on how to get your container on blocks.

My driveway/entryway has turns and potholes and trees overhead. Can you tell me what I need to do so containers can get to my home site?

The trucking Co’s that we work with can. Getting 20’ containers delivered is incredibly easy compared to 40’s. Trucking Co’s cannot generally deal with major potholes, narrow entries or tight turns etc. They can tell you what is possible, and exactly what you need to do so you can receive your containers. They also know people that can cut trees and fix potholes etc. Call us and we can set the process in motion for you. There is no charge for the truckers estimate. We work with capable professionals whose rates are very reasonable, and whose trailers and forklifts are more than capable. If you need to get over a small wall, or into a back yard etc,  you will need a crane operator, which we can arrange.

I want to make my used container look nice. How do I deal with the surface rust, and can I do anything about the dents? 

You must read our article on dealing with surface rust, all you need to know is there, and our processes and recommended products guarantee the very best job possible anywhere. As for dents, car body filler works great for that.. If you know your way around with a torch, you can heat the metal around the dent and pound it out and shape it first to minimize the amount of body filler used. Always prime and finish paint the finished repair immediately with rustoleum high gloss OIL BASED paint or better. Never ever use water based paint on a steel container- it will not seal out the elements and rust will come quickly.

What do you recommend using to cut out windows and doors?

There are many ways, but the process that is most likely available to people is a reciprocating saw or sawzall with Bi-metal blades. You can also use a torch, a plasma cutting torch or a skil saw with metal cutting blade. Sawzall is the safest, plasma cutters are the easiest and cleanest. We are available to do these kind of  modifications if desired, and are also available to help you over the phone if you want.  You can reach us at 808-339-5639.

Do aluminum containers last longer, are they better and don't they rust much more slowly? What about insulated refrigerated units?

Aluminum containers have an aluminum roof and body, most have steel floors and vertical corners. The bodies do not rust hardly at all, but the floors do. And since no one has made an aluminum container for about 15+ years, if that aluminum container has been sitting directly on the ground the whole time, it is most likely worthless due to that steel floor rusting out. You need to see underneath before purchasing. It could be ok but chances are its rotten. Some really old aluminum containers had aluminum floors! Those are worth a lot of money. 20s like this are the most rare and a good one sells for over $8000. You cannot build a home with these, the walls are not nearly strong enough generally. You can do an office or workshop for sure, but not a permitted home. Refrigerated containers are also in that same boat. Welding one can set the insulation on fire and that can take weeks to stop smoldering, plus the refrigeration equipment is huge and heavy and messy and expensive to remove and dispose of. We do not recommend fooling around with those unless you are willing to leave the equipment right where it is. Most are steel everywhere and do not have deep corrugation like non-refrigerated containers do.

I want to buy a container to ship my stuff to the US Mainland, or maybe an international destination. How does that work, and does it make sense?

First of all, you DO NOT need certification to ship a container to any neighbor island. We thank God for that! To ship a container to the US Mainland or international destination, it has to have current certification for seaworthiness. 1-trip containers have 5 yrs certification from the date of manufacture and that date is imprinted on an aluminum plate that is riveted to the containers double swinging doors. When we receive our 1-trip containers, their date of manufacture is anywhere from 6-18 months PRIOR to us receiving it, so 5 yrs minus that elapsed time is how much time you have to ship your container. After that, re-certification is required which requires you to lift that container off the ground so the inspector can see the condition underneath of the container. That usually requires you to hire someone to lift the container onto a huge trailer, truck it to the inspector and get it inspected. A 20 empty weights 5800 lbs and a 40 weighs about 8800 lbs. If you want to ship a re-certified used container, generally you can only ship it to the US Mainland. We can take it to our inspector and get that done for you for about $350, sometimes less. We have heard that Matson is no longer accepting privately owned containers at all and that horizon lines is. You need to check and verify properly ahead of time before buying a container. Another issue is getting that loaded container to its final resting place once it arrives at its destination. That requires you to either unload the stuff right away or hire a crane to lift the container off the trailer and place it on your property. You cannot roll-off the container full of stuff- it will smash your stuff and also possibly break the hardware bolted to the factory double swinging doors.

International shippers generally will not allow you to ship a re-certified used container. They can often be problematic to deal with, sometimes severely so, and due to having experienced many hassles with this kind of situation, we insist that you receive permission in writing like on an official email from the shipping company. Some will not even allow a 1-trip container, companies such as Polynesian lines. They are an absolute nightmare. Again, get something in writing from someone other than an $8/hr clerk. Insist on speaking or emailing with someone in management. We are not given certification paperwork on new containers, no one is, the badge on the door shows the date of manuf, but even though this is known, believe it or not we have received calls from a shipping clerk overseas who does not want to continue shipping the container to its destination and demands paperwork, which we cannot get. This is because the containers come from China, and they don't speak English, so we cannot communicate with them and not even our brokers are willing to try. The bottom line is this- Get this sorted out ahead of time in writing- get a written approval for your specific container, which has its own serial number right on the container itself. A 1-trip container has 5 years certification automatically, but shipping co clerks rarely know this fact and will not accept a reservation, so be prepared for hassles and delays. You must speak with someone in management who knows the rules and get their ok in writing ahead of time. We offer no guarantees what so ever even with written permission. Dealing with international shipping companies can be worse than dealing with the federal govt. We are here to make things happen for you, and we do have to deal with the system that is in place. There you have it! Does it make sense to buy a container and ship it to the US Mainland or an International destination? Go back and read this faq again before making a final decision. We wish it was easier! Wishing you smooth sailing…