ASCII by Jason Scott

Jason Scott's Weblog

The Fuel Costs of Not Moving —


copy of letter sent to

William Scotsman:

I’ve been a very happy customer with regards to the shipping container I have rented from you for several years. That is, I rented a shipping container, paid for the transport to and from the site, and have left it full of stuff in my backyard for years since.

I am about to pay my November bill, and I wanted to make two notes before I do.

First, when I started renting from you, my container cost $100 a month to rent and included a $10 property damage waiver, for a total of $110 a month. This is a great bargain for 40’x8’x8′ of space. I’ve made great use of it.

At some point, you mentioned you were raising your rates. You mentioned “rising fuel costs” as the reason. At the time, a friend of mine pointed out the ludicrousness of this, and I laughed with him about it, but never brought it up. I’m bringing it up now.

The container doesn’t move. It requires none of your fuel. It sits in my yard, on my property, and holds things. You don’t provide maintenance, you don’t visit or verify its structure, and you certainly don’t move it anywhere. In other words, you have been charging me, to the tune of hundreds of dollars, for fuel costs that you never incur, simply because some other aspect of your business is costing you money. I might not have even noticed, but you specifically cited rising fuel costs. I question the entire line of thinking. Additionally, I pre-paid for having the container trucked out at some point in the future. You’ve been holding that money for years, in what I hope is a bank account of some sort. So these contributory fuel costs, which at this point have been likely triple or quadruple that ship-out fee, are being taken for no real reason. I am disappointed in this.

Second, I attempted some time ago to purchase the container, noting that for a few thousand dollars, I could just own the item and do with it as I wished, including modify it for ventilation and lighting. I called and was told something that again, at the time, I thought was humorous, but have not continued to think so over time.

The customer contact explained to me that my container, which is as generic as it can get, and which had chinese markings and paper taped to the insides from its previous use as (as far as I can tell) an off-the-boat clothing sale market, was part of the “rental” fleet. If I wished to purchase a container, I would have to buy something from the “seller” fleet.

In other words, I was being asked to 100% empty out the container, go through the effort of making space to have it hauled out (at what I’m sure would be a notable cost above the part I pre-paid for), and then replaced with, essentially, the exact same container for me to re-fill (and possibly dealing with a scheduling issue, storing these items outside, and the rest of the associated problems). Obviously, I would never do this, and if I did, it would be to empty out the container and order a container from another firm.

As it is, I am now spending $150.83 a month of my container, a rise in price from $100 to $129 for the base rent, and $11 a month for my damage waiver, up from $10 for reasons I can’t quite fathom either. As I am constricting and tracking down my cost of living to meet my reduced means, small things like this didn’t bother me before, but now they do.

I will be continuing to pay for my shipping container and intend to remain a customer for the forseeable future, but can’t, at this point, recommend renting containers from William Scotsman.

Jason Scott

Categorised as: housecleaning | jason his own self

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  1. maxCohen says:

    PLEASE post the reply when/if you get it.

  2. tdiaz says:

    We’ve got a couple of those things here, too. Interestingly, with the same logic applied. If you want to buy it, they will come and replace it. It’s an effort to keep you from replacing it, for the exact reasons you cited. “oh, that means I have to empty it.. bah, I’ll deal with it later.”, and “later” becomes next year, and ..

    From Scottsman, and why do we fall for this? Because when we order it, we need it “now”.


  3. Chris M. says:

    Meanwhile, these empty containers are stacked up several stories high with a “for sale” sign on them at a nearby container port. They aren’t exactly in short supply.

  4. Bill Kibby says:

    You can buy a used one for 1500 bucks

  5. Ed K says:

    Their domain name is actually (extra L). The domain hoarder who owns is accepting all mail to all hosts, so you won’t get a bounce. Might want to verify you sent it to the right place.