What do you do with your old tools, broken electronics or used soda cans? If you toss them out, you’re basically throwing away money.
Today I wanted to talk about selling scrap metal as a side hustle because some people might not know this, but all metal has value and some types of metal can be sold for top dollar. Plus, selling your scrap metal helps the environment because the materials get recycled for use again.
If you think you might be able to make some extra money by selling old metal from your property and items from friends and family, keep reading along.
What You’ll Need
- A place to store your scrap metal (a box/container or garage or shed for larger items)
- A vehicle to transport your scrap metal (if you have a van or pickup truck that will work find)
- An idea of where you’ll sell your scrap metal (do your research on scrap yards in your area to see what their rates are for certain items. Most scrap yards price items by weight and they are almost always competing against other businesses to offer the best prices)
- Tools to separate some of the scrap metal (not recommended but advised)
Choosing the Type of Metal to Sell
Like I said earlier, ALL metal has some sort of value. Scrap yards will purchase and recycle aluminum, copper, copper wires, steel, brass, chrome, silver, tin etc. Of course, some types of metal will sell better than others. For example, steel shelves or a broken stainless steel grill will sell much better than a few cans.
When you’re just starting out and trying to get a feel for everything, you should definitely try your hand at selling whatever you can. Keep your eye out for unused items around your home and on your neighbor’s curb and start building an inventory. The best places to find scrap metal candidates in your home include the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room, attic, garage, and your patio.
Once you get more comfortable, try to narrow down your search by focusing on higher paying metals like brass (found on gears, locks, valves, musical instruments and ammunition) and copper (can weigh in at $2-4 per pound). It’s important to learn about the different types of metal so you can tell the difference on your own and approach scrap yards being knowledgeable about what you have and what it’s worth.
How Much Can You Make?
This is the big question when it comes to selling scrap metal. Since I don’t sell scrap metal personally but I know a few people who do, I talked to my brother-in-law who’s been scrapping on and off since 2007 to get a realistic idea of earning potential for this particular side hustle.
He spends about 3 or 4 hours per day on Saturday and Sunday ‘scrapping’ or searching and picking up scrap metals and even employs a few helpers since he’s built up his side hustle to be quite profitable.
Typically he earns around $100-300+ a weekend but it all depends on the items he finds and how much they weigh. The market fluctuates often so certain metals may be priced differently over time as the value goes up and down.
If you want to make money by selling scrap metals, it’s all about the weight and accumulating as much metal scrap as you can. In order to make the most use of your time, you need to familiarize yourself with the best types of metals and where they can be found. Almost everyone wants to get rid of unused metals along with empty cans, broken electronics etc. so all you have to do is ask and people will be more than willing to let you have the items and then the weight can really start to add up. Overall it’s a great way to help recycle and earn a little extra money.”
I’m super impressed with how he established a side business out of selling scrap metal and relies on his big earnings to come from the residential and commercial contacts he developed personally.
One day, he was called in to clean out a Burger King restaurant and earned $800 from two hours of work. His bestsellers include flat screen televisions, sheet steel, copper and yellow brass. For more of an idea of how much money you could make, check out this source.
Keeping it Consistent
Just like any other side hustle, it takes consistent work to make consistent money by scrapping. The best technique is to build up an inventory, making it so important to have a decent area nearby to store your items.
If you keep momentum up with selling items around your home, you will eventually run out of things to sell and will have to venture out and get items from friends, family members, neighbors and even local businesses.
Like my brother-in-law did, you can reach out to local businesses and restaurants and let them know what you do and advise them to give you a call when they have scrap metal lying around that needs to be taken away. People will be more than happy to get rid of what they believe is useless debris.
Of course, you don’t have to go around town searching for scrap metal to start. You can check for items right at your home or ask neighbors if they have anything you can help them get rid of.
Some items may not be eligible to turn into scrap yard for cash but you can always recycle other junk and items by getting them hauled away by a professional.
Extra Tips and Things to Remember
- You need to be at least 16 and have a valid photo ID to sell scrap metal
- Each scrap yard has different categories for metal, prices and rules so it’s important to do your research and call before showing up with metal
- Your metal will be weighed by the pound so the heavier the better
- You can not just roam around and pick up scrap metal anywhere, especially not on private property. When in doubt, the safest method would be to ask the owner of the property if you can have their scrap metal.
- Research the metal industry if you’re serious about making this side hustle work and to avoid getting shortchanged in any way when you sell items. You didn’t start driving without studying the rules of the road and taking driver’s ed (hopefully)? Therefore, it’s important to be knowledgeable about what you’re doing and become the local expert in your area. Hint: This helps the business come to you.
To end things off and get your creative wheels turning, here are a few everyday items that you should consider collecting if you want to sell metal scrap for profit:
- Door Knobs
- Brake Rotors
- Pots and Pans
- Used Beverage Cans
- Stove Parts
- Aluminum Foil
- T.V. Parts
- Entry Doors
- Lamp Bases
- Air Conditioners
- Washers and Dryers
- Metal Shelves
- Lawn Mowers
- Swing Sets
- Iron Railings
- Old Tools
- Musical Instruments
- Tire Rims
How much scrap metal do you think you have lying around your home or neighborhood?
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