Let’s begin with a short story: In 1884, a young Russian named Mayer Pollock travelled to Philadelphia. He ditched his family and came to America to make a living. He started to collect metal pots and pans, hustled to get by, and eventually built a metal empire that exists to this day.
It ain’t 1884 anymore in case you haven’t noticed, but metal holds value and scrap yards are happy to pay for it, which means you can make some coin being the delivery person. While this will most likely not be a full time income, it’s always good to diversify and have a money-making option no matter what your situation is. A decent sized truck or van and some muscle is all you need to get started.
You can start with research on websites like scrapregister.com and applications like iScrap to get an idea of prices and places to go. iScrap is your go-to for scrapping tips, finding local scrap yards and estimating prices.
Copper should become your best buddy. In the hauling market, copper has a very high price. Copper is available in various sizes and shapes and from multiple sources. It is a powerful metal for conducting heat and electricity. Many electric appliances contain copper.
Some common sources include:
Old desktop and laptop computers – circuit boards, wires and other internal parts contain valuable metals, even including gold. You will have to remove some materials to get the best prices. If that’s not your thing, some yards will accept your parts with a deduction in pay.
Motors – Electric motors are found in various appliances like lawn mowers, fans, microwaves and power tools. These motors have thick layers of copper windings. You can remove these windings by opening the steel casing.
Pipes – during home construction and renovation, contractors throw out plenty of scrap copper pipes. These copper pipes must be collected. If you see any brass parts and fittings, grab those too.
Speaking of brass – old bed frames, lamps and such can be collected and recycled for profit.
Ask Your Friends
The cornerstone of any new freelance venture is reaching out to friends and family. Ask people if they need to get rid of any heavy or unused items. A lot of people don’t understand the value of what they have or simply don’t care. This includes things like snow blowers, gym weights, old electronic appliances and sheds. All these materials are worth a lot of money. Sometimes people wish to donate things to charity but have items that charities will not accept. Offer to haul them away for free, and score some brownie points in the process.
On Ferrous Materials
Ferrous materials (aka “not containing iron”) do have some value, but scrapping them will involve moving very heavy weights for little cash. Ferrous materials include dishwashers, dryers, refrigerators and washers.
Be careful about restrictions
There are some items that scrap yards won’t accept. This varies by yard. These may include:
A/C units which still have refrigerant in them (you may have to prove that the refrigerant has been removed)
Anything that was likely stolen from a business or construction site (not a wise idea).
TVs and computer monitors
Time is Money!
When it comes to hauling scrap, everything depends on time. Scrapping should happen within tight timelines. Make sure you have a large enough load to make a decent profit without spending too much on gas and vehicle wear & tear.
Disclaimer: I am not a scrapper – just a guy who did a little research on the topic. Please chime in if you have any scrapping experience to share.