How To Make Money From Scrap Metal

The saying goes that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and this is a phrase which is particularly true in the world of scrap metal. Everything from unwanted washing machines to car parts can be scrapped, reused and recycled, and there is some serious money to be made from the practice.

Whether you are looking to make a living, or just curious after seeing current scrap catalytic converter prices and pictures, here is our guide to making cash from other peoples cast-offs!

Know Your Stuff

Not all scrap metal is created equal, and it is a good idea to have a solid understanding of the value before you get started. This will help you to avoid wasting time on materials which will not net you a profit, and even to specialize in a particular area.

 On average, most scrapyards will pay around $190-200 per ton of ferrous metals, and this is a price which changes daily according to global supply and demand. The most popular metals and average prices are: 

  • -Ferrous metal – the most common type of scrap metal and usually pays around 10 cents a pound, or $10 per 100 pounds.
  • -Bare copper – found in wiring and similar items, this pays around $2.85 per pound. If the copper still has a shield, such as a power cord, you can expect to receive a percentage of this amount – usually around 60 percent of the weight.
  • -Aluminum – Around 50 cents per pound and most commonly found in patio furniture and old widows.

As well as the metal itself, you can also make money from household appliances. Again, the price offered will depend mainly on weight, and examples include:

  • -Washing machine – average weight around 200 lbs, this could net you around $20
  • -Dryer – average weight 100 lbs, you could get around $10
  • -Cast iron bathtub – any weight over 300 lbs could earn you between $30 – $40

Remember that as a general rule, older appliances will weigh more and so could earn you a higher amount.

Be Prepared

It is essential to have the right equipment to transport scrap metal. It can be a rough material which can cause damage to vehicles such as trucks. Instead, opt for a ramp and utility trailer which is sturdy. Make sure your vehicle is large enough to handle appliances such as freezers and refrigerators—you don’t want to miss out on bargains! Also do some research as there are some organizations that can collect even scrap cars for free.

Check For Freebies

You would be surprised at the amount of free scrap metal just waiting to be claimed. Search on sites such as craigslist for people who are asking for their stuff to be removed. Move fast though—there tends to be a lot of competition!

You can also get to know maintenance staff for apartment buildings or businesses as getting them onside could mean you are the first call they make when they have metal to shift. Be polite, professional, and reliable, and you could earn yourself a glowing reputation within the industry and build up a network of contacts.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.