How Much Money Can You Make Selling Scrap Metal?


There are all kinds of ways to make money for a living besides a regular 9-5 job. You no longer require an office space, or even gadgets like laptops and phones to make a livable wage. All you need is to be creative and to find resources available to you to make a profit off of it. 

One good example of this is making money off of selling scrap metal. Metal is a very common material that is used in creating all kinds of everyday items. From aluminum cans to materials made to build houses, chances are: you can find scrap metal lying around your neighboring environments. 

Because of how abundant it is, people have found a way to sell unused scrap metal to those who actually need the materials. In this article, you’ll learn about how much money can you make selling scrap metal, and how you can start selling scrap metal yourself.

How much money can you make selling scrap metal?

It is entirely possible to earn upwards of $50 to $200 per day, solely from selling scrap metal.  The amount of profit you earn highly depends on what kind of scrap metals you are able to collect, and how many of these metals you can obtain. Depending on the kind of metals you obtain, you can earn around $0.50 to $2.60 for a pound. 

The kinds of metals that can be bought from you are aluminum, brass, copper, lead, and stainless steel. These materials are called nonferrous metals. This means that they don’t contain any traces of iron. Because of this, you can’t pick up any of these metals using a magnet, so you’ll have to be hands-on and smart about sourcing your materials. If there’s any iron material also stuck to your nonferrous materials, it’s important to remove them to make the most out of your profit. 

Nonferrous metals are much more profitable than ferrous metals, or metals that are made of iron. Ferrous metals are materials like steel, and they are often used in automobiles and household appliances. Besides being magnetic, a characteristic of nonferrous materials is the ability to rust. If you can see rust on the surfaces of your scrap metals, you can definitely be sure they’re ferrous. 

However, if they’re too rusted, they won’t be profitable or viable to sell. You either need to restore it using different methods to remove rust, or to junk it entirely. 

Where can I find scrap metals?

Now that you know how much money can you make scrapping metal, it’s time to answer what specific materials can be sold, and where you can find them.

The first place you can look for scrap metal is in automobile repair shops. Oftentimes, they have junk machinery that can no longer be used for their clients or work. Instead of throwing it away in a landfill where it will be wasted, you can use the surplus to your advantage to sell it to a scrap yard. 

The second place to find scrap metals is on construction sites. Similar to automobile repair shops, construction sites won’t always be able to use the materials allotted to them. You can ask for their spare, defective, or unused materials that they may want to get off of their hands.

Other places that you can contact for scrap metals are dumpsters, crowded roads or neighborhoods, or even Craigslist, where people tend to give away free items solely to clear up space in their households. 

The materials you can sell at scrap yards don’t have to be disassembled by you. They can be entire automobile parts or old appliances like stoves, washing machines, and televisions. All you have to do is collect and sort all of these materials so that rounding up your scrap metals once you sell them will be easy.

How do I sell scrap metals?

Before you start selling the scrap metals you’ve collected, it’s important that you’re prepared to haul them over to the right scrap yards. If you’re planning to go big for your first time selling scrap metals, you need to have a vehicle that can carry heavy materials, such as a pickup truck. 

The next step is to be in contact with the right scrap yard. Each scrap yard or junk yard business has different rates assigned to the kind of materials that you want to sell. One junkyard might be able to give you $1 per pound of copper metals, but another one that’s a bit farther can give you $2. This is why it’s important to get comfortable taking calls and introducing yourself. 

This also goes for the collection step of your job. Because you need to ask for permission to collect scrap metals from construction or demolition sites, it’s important to put yourself out there in order to get the most out of your labor.

Selling and collecting scrap metals is definitely an unorthodox way to make money, but its one that has been tried and tested. The job is also an important one to make these materials accessible to all kinds of people. It’s a side hustle that’s definitely worth a try, as long as you have the time and effort to commit to it. 

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