Now that you’ve collected and separated your metals, you’re ready to cash in. You’ll want to take your goods to the local scrapyard.
A scrapyard differs from a junkyard, but only slightly. They both may look the same to an outsider, but scrapyards focus only on buying and selling metal, whereas there are a variety of other things that can be found in a junkyard. Junkyards have also been historically used as auto wrecks and parts yards.
Your best bet is to call ahead to any of your local scrapyards and figure out which one is offering the best prices for the metal. In most cases you will find that they are all comparable to one another. Some yards pay you in cash and some will write you a check.
You can also use the iScrap App to find scrapyards in your local area.
How much can one stand to make scrapping?
The amount of money any one person can make scrapping ranges from a few extra bucks a month for beer, to a few thousand if you have a connection to a business that generates scrap regularly. It all depends on what and how often you scrap. Also keep in mind that market prices are always changing based on supply and demand.
Having said that, here are some rough numbers to work from:
- Light iron and other ferrous metals: $.06-$.10 per lb, but they are more commonly found so it’s easier to get more weight.
- Copper: $2.65 per lb.
- Insulated copper wire: $.90 per lb.
- Brass: $1.60 per lb.
- Stainless steel: $.42 cents per lb.
- Aluminum: $.50 cents per lb.
Where can you find metal?
You can find scrap metal all over the place. Sometimes, people just throw it away because they don’t know the value of it. You can go from door to door and pass out flyers letting people know that you collect and scrap metal and would be happy to take it off of their hands. If circumstances allow it, you can go into buildings and demolition sites to collect metal. However, you must always have permission to go onto property that isn’t yours in order to collect metal. If you do not get permission, you could be prosecuted for theft.
The best way to be successful is to find a recurring source of scrap. You can also check out the free section of Craigslist.
The following is very important. Knowing how to collect and separate your metals will ensure that you get the most money possible for your load. Here are a few basic tips:
- Put each type of metal in its own container. You don’t want your metals all mixed together when you show up at a scrapyard. The main reason is that you’ll most likely get paid only for the value of the least valuable metal in your box or you’ll be told to separate it and come back. For example, if you have brass and aluminum mixed together in one bucket, you may only get paid aluminum prices, which would suck because brass pays a lot more per pound.
- Clean your scrap. No, I don’t mean wash it off with soap and water. Clean scrap means that there are no extra attachments on the metal you are cashing in. The difference between #1 Copper and #2 Copper is very simple. #1 Copper is free of any paint or brass attachments which means that 99% of the weight is Copper. #2 Copper would mean that 96% or more of the weight is copper, but it may have paint or brass or some other metal attached to it, causing it to be downgraded.
- Keep your scrap safe. Scrap metal is often stolen from business, construction sites, and homes. Keep your collection in a safe place.
Knowing Your Metals
What’s the difference between ferrous and nonferrous metals?
The simplest answer is that ferrous metals and alloys contain iron (Fe) and nonferrous metals do not. Which is exactly why a magnet is your most useful tool in separating and collecting metals. If your magnet sticks to a piece of metal, chances are it’s ferrous. If it doesn’t stick, chances are it’s nonferrous.
The reason this is important is because there is typically a significant price difference between the two; nonferrous metals often pay more per pound than ferrous metals do. So if your magnet doesn’t stick, you’re looking at a little more cash in your pocket.