Believe it or not, scrap metal recycling can be a significant source for income for many people. The key is to be able to have a constant steady source of scrap metal to sell. Fortunately, many people can’t stand the sight of scrap metal in their yards or houses. In some cases, not only will you get it for free – you can often get PAID to take it!
Here are some ways you can get free scrap metal:
If you are looking for free ways to get more scrap metal, here are some good sources to try:
1. Start With Yourself, Family, Friends, and Neighbors
You may be surprised that you may have a lot of items to scrap right in your own house or around your property. It’s never a bad time to go through things you don’t use anymore or things that might be broken. Check the basement, the garage, any storage sheds or even some old closets for things you can scrap.
Once you have a pile of things, call up your friends and family members who live locally near you or on the way to the closest scrap yard. Ask them if they have any scrap metal they don’t want and you’re happy to pick it up for them or tell them they are free to drop it off at your house anytime. Many people are content to drop things off at your house just because that is a lot less scary than taking a trip to the scrap yard!
Don’t forget to also talk to your neighbors. Most of your neighbors likely are busy people with a lot of different things happening and are probably not interested in going to the scrap yard themselves. They’ll be happy to have you take all sorts of things that are metal that they no longer want or need just to get it out of the way. After all, piles of scrap metal can be quite the eyesore, especially in suburban areas where it is not exactly encouraged.
2. Start a Junk Removal Business
Starting a junk removal is NOT easy by any means, especially when you take into consideration state laws and insurance needs. However this is exactly how we get a steady supply of all sorts of scrap metals and people gladly pay us to take their scrap metal.
Yes, we do have to deal with a fair share of garbage and items that cannot be sold at the scrap yard, but for us it’s always a fun job and we love knowing we are helping people become less cluttered and more organized!
It’s also a great idea to specialize in different things. For example, we found a niche with swimming pool and hot tub removal. While it’s not for everybody, and certainly requires some experience, these are often great sources for scrap metal.
Once you establish your business, you will find yourself with a steady supply of clients who rely on you at least monthly if not more often. Being friendly, on time, and courteous can go a very long way in making long lasting connections to meet great people who are happy to hire you.
3. Learn How to Find Scrap Metal on Craigslist
Craigslist can be a good way to find free scrap metal, but it can sometimes result in a wild goose chase. Many people will post ads where they have free scrap metal. The hard part is getting there first!
Using an app to find craigslist listings or to set alerts can be very helpful. You may also wish to place your own ads on Craigslist under services or check the “gigs” sections. You never know who might need someone to help them get rid of old things they don’t need.
4. Use Social Networks Like Facebook
Facebook has many community groups where people will ask if someone can pick up scrap metal or you may even be able to post that you will pick it up for free or a small fee.
Don’t be afraid to charge people for picking up scrap metal – that stuff is heavy and certain things only pay about 4 cents a pound. Make sure you are always getting at least minimum wage after expenses of gas when you are scrapping an item!
5. Pick up Litter
It’s sad how many roads and parks quickly get littered with bottle caps, soda and beer cans, and other junk. Some people even dump things like washing machines illegally on back roads where they think no one will notice they are there.
If you are at a park or walking along an area with a lot of litter, bring two bags – one for the trash and one for the metals. It may be a lot of work, but it’s a great way to help your community, the environment and your wallet all at one time.
This is a great way to get aluminum cans and pull tabs.
6. Make Friends With Contractors, Landlords and Real Estate Professionals
Most contractors, especially electricians and plumbers, know that they can make decent money going to the scrap yard. However, most of these contractors also make a lot more money when they are actually working.
For this reason, there are many who are happy to sell you the scrap metal for less than its value simply because it saves them time. For example, if current copper prices are $2.65/pound, you might be able to find a plumber who is happy to sell you the copper for $1.50-$1.80/pound, simply for saving them the time and hassle.
Landlords and real estate investors are also a good source for free scrap metal, especially if they own a lot of properties. People who flip houses for profit often have a lot of junk to clean up, and while it typically won’t be the most valuable scrap metal items, you can get a steady supply easily.
7. Shop at Garage Sales, Estates, Flea Markets and Auctions
Many people who have garage sales are very happy to get rid of stuff. They might be moving or downsizing or finally tackling the clutter. It never hurts to keep a watchful eye for anything that has decent scrap value – even if it is something not for sale. About a year and a half ago at a garage sale we came home with about $400 worth of scrap – and we paid about $15 for the stuff we actually bought.
Still, you’ll be amazed at what good deals you can find. It’s not uncommon to find something like a brass lamp that weighs a lot, and they are selling it for a quarter. Stuff like that is easy to buy cheap when you know once you take it apart will be worth $10.
Shopping at the end of the day is also a good idea. Often times the sellers will even throw in more stuff if it is towards the end of the day. Many people will have “bag sales” just to get rid of things quickly and easily.
Whenever we are at flea markets and garage sales, I also always keep a close eye out for boxes or tables marked “free stuff”. You never know when you might find some free scrap metal that way!
8. Buy Broken Computers & Other Electronics
Broken laptops and computers can be quite profitable once you understand how to safely take them apart and extract the valuable metals and parts that can be sold. It does take a bit of research on how to do this if you aren’t already scrapping computer parts and other electronics components.
Because it is somewhat risky and dangerous to take apart these items, many people are glad to give you free computers that no longer work. They most likely don’t have the necessary tools, safety equipment, or knowledge in how to safely extract the metal from these items.
If “free computer recycling” types of ads don’t bring you any calls, you can always place an add saying “we buy old and broken computers, laptops, and other electronics” – just be sure if you are paying for items you will still make a good profit that covers your labor time and expenses and that the offer you give them is fair.
9. Haul Away a Piano
Destroying an old piano for scrap metal value sounds like a terrible thing to do, but the reality is most of these pianos are long past the point of being playable – and getting an old piano professionally tuned and repaired can easily cost more than the cost of a new piano.
Pianos are also very heavy, which is why no one wants to be bothered with moving them. These are a thing people will gladly pay to get rid of, because they are hard to get rid of for free.
However, one of the reasons pianos are so heavy is because they have a lot of metal inside! The average piano has a nice big piece of metal that can be sold for the cast iron scrap metal prices.
There are some safety precautions to consider when scrapping an old piano. For starters, those strings are under some pretty tight tension – be sure to always remove these safely and while wearing safety googles and other necessary protective gear.
You will also get a lot of wood with an old piano, and this needs to be properly recycled as well. Many people like to make crafts with old piano wood – and of course if it is an older piano, it’s worthwhile to see if it may have ebony or ivory components, as these can often be sold for a decent amount on sites like Ebay.
If you are willing and able to deal with the hauling and disposal, it is not unreasonable to charge a fee to remove a piano with someone. It’s a lot more work than you might think, but again, it’s typically an readily available source of scrap metal.