Collecting scrap metal and taking it to the scrap metal buyer is a great way to make some money on the side. But how much profit you make will depend, at least in part, on how efficiently you are able to collect and turn in your metal items. The following are four tips for scrapping more efficiently so that ultimately, you can earn more money for less time spent scrapping.
1. Wear the right gear.
If you come across a sharp piece of metal on the side of the road, having to gingerly pick it up without hurting yourself can take time. Get into the habit of carrying the proper gear with you, in your truck, at all times — this way, you can stop and pick up scrap quickly and easily when you come across it. Very thick, sturdy gloves, goggles, and heavy pants are a good starting point to protect yourself from sharp edges and protruding wires. You'll work faster knowing you are protected.
2. Bring a magnet with you.
Ferrous metals, like steel and iron, are typically worth more than non-ferrous metals, like aluminum. You can still get some money for aluminum but not as much.
Carry a magnet with you, so you can test each item you come across. Always load the magnetic, ferrous metals first since they are the most valuable, and only take the non-ferrous metals if you still have space for them. If you're going to leave something behind because your truck is full, you want to ensure it's a less-valuable piece!
3. Take large items apart.
Disassembling every little wire can take time and is often not worth it since the scrap yards will pay you only slightly more for stripped wires or other clean, small pieces. When it comes to big items like refrigerators, however, it's definitely worth separating the metal out on your own. Your payday may be as much as twice as large for the half hour or so that this takes you.
4. Get to know a scrap yard.
If possible, try to take your business to the same scrap yard each time, and get to know the people there. As you become friendly with scrap metal buyers, they may offer you tips regarding the best scrapping in your area or how to get more for the pieces you are bringing in. A good relationship always comes with a lot of perks.