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Thread: How to become a profitable scrapper?

  1. #1
    Experienced Scrapper
    dryvr12 started this thread.
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    How to become a profitable scrapper?

    Out by me I was lucky to grab an old crt monitor, some gutter material, and thats pretty much it. Missed an old a/c unit by minutes When I go to the yard ill get something like $30. The extent of my scrapping is looking around on garbage day, with a 15mpg truck, and scanning the free section of CL.

    So what Im wondering is how do I stay a part time scrapper, but get decent money per trip? I have had a scrap removal service on CL for a week or two with no hits.



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    Alot of hard work...an a drive that will keep you going even if you have to push your truck!

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  4. #3
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    dryvr12 started this thread.
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    Let me rephrase my question. Where should I be looking for scrap other than where I am?

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    What part of CL are you advertising on?

    Get some cards made, hand them out to people. When I do a pickup, I hand a few cards and ask them to call me if they have anything in the future, or to pass it on to friends/family.

    Make up some flyers with tearoffs and post them around town.

    Drive around early on trash day and glean stuff that way.

    Knock on doors of homes that you see scrap laying around. Ask what they plan to do with it and if they'd like you to haul it away.

    If your local newspaper is online, see if they have a free classified section you can post to. Or even post a paid ad if you wish. I prefer not to pay for ads.

    In addition to CL I post to several other sites, including kijiji.com which is an eBay classified site.

    Think of everything you do as a fishing pole. Some will get bites, some won't. Just keep at it.

    I am thinking about getting magnets made for my van. Advertise 24/7. Get the eyeballs of people that don't even own a computer. Yes, there are a few out there.

    Maybe even a small sign in your yard "I pick up scrap metals". Or "free scrap removal".

    Good luck and it will come, just keep on keeping on.

    Above all, be professional in your dealings.

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  7. #5
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    look in the archives, dry....you'll find what you need to make money. Good luck.

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    isnt there a whole section dedicated to this ?

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  10. #7
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    I have been scrapping less than a year, but I'm doing well so here's my advice:

    1. Although we collectively call ourselves and each other scrappers, for the sake of marketing always refer to what you do as recycling. "Scrapper" to those who know little about what we do evokes images of dumpster diving scroungers who may skirt the law and are probably less than ethical. "Recycler" evokes images of the new "green" trend.
    2. Bankroll some money for expenditures over and above gas, tools, etc. Usually my most profitable trips to the yard are with a truckload of scrap that I purchased. Yesterday I shelled out $265 bucks for cast iron steam radiators, the ancient boiler (which was cut into six pieces) that ran them, assorted pipe (complete with about 40lbs of brass and 60lbs of lead), a broken A/C unit, a water heater and a fuel oil tank. When all is said and done I'll collect about $850 from my $265 investment.
    3. Brainstorm CONSTANTLY about how you can obtain scrap. For instance a few days ago I had the idea to approach non-profit groups about doing a "scrap metal drive". They do all they legwork to inform people and solicit donations of scrap metal. They'll schedule a time and place to have all of the donors drop their scrap off at a central location. Volunteers can help me clean and separate the metal, then we turn it in and split the cash. Will this idea work? Who knows, but I'm gonna try it.
    4. Remind EVERYONE about what you do. You want everyone you know to pause before they throw the old microwave or dryer in the trash and go, "Oh yeah, I'll give this to "______", he'll recycle it.
    5. Never ever assume anything... Never assume a dumpster is empty, never assume that the answer will be "no". Last week I saw a mattress store doing a "going out of business sale". This store has giant lighted aluminum signage attached to the building. I estimate the signage will bring $600 in scrap aluminum. I went inside, gave the salesman my card and offered to take the signage down for them in addition to paying $100 for the signs. Today I got a call - he started by saying that the home office wanted someone bonded/insured to take down the sign.... BUT since I had offered cash for the sign, they would let me have it for the $100 after the sign company takes it down.
    6. Get off the Craigslist train. It's too crowded. I look for stuff constantly on CL, but I don't advertise there.
    7. Watch for local auctions, both live and online. Two weeks ago I bought 800 giant aluminum cable fittings for $71. They scrapped out at $138. Most scrappers probably passed this by because they didn't list a weight. I did about 15 of research, found the exact fittings online and calculated their value from the weight listed on their specs.
    8. Keep notes or a journal of everything you find, when you found it, etc. I do this and refer to it often just to remind me of the potential scrap hotspots I need to revisit.
    9. Whenever you get some scrap from someone, always ask if they have anything else and list the items you can take. You will almost always get something else, many times you'll get much more than the original item(s).
    10. The less greedy you are, the more you'll get! The other day I had some perfectly good bed frames... I stopped by a Thrift Store that I pass every day and asked if they could use them to sell. They said they sell them faster than they can get them in. So now I give them any bedframes I find, and they now have a bin inside their back door where they now save all scrap for me rather than throwing it in the dumpster.
    11. Most importantly, always be courteous, honest and ethical.


  11. #8
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    great advice billard.

  12. #9
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    Billiard you hit the #1 rule right on the head!! just being a "recycler" has landed me more than anything else!!

  13. #10
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    Great read Billiard and IdahoScrapper,

    I have only been scrapping for about 5 months and have classified what I do as "Opportunistic Scrapping". I don't need to do scrap for a living fortunatly but I make a little extra money month by just keeping my eyes open and the ideas flowing. This boards has been a great help as

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    Quote Originally Posted by dryvr12 View Post
    Out by me I was lucky to grab an old crt monitor, some gutter material, and thats pretty much it. Missed an old a/c unit by minutes When I go to the yard ill get something like $30. The extent of my scrapping is looking around on garbage day, with a 15mpg truck, and scanning the free section of CL.

    So what Im wondering is how do I stay a part time scrapper, but get decent money per trip? I have had a scrap removal service on CL for a week or two with no hits.
    I got a deal set up with a friend who has a business generating a substantial amount of good quality scrap. What I worked out was essentially consigning with him. I pick up loads, take them to my shop and break everything down and sort into containers. When I sell I give him a copy of the weigh slip and his percentage. I'll be picking up another load tomorrow. I've also contacted small aircraft companies and after being told no by several I landed one contact. I'm supposed to pick up a wing in about a week or so. Everything Billiard posted was dead on.

  15. #12
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    Good deal. And again, persistence pays off.
    People may laugh at me, but that's ok. I laugh all the way to the bank.

  16. #13
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    Good idea! Im going to go to my old grade school and see if the update there computers, if they will give them to me rather than throw them out.

  17. #14
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    Im going to go to my old grade school and see if the update there computers, if they will give them to me rather than throw them out.
    A lot of the school systems have an auction about once a year to get rid of 'puters and desks, chairs, and other misc. stuff. Usually advertise the auction in the local paper.

  18. #15
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    Maybe 3 years ago, they switched principals and priests, so they threw a bunch of monitors, speakers, mice, and keyboards out. If only I was a scrapper then

  19. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by dryvr12 View Post
    Let me rephrase my question. Where should I be looking for scrap other than where I am?
    Scrap is everywhere, so are fly by night "scrappers". You have to make people trust you, word of mouth is your best advertisement. I lost count the number of times I went to pick up a load of scrap and the client told me that their relative lives next door and they may have stuff to get rid of. I filled my trailer up many times this way. If you have the room and your township doesn't give you to much trouble, you can take items when you get them, take them home strip them and store them until you have a nice healthy load to take to the scrap yard. People in my neighbor hood sees my scrap and will often ask if I would like more. I have also had people just drop off appliances when I wasn't home, its a nice surprise when you come home and there is a drier or refrigerator sitting in the driveway.

  20. #17
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    this is awesome Mr. Billiard MD, the best overview for us newbees. Is there a newbee section yet lol. to keep old grumpie guys from throwing scrap at us ahahahha
    Thank you,
    Jeremy
    PurEnergyPro.com
    207-786-2864

  21. #18
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    u cant be lazy

  22. #19
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    Perseverance and hard work. I started out just driving my neighborhood but expanded to surrounding counties. Word of mouth - all my neighbors and friends know I do it and save me stuff. Pass out flyers or cards with your name and number on them. be a good scrapper - respect of garbage goes a long way. Smile and wave when you drive around. Everyone knows me now and wave to me every day I go by their houses if they are out. Most know my driving routine times and put scrap out for me before they put their regular garbage out or wave me down for larger items.

    Know how to get the most money out of your scrap.

    it takes time to build up to a profitable business but you have to put the time in to it. Dont let the bad days get you down.
    Chief Cooler Puller and newly minted member of the ''I finally backed that trailer up correctly the first dang time!'' club

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  24. #20
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    Hey... what ever happened to Dumpster Dee?


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