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Basic PC scrapping question

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    Basic PC scrapping question

    I am extremely busy with my day job/business.

    However, I really like breaking down PCs for its components. It's fun and makes some $$ as well.

    A guy I deal with from time to time told me, he can get me 50-75 PCs and Laptops per week for $2 each.
    Now I am leary of his numbers, but heck, even if he brings me 10 a week, that would be fine as well.

    I dabbled into Pcs a couple years ago and revisited the issue after talking to this guy earlier this week.

    For someone that just does this small scale on the site it seems very overwhelming. Just the differences in MoBos, CPUs etc is ridiculous.

    I also likely will not be able to test anything for functionality due to the time it takes and also he likely will just bring me the PCs etc without cables, etc.

    I do know how to research some of the better stuff above scrap value and how to sell it. But it seems very time consuming. Also I would rather not deal with anything under $20 value individually as it doesn;t seem worth my while. But i also do not want to ignore too much potential profit.

    E.g. I found 3 memory sticks in one PC that i could prob get $12-18 on ebay with free shipping. But really not worth my time doing that.

    Also a CPU selling for $13ish w/ free shipping.

    Anyhow.... my question is, how would you suggest I handle this?
    Just break everything down and sell it by the lbs and let someone else reap the $$?
    And just sell the real good stuff individually?

    I sell a LOT on ebay, but my minimums are $20 for smalls and $40 for bigger stuff.

    It seems counterproductive to add $10-20 items to the mix. But again, it also seems wasteful to just toss those mixed level items in the lbs boxes?

    Also I need to say, I am not a very patient person. I won't spend umpteen hours on research to make a few extra bucks.I really am looking at this as a little hobby, cash making opportunity.



    Thanks in advance for any input.

    Martin
    Time is Money - Crunch the Numbers - It's a Numbers Game!


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    Quote Originally Posted by aph View Post
    I am extremely busy with my day job/business.

    However, I really like breaking down PCs for its components. It's fun and makes some $$ as well.

    A guy I deal with from time to time told me, he can get me 50-75 PCs and Laptops per week for $2 each.
    Now I am leary of his numbers, but heck, even if he brings me 10 a week, that would be fine as well.

    I dabbled into Pcs a couple years ago and revisited the issue after talking to this guy earlier this week.

    For someone that just does this small scale on the site it seems very overwhelming. Just the differences in MoBos, CPUs etc is ridiculous.

    I also likely will not be able to test anything for functionality due to the time it takes and also he likely will just bring me the PCs etc without cables, etc.

    I do know how to research some of the better stuff above scrap value and how to sell it. But it seems very time consuming. Also I would rather not deal with anything under $20 value individually as it doesn;t seem worth my while. But i also do not want to ignore too much potential profit.

    E.g. I found 3 memory sticks in one PC that i could prob get $12-18 on ebay with free shipping. But really not worth my time doing that.

    Also a CPU selling for $13ish w/ free shipping.

    Anyhow.... my question is, how would you suggest I handle this?
    Just break everything down and sell it by the lbs and let someone else reap the $$?
    And just sell the real good stuff individually?

    I sell a LOT on ebay, but my minimums are $20 for smalls and $40 for bigger stuff.

    It seems counterproductive to add $10-20 items to the mix. But again, it also seems wasteful to just toss those mixed level items in the lbs boxes?

    Also I need to say, I am not a very patient person. I won't spend umpteen hours on research to make a few extra bucks.I really am looking at this as a little hobby, cash making opportunity.

    Thanks in advance for any input.

    Martin
    Unless you can test stuff, I wouldn't sell anything on E-Bay and list it as working. Your best bet is to learn what some of the buyers on here pay for more than scrap value items and ship to them. They will test them and pay accordingly. Yes, you could make more yourself, but do you have the time and equipment to test.

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    For the re-sellable stuff we have several buyers right here, who can take them untested and they test and pay you based on the working items. This would mostly apply to RAM, CPU and maybe hard drives.
    All you need to do is ID the resellable stuff and once you have enough, ship them all in one box. Take a look in the buyers section. Everything else can be sold as scrap by weight. This way is quick and simple and you don't leave too much money on the table.

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    On the one hand .... there's a pretty steep learning curve and the landscape changes every 3- 6 months as new computer technologies hit the market. You'll do better if you work hard at new learning.

    On the other hand .... You start to see the patterns after you've done a few hundred. It won't take very long to size up the machine and decide if it should go straight to breakdown or be considered for better than scrap. Hands on experience is a good teacher.

    Not trying to make trouble or anything but how knowledgeable is he about computers ? Is there any chance that he would be culling out the few keepers and sending the straight to scrap items to you ? If that's the case .. then ebay won't be a consideration.

    It's like most everything else. You only get out of it what you are willing to put into it. Macs and laptops will drive you nuts if you're not a patient person. Probably better to send them in as either whole or incomplete units and get what you can out of them.

    One good thing .... you might be getting enough volume to make shipping by gaylord feasible. That would save you a ton on shipping costs.

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    APH,

    Do you have a local buyer for the scrap or shipping all to out of town buyer?

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    I pay my "CurbCo" guys $2 per on desktops and laptops and always make profit.. even at scrap. I'd take him up on his offer.

    Figure a non-cracked Laptop screen brings you $1.50 at scrap. Not too hard to pull out another .50 cents to break even.

    I could give you all the answers.. but where is the fun in that? $2 is fine.. take the time to do some reading here and after a while you'll know how to maximize a computer for its full profit potential.
    I'm so into scrapping.. When my Steel Toe Boots Wear out, I cut the Steel out of them and recycle the Toe!

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    aph started this thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cct001 View Post
    APH,

    Do you have a local buyer for the scrap or shipping all to out of town buyer?
    All has to be shipped. Local ewaste place pays 30% of what the big buyers on here pay./ Heck, they probably sell to them!!

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    aph started this thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hills View Post

    Not trying to make trouble or anything but how knowledgeable is he about computers ? Is there any chance that he would be culling out the few keepers and sending the straight to scrap items to you ? If that's the case .. then ebay won't be a consideration.
    I seriously doubt he knows much at all. He was all big eyes when I offered him $2 a piece. Pulled a lp[top out the back of his truck right away. And I read enough to figure at $2 I can't go wrong.
    I am thinking this could be my vacation funds for later this year.

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  13. #9
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    Here is my approach to laptops. Check eBay completed listings for the models you have. Include the words “parts” or “repair” with the model number. If similar units are selling at a price you deem worthwhile, place in keep pile. If price is too low, remove any more than scrap items for a forum buyer and add the rest to the scrap pile (I don’t disassemble laptops).

    You need to acquire a few laptop power supplies. I can do a lot with 6 or so. Try powering on the laptops and make notes on post its so all laptops are documented. Make/model, cpu/speed, ram, power/or not, screen condition, other damages or missing peices. Units that power on, try to get to the bios page (one button during start up) it will give you the specs and the buyers like this picture. Even laptops that don’t power on can have value, people need covers, body peices, whatever. I remove hard drives but include the caddies.

    I use flat rate boxes, but that’s because shipping is high for me. You may have to ask at the post office, the large flat rate game board box works well. If you get multiple of the same or similar laptops, pair them in one box to reduce shipping per item. Items sold as for parts or repair can not be returned. Just document well to avoid feedback issues.

    Now you are selling laptops with basic specs/functionality and making way more than scrap without extensive refurbishing. You make more money, but the buyer can still make money too.

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    Are they complete computers?

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    Don't forget to check the computers for Bitcoins.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aph View Post
    I am extremely busy with my day job/business.
    You may want to first find a very large storage unit to rent.
    Copper, brass, and Leather. 3 of my favorite things.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sledge View Post
    I pay my "CurbCo" guys $2 per on desktops and laptops and always make profit.. even at scrap. I'd take him up on his offer.

    Figure a non-cracked Laptop screen brings you $1.50 at scrap. Not too hard to pull out another .50 cents to break even.

    I could give you all the answers.. but where is the fun in that? $2 is fine.. take the time to do some reading here and after a while you'll know how to maximize a computer for its full profit potential.
    It's situational though. Let's assume worst case and shipping is .80 / lb

    Average screen weight at 1.25 lbs

    1.50 ( scrap value ) minus 1.00 ( shipping ) gives you a net profit of .50 a screen. Maybe scratch out another .50 with a motherboard for a total of one dollar.

    Buy price was 2.00 $ Return on scrap was 1.00$ Net loss on every unit is -1.00$

    That doesn't figure in the time to carefully break down the laptop and wrap the screen in packing material for shipping.

    It's hard when you're doing straight e-waste because the margins can be so thin. If you make any profit at all .... it's generally in nickels,dimes, and quarters. Once in awhile you make a buck or two with a good find.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hills View Post
    It's situational though. Let's assume worst case and shipping is .80 / lb

    Average screen weight at 1.25 lbs

    1.50 ( scrap value ) minus 1.00 ( shipping ) gives you a net profit of .50 a screen. Maybe scratch out another .50 with a motherboard for a total of one dollar.

    Buy price was 2.00 $ Return on scrap was 1.00$ Net loss on every unit is -1.00$

    That doesn't figure in the time to carefully break down the laptop and wrap the screen in packing material for shipping.

    It's hard when you're doing straight e-waste because the margins can be so thin. If you make any profit at all .... it's generally in nickels,dimes, and quarters. Once in awhile you make a buck or two with a good find.
    The only way to deal with laptops in my opinion is by the pallet..........I break down tons of low grade ewaste but laptops are either parted out/refurbished/or sold whole........Mileage may vary based on situation and distance
    BUYING ALL COMPUTER SCRAP WORKING OR NOT
    CHECK OUT MY BUYERS THREAD http://www.scrapmetalforum.com/scrap...nic-scrap.html

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  21. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by hills View Post
    It's situational though. Let's assume worst case and shipping is .80 / lb

    Average screen weight at 1.25 lbs

    1.50 ( scrap value ) minus 1.00 ( shipping ) gives you a net profit of .50 a screen. Maybe scratch out another .50 with a motherboard for a total of one dollar.

    Buy price was 2.00 $ Return on scrap was 1.00$ Net loss on every unit is -1.00$

    That doesn't figure in the time to carefully break down the laptop and wrap the screen in packing material for shipping.

    It's hard when you're doing straight e-waste because the margins can be so thin. If you make any profit at all .... it's generally in nickels,dimes, and quarters. Once in awhile you make a buck or two with a good find.
    I'll preface this post by saying this: You are asking for advice, I am offering it. You can take all of it, some of it or none of it.

    I also have a full time gig- I have since the day I started scrapping and I've been doing it for nearly 30 years. I got into e-waste about 4 years ago. I busted my chops, asked hundreds of questions, made a few slight mistakes, but after that year I can make FAR more than $2 on a laptop.

    Imagine this: You take out 1 screw on the back of a laptop and find (2) 2GB DDR 2 RAM. At selling to a buyer on here- you are at $4. If you Ebay, you can make $10 depending on brand for the pair.

    I won't argue your logic and math.. but after 4+ years, I can assure you can make more than $2 per. If you are thinking you are going to pay $2 and make $100 on a laptop- then you are in the wrong game. Volume and smart repetitiveness is the key to scrap- e-waste, cars or aluminum cans.

    As far as .80/lb for shipping- you need to look harder because that rate is outrageous!
    Last edited by sledge; 03-25-2018 at 11:58 AM.

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  23. #16
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    Sledge:

    I've been doing the e-waste for about four or five years as well but the learning curve was different for me. It started out as troubleshooting, repairing, and building PC's in the 1990's as a hobby. It's just something that's fun & relaxing for me. I got into the e-waste end of it as a way of making a little extra money. That way the hobby pays for itself and isn't taking anything away from the family budget.

    It's not common, but i run across a few keepers here and there. Others are trashed, but have good salvageable parts inside like ram & processors. Put it all together and you can come up with something saleable with little or no money invested.

    ie: Had a reasonably good core i5 laptop come in that wouldn't boot up. The only problem was that it had built up a static charge across the mainboard. It ran just fine once the static was discharged. Used some scrap ram from another machine and brought it up to 8gb. It wasn't a problem to flip it for 95.00 $ to a local buyer.

    Just did a nice Dell tower for 160.00 a couple of weeks ago. It's all doable. Not hard work and not a lot of time.

    Straight e-waste is a lot more like work for me. There are quite a few times where i make more on a flip & sell than i net from a 65 lb box of e-waste. You know the game ... you've got to go through quite a bit of material to make up enough to fill a box.

    That's why they keep saying here that better than scrap is generally your best option. Lotsa ways of doing that.

    As for shipping : That's all situational. Mine generally run .40 - .60 cents per pound. Others on the forum live further away and have had to pay .80 cents a pound. Pallet shipping runs roughly .20 cents a pound ? USPS and some of the other shippers can actually be quite a bit more than .80 cents a pound. It varies.

    It's all a numbers game. Keep careful track of your time and expenses just like you would with any other business and do the math.

    After awhile ...it becomes obvious what things work best in your own particular circumstance.

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    Hills:
    You make valid points. So if you have been at this for 5 years, then you know what each piece and part is worth.

    Under that circumstance you can fix and flip laptops if you have the parts- one way to skin the cat.

    What is deemed "UN-usable" can easily go into the scrap bins and it is gravy $. Laptop Mobo's are currently at $4.25/lb, even if you have to ship at .80/lb (which is high) on a $2 laptop, you should make all your money back off the Mobo right? Factor in that you probably have a 320Gb HD, 2 sticks of resellable RAM, LI-Ion battery weight, CD/DVD Rom Scrap, Screen, heck sell the keyboard. No way you can lose $ on $2/per.

    If you mindset has been to only be able to fix and flip- let that be your bread and butter, but on the scrap side, even on a bad day over the course of 50 laptops, you are going to kill $2 per.

    I understand figuring in your time, but I'll flip this around a little. I got a call from a client to come do a pick-up yesterday. We have a great relationship- He wants it gone, I want the stuff. I spent a few hours of my Saturday tearing down what he gave me. Rough Estimate, I got $60 worth of scrap, (4) 2GB 6400U RAM, a 320 GB Laptop Hard Drive. I'm probably going to clear $100 on the load total. Was that worth $100 for a snowy 2 hours in my garage on a day I am not working my full time job? To me: Yes it is, to you, maybe not.

    You will have a ton of folks here tell you that "YOU and only you are able to figure out what works for you" What works for me, my perspective and your's may not agree, and that is OK. There is no "right or wrong" way to do thing.. unless I make money and you lose money.

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  27. #18
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    Please ... don't take it the wrong way. I was just trying to pose a hypothetical example of how you could come on the wrong side of it when you're just starting out. It doesn't help that the landscape keeps changing every three to six months. It's hard to stay current.

    Most of the Core 2 machines with DDR 2 memory are obsolete now. They've been displaced by seven generations of the core i series that are running DDR3. Even some of the DDR 3 memory is becoming obsolete because so many of the new machines coming out are DDR 4.

    A good rule of thumb for HDD's is about 500 GB and above. It's due to a couple of factors. A lot of customers are looking for 1 TB and above. The data transfer rates of the newer drives are about double that of the previous generation. The performance difference is noticeable. Match a current processor with competent memory and a decent HDD and you've got something.

    I know i've gotten burned on parts by keeping them on the shelf too long. Obsolete ram is only about .30 per stick and scrap laptop HDD's are all but worthless. ( Got a whole shelf full of em'.)

    The big bad boogie here is that most folks are going to the smaller devices. The things like the tablets and smaller hand held devices are displacing the laptops just as the laptops displaced the towers & desktops awhile back.

    Can't say that i'm crazy about the trend because in order to stay current i would have to adapt to working on the micro devices. The problem is that they're too small to work on and have little scrap value.

    Anyway ... the log term prospects for computer e-waste aren't all that good. We will probably start to see it gradually wind down in another 3 - 5 years. Best to stay a few steps ahead of the new wave of change and adapt accordingly.

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    Good point that things change and change quickly.

    When I started an IDE was still worth something- now they are scrap
    A 1 GB stick of RAM was worth more than scrap- now it is scrap.

    BUT... you adapt and overcome. I am now getting far more i3 and i5 laptops than I did 2 years ago. I can sell an i3 or i5 laptop CPU for $20. On a $2 laptop.. I'm killing it. A few weeks ago I had (6) i5 processors. Snapped a picture, put them on Ebay and sold them in 10 minutes. Not bad making $120 in 10 minutes right?

    Yes the landscape changes, I "churn and burn" I don't let things sit. I get it in, break it down, separate wheat from chaff and turn it- whether on resale or scrap.

    If I have $ invested the urgency of the churn and burn gets even greater. I have 1 educational client that I pay- it's for their kids so I'm happy to do it, but I take my current pricing, leave my margin for time to break down in it and hope prices don't tank (which they don't) Worst case is something that paid $4.00 the day I bought it is probably paying $3.90 now, but my margin is there to absorb it. I won't sit on it for 6 months hoping prices rise, because I could get stung the wrong way.

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    Jeez ... way to go Sledge. The quality of the stuff that you're pulling in is a lot better than what i'm seeing in this area.

    The whole conversation got me thinking. Why not do a three way comparison ? Refurb vs better than scrap vs straight scrap.

    I had a reasonably good win 8, 15" Gateway laptop that i flipped for 75.00 $ last summer. I've got a no questions asked 30 day return policy. It came back with some damage. I guess the customer's cat knocked it off the table and damaged the power connector on the motherboard. * Whatever *

    It's been sitting in the shop for awhile now so i just scrapped it out with the second option in mind. ( Better than scrap )

    320 gb HDD - 8.00
    4 gb DDR3 - 7.00
    Screen - .65 cents net after shipping cost deducted
    Battery - .68 cents net after shipping cost deducted
    Mainboard - 1.87 net after shipping deducted
    CD/DVD board - .03 cents

    Net Profit : Roughly 18.23

    Straight to scrap option:

    HDD board - .20 cents ?
    4 gb ddr 3 - .25 cents
    screen - .65 cents
    battery - .68 cents
    mainboard - 1.87
    CD/DVD board .03 cents

    Net profit: 3.68

    So 75.00$ vs 18.23 vs 3.68 depending on which option you choose ?

    Just rough figures but it might be useful info for somebody looking to get into computer e-waste.

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