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And it gets worse...

| A Day in the Life of a Scrapper
  1. #1
    DakotaRog started this thread.
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    And it gets worse...

    Prices just keep slipping downward. Here's my main non-ferrous guy's prices. I hadn't been there since the winter time and took in some alum cans a few weeks back. They told me prices might fall again and they appear have done so by another 5-8%. I think I'm going to clean up and really get my shop end of the garage organized and binned. Not go out of my way to pick anything up unless its an awesome find, and call it done with active scrapping. I'm just too inefficient to make my own (separate from the household account) spending money doing this here. I'll still check in with you all on a regular basis. Hang tough!!


    Aluminum Cans
    .30
    Aluminum pop tabs

    .27
    Clean aluminum

    .23
    Painted aluminum



    .26
    Cast aluminum
    .23
    Clean aluminum wire
    .45
    Extruded aluminum
    .33
    Thermal extruded
    .25
    Aluminum turnings
    .05
    Aluminum radiators
    .23
    Lithograph
    .40
    Mixed clip
    .27
    Truck rims
    .30
    Auto rims
    .40
    Aluminum pistons
    .10
    Aluminum/copper radiators
    .40 / .80
    Die cast
    .35
    Bare Bright
    $1.95
    #1 copper
    $1.85
    #2 copper
    $1.69
    #3 copper
    $1.65
    Insulated copper
    .40 / 1.00
    Red brass
    $1.30
    Yellow brass
    $1.10
    Brass Shell Casings
    $1.00
    Brass Borings and turnings
    .85
    Heater cores
    .80
    Brass radiators
    .50 / 1.05
    ACSR
    .18
    Stainless steel
    .20
    EDM wire
    $1.10
    Magnesium
    .15
    Aluminum breakage
    .05
    Zinc
    .40
    Soft lead/WW
    .40 / .05
    Batteries
    .18
    Electric motors
    .03
    Sealed units (drained)
    .03
    Ballast (PCB free)
    .03
    Alternators
    .15
    Automotive starters
    .05

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  3. #2
    hills's Avatar
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    It's understandable. It's all time and expense. There can come a point where it just isn't worth doing anymore. Maybe look around and see what other income streams you could develop ?

    For me: I'm stockpiling right now. It's summer and my time is at a premium. There are a million and one things that need to be done before the first snowfall. Making the 50 mile run to the scrapyard isn't very high up on my list of priorities. Neither is breaking things down.

    Still ... i'm mindful of what's coming. Winter isn't very far off. I want to make sure that i've laid in enough work to keep me occupied for the season. There's the simple pleasure of being able to hole up in the shop & tend the wood stove on a cold winter day. It's nice break same old same old that comes with the winter doldrums. That little bit of extra money helps during the lean season when there isn't as much coming in. Maybe pays a utility bill or something else ?

    I have to wonder about the scrap yards. Low prices can't be good for them either.Scrap is a volume business. They will start losing volume if scrappers get discouraged and move on to some other line of work. They could temporarily make it up by increasing their margins but that's only a short term fix. It's not sustainable over the long run.They will either have to downsize -or- shut down operations altogether ?

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  5. #3
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    Your prices are pretty similar to what Im getting out here
    https://www.bigdaddyscrap.com/what-we-buy-prices

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    It's all found money for me... I'm kinda saddened on the one hand by the prices cutting out people who make their livelihood from curbco, but on the other hand I do like seeing more goodies on the roadside. I'm going to still be driving a pickup around scooping dog poop whether I pick up scrap or not... I may as well make a couple-few extra bucks while I'm at it. All that said, I've got plenty of room to keep copper & brass. Probably wire, too. I'm not stripping anything lampcord gauge or less, but I will strip romex & above. Aluminum, we'll have to see... I've already got a bulky stack of sheet, so that's going to be first to go. Cast is piling up too, but extruded long pieces can stand in the corner while small heat sinks will take a long time to fill up a tub.
    Out of clutter, find simplicity. --Albert Einstein

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  8. #5
    DakotaRog started this thread.
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    greytruck, you probably have the efficiency thing down !! That's something I never seem to master.

    I'm right there with you auminer! If I actually organize my space effectively, bins of smaller, better stuff can sit there for a good while. If stuff is in my face or someone offers it to me say at work, I'll still pick it up. I just won't go on any "adventures" to find it unless its boo coo good!!

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    My wife keeps telling me to stop scraping. For me its a hobby that pays me. I sit for 6+hours a week playing my bass guitar.... that ain't paying me anything...LOL I do feel for those who are trying to make a living wage from it. These prices are ridiculous. And now to turn this Political... How come we dont' hear politicians (BERNIE) complaining
    about the low wages scrapers make!!?? Make Scraping Great Again!!!

  10. #7
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    To make it a little more political: As a general rule ... they don't like people who are self employed. Independent scrappers are self employed. They're kochy old capitalists. If Bernie had any use for us at all ... it would be to tax the hell out of us.

    Now to put it into perspective: There's a fairly good chance that most of the politicos from each side of the aisle barely even know we exist. It's simply a case of different worlds. If they had any opinion at all ... it would more likely be that we're a bunch of drug addicted lowlife scavengers looking for their next fix.

    Best to just let em' just keep on thinkin' that if you know what i mean ?

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  12. #8
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    here in South Africa, i get paid more for everything on that list above- not a big difference but its definitely more.
    the only thing u guys get paid more for is ewaste- u guys get more than double what we get.

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  14. #9
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    Alum took another dump yesterday. Guess im ganna have to start hoarding that now too.... .15/lb for clean Al rads, .19/lb for clean sheet and .13/lb for cast..... yeah right
    Last edited by greytruck; 08-30-2019 at 11:41 AM. Reason: yewwwww

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  16. #10
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    "Die cast .35"

    "Zinc .40"

    Here Die cast and Zinc are the considered the same metal and only pay .10 . Only wish I could get .35 or .40 for Zinc.

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  18. #11
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    This is why switched to bottle beer, and liquor.

    Ain't worth the hassle of getting up, opening a can, drinking said contents, then putting in the can pile.



    Leave it to politicians(both sides) to ruin things.

    Sirscrapalot - Funniest and scariest saying a politicians or a lawyer can say..."Trust me".

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  20. #12
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    All of my scrap profits use to go into expanding the business. A new business plan is in place to simplify my operation. I am still stockpiling, but selling my tractor trailer, ton and a half truck, two loaders, and a 40 ft. gooseneck flat bed. The market will support the rest of my inventory. Just rolling with the punches. Still working on the formula of the price of scrap and my age.
    Give back more to this world than we take.

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  22. #13
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    Let's assume that it's all supply and demand.

    Those two things need to be in balance for stable pricing.

    Demand is weak right now because of all of the problems with China. We're kinda shooting ourselves in the foot whenever we bring in a load these days. We're flooding the market and forcing the price to drop.

    One of my wife's favorite sayings:

    Eww ... stop doing that ... it's disgusting !

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    Quote Originally Posted by hills View Post
    We're flooding the market and forcing the price to drop.
    I thought I saw a yard closed during it's normal hours, but it was just that no one was there to sell anything.

    When I sold my copper and motors this morning, usually there is a line before they open, a long one, but I haven't been there in a while. It was me and one other guy for non-ferrous (small scale), no one in the ferrous line.

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  26. #15
    hills's Avatar
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    Well ... you do have to be careful about " snapshots ". It could be that you hit the yard on a slow day. The "picture" that you walked away with is that things are slow.

    Maybe you do have the right picture though. Just for the heck of it ... let's go with that. Noodle it through. What might that tell you ?

    Admittedly ... it's all guesswork ... but this is one possible explanation. Ferrous is slow right now. The prices aren't very good. Maybe it's just not worth doing once you figure in your time and operating expenses ? This is all about the M-O-N-E-Y. It's all a numbers game. Maybe it doesn't make financial sense to do it right now ?

    Non ferrous is a little different because the price per pound is a bit higher but still ??? This is an awful lot like work. Is the juice worth the squeeze once you figure in the labor involved ? What about the wear & tear on your tools & equipment ?

    So much of it is situational. Maybe you had a great day at the yard and walked away fully satisfied ? Maybe it's different for somebody else ?

    It could be that times are changing too. Maybe the days of the small scale scrapper are slowly drawing to a close ? Maybe it's going to be done on an industrial scale in the future ? Just toss it all in the shredder and let the industrial process sort it all out ?

    That could flood the market too couldn't it ? Maybe it's the economy of scale driving scrap prices down ?

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    I know it's not worth it for me now, the last few times I have been at the yard in recent months, there are less and less people - because of dropping metal prices, and I do pass the same yards frequently. It's very slow/vacant besides plumbers and construction companies and what not at the small scales with copper, tow companies at the large scales with vehicles.

    Only reason I had what I had the other day is because the technology manufacturing company I work for, they were throwing some things out that were mostly non-ferrous. I am not even going to think about picking anything up from anyone right now even if a "regular" contacts me. There were some metal file cabinets curbside that finally got picked up after sitting for weeks in my neighborhood I saw everyday on my commute - and the area is saturated with "scrappers"/former "scrappers" - actual full time ones. Not sure if a scrapper or the trash people finally got them - or maybe someone needed to use them as file cabinets and saw them etc...

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  30. #17
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    Just have to start charging small fee for residential pickups.....I have found most people are accommodating as long as it is not exorbitant

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  32. #18
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    well... people are already offering cause no one is picking anything up - one of many I have seen recently

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  34. #19
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    Yea just charge enough to cover your gas time etc that way when u sell the scrap no matter what you get from it is pure profit

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  36. #20
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    You'll notice that most, if not all of my posts in this thread are Wednesday mornings... I drive right past my usual scrapyard every Wednesday in my work truck. It's literally zero gas & very little of my time to drop off shred (tin). I took the $17 I got this morning & bought pork steaks & a sixxer of beer. It's found money, and me & the missus are eatin' good in the neighborhood tonight. For free, basically.

    Nonferrous is getting hoarded for now, but the size of the can pile, the aluminum sheet pile, and the big stack of dirty 6063 I found the other day means that a small scale trip is in my not-too-distant future. I'm worried I'll be ticked off, particularly at the dirty 6063 price. Probably not much better than shred.
    Last edited by auminer; 09-11-2019 at 06:54 PM.

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