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  1. #1
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    Depressing Profit margins after calculating milage deduction

    I started a few month before the end of the year. I keep track of all expenses, credits, and milage in a spreadsheet. I was pretty happy with the "revenue" number (total credits from selling scrap/items before deductions).



    I was pretty happy with my profits before milage deduction, but after entering my total milage driven for curbco scrap, it turns out everything I did last year my actual "on paper" profit for 2019 was $-21 (notice the negative). If it wouldn't have been for some particularly good buy/sell deals I did (not curbco), that number would have been MUCH more negative. I really like the hunt and the concept of curbco shopping (finding cool stuff, keeping stuff out of the trash/landfill, etc), but it is certainly not at all a profitable venture in my experience. It is a lot of fun to find the treasures on the curb and flip them quick for a good bit of money, but even including those, I still do not think curbco can be super profitable. I think I will keep doing it for now because I like it, but maybe not as often (currently do 3 days a week, might cut down to 1 or 2 just the days of the best neighborhoods). For 2020, going to try to focus more on trying to get a regular client/source for scrap instead of driving and looking on the curb for it.


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    Plenty of threads in the archives that could help you with your curbco.

    A lot of us were doing it when gas was 3+ a gallon. So you can make money doing it.

    The key in my experience is know your area. Know the trash pick up schedule for your area(s). Don't just go driving randomly. Set up a route for yourself, an keep to it. If your trash is picked up early...go out the night before. Does your town/city do a "large" trash pick up at all through the year? If so...mark those dates down. That's when people clean out basements, sheds, attics, etc. Here on my sandbar we have 2 times out of year they do this. Only days I go curb shopping anymore. They also do them after big storms aka Hurricanes. That's trickier tho, as folks put stuff out for insurance.

    I'm sure you know all the above, but in case you didn't..an read those past threads. There's a ton oft hem out there an may be a a couple years old but it still applies today.

    Clients...again...tons of threads on where to find them. Easy ones...yard sales and thrift stores. Gotta start somewhere.

    Good luck to ya.

    Sirscrapalot - I'm sick of following my dreams man. I'm just going to ask they're going and hook up with them later. - Mitch Hedberg

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  4. #3
    kss started this thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirscrapalot View Post
    Plenty of threads in the archives that could help you with your curbco.

    A lot of us were doing it when gas was 3+ a gallon. So you can make money doing it.

    The key in my experience is know your area. Know the trash pick up schedule for your area(s). Don't just go driving randomly. Set up a route for yourself, an keep to it. If your trash is picked up early...go out the night before. Does your town/city do a "large" trash pick up at all through the year? If so...mark those dates down. That's when people clean out basements, sheds, attics, etc. Here on my sandbar we have 2 times out of year they do this. Only days I go curb shopping anymore. They also do them after big storms aka Hurricanes. That's trickier tho, as folks put stuff out for insurance.

    I'm sure you know all the above, but in case you didn't..an read those past threads. There's a ton oft hem out there an may be a a couple years old but it still applies today.

    Clients...again...tons of threads on where to find them. Easy ones...yard sales and thrift stores. Gotta start somewhere.

    Good luck to ya.

    Sirscrapalot - I'm sick of following my dreams man. I'm just going to ask they're going and hook up with them later. - Mitch Hedberg
    Thanks for the encouragement. I have it all mapped out and use a gps app to make sure I do the most effecicent route to hit the neighbors that have trash on certain days. I go every morning before work on the neighbors on my way to work that have trash that day. So, 3-4 days a week, for like an hour each day, just curb shopping. I usually end up with an almost full truck bed each time, and my average miles per day is around 15miles in total. So far this year I have been way more profitable as I think I am taking it more seriously, learning what things to grab, and what not to grab(meaning I can haul more/better stuff) etc. All the places by me do "1 large item per week" meaning that there is no "bulk day" where everyone puts everything out, but rather every day, some people lut some stuff out, which results in more, but less productive, trips. Although it does cut down on compitition.


    As far as clients, that is going to be my main goal for this year. Get some clients that I can do scheduled pickups for so I know when I'm going to get stuff, that I'll actually get stuff and not just be wasting time/milage driving around

    Yard sales and thrift stores I'm not super into, even though they could be good money makers, I don't think I have the time to really be able to find the good/best deals on those.... I am thinking about doing some storage unit actions this year just to try it out and see what that's like.
    Last edited by kss; 02-04-2020 at 08:54 PM.

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    Welp, just got a sign this morning. Of course the first morning after posting this and considering not curbco shopping any more, this morning while curbco shopping I found about 30 fully loaded PC towers at the curb. These are the days that remind me the fun and why I do it, and will continue to do it. You truly never know what you'll find....

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  7. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by kss View Post
    Welp, just got a sign this morning. Of course the first morning after posting this and considering not curbco shopping any more, this morning while curbco shopping I found about 30 fully loaded PC towers at the curb. These are the days that remind me the fun and why I do it, and will continue to do it. You truly never know what you'll find....
    That is quite a score

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  9. #6
    kss started this thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeinreco View Post
    That is quite a score
    Yep they are pretty new-ish too (i3 and i5 processors). Unfortunately they sat out all night in the rain, who knows if they are usable or scrap, but either way I'll be happy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kss View Post
    Yep they are pretty new-ish too (i3 and i5 processors). Unfortunately they sat out all night in the rain, who knows if they are usable or scrap, but either way I'll be happy.
    CPU are pretty durable at the least they should be fine...........Memory sticks a little more susceptible to weather.......Hard drives if present usually can stand up to some weather as long as they are inside the cases.........Motherboards and power supplies may be shot

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    Oh and by the way let me know where I can find 30 newer desktops on the curb

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  13. #9
    kss started this thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeinreco View Post
    Oh and by the way let me know where I can find 30 newer desktops on the curb

    PA Philly Suburbs my man. But this is certainly a rare event. Especially because in PA the trash people arent allowed to take computers any more. Usually if I find any its someone trying to sneak 1 or 2 into their normal trash. But this was a ton of them stacked and piled by the curb with other garbage ontop

    Just checked one of them, it has an i7 and 16GB ram........ Pretty exited to get off work later to check them all out....... I am at work so they are in my truck, still out in the light rain, but they all have cases. If only I had a tarp in my car. Ill test them all out later tonight, still a good find either way.

    Edit: it may be closer to 20, Ill upload pics/a thread later today when I unload, I was just cramming it all in as fast as possible this morning. It seemed like a bunch though
    Last edited by kss; 02-05-2020 at 08:03 AM.

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    That is a nice score. Remember it's only water. Be patient are make sure that they are fully dried before you try to fire them up. The " better than scrap " option could pay better than months of curb shopping. It's easy money.

    If you can ... carefully take each pc apart one piece at a time and blow the pieces dry with an air gun. Reassemble and then wait a few days just for good measure. It might work out okay.

    What windows operating system is on the COA's ? Is the memory DDR2 -or- DDR 3 ?

    If DDR 3 ... what is the speed ? 8500, 10600, 12800 ? That will give you a rough idea of when the machines were made.

    Most of the DC/DVD drives have a date of manufacture on them as well.

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  16. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by hills View Post
    That is a nice score. Remember it's only water. Be patient are make sure that they are fully dried before you try to fire them up. The " better than scrap " option could pay better than months of curb shopping. It's easy money.

    If you can ... carefully take each pc apart one piece at a time and blow the pieces dry with an air gun. Reassemble and then wait a few days just for good measure. It might work out okay.

    What windows operating system is on the COA's ? Is the memory DDR2 -or- DDR 3 ?

    If DDR 3 ... what is the speed ? 8500, 10600, 12800 ? That will give you a rough idea of when the machines were made.

    Most of the DC/DVD drives have a date of manufacture on them as well.

    I think they seem to be ddr3. The COAs all are windows 7 unfortunately, so I think they are def a bit older than the most current gen. I dried the outsides off with a towel and have them sitting in the garage, will probably open them all up and hit it with airgun tomorrow, and then maybe try to boot them up on the weekend (the tail end of it) after some more drying I am going to make a thread with some pics and details. I am really blown away that someone threw all this out. BUT after some closer inspection, NONE have harddrives and about half have no ram. But the ones that DO have ram, have 2 or 4, 4GB sticks..... If I want to resell Ill need to source some harddrives and get OS installed. Unfortunately I just mailed out all ym working harddrives to a buyer here about a week ago lol
    Last edited by kss; 02-05-2020 at 10:25 AM.

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    Yard sales and thrift stores I'm not super into, even though they could be good money makers, I don't think I have the time to really be able to find the good/best deals on those.... I am thinking about doing some storage unit actions this year just to try it out and see what that's like. - Kss

    They aren't really thing either, but...free is free. I don't go to them for resale, I go for the contact an free stuff that is usually nearby. I don't care if it's broken, I'm just going to smash it anyhow. Ha! I don't do resale like a lot of folks. That's time I could be building a sand castle, messing with my dogs, aggravating my wife, emptying an filling my cooler...posting goats, etc.

    I find this line of work takes a little time. Developing contacts, etc. I'm not in a big city though, we move at a slower pace here on my sandbar.

    Good score on the computers. I remember my first big load of towers. Good times.

    Either way good luck, an remember what works for me, or others might not for you the other side that applies to what works for you an others may not for me. YMMV.

    Now pardon me...I set off to invade Florida tonight. Will be down that way for the next week or two, cooler will be tagging along.

    Sirscrapalot - Will be wasting away in margaritaville by the weekend.
    Last edited by Sirscrapalot; 02-05-2020 at 12:21 PM.

  18. #13
    kss started this thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirscrapalot View Post
    Yard sales and thrift stores I'm not super into, even though they could be good money makers, I don't think I have the time to really be able to find the good/best deals on those.... I am thinking about doing some storage unit actions this year just to try it out and see what that's like. - Kss

    They aren't really thing either, but...free is free. I don't go to them for resale, I go for the contact an free stuff that is usually nearby. I don't care if it's broken, I'm just going to smash it anyhow. Ha! I don't do resale like a lot of folks. That's time I could be building a sand castle, messing with my dogs, aggravating my wife, emptying an filling my cooler...posting goats, etc.

    I find this line of work takes a little time. Developing contacts, etc. I'm not in a big city though, we move at a slower pace here on my sandbar.

    Good score on the computers. I remember my first big load of towers. Good times.

    Either way good luck, an remember what works for me, or others might not for you the other side that applies to what works for you an others may not for me. YMMV.

    Now pardon me...I set off to invade Florida tonight. Will be down that way for the next week or two, cooler will be tagging along.

    Sirscrapalot - Will be wasting away in margaritaville by the weekend.
    Thanks for the input. Computer/e-waste is my main hobby/goal, and the scrapping is just kinda auxiliary to that since I havent found a way to get my hands on enough e-waste yet.... however scrapping as a whole for me is not my main job/source of income, just something for fun. So at the end of the day, doesn't really matter how profitable it is for me, I just dont like to be unsuccessful at things, but if i am enjoying doing it, I guess it shouldnt really matter if its profitable or not

    have fun in florida

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    Quote Originally Posted by kss View Post
    I think they seem to be ddr3. The COAs all are windows 7 unfortunately, so I think they are def a bit older than the most current gen. I dried the outsides off with a towel and have them sitting in the garage, will probably open them all up and hit it with airgun tomorrow, and then maybe try to boot them up on the weekend (the tail end of it) after some more drying I am going to make a thread with some pics and details. I am really blown away that someone threw all this out. BUT after some closer inspection, NONE have harddrives and about half have no ram. But the ones that DO have ram, have 2 or 4, 4GB sticks..... If I want to resell Ill need to source some harddrives and get OS installed. Unfortunately I just mailed out all ym working harddrives to a buyer here about a week ago lol
    Awww ... that's too bad on the HDD's. I've found that it's better to save the 3.5" HDD's . They weigh about about a pound each. There's not much left for a payout after deducting shipping expenses.

    JMO ... you might think about wiping the drives w/ a three pass overwrite and then run a surface scan. It's nice to have a bunch of wiped and tested drives on hand. Just throw one in on your next build, install an operating system, and you're good to go.

    Win 7 machines w/ i series processors seem plenty good to me. I feel the main reason we will see more win 7 machines will be mostly because win 7 hit end of life as an operating system. The hardware is fully competent.

    Gosh ... the performance of competent desktop is way better that many of the new tablets and micro devices being sold these days. Some of those little things can barely get out of their own way. You click on a link and wait 30 seconds or a minute for them to load. Just don't have the patience for them.

  20. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by hills View Post
    Awww ... that's too bad on the HDD's. I've found that it's better to save the 3.5" HDD's . They weigh about about a pound each. There's not much left for a payout after deducting shipping expenses.

    JMO ... you might think about wiping the drives w/ a three pass overwrite and then run a surface scan. It's nice to have a bunch of wiped and tested drives on hand. Just throw one in on your next build, install an operating system, and you're good to go.

    Win 7 machines w/ i series processors seem plenty good to me. I feel the main reason we will see more win 7 machines will be mostly because win 7 hit end of life as an operating system. The hardware is fully competent.

    Gosh ... the performance of competent desktop is way better that many of the new tablets and micro devices being sold these days. Some of those little things can barely get out of their own way. You click on a link and wait 30 seconds or a minute for them to load. Just don't have the patience for them.

    Yea out of one of these working machines (the lower end ones with a pentium or something basic) I am gunna use probably as a wiping machine. The drives I was selling before I was selling as more than scrap value I think around like $1-10/each depending on capacity.

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    You might try running the numbers to see what makes the most sense with the better than scrap option. Shipping cost -vs- return.

    The 3.5" desktop / tower drives don't really work for me with what they're generally paying.

    The 2.5" laptop drives do work because they weigh less. You can fit quite a few in a flat rate box.

    There's the time involved as well. It's fun at first because it's all new but it's more like work once the initial thrill wears off. I would consider myself a hobbyist, but the scrapping really is a second part time job. It's nice because there's no set work schedule. I can fit it in around all the other things that i have going on and maybe make a few extra bucks on the side. It's no easy thing to make money at this ! You really need to mind your P's & Q's and run it like any business.

    Just a couple of tips:

    1: Be mindful that YOU are responsible for all of the data on any hard drive that you take into your shop. (That includes data that you might not know is on there.) At the very least ... do a single pass overwrite -or- destroy any drive before it leaves your shop. It's the right thing to do.

    2: Well over 50% of the laptop drives that i've taken in over the years didn't test out. They either failed a SMART test or a surface scan. You want to send your buyer a good drive so that you get paid at the better than scrap price ? It makes sense to test before shipping so the you make the most money on the deal. Regardless, there are likely to be a few here and there that don't test out on their end. The package sometimes gets bumped around a bit during shipping and you lose a couple.

    Anyway, just my opinion / experience so far. It might be a different situation for someone else.

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  23. #17
    kss started this thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hills View Post
    You might try running the numbers to see what makes the most sense with the better than scrap option. Shipping cost -vs- return.

    The 3.5" desktop / tower drives don't really work for me with what they're generally paying.

    The 2.5" laptop drives do work because they weigh less. You can fit quite a few in a flat rate box.

    There's the time involved as well. It's fun at first because it's all new but it's more like work once the initial thrill wears off. I would consider myself a hobbyist, but the scrapping really is a second part time job. It's nice because there's no set work schedule. I can fit it in around all the other things that i have going on and maybe make a few extra bucks on the side. It's no easy thing to make money at this ! You really need to mind your P's & Q's and run it like any business.

    Just a couple of tips:

    1: Be mindful that YOU are responsible for all of the data on any hard drive that you take into your shop. (That includes data that you might not know is on there.) At the very least ... do a single pass overwrite -or- destroy any drive before it leaves your shop. It's the right thing to do.

    2: Well over 50% of the laptop drives that i've taken in over the years didn't test out. They either failed a SMART test or a surface scan. You want to send your buyer a good drive so that you get paid at the better than scrap price ? It makes sense to test before shipping so the you make the most money on the deal. Regardless, there are likely to be a few here and there that don't test out on their end. The package sometimes gets bumped around a bit during shipping and you lose a couple.

    Anyway, just my opinion / experience so far. It might be a different situation for someone else.
    Yea makes total sense man. It's still fun for now lol but I can see where if no careful it could feel like work eventually. I didn't wipe the drives I had sent out but will from now on for sure now that I can build a wiping rig.

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    I didn't mean to come across as being all hard and severe. It's all a learning process. Just tryin' to pass along a few of the things i've learned. I wouldn't worry too much about sending along untested / unwiped drives to the buyers here. They're all stand up guys.

    The main thing is what can go on in shipping. Let's say that the postal inspector randomly picked out your package and ran forensics on one of the drives you shipped. You don't really know what's on there when you shipped. Maybe there was some some CP or some other kind of illegal nastiness on there. Now you're in the middle of it and the authorities are looking at you.

    Definitely not worth the hassle of trying to explain yourself on that one.

    So much better to wipe and test the drives beforehand. That way you know you're shipping a quality product to your buyer.

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  26. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by hills View Post
    I didn't mean to come across as being all hard and severe. It's all a learning process. Just tryin' to pass along a few of the things i've learned. I wouldn't worry too much about sending along untested / unwiped drives to the buyers here. They're all stand up guys.

    The main thing is what can go on in shipping. Let's say that the postal inspector randomly picked out your package and ran forensics on one of the drives you shipped. You don't really know what's on there when you shipped. Maybe there was some some CP or some other kind of illegal nastiness on there. Now you're in the middle of it and the authorities are looking at you.

    Definitely not worth the hassle of trying to explain yourself on that one.

    So much better to wipe and test the drives beforehand. That way you know you're shipping a quality product to your buyer.

    Yea I have thought about that, and it is certainly a risk that definitely isn't worth taking. I dont want that risk, so am 100% going to wipe everything from now on if I intend to resell it since I have no idea where any of these drive come from or whats on them

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    The easiest way to get into drive wiping would be to get what's called a hard drive dock for 2.5 " & 3.5" drives. A Google search will turn up plenty to choose from.

    The dock plugs into the USB port of just about any PC that you have on hand.

    Next, you download some drive wiping software onto your PC. (There are a bunch of free apps you can choose from.)

    It's a little bit of work at the beginning because it's a new thing to figure out. It's pretty easy once you get the knack of it though. The machine does all of the work.

    This is a good tool to have in your shop if your main goal is to get into the electronics end of scrapping.

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