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  1. #1
    WhiteSquirrel started this thread.
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    What started you down the rabbit hole of scrapping?

    Hey all.

    Was having a chat with my dad earlier today, and he commented on my constant....accumulation, shall we say, of random projects, items, and hobbies. Him being a government office worker for his life, and having been raised in an urban area with books and video games as my main hobby, he asked "How in the heck did you end up doing all of this?"



    So that got me thinking, and I remember the moment when I took my first step into scrapping and how it let me from studying electronics engineering to where I am now.

    I had taken appart my dad's Pioneer P26 chainsaw. Couldn't get it running again cause I was 12 and didn't know what a carburetor was My neighbor saw us trying to start it, came over and said "I have one of those sitting in the shed. I don't want a chainsaw with no carb, so you buy the whole thing and you can use the carb."
    Gave me the chainsaw for 10 bucks, took the carb off, and sold the rest of the saw for 25$. From then on, I always kept an eye out for deals and was a living nightmare for my parents as they never knew what I was going to tear appart next. In comes college, and I still liked tinkering and taking this appart, so I made the switch from technology to heavy duty mechanic on those cool big underground mining equipment, and never looked back!

    Maybe it's just the beer making me reminisce, but can you remember what got you started in this?
    Last edited by WhiteSquirrel; 06-17-2020 at 09:24 PM.

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  3. #2
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    Quite simple. Bought an E-Z Haul truck for $4,000 in the early 70's, then went looking for a way to use it.

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  5. #3
    mikeinreco's Avatar
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    Out of necessity.........Had worked in restaurants my whole life and couldn't find work.......Borrowed a buddy's truck and offered a 50/50 split on anything I made.......The rest is history

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  7. #4
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    I am not good at telling stories lol.. so I am 46 now.... my dad is 84... up until 20 or 25 years ago, he used to make his own lead fishing weights for salmon river fishing.... when I was around 16 years old, my older cousin who was working for the hydro provider as a lineman and splicer would bring my dad lead to melt... in the lead was some copper... this old fella my dad knows said the cooper is worth money and took it to the scrap yard... is was like 20 or 30 bucks worth... 1/3 of what its worth today... well my buddy and I used to go do dump runs and we would dig thru the construction waste looking for copper... would also dumpster dive.... fast forward to about 10 years ago and the previous owner of the scrap yard used to get my to tear down electrical cabinets and I would get half value on the scrap.... 7 years ago scrap yard sold. took me a year to get my foot in the door again with doing side stuff for them... then they stopped opening saturdays.. was hard to get my stuff in when i had a week day job...

    fast forward to 3 or 4 years ago... I started selling to a friend of a friend who had a one man scrap business.... so after going to him for almost a year, I was at his place one day and he had to have had about 100 old aluminun cased lights from one of the highway tunels... i half jokingly said to him, I would strip all them down in return for half value... he replyied... I might have to take you up on that..... a week later I called him to see if he was picking up at my place that night and his reply was he was a hour away and had like 80 of those lights on his chevy top kick for me to take apart... now I mainly strip large diamater teck cable for him and upgrade the low grade tech to bx and get a hourly rate...

    I still have my monday to friday job
    still dumpster dive when I have time
    and spend my evenings and half the weekend stripping wire

    I need a holiday! lol

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  9. #5
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    Started in highschool for gas money. Very low volume, just whatever I happened upon that could fit in my old ford explorer .... Then got away from it for about 6 years while in college. Now I'm getting back into it as a hobby and have been at it about a year.

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  11. #6
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    I was hauling scrap copper into the scrap yards in Minneapolis with my Radio flyer wagon when I was about 5. Always on the look out for the interesting things since I was young that others want rid of.

    I'm over 60 now and still debt free with a few things I can always sell or trade.

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  13. #7
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    Worked building maintenance at a retirement home and the maintenance crew would break down the scrap from the work we did in the building. We would break it down and separate it and when the barrels filled up, we would take it in and split the money between the crew. When I left, I was still puling faucets and sinks and other items I could scrap, as well as picking metal at yard sales. It is money I get for doing stuff I really don't mind doing at times I would be doing nothing.

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  15. #8
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    I drive a company truck around to 35-50 homes each day and scoop up the dog poop out of the yard. Been doing that for over 11 years now. One morning several years back I was reading a news article about copper, this was back when copper was skyrocketing... the article said that it was going to $5, maybe $10 a pound. I filed that "useless" information away & went on to work.

    That day I was pulling through an alley to get to a customer's back gate. There, atop the trash cans, was a frayed, taped up extension cord. It didn't carry electricity anymore, but it sure did light up the light bulb in my brain!! LOL I thought, there's copper in that, and I don't know who or where, or how much, but someone somewhere will give me money for that extension cord.

    I got on the internet & found a website called scrapmetalforum & the rest is history. History still in the making.
    Out of clutter, find simplicity. --Albert Einstein

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  17. #9
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    I started scrapping as a kid for a little bit of extra money, but when the prices dropped down to less than $0.01/lb back around 2008 and I got a whopping $4 for a full load of steel I quit scrapping. Fast forward to college and I decided to give scrap metal removal a shot. It was fun, but when you have to drive 20 miles round trip to the yard for $5-$15 per load in my truck (I didn't have a trailer yet) it just wasn't working. I then begin to learn about the appliance parts side/resale side of things which was less bulk steel and more sit down work. Since then I got to the point on the steel side where I only use steel bins from the scrap yard. I load it, call them, and they do the work. I know some scrappers would say that I'm losing out on the best payout rate because of that, but when you figure in time, ware and tare, etc. I'm not really losing out on that much. Nowadays I've moved away from appliances (except for microwaves) and moved in the direction of electronics recycling and the occasional bit of scrap buying for motors, transformers, compressors, and copper.

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  19. #10
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    Karma and a journey lasting thirty years led to being a full time scrapper. Worked through college as a millwright helping build the most advanced saw mill at that time. Learned how to weld and torch, but the wind and cold in the Great Plains led me back to school for a degree in education. After retiring from public education I worked at the local blacksmith shop, repairing farm machinery. A distant relative asked me if I would be interested in cleaning up a farm with four generations of farm machinery sitting in the shelter belts. It took almost a year working full time to clean it up. This was the start of a farm restoration business that included the community water tanks, a waste water treatment plant, a dog food plant,and working as a consultant for the gutting of the James St. Power Plant in Omaha, Nb. The learning curve was steep and has been documented on the forum.

    The extra money is nice, but I have to admit it is the challenges, adventure, and a way to give back that motivates me everyday.
    Give back more to this world than we take.

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  21. #11
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    With me, i was going to the gas station for cigrits and around the corner was a pile of air ducts, condoit and a fuse box. I grabbed it all for my friend that scrapped a bit but said forget him, ill take it in. I got $18 and was hooked ever since. Over the years i made more and more contacts, hauled off shelfs and racks from work and scrapped going to and home from work. I met Jim the car guy, he owns a body shop. He was my first business contact i made when the prices dropped back in 2015 cause his guy stopped answering his phone. Now i have Jim, the Hvac place, Plumbing Co., Hvac technition, and machine shop i pick up from. But as years passed, my job as the night manager at the local super market chain was pissing me off so i quit cause it was more that they needed me than i needed them. also i was making almost the same amount on the side scrapping as my job. So now im a full time scrapper and never looked back. I do miss a pay check and some fellow employees, but do not miss the stress or corporate D-bags

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  23. #12
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    Can't honestly remember how i got started. I think it was sometime back in the 1980's. Most likely something to make a little extra on the side. I've been doing it off and on ever since then.

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  25. #13
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    QUOTE=406Refining;302707] Since then I got to the point on the steel side where I only use steel bins from the scrap yard. I load it, call them, and they do the work. I know some scrappers would say that I'm losing out on the best payout rate because of that, but when you figure in time, ware and tare, etc. I'm not really losing out on that much.[/QUOTE]

    I went to bins for most of my stuff over 30 years ago, especially for my iron. Had rolloffs for years when I was turning 30 tons of #2 per month. In 2012 after I bought a forklift, I moved to 4x3 bins for iron which when full maxed out my 3000 lb forklift. Four years ago I moved my shop 200 miles out of town.

    Nowadays I turn around a dozen 4x3s per year. Just turned 3 today which will probably net me 4500 pounds of #2 steel. No idea yet what I will get, but I am guessing $130 per ton or so. Considering that my local market only pays $20 per ton, I think I am getting a good deal having someone else haul it 200 miles for me and pay me a VERY decent price.

    Bottom line is that for me it is much cheaper to let someone else provide the bins and haul my scrap for me.

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  27. #14
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    We purchase laptop computers and many components for greater than scrap value. We offer a shipping reimbursement program.replies

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    406 and I kinda started and ran into the same problem: Distance. In Wyoming and Montana, going to the grocery store is an hour drive. You get used to that, but it kills you when scrapping. I have a pickup truck load worth of computer cases I scrapped. They're sitting out back on a pallet for whenever I have to go to the city with an empty truck, because I'd literally lose money on gas to get rid of them.

    I learned how to fix computers at a really young age. I rebuilt my first one at age 11, and it got me hooked! Anyone who works with technology will tell you that you are ALWAYS learning, but that was my start. I improved in my first couple years a lot, and made it into a business. I'd take junked laptops, fix them up, and flip them on eBay. I made a few bucks doing it, and decided to open a business selling them. I worked with a computer recycler to get computers, and it worked great for a year or two. The recycler started to get greedy though- he sent me worse and worse computers, for more and more money, so I broke off from that deal, and did some E-Waste collections on my own. That got me tons of stuff, but a lot of it was just junk that was tying up all my time, so I shifted to focus on the more than scrap value side of E-Waste. Today, you'll see me in my office most days testing parts, rebuilding computers, and selling some cool, vintage stuff. So, basically I've gone full circle and am doing what I started to! And I love every day of it. I've met some great people on the forum, and a few in real life. I'm honored to be able to help them make more money with their scrap, and I'm super happy to be doing a job that I love
    More than Scrap Value Shipment Tips: http://www.scrapmetalforum.com/scrap...tml#post242349

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  29. #15
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    First off, my math was off in my last post. 3 bins with about 3000 lbs each in them is about 9000 lbs, not 4500 lbs like I stated.

    Second, I got paid for those three bins last Monday (19 Oct). Net weight was 9584 lbs at $130 per ton. Got paid with 6 Benjamins, 1 Jefferson, and 2 Washingtons ($622). If I had sold locally, I would have only netted $95.84 considerably lower than I got for letting someone else haul them 200 miles for me.

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