Sell Scrap Metal for Instant Cash
The dirtier the job, the more interest I have. And scrapping metal is one of the dirtiest jobs I’ve ever tried. But when trying to figure out how to make extra money, it may be one you’ll not only consider, but one that you’ll also prefer over our other recommended side hustles.
If you’re looking for a way to make extra money, you might be surprised to find out that you can do so with discarded appliances and other things. Depending on the market at the time and your luck in sourcing items, you can end up with a pretty hefty income on the side to supplement your normal income.
The Basic Process
You’ll need to find some stuff you can work with first. Look out for free appliances. Often people will throw stuff away without thinking too much about it, and this can be a great opportunity for you if you know what you’re looking for.
Get a magnet, it’ll let you tell the difference between iron/steel and other grey metals like aluminum and tin with only minimal knowledge.
How you do things will depend on the amount of space you have available. While someone willing to dedicate a few hundred square feet to their scrap pile is likely to be able to make a profit off of anything if you only have a corner of the garage to work with you might be better off just keeping lighter and valuable metals like copper, brass, and aluminum.
Even if you have limited space, don’t be afraid to grab stainless steel, it’s usually worth a good price and since it’s dense it doesn’t take up much space.
You’ll need to track down your metals to begin with. While iron is often thrown away it’s not worth much per pound, so it’s best to leave discarded car parts and the like alone unless you have room and a truck to get there with. You can make some decent money with this stuff, but you’ll need a lot of it.
Your big money makers will be copper. Anytime you see something discarded with radiator coils you’re looking at a good chunk of change. Some places will even buy the coils without you having to separate the fins for a lesser price. It usually works out to about 75% of what you’d make after separating at the end of the day, so it’s good to find somewhere that will take the radiators whole if your time is valuable.
Stainless steel is also fairly pricey so if you happen upon a chunk of it snap it up.
If you manage to get your hands on an old, wrecked automobile you stand a chance to make some money as well. The smart way to go about is remove the majority of all of the non-ferrous metals, scrap the car whole, then sell the metal later.
Make sure you cut out the wire looms and check to see if any of the parts are made of aluminum and you stand a chance to make a good amount of profit. Quite often, wire is worth a considerable amount with the coating still on, so decide if your time is worth it before you decide to strip the stuff.
Appliances can often be taken in whole, so keep your eye out on Craigslist, Facebook groups, or even just the side of the road and you can make some money without ever having to do more than throw it in the back of your vehicle or on a trailer.
If you’re doing this to make some money on the side, then it pays to make sure you find a good scrapyard. While not everyone is going to pay you the full scrap price, some will definitely pay more than others and even a couple percent points adds up quickly if you devote a little bit of time to collecting stuff each week.
Ideally, they’ll also take whole appliances and automobiles, which can save you a lot of time since you’re not scrapping full time. Once you find the right scrapyard, make sure to be friendly with the people, personal relationships go a long way in this business.
Give it a shot, especially if you live in a more rural area where some other avenues of side income can be hard to come by. You’re pretty much guaranteed to come out ahead with a minimal investment of your time.