If you are looking to make some serious extra money on your scrap metal, now is the time to get refreshed on tips that can help you make more at the scale. If you are looking to make more of a profit on your scrap metal and do it with reliability and efficiency. These strategies for scrapping can save you time, make you money, and keep you safe while doing it all.
Keep These Things In Mind When Scrapping
- Strip – When you collect insulated copper or aluminum wire, your first instinct is probably to strip it down and get to the good stuff from inside. But keep some things in mind when you are about to strip. We like to use the rule that if the wire is the width of a pencil or smaller it is probably not worth your time to strip it. One exception would be if the copper inside is single insulation (only one layer of plastic on the outside). Otherwise most wires will have smaller cables inside the initial insulation and can become tedious to strip.
- Separate – Don’t be and mix everything together. For a number of reasons like ticking off your scrap yard when you go to sell it, but more importantly you will lose money at the yard. Grab a cardboard box, 5 gallon bucket, basket, plastic container, anything. If you are pulling apart electronics or appliances that have a great deal of different metals inside separate them. Be sure to place the copper wire, copper pipe, brass, aluminum, stainless steel, and steel in their own containers. Your yard will be thankful for the efficiency and you can make the most money.
- Find Scrap Prices – When you are looking to begin scrapping or your are a seasoned-veteran knowing where to shop for the best scrap prices is important to help you make the most money on your labor. Just like those bargain shoppers out there, finding the scrap prices in your area is important before you head to your local scrap yard. Sometimes you could visit the same yard over and over, but maybe the one a few miles down the road has better prices. You can use the iScrap App to research and find scrap prices in the area. You can also report prices on the iScrap App after you’ve visited your local scrap yard.
- Carry A Magnet – This is the one and only tool that ALL scrappers MUST have when scrapping. A magnet is a scrapper’s key to success and profit. Identifying the difference between ferrous and non-ferrous metals is as easy as sticking a magnet to it. If it sticks you have a more common and less-valuable ferrous metal (steel, iron). If it doesn’t stick you have a more valuable metal like copper, aluminum, brass, or stainless steel.
- Carry A File – Another important tool that is always useful to carry with you when scrapping is a file. Using a file can allow you to check the true color and metal you may have in front of you. Perhaps you think you have a piece of brass but if you use the file on it and file it down you can see a silver color underneath which could be aluminum or steel which is worth less money. Also files are useful to check the color of wires. Some wires from sealed units or electric motors often times have a shellac on them that could be colored like copper orange or red. By using a file you can file down the wire and see the color of the metal underneath the shellac. Sometimes it could be copper or the less-valuable aluminum.
- Invest In Tools – If you are getting better and more advanced with scrapping, it’s time to start investing in yourself and your job. Whether you are a hobbyist, part-time, or full-time scrapper, getting to the next level of scrapping may required you to step up your tools. Investing in tools that can make your job more efficient and easier can make you more money in the long run. If you are spending less time taking something apart because the tools make it faster, you can spend more time finding scrap or getting new connections.
- Sawzall – A reciprocating saw or sawzall can be a great tool to use for various metals. If you are taking apart radiators you can easily clean off the steel ends to get a better price on clean brass or copper/aluminum radiators.
- Power Drill – Having a power drill can save you time by automatically taking out those pesky screws from computers and other equipment. This can allow you to more quickly take apart items that have higher price metals inside.
- Stripper – Having even a handheld or electric wire stripper can be a big game changer. Allowing you to quickly strip copper wire to get to the clean stuff inside can make you a bunch more money at the scrap yard and pay itself off.
- Safety – One thing that the iScrap App Team and our partners at ISRI always stress is safety when scrapping, traveling, and being at the scrap yard. We have some important techniques and suggestions when it comes to scrapping safety, but always been sure to have the right protective gear on. Whether that is gloves, eye protection, steel-toed boots, hard hats, or safety vests, it’s important to think ahead and save your head when scrapping.
When you are scrapping there are several things you want to think about that can keep you safe and help you make more money on your scrap metal. Be sure to always stay on the lookout for new opportunities when scrapping and think about efficiency. Happy Scrapping!