Scrapping. It’s a great way to make some extra money on the side or if you are full-time, it’s your way of living. Regardless of how often you are at the scrap yard, it’s important to know the weights and what they mean on your receipts. The iScrap App Team hears stories about how scrap yards deducted too much weight or didn’t give the right price for items. To avoid these problems and make the most money from your scrap, we have a few tips to keep in mind when selling to your scrap yard.
What is Gross Weight?
When you are bringing a load to the scrap yard, the first number that you see on the scale is going to be a your gross weight. This is everything totaled together in one weight.
For example, if you have a 5-gallon bucket full of brass and put it on the scale and it reads “43”, your gross weight is 43lb.
Another example, is if you have a truck load of light iron and pull up onto the truck scale and the weight is 7,360 pounds, that is also your gross weight.
What is Tare Weight?
Some scrap yards may label this as a “weight deduction” but the weight of any non-metallic items or non-scrap items is the tare weight.
For example, once the 5-gallon bucket is emptied of the brass and weighed, the number on the scale may be “2”, this is your tare weight.
Our other example, is after you dump your light iron out of your truck and drive your truck back to the scale and weigh in at 6,800 pounds, that is your tare weight.
If you don’t have any containers or vehicle you are weighing up with your material, for example you place a battery on the scale, you will not have a tare weight.
What is Net Weight?
This is the most important weight, net weight is the difference of gross weight subtracted by tare weight. Your net weight is the weight you will be paid for your particular metal or material. This is the final weight that will be on your ticket totaling how much you got paid for by your yard.
Gross Weight – Tare Weight = Net Weight
For example, once you have weighed your bucket you carried your brass in and the tare weight is subtracted from your gross weight, your net weight will be 41lb. You will be paid for 41 pounds of brass by your scrap yard.
43lb. (Gross Weight – Bucket & Brass)
– 2lb. (Tare Weight – Bucket Weight)
= 41lb. (Net Weight – Weight of Brass)
Our other example is, once your tare weight for your truck is subtracted from your gross weight, you will have a total of 557lb. of light iron which is your net weight. You will be paid for 560lb. of light iron.
7,360lb. (Gross Weight – Truck Loaded with Light Iron)
– 6,800lb. (Tare Weight – Truck Weight)
= 560lb. (Net Weight – Weight of Light Iron)
Tips For Avoiding Weight Mistakes
Now that you have an understanding of what gross, tare, and net weights are, it’s important to check your receipt before leaving your scrap yard. Depending if your yard uses a hand-written system or computer system, your receipt may look a bit different than the one example above, but the weights should clearly be marked.
Watch The Weights
As your material is being unloaded onto the scales, be sure to check the numbers on the scale. You should have a good indication of the weights before going to your scrap yard, so make sure those numbers you see on the scale are similar, if not the same.
Ask Your Yard About Scale Accuracy
If you feel the weights on the scales are not correct, ask your yard if they ever get their scales tested and checked. It’s an important thing to know, considering that is how you get paid.
Know The Laws
Check if your state requires certain laws to be in place for writing receipts and calculating payments. This can be helpful if your yard is using the wrong system to pay you and is not giving your the proper receipt when paying you.
Double Check Tare Weights
Make sure to check the gross and tare weights. Some scrap yards may estimate the tare weight on some of your items you bring your scrap in, so it’s a good idea to double check those numbers. While unfortunately some yards will try to “cheat” with tare weights, some just genuinely try to estimate the weight of a container or box when it’s brought in. Knowing your tare weights of your containers when you bring them to the yard is a good idea. If you use the same containers, be sure to clearly write the weights on them for your own benefit.
Be Sure To Check The Math
After you have made sure the tare weights are correct, make sure the math from the gross and tare weights is correct to get the net weight. This is especially important when yards are hand-writing their receipts. If a scale manager is doing the math on their own or even using a calculator, they could mess up and write the incorrect weight down.
Check Any Deductions
Besides the tare weight, see if there are any other deductions the scrap yard ads to your receipt. Maybe if metals are mixed or are dirty with steel, you may see a deduction on your receipt. This is also important for any pick up jobs you are working on. If a yard charges for trucking fees or transportation fees, there could be a deduction on your receipt.
Check Materials & Metals
Just like the weight numbers on your receipt, it’s also important to check that the metals are classified correctly when they are priced on your receipt. Some yards may classify a material differently than you or another scrap yard you go to, so it’s important to make sure you are getting paid for the correct metals.
When In Doubt, Ask
If you have a question or there is a discrepancy on your receipt, double check it before bringing it to your yard. Make sure you math is correct and the metals were priced correctly. It’s a good idea to check your receipts in your vehicle before leaving the yard. Once you have determined there is a mistake or you have a question, first bring it to your scale manager (who helped you) and ask them your question.
Don’t assume they made any mistakes on purpose, that will just lead to a heated discussion. ask for an explanation and then if you still feel there is a problem, ask to speak to their manager. If you feel they cannot answer or help you in the long run, then it may be time to search for another yard in the area to deal with.
Suggested Reading: Is It “OK” To Cheat The Scrap Yard?