How Often Do Scrap Prices Change?

If you are new to the scrap metal industry, you may notice that many scrap yards don’t post prices online, or if they do, there is often a disclaimer stating prices can change at any time. As an experienced scrapper, you should be familiar with ever-changing scrap prices and the possibility that they can change within minutes. Occasionally, scrappers will call ahead to get a scrap price over the phone, and by the time they arrive at the yard a short while later, the price could be higher or lower.

Why Do Prices Change?

There are many reasons why scrap prices change and what causes them to change. Before we discuss how often prices change, it’s essential to know why scrap prices change in the first place.

  • Market Price – Like the stock market, scrap commodities constantly fluctuate based on other factors.
  • Industry Demand – This depends on the construction, electronics, and technological production rate.
  • Time of Year – Seasons significantly affect these industries, which can directly relate to supply and demand.

Suggested Reading: What Determines Scrap Prices?

How Often Do The Prices Change?

Now that you have an idea of the types of factors that relate to industry prices changing, how often does it actually happen?


While it’s not uncommon, sometimes scrap prices can change during the day, even a few times. Remember that scrap yard managers and owners must constantly check the market prices to determine the right price to pay at the door. If the market prices suddenly drop during the day, scrap yards have to change accordingly so they don’t lose profit once they buy new materials.


Scrap prices changing weekly is more common in general. Usually, when scrap prices change, it is a few cents per pound or dollars per ton. Those in the industry will try not to have a knee-jerk reaction as soon as prices change (unless necessary with a large increase or drop) and will try to change them on a weekly sale of a few cents here and there.


While it doesn’t happen too often, when the scrap price needle doesn’t really move, it could be a good thing. A consistent scrap market can be a sign of a strong and stable economy. Usually, if prices tend to change only monthly, it may only be a few cents up and down.

How Do You Know When Scrap Prices Are The Highest?

Use The iScrap App.

If you want to get an idea of the current prices in your area, you can search the iScrap App for your city and state or zip code and browse through the scrap yards listed in your area. Once you locate a few yards in your area, check out the recently reported prices by other scrappers and what the scrap yards post on their profiles.

Call Your Scrap Yard

Due to the nature of the industry, scrappers often call their local scrap yard and ask what prices are being paid for their materials. For those that don’t go to the scrap yard too often, sometimes the calls can be a good reaction after a significant increase or the opposite when prices fall. Also, calling is suitable for scrappers on the road, who can go to a few scrap yards. Usually, they will call to see who is currently paying the best price.

Make A Spreadsheet

If you do not visit your scrap yard often or like to keep track of the history of prices, this is a good option. Whether you write them in a notebook or organize them on your computer, it could be helpful for you to see the pattern of the prices throughout the year to get a better idea of what to expect in different seasons and economic conditions. This information can help you decide whether you should hold onto your material or sell it compared to the past prices you have been tracking.

scrap price spreadsheet

Follow Weekly Scrap Updates

If you follow the iScrap App Blog or the iScrap App YouTube Channel, you will see weekly updates about the scrap metal market conditions and forecasts for future prices. Tom, the creator of the iScrap App, breaks down the prices for common metals like copper, aluminum, stainless steel, steel, gold, and others. You can follow the iScrap App on YouTube or subscribe to our emails to receive market news weekly.

Get Scrapping!

The critical thing about scrap prices is staying in the loop about them. Depending on the market, they can change frequently or infrequently, but having the right places to check and track them is helpful before you take your trip to the scrap yard. Be sure to use the iScrap App to Report Your Scrap Prices when you receive your most recent scrap prices.