If you are new to the scrap metal industry you may notice that a lot of scrap yards don’t post prices online or if they do, there is often a disclaimer that states prices can change at any time. As an experienced scrapper you should be familiar with ever-changing scrap prices and the possibility within minutes they can change. 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 Like That?
There are many different reasons why scrap prices change in general and what impacts them to change too. Before we discuss how often prices changes, it’s important to know why scrap prices change in the first place.
- Market Price – Just like the stock market, scrap commodities are constantly fluctuating based on other factors.
- Industry Demand – Depending on the rate of production in industries like construction, electronics, and technology.
- Time of Year – Seasons greatly affect these types of industries, which can directly relate to supply and demand.
Suggested Reading: What Determines Scrap Prices?
How Often Do The Prices Change?
Now you have an idea of the types of factors that relate back to the prices changing in the industry, how often does it actually happen?
While it’s not uncommon, sometimes scrap prices can change during the day, even a few times. Remember scrap yard managers and owners have to constantly be checking 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 the scrap prices are changing 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 it is 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 could be a good thing. A consistent scrap market can be signs of a strong and stable economy. Usually if prices are tend to be falling into a pattern of only changing monthly it may only be a few cents up and down.
How Do You Keep Track Of Scrap Prices?
Use The iScrap App
If you are looking to get an idea of what the current prices are 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 reported prices listed recently by other scrappers and also what the scrap yards are also posting on their profiles.
Call Your Scrap Yard
Due to the nature of the industry, many times scrappers will just call their local scrap yard and ask about 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 large increase or the opposite when prices fall. Also calling is good for scrappers when they are on the road and have the option of going to a couple scrap yards in the area. Usually they will call to see who is currently paying the best price at the moment.
Make A Spreadsheet
If you are not visiting your scrap yard too often or you 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 should sell it compared to the past prices you have been tracking.
Follow The Weekly Updates
If you are following the iScrap App Blog or the iScrap App YouTube Channel, you will be able to see the weekly updates about the scrap metal market conditions and the forecasts for the prices in the future. Tom, the creator of the iScrap App gives the breakdown of the prices for common metals like copper, aluminum, stainless steel, steel, gold, and others. You can follow the iScrap App or subscribe for emails to receive market news on a monthly basis.
The important thing about scrap prices is staying in the loop about them. They can change frequently or infrequently depending on the market 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.