How To Ask For Better Scrap Metal Prices

So you want to negotiate for better scrap metal prices with your yard. Well, of course, you do! Who doesn’t? But you can’t just go into your yard demanding better prices; you need to show them why you deserve that higher price per pound or ton

What Scrap Yards Want to Know

How much material are you bringing in?

Whether it’s copper, steel, aluminum, or brass, the yard is going to ask you how much you have to bring in. Think about it: scrap yards are getting thousands of pounds of material a day. Why would they give you a better price for, let’s say, 100 lbs of material? Remember: scrap yards are in it for the money, just like you. It would help if you figured that the more money they’d give you for a smaller quantity, they would do more work for less money.  

How To Gain Bargaining Power on Scrap Prices

If you’re going to ask for better prices on your material, you should have a significant amount saved up. As we said before, scrap yards aren’t going to lower their profit margin so that you can make a few extra bucks. Now that that’s out of the way:

  1. Get your price confirmed ahead of time – Start by calling your scrap yard up or even emailing them. You’re going to want to document the deal you come to with the yard before showing up at the door. Ask for the name of the person you’re speaking with. The last time you’re going to want is getting to the yard and having a sort of “he said she said” issue.
  2. Don’t be forceful but reasonable – Remember, if you can’t get the deal you’re looking for, you can use the iScrap App to find another yard that may better work with you. However, most yards that we know of won’t tolerate being pushed around, and if you come off too pushy, they’ll shut your request down immediately and won’t want to work with you in the future.
  3. Ask questions – Some yards are working on slim profit margins — $0.10, $0.20, or $0.30 — something you’ll want to keep in mind. But don’t be afraid to ask something like, “Hey, I’m looking to get $3.10 on my bare bright. Can you work with me on that?”
  4. Keep your word – If you can come to an agreement with a yard on a price that makes you both happy, don’t back out, bring in material with a huge discrepancy in weight, or make them wait. Let’s say you agree on $3.10/lb for bare bright, but you need to bring it into the yard within two days. BRING IT IN TWO DAYS THEN. The yard worked with you, so work with the yard. Markets can change within days. Thus scrap prices do the same. 
  5. Found a yard that works with you? Please don’t leave them, don’t get greedy, and always try to work out a deal that satisfies you both for a long and prosperous relationship.

Suggested Reading: 4 Factors Choosing The Right Scrap Yard

No Time For These Steps?

We’ve found that when you unload material at the yard before asking for better prices, the scrap yard ends up in the driver’s seat, and it becomes much more difficult to work out a price that makes you happy. So if you can help it, call the yard before you get there or even on the way.

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