Is It “OK” To Cheat The Scrap Yard?

We see videos and tips, ask questions, and see it all in the scrap metal community. Great ways to make extra money on your last load of copper wire or convenient ways to save time and money by disassembling computers. On occasion, you probably have even seen some sneaky ways that scrappers cheat their scrap yards and make some extra money at the scale the dirty way.

We won’t tell you how to do it because there are so many unethical and illegal things about cheating scrap yards. It is never a good idea to bite the hand that feeds you, and if you try to cheat scrap yards, you will not have good results in the long run.
Some people may say, “Hey, the scrap yard just jacked the prices lower by the scrap yard just jacked the prices lower by $0.10/lb. They deserve to be cheated!” First off, it is crucial to understand how scrap yards get their prices and how it relates to the prices they pay for your material at the scales. Many factors play into scrap yards determining their prices.

What Influences Scrap Prices?

cheating scrap yardsEconomy

There is a significant emphasis on the economy’s condition when the scrap market prices are determined. Whether there is a demand or need for specific materials for various industries like technology, automobile, construction, medicine, etc. If there is a low demand for metals for recycling, then the prices will be a bit lower because there isn’t a strong need for them to be put back into the economy. Also, unlike in the 1980s and 1990s, the scrap and commodities markets are heavily influenced by traders. Many of them have turned scrap and metals into another “stock.”

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03/14/2024 08:51 am GMT


politics and scrap metal

Believe it or not, politics and the government have much to do with determining the prices at your scrap yard. Some international crises and events can directly impact the imports and exports of scrap metal around the globe. Attention to different issues worldwide is essential for scrap yards in determining their prices. An example of a different type of political event that can directly affect the industry is strikes by the employees in metal mines.

Mills & Processing Locations

Also directly affected by the previous points about scrap prices, the mills and processing plants may have a large quantity of materials around, and they may not need to pay higher prices. They pay less for materials from the feeder yards if they have a good supply of materials for further production.


It’s always about location regarding a business and where your scrap yard is located. If your scrap yard is further away from a mill or processor plant, they will most likely pay less for metals than other locations closer. They have to consider the cost of transportation and delivery of the materials. Usually, when yards are closer to urban areas and have access to ports, they can pay a better price at the scale.

Capacity & Flow

Similar to location, the ability of a yard to bring in more material will generally result in higher prices at the scale. Suppose you are dealing with a smaller yard that doesn’t bring in large quantities regularly. In that case, they will usually pay less for materials due to the impact of the larger yards not having the bulk amount of material for them to buy.

How Cheating A Scrap Yard Will Get You Nowhere

So, going on to the ethical issue of cheating a scrap yard, there are several factors you should consider before you do something you may regret later on. Scrap yards are increasingly building up their digital buying systems with cameras and will more likely be able to catch you in the act or track you down later on.

If you begin cheating a yard, they may not catch on right away, but once they do, there is a strong possibility they refuse to do business with you. This can put you in a bad position if you don’t have many scrap yards in your area. Also, word may spread fast, and other yards may get word of your dirty tricks.

trust scrap yardMake It Count By Gaining Trust

Instead, you should strive to gain the trust of your local scrap yard so that you can have a good relationship moving forward. If you regularly bring good quality loads to their location, they will see the value in having you as a customer. Down the road, they may even find it valuable enough to put you on a special pricing tier for the future.