Is It “OK” To Cheat The Scrap Yard?

We see videos, tips, we ask questions, in the scrap metal community we see it all. Great ways to make some 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 see some sneaky ways on how scrappers cheat the scrap yards and to make some extra money at the scale the dirty way.

We’re not going to 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 to themselves “Hey, the scrap yard just jacked the prices lower by the scrap yard just jacked the prices lower by the scrap yard just jacked the prices lower by $0.10/lb.10/lb.10/lb. They deserve to be cheated!” First off, it is important to understand how scrap yards get their prices and how it related back to the prices they pay for your material at the scales. Many factors play into scrap yard determining their prices.

cheating scrap yardsEconomy

There is a large emphasis on the condition of the economy when the scrap market prices are determine. Whether there is a demand or need for certain materials for various industries like technology, automobile, construction, medical, and much more. 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 the 1980’s and 1990’s, the scrap and commodities markets are heavily influenced by traders. Many of them have turned scrap and metals into another “stock”.


Believe it or not, politics and the government have a lot to do with the dertemination of the prices at your scrap yard. Some international crises and events can have a direct impact on the imports and exports of scrap metal around the globe. Paying attention to different issues around the world is important 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.politics and scrap metal

Mills & Processing Locations

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


It’s always about location when it comes to a business and also where your scrap yard is located. If your scrap yard is further away from a mill or processor plant, they will most likely pay a bit less for metals than other locations closer. They have to take into account 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 for a yard to bring in more material will generally result in higher prices at the scale. If you are dealing with a smaller yard that doesn’t bring in large quantities on a regular basis, 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.

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 spread fast and the next yard over 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 are bringing in good quality loads to their location on a regular basis they will see the value in having you as a customer. Down the road, they may even find it to be valuable enough to put you on a special pricing tier for the future.

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