The Effects of Snow & Winter on the Scrap Industry

Unless you are in the plowing or heating industries, the snowy, cold weather usually doesn’t help business. In fact, it is very common that during the winter season scrap yards and those in the scrap industry are severely affected by their business and lack of scrap jobs. As the cold hits the country, it seems to always hit the scrap metal market, as well. There are some reasons behind the slowing of construction during the winter months that cause the demand for scrap to go down significantly. When you are heading into the winter it’s important to keep some things in mind when scrapping in the winter months.

How the winter affects the scrap metal industry

Effects of Winter On The Scrap Industry

During the winter season, many scrap yards in the colder regions are forced to cut back on operating hours and even close for an extended period of time around the holidays due to the slow traffic of scrapping. There are many factors that can affect the scrap metal industry during the cold months:
  • Snow: This is one of the most crippling effects of the winter season. Many of the regular customers are on the roads for the majority of their days, so when the weather gets bad and the roads dangerous, there is less traffic to scrap yards. We gathered some insight from fellow scrappers, and they claimed that the snow dramatically reduces the scrap available. This may be because snow also has an effect on delaying outdoor construction projects that may otherwise be producing scrap metal. 
  • Cold: When temperatures plummet towards the freezing mark, people are less likely to be working outside. This means less scrap is being produced by contractors and construction sites. While some plumbers may be busy fixing frozen pipes, the amount of regular plumbing work is still lacking, therefore no reason to make a trip to the scrap yard.
  • Holidays: With the holidays, it means many people are off work for a few days or a week at a time. This will lead to less work being done, thus less scrap being produced. Towards the end of the year, many people don’t have the money to be paying for new projects. Some projects that would otherwise be creating scrapping jobs are on hold.
  • Sold Scrap: During the winter months leading up to the holiday season, scrappers are stocking their scrap from the year and cashing in their metals to get a quick flow for the holidays. So starting in January, they are beginning to restock and collect the next load of scrap metal. Scrappers, especially in the midwest, have told us that they put aside the good stock and focus on the shred in the nicer months, so at least they have enough stored away to keep them afloat in the winter.

What Can You Do During The Winter Months

With the winter months, many scrappers, contractors, electricians, and plumbers are always struggling to find a steady flow of business. While there may not be too much scrap out there to collect, instead, you can work on smaller projects that can have further benefits after the winter thaw.
  • Client List: If you are a plumber, contractor, electrician, or junk remover, the winter is a great time to get a list of new potential clients together that you can begin to contact and introduce your services to.
  • House Clean-Up: Maybe during the year you weren’t keeping your desk or work area that organized, so this can be a great time to get everything organized again and put the tools away in their right place.
  • Papers: No one likes to do paperwork, but the cold weather can be a great time to catch up with your checkbook or be sure that all your bills are paid. Don’t forgert- the New Year is coming and that means taxes are, too.
  • Break It Down: While you’re stuck inside with a hot cup of joe or an ice-cold beer, whichever you prefer, this is a great time to work on the scrap you already have. Take time to break down those computers or strip that pile of wire you have.
  • Seasonal Job: Not everyone may be open to this option, but in addition to scrapping, finding a part-time seasonal job may be the best option for the winter months/holiday season. There are typically many job postings come the fall, even starting as early as September, for seasonal workers during the retail busy season. If you’re a full-time scrapper who finds the winter months slow, having a part-time seasonal job from the months of October to February may not be a bad option to supplement your income.
  • Pivot to Junk Removal: Another great option is pivoting your scrap business to junk removal. It’s weather, recession, and most recently (in 2021) pandemic proof. Of course, junk removal comes with its challenges, like finding places to recycle items that don’t make you money, but rather cost money, but if you feel like you’re up to the challenge, this may be the option for you.

This winter doesn’t have to get you down about scrapping. There are many other projects you can work on until nicer weather starts up again. Be conscious of the effects that winter can have on the scrap industry, including the potential of steady prices during the winter season. Always be safe on the roads and remember to call your scrap yard from the iScrap App before you head there to be sure that they are open.

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