Scrap Yard Near Me: 7 Ways to Get More Cash for Your Metal
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A metal scrap yard is a center that buys and sells scrap metals to recycle. This lets you recycle metals like iron, copper, and steel, plus other metals, and make money on those items. If you’re wondering ‘where can I find a scrap yard near me to sell metal?’, there are numerous local options.
With people becoming more responsible consumers, recycling is increasingly popular. Some scrap yards are a good option to sell old electronics for cash, but you can sell many other items, including:
- Old appliances
- Cast-iron bathtubs
- Full-size gas BBQ
- Out-of-commission cars
You won’t replace your day job with scrap metal recycling, but it’s a good way to make money on the side if you regularly encounter the above items.
If you want to know more about scrap metal prices and how to maximize earnings, this post is for you.
Scrap Yard Near Me: How to Make More on Your Metal
Are you wondering ‘where can I sell scrap metal near me?’ and make money? Here are the seven best ways to ensure you can receive more money for your junk.
1. Know What Your Metals Are Worth
If you’re new to scrap metal recycling, research is an important first step. You first need to learn there are two different categories of metal.
The first category of metals are known as ferrous metals.
Most sold scrap metal is ferrous. These metals include iron and alloys of iron like stainless steel and cast iron.
The second type of metals are non-ferrous metals. These metals are worth more, but are a little harder to come by. Metals like aluminum, brass, nickel, copper, lead, tin, titanium, and zinc, and alloys like brass are non-ferrous metals.
Prices and pay vary based on your location, but non-ferrous metals go for a lot more. For example, scrapping stainless steel may net you $.10 to $1 a pound, but scrapping copper may get you closer to $2 or $4 a pound.
This is also why gold and silver, non-ferrous metals, are such popular buys.
One thing to keep in mind is that some states have laws in place regarding non-ferrous metals. For example, South Carolina has laws stating that you can’t sell non-ferrous metals unless you have a license to sell them.
Many of these laws are established so people don’t steal precious metals and flip them for money. Some laws aren’t as black and white, so make sure to check with scrap yards nearby to ensure you aren’t doing anything illegal.
To know what your metal is worth, call your local scrap yards and ask them what they pay for each metal. You can also consult the Institute of Scrap Metal Recycling Industries, Inc. (ISRI) to learn more about recycling scrap metal and how it works.
2. Get Price Quotes
The best way to get more cash for your metal is to go to a scrap yard that pays you the most for what you have. If you live in a bigger city, chances are that you have your choice of different places where you can take your metal.
So why not call around? Or browse each scrap yard’s website to see if you can find pricing there. No matter what you choose, get price quotes.
Why take your metal to a scrap yard only willing to give you $.50 a pound when you can go to another and make $3 a pound?
Also, don’t forget to ask about the different price points for each metal. Aluminum cans might not make you a lot of money, but the copper wiring you found on the road just might.
What can I expect to receive for scrap metal prices?
Pricing varies for scrap metal, but it’s helpful to know what you can expect, on average. Below are what you can expect to receive on typical appliances and other scrap:
- Cast-iron bathtub with an average weight of 300 pounds – $30 – $40
- Dryer with an average weight of 100 pounds – $8 – $10
- Full-size BBQ with an average weight of 180 pounds – $16 – $20
- Ovens with an average weight of 125 pounds – $11 – $18
- Refrigerator with an average weight of 175 pounds – $16 – $20
- Washing machine with an average weight of 200 pounds – $18 – $20
You can consult the iScrap app to get pricing on other scrap metal items.
3. Take As Much As Possible
It’s simple. The more metal you recycle, the more cash you will receive. Again, aluminum cans are easy to come by, are great to scrap, and even make you feel better because you’re keeping them out of landfills.
*Related: Sitting on an old cell phone? Read our guide on the best places to sell used cell phones for cash and turn it into found money.*
But a few garbage bags of empty Coke cans isn’t going to net you much. However, having 1,000 pounds of metals including appliances, lawn mowers, and HVAC copper wire will earn you significantly more.
So take as much as possible when you’re trying to get cash for your metal.
A scrap yard is often more willing to work with you and negotiate a fair price if you have a lot to offer. A teenager scrapping a few bags of cans will most likely be satisfied to add $20 in their wallet.
But if you’re looking at this as a legit side hustle or even full-time gig, you need to offer more.
Don’t worry about not getting all of your metal counted towards your pay. Metal scrap yards have made it super easy to make sure you’re getting paid the correct amount based on what you bring.
The yard will weigh your vehicle before you drop of the metal. Then you’ll dump the metal into the yard in a designated area. After that, your vehicle will be weighed again and the difference in pounds will be converted to cash.
It really is as simple as that.
4. Borrow A Truck
If you only have a small car, you won’t be able to bring as much metal to the scrap yard. So instead of using your car, borrow or rent a large truck. If you want to sell used appliances for cash, for example, you will need a larger vehicle.
The best trucks are those with ramps, especially if you’re getting rid of heavy appliances or items.
Borrowing is always better than renting, especially if you can borrow a truck for free. You can offer to split a bit of the metal profits with the person who owns the truck you’re borrowing.
Just remember to be safe when borrowing someone else’s vehicle. Fill up the tank, don’t scratch or ding it if you can help it, and take care of their equipment.
Renting a truck is a little harder, because you have to take more precautions when renting a truck. You’ll have to get insurance, and the day-to-day cost could eat into your profits. However, if you have or find enough metal, you could be okay.
Make sure to price check before deciding which route you will take.
5. Separate Metals
The best way to make more when you sell scrap metal is to separate your metals. While you can lump some metals together, you most likely won’t receive the best return by doing so.
To ensure that you get the most money, separate your metals. Don’t forget to label what you have, especially if the metals are non-ferrous and costly. You’ll get more back if you scrap copper by itself versus with other metals.
Work smarter, not harder.
Also, strip down appliances and other large items like HVAC units. They have various metals running through them, so scrapping them as a whole could cost you money in the long run.
If you come across copper wire in plastic coating, make sure you strip the coating off.
One way you can separate your metal without wasting time by using a magnet. The ferrous metals are magnetic, but non-ferrous metals aren’t.
So that is an easy way to separate the two. You can then break them down even further into groups for lead, steel, copper, aluminum, etc.
Something you may not know is that you can scrap dirty metal (think a gross oven). However, when the metal is clean, you get more money back. Clean your metal if you’re able and have the time.
6. Add In Copper and Aluminum If You Can
Because scrap yards pay little for certain metals, try to add more expensive metals to your haul so you can make more money. Copper is one of the most expensive metals that you can sell to a scrap yard, and it’s more common than you think.
HVAC units and copper piping could all work. Brass also pays well. Aluminum may not pay as well as copper and brass, but it’s easy to come by and come by quickly.
*Related: Want to sell your car via private party? Read our guide on how to sell a car on Craigslist to learn how to get top dollar.*
Almost all of our items are made with at least traces of aluminum, so it shouldn’t be hard to pick it up from curbs, Craigslist ads, and more. Again, make sure you abide by your local laws.
Ask your local scrap yard if you’re not certain if your practice is legal.
7. Scrap Old Christmas Lights
Who knew that old Christmas lights could make you some money? Those tangled cords and half-broken things could actually net you a pretty penny, because guess what? They probably contain copper.
While old Christmas lights won’t make you a fortune selling them at a scrap yard, they are a great item to add to your bags of metal, and they’re cheap to find.
Many people have old lights that they want to get rid of, and even thrift stores and department stores sell them cheaply after the holidays.
By scrapping Christmas lights, not only are you taking them off of people’s hands that don’t want them and keeping them out of a landfill, but you could also earn a decent profit if you can acquire enough.
How to Find Local Scrap Yards to Recycle Metal
If you want to recycle metal for money, you may wonder where to find a scrap yard nearby. There are multiple resources you can use to find a local scrap yard, including:
- Your local phone book
- Google – use terms like ‘metal scrap yard near me’, ‘local scrap yards’, ‘scrap yard near me open today’, ‘metal recycling near me’, and ‘junkyard near me’ to find a location near you
- Use the iScrap app to find local metal scrap yards
Most cities have scrap yards, so a few minutes of work should result in options to recycle metal.
Can you make a living selling scrap metal?
If you’re willing to put in the effort, it is possible to make decent money on the side selling scrap metal. However, it is hard work and you need to be knowledgeable about what you’re doing.
While it’s not that difficult to earn several hundred dollars, it does take determination and a plan.
For most, it isn’t a way to replace a day job. But it can be a good way to make extra money on the side to increase savings, pay off debt, or fund another goal.
Scrap Metal Yard Near Me: Bottom Line
Recycling scrap metal is a legit side hustle. If you have the desire and time, it’s a good way to make extra cash.
By following the above tips, you could get more cash for your metal and make some decent money. Scrap yards are always looking for new customers who can bring the metal to them, so don’t be afraid to load up on a ton of appliances and other items when you can.
How much money have you made selling metal to scrap yards? What are other things you’ve done to make extra money? Would you sell Christmas lights for money?
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