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How To Make Money Selling Scrap Metal

It can be said one man’s junk is another man’s treasure, especially in the field of selling scrap metal. One great way to make some extra cash every month is to sell scrap metal – either your own or someone else’s. Naturally, the goal of selling scrap metal is to make money and that means getting the best price per pound of metal sold. You’d be surprised – what you may view as an utterly useless ‘waste of space’ may just have some value in an industry. Anything from those dusty old appliances sitting in your garage to your neighbors old rusted bicycles can bring in money for scrap metal.

Before you start selling your new-found treasures, you want to look for scrap metal buyers that will make the selling process as quick and easy as possible while offering you the best pricing. What you don’t know about the industry can hurt you; so it is important to understanding the following:

  • Scrap metal is now selling for more than it ever has but some metals are particularly in demand
  • Not every scrap metal buyer will offer you top price. Prices continuously fluctuates so it is important to keep up with their current value. That way you will know immediately if a buyer is giving a reasonable deal or not.
  • Anything metallic will have some value but what you earn will depend on the type and weight of the metals you have to sell
  • Not all dealers accept all types of metal. It’s particularly important to understand the difference between ferrous and non-ferrous metals.
  • Not all dealers accept small quantities. Usually it’s dealers that only work locally that will be interested in quantities under 500. So ask up front.
  • You should get the terms of the sale in writing prior to delivering the metal. Quality dealers will do this and if for some reason, your metal shipment doesn’t turn out to match the specifications the dealer expected, he should promptly let you know why.

Another important factor to consider is whether or not the scrap metal company you are planning to sell to will pick up your material or if you will have to provide delivery with your own transportation. Some scrap recycling companies will be more choosy than others when it comes to shipping the metals and accepting mixed shipments compared to sorting each individual metal out. Researching these small details prior to the sale, will mean a more successful outcome for you and the dealer. Another way to make sure you are not wasting your time or the dealer’s: give them a good description of what you have to sell or send a sample.

After you have positioned yourself to understand the basics of the scrap metal business, your next move should be figuring out more ways to gather scrap from others who have no need for it. Some methods of increasing your metal load include:

  • telling people you know of your new endeavor – they are more most apt to contact you to dispatch their junk
  • post an ad on Craigslist offering to pick up people’s junk in your area
  • search the “free stuff” section of Craiglist to see if people are giving away any junk metals
  • contact local businesses (plumbing, electricians, demolition services, etc.) and offer to take away scrap metals they accumulate

As mentioned previously, metal prices are fluctuating on a daily basis simply due to supply and demand. With that being said, the third and final step in familiarizing yourself with the scrap metal world involves staying up-to-date with the latest pricing details of each metal. Most important is knowing what metals will bring you the highest exchange value. One way of determining current pricing is through signing up for a free-trial at, a website that is currently being used by scrap metal industries for price assurance. Many professionals turn to Peony. They also offer a free trial period.

Understanding how to classify the metals, ferrous and non-ferrous, will be a determining factor in who you will be able to sell to, as some scrap metal buyers only accept non-ferrous metals. Here’s the difference: A non-ferrous metal is any metal which is not iron or any alloy of metals which does not contain iron. Non-ferrous generally sells for a higher price than ferrous metals.

One way to tell if a metal has any ferrous content in it: use a magnet. Ferrous is magnetic due to its iron content, but non-ferrous does not contain any iron and is therefore not magnetic.

In order to ensure that you get the most out of the the work you put in scrapping, be sure to keep this in mind: to optimize pricing for non-ferrous scrap metals be sure to remove any attached materials like screws and/or rubber coating.

Heavy melt is a type of ferrous metal that includes piping. Plate and structural steel is the other category of ferrous metal and it contains metal beams used in construction. It is important to note that junkyards, machine shops and garages may have quite a bit a material leftover or lying around.

Scrap metal is everywhere – more places than you thought possible. With cautious observation you will discover a considerable amount of potential cash in places you never would have previously thought! As you go along, you will learn tricks of the trade to surely help you with selling scrap metal at a profit.

Sell scrap metal to Hirsch Metals. We are always in “buy” mode and are always looking for large quantities of non-ferrous scrap metals.