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How to Sell Scrap Metal

By on June 26, 2019
How to Sell Scrap Metal

You may have collected aluminum cans to turn in for money as a youth, or maybe you’ve gathered all of your coinage for processing at a bank or coin-sorting machine in exchange for cash. If your home construction projects produce leftover metal, you can use the same approach to recoup some of your costs. Building material is valuable, and people will pay for it!

People often let their scrap metal go to waste, which is both a storage issue and an eyesore. Instead, learn how to put it back on the market, and you’ll no longer have to worry about stashing it. Plus, you’ll be that much richer!

Know Your Metal

Unlike your can-collecting experience, not all scrap metal is of the same value. To determine whether it’s worth your effort, consult a guide to the value of scrap metal to see if your project has generated enough loose material to warrant loading it up and taking it to a scrapyard. Prices might vary a small amount between yards.

Plan to Move Your Scrap

Transporting a massive load of scrap will require the right vehicle. A pickup truck is usually the best choice because it can be unloaded via a crane or forklift once you arrive at the yard. For the biggest loads, it might be a good idea to use a trailer. If you don’t own one, a cost-effective rental can make a fantastic investment.

You can also use a smaller vehicle. However, you’re less likely to receive help when you get to the yard. Also, smaller cars can be overwhelmed if you load them with too much heavy material.

Find Your Local Scrapyard

Get online and locate the nearest yard that takes the metal you’ve got to sell. Depending on how close you are to an urban setting, you may need to travel a small way to drop off your metal. Once you arrive, check into the yard’s database and weigh your vehicle coming in. The process is similar to visiting the dump — and you’ll actually get paid for it!

Once your vehicle and information are in the system, move on to the unloading. If you’re selling a ferrous (iron-derived) material and have the recommended pickup truck or trailer, you might get to watch the yard put a giant mag crane — a crane with a huge electromagnet at one end — into action. Just be careful — they can lift your entire vehicle if the magnet gets too close.

Get Paid!

After making the drop, you’ll roll your vehicle back through the scale and receive payment, either as cash or a voucher from the scrap yard. In many places, it’s not legal for the yard to pay you directly, but you may find a conveniently located ATM that accepts the vouchers the yard gives out.

You’re all set. Now you can re-invest the hard-earned dollars that went into your project — rather than stare at a pile of rusty metal for the next several years. Definitely a good call.

Scott Huntington is a writer from central Pennsylvania. He enjoys working on his home and garden with his wife and 2 kids. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington

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