Don't be fooled by the stacked up discarded cars or appliances, bustling workers and busy forklifts, the humbling setting of a scrap yard rakes in billions of dollars every year in the United States alone. It is much cheaper for companies to create new metals from scrap than to extract it from the ores. Scrap yards make it possible and help to facilitate this process.
Scrap yards are a reliable funnel that collects, sorts and sells scrap metal to refiners. Refiners only buy scrap metal in bulk and so, scrap yards collect in small quantities to sell at competitive prices.
Because of this, they are a vital part of the scrap metal industry and the major collection hub. You may find this weird, but you are not the customer but the supplier to scrap yards! Refiners are their customers, and so don’t be surprised if the workers at the scrap yard don’t treat you like the merchandise seller at the mall.
As scrap metal prices fluctuate on a daily basis, scrap yards buy low and sell high. The scrap metal prices are updated on the metal markets every day. So the scrap yards buy your scrap according to the market price - you can see these main prices on our home page too.
Albeit, they always pay less than what they wish to sell for to refiners.
If you want to make sure you get the best deal at a scrap yard, then read on for our best tips!
You will be surprised to find treasures in scrap yards. Parts of popular home appliances such as a washing machine drum or reusable car parts like seats, doors, or engines are great finds. This can save you a lot of money when you need parts.
Sometimes you'll even be able to find parts that are not available anymore in retail stores - for example if you have an older appliance or car. So it really makes sense to check yards for these parts. Note that some yards will even allow you to bring your tools and take what you need!
Consider the old adage "one man's waste is another man's treasure" to be true for the treasures you'd find at most scrap yards.
If you're not sure what metal you have, you should metals are put under a magnet first. Metals that are attracted to the magnet are categorized as ferrous metals. Those that don't stick to the magnet are non-ferrous metals such as gold, copper, aluminum, steel. Non-ferrous metals are more valuable when being sold or purchased.
Scrap yards have notorious ways to make sure they pay you lesser than what your junk is worth. One way is to bundle everything and pay you a flat price. Be proactive and sort your scrap into different metal categories to get the most value.
It is always good to speak with different scrap yards near you to see who is offering the best price for your scrap. Don't just show up, but call ahead! If you're already there they may persuade you to take a different price than they would if you haggle over the phone first.
Also don't be surprised to hear different prices if you go on a different day from the time you first checked the prices with the scrap yard. Scrap metal prices change daily and especially for high-value metals like copper and brass this can make a huge difference.
This may seem obvious, but don't zero in on a scrap yard that offers you the best price alone. Some scammers would give you an estimate just to reel you in. Find a good scrap yard through a reference or research to make more money in the long run.
If you don't want to drive to the scrap yard or if you have a lot of scrap metal, then it's often a good idea to have the scrap yard pick up the scrap metal at your place. They will typically do this for free and it will save you time, fuel and hassle and will also put you in a better negotiating position. Just like you don't want to leave the scrap yard once you're there with scrap metal, they don't want to leave your place once they see your scrap metal. It will also establish a better relationship with the scrap yard and will get you better prices in the future!
When you call the scrap yards to check for prices, "How much do you have" is what they want to know first. Remember, you will always get better prices for a larger quantity of scrap metal, and so will they. So save your scrap until you have more than enough and then sell.
The workers at the scrap yard and those behind in line with you will not be happy to see the unsorted scrap you dragged in. For instance, if you have copper wires, strip them to ensure there are no iron or steel bits within. The pure copper will not stick to the magnets that dealers use and so, you have a better chance to get more money.
Even cleaning your stuff will sometimes get you (a lot) better prices when you negotiate. Especially on rims or things like cans this can make a big difference.
Scrap yards save your account and order information on their systems. If you are a frequent supplier of scrap metals, you can get a weekly, monthly quarterly statement reports. Use these reports to politely ask for a better price for your scrap. Even if they refuse, you can always use the report to negotiate prices with other dealers in your area.
Also - if you are a pleasant customer to deal with, they will want to see you come back. This alone can get you a few percent extra and it never hurts to be nice!