Looking For Some Extra Cash? Consider Collecting Scrap Metal

If the end of the month often finds you short on cash and awaiting your next paycheck, then it's time to do something to increase your income. Sure, you could get a second job, but many part-time jobs don't pay a lot and are very demanding of workers. A great alternative, if you'd rather steer towards more entrepreneurial endeavors, is to collect scrap metal and turn it in to metal recycling businesses that will pay you for it. Here's a closer look at why this works and how to get started as a scrapper.

The Benefits of Scrapping

You can make a modest income scrapping in your extra time, and you can scale the activity up or down based on how much time you have and how much income you need. For instance, one week you can spend every evening scrapping, and the next week you don't have to do any scrapping at all. 

Scrapping also comes with little to no start-up costs. If you already have a truck and some basic tools, you have everything you need already. Otherwise, you can buy a cheap, used truck to collect the scrap metal and recoup your costs within a few months.

Not only is scrapping good for your wallet, but it's also good for the environment. Often, the metal you collect and take to the recycling plant would have otherwise ended up in the landfill. Thanks to you, it can be reused in industrial and commercial applications.

How to Get Started

Find a Recycling Plant

Start by looking up all of the metal recycling plants in your area. See what types of metal they collect. Most recycling plants accept aluminum, zinc, lead, copper, steel, iron, and tin. If the first recycling plant you check out does not accept one or more of these, they should be able to point you towards a nearby facility that does. Also, check on any regulations the recycling facility might have so you can be sure to follow them going forward. For instance, if they require that all wire be stripped, that's a good thing to know.

Start Collecting

Once you know where the plants are, start driving around and looking for metal to collect. Start by just looking along the side of the road. Pick up any appliances, wires, old furniture, old lawn mowers, grills, and other metal items you find. Once you exhaust items on the side of the road, start visiting stores and warehouses. Ask if they have any metal products that they are not using and would like to have hauled away. Sometimes, these places let metal accumulate because they just don't have time to take them to the recycling plant themselves — and they'll give them to you just to get them out of the way.

Prepare Your Items

Once you have collected a truck full of metal products, it's time to get them ready to take to the recycling plant. Start by sorting the items by metal. You can designate one bin each for each type of metal you have, and then put the small items, like cans and screws, into these bins.

If you've collected any large appliances with non-metal components, it's wise to pull them apart and remove the plastic and other non-metal components. Your recycling center may accept these items intact, but they will typically pay you more for them if you've already done this work.

Scrapping can take some getting used to, but once you've done it a few times, it will start to feel routine. It's a great way to earn some extra cash, and the more time you put into it, the more you'll earn.