The following is a guest post from Cody. Cody runs a blog over at codygrimes.com where he helps people hustle to afford a life of travel and living on the road. He has been homeless before, and is about to pack up his things and run away on the road. He is documenting his full adventure. Please let me know if you would like to guest post on MMYW!
Scrapping Metal For $100 Bucks a Day
Scrapping metal is something that many people might think is not worth their time, I was one of them. When you look at metal prices, especially steel which is at 3 cents per pound, it can be discouraging. However, there are certain types of metals found in basic, every day items that can add up to a pretty decent side income.
When I was homeless in Arizona, I used to hustle my money by scrapping aluminum cans. I used to make about $13 bucks an hour (4-5 hours per day) doing this, however it wasn’t always that steady. Some days were really slow, and I didn’t have a garage, or a big spot to store bulky metal. The way I did it was pretty dangerous and dirty, (actually jumping inside dumpsters and throwing out cans into a bucket at 2 a.m. while I had cops circling the block with spotlights), but there are cleaner and easier (less dangerous) ways to make some decent money scrapping metal.
This is a couple making about $100 per day by scrapping metal.
What you’ll need to get started
- Some type of transportation that can hold a decent amount of scraps.
- When I was homeless, I used:
- $20 dollar pickup truck rental from u-haul (plus 9 cents per mile. keep it short)
- Friend’s vehicles
In a bind, you could borrow stray shopping carts, use buckets, or trash bags to get the job done. One time somebody actually cut through one of my bicycle locks that I had wrapped around a cart to a metal fence. That takes some dedication!
If you are really serious about turning this hustle into a side income generator, and you have the room in a house or garage, clear it out and
- organize with totes
- setup ads in the paper
- soldering irons to de-solder components
Types of metals
You can choose to scrap any types of metal, but personally I go for the more expensive stuff. I once scrapped a whole car, going for steel weight, I got $200 bucks for it.
Here are some common types of metals you can scrap for a quick buck.
- Insulated Wire
- Car batteries
- Aluminum rims
- Electric Motors
- Lead wheel weights
- memory chips
- cell phones
- computer towers
- cpu processor chips
- heat sinks
- Power Control Units (PCUs)
You can get an idea of metal prices by talking to your local scrap yards. For example, here is a basic list of computer scrap prices.
Some things are worth separating (components inside a computer), and others aren’t really worth the extra time to separate. As you play around with this, you will learn which items are more worth your time, and which items to just throw in a bucket.
Do you drink a lot of beer?
Where do you find metal to scrap?
This you have to be a little creative with. You can start with metal around your house, start collecting it and sorting it by type. Cut the wires off of electronics that you don’t use anymore, and cut the little transformers out of plugs.
-Do you drink a lot of beer? Beer, soda, anything in a can, start saving these. Take it a step further by going to both commercial and residential areas and asking for cans (and any other metal devices in general) that they want to scrap. Look for those people who’s yards could be considered a mini junk yard, although they could be hoarders and not let you touch their stuff.
I worked for a motorcycle dealership where we would get these huge metal crates and would have to assemble brand new motorcycles contained within. Every weekend, this old hobo looking guy with a few missing teeth would roll up in his beaten down pickup truck, and haul away these huge and heavy steel (and aluminum) crates. I bet he made about $100 bucks from these hauls alone.
I then started working for Dish satellite, and the warehouse where we restocked was a couple blocks down from that dealership. We throw away old scrap metal dishes, and when 20-30 techs come along and drop all their scrap, along with scrap wires, it gets to be a huge pile. Sure enough, I see the same guy coming bright and early to load up all these scrap dishes and metal.
In both of these scenarios, the guy had asked my boss beforehand. My boss(s) were more than happy to get that junk out of there.
Don’t be afraid to ask! Everybody always has junk they need to get rid of, and won’t always necessarily be willing to scrap it themselves.
To take this hustle a step further, and into potential full time income.
You need to become the go-to guy/girl for getting rid of scraps.
Put an ad in the newspaper, on craigslist, or the penny saver.
Tell your friends and family to spread the word about how you want their scraps (computer parts, metal, etc).
Making a business card can help organizations remember you and will help you come across as more professional. Go to places you think would have good scrap;
– computer repair stores
– automotive dealerships – they throw out bad alternators/chipped rims all the time
Always remember that every little bit adds to your total. A metal broom handle might not be worth much, but with scrapping, every little bit will add up fast.
Don’t always go straight to the junkyard to scrap your findings, especially with computer parts. If you put in a little extra effort, you could sell a perfectly good CPU chip, alternator, or computer tower for 10x + the amount you would get for scraps.
There is no minimum amount of metal a scrapyard will take, but always do research before hand to find out if they take the things you want to scrap, and what the price is going for. For example, some yards don’t take insulated wires, others will consider it steel and pay you the steel price per pound.