Getting the best prices from a scrap yard increases your return. Getting the best price from a scrap yard for your scrap metal starts with collecting metal by value, separating it, calling around to different scrap yards to compare, and tracking the prices of metal. If you’re looking for the ‘highest paying scrap yard near me’ or ‘steel yard near me’, it’s likely because you want to figure out what options you have and which ones will net you the most for your haul.
We’ll look at the steps to get the best prices from a scrap yard. Here are our top 6 tips for getting the best price from a scrap yard near me.
1. Separate the Scrap Metals from Each other According to their Types
Knowing more about scrap metal can help you figure out what you should be collecting. Certain types of metals are disposed of differently, depending on where you live. Items that are magnetic are called ferrous, meaning they contain iron. The strength of the magnetism will vary based on the concentration of the iron in the metal.
Most scrap yards separate metals by ferrous and non-ferrous, so even a small degree of magnetism is helpful to determine how you should be sorting out your piles. The most common types of metal for scrap are aluminum, iron, steel (including stainless), brass, and copper. Iron and steel are both ferrous, while aluminum, copper, and brass are non-ferrous. If you bring in a lot of iron and steel, a scrap yard might lump it all together when it comes to how they pay you for it.
Some metals are distinguishable by color, but it’s important that you know the variations when working with it. Materials like red brass and copper might be easily confused. You’ll find copper in wire, cable, and piping. Red brass is usually found in plumbing and will look more yellow than copper. Steel is very solid, lead is very heavy, tin is more bendable, and stainless steel will also be very heavy. You can also sort by cleanliness, as cleaner metals will net you more by weight.
2. Have More Scrap Metal for Better Prices
Scrap metal is worth more to a scrap yard if they can handle it all in one transaction. The owner pays less for transportation and can process everything in one transaction. The more scrap metal you have, the more money you make.
When most people think of scrap metal, they think of junk cars. However, metal can come from old appliances, vehicles, medical equipment, and even brass casings from shooting ranges. Plenty of people will throw away these items, failing to realize that their non-working fridge or oven could fetch them a few dollars at a scrap yard. (Sometimes they just don’t want to be bothered hauling these items to the appropriate place.)
3. Collect more Aluminum and Copper for Higher Prices
Aluminum and copper will pay more than steel and iron, so it’s worth getting as much of these two metals as possible. The higher the grade, the more you’ll get. If you’re looking for the copper found in a cheap string of holiday lights, you can expect to only get about $.25 a pound. Bare bright copper will get you closer to $3 per pound. Aluminum, which can be found in anything from cans to old home siding, will net you about $.65 per pound. Again, it’s worth doing a little research into the exact prices of different metals, but you’ll find that aluminum and copper will net you more money on average than other types of metals.
4. Call Every Scrap Yard Near You to Compare Prices
Calling every scrap yard will take some time, but it’s the best way for you to feel confident about what you’ll get for your collection efforts. Ask about the prices for each type of metal you have. Also, clarify the terms and conditions of the drop-off. Some scrap yards will list restrictions on their website, but not always.
Here are a few additional questions to ask when you call:
- What kinds of metals do you take?
- When is the best time to come and is it possible to make an appointment?
- How is the payment issued?
- What kind of identification (e.g., state-issued ID) is needed for the sale?
- Is it necessary to strip cables before taking them in?
- How often are your scales calibrated?
- Are there any monthly specials?
- How often are prices updated?
These questions make it possible to understand not just what you’ll be paid, but what you can expect when you come to the yard. If one scrap yard isn’t accepting a certain type of metal, you may need to continue making calls until you find a scrap yard that will.
5. Be Sure that the Scrap Yard Nearby is Open
Scrap yard employees will be very annoyed if you come by a few minutes before they’re about to close. To ensure that you get enough time and attention from the scrap yard employees, you should call beforehand to see if there’s a better time to come in. Also, keep in mind that many scrap yards are small businesses, often with only a few employees or fewer. So even if the website says that the scrap yard is open, you should call beforehand to ensure that they’re both operating that day and will have time to take your haul.
6. Track the Prices for Metal Types such as Steel, Copper, or Aluminum
Tracking the prices of metal types like steel, copper, or aluminum make it possible for you to learn how prices rise and fall with the market. Studying the trajectory for a month or so will show you how often things are changing, what kinds of price fluctuations you can expect, etc. It’s not recommended that you hold onto your metal for too long, as there’s no guarantee that prices will rise, but tracking the differences can help you make a few extra bucks.
Those are 6 tips to get the best price from a nearby scrap yard.
Scrap metal recycling is as important to the environment as it is to your wallet. It’s important to do your research, though, before you choose a scrap metal yard to work with because the scrap yards near me prices can change on a day-to-day basis. It’s also important to understand how metals are priced, as the type of metal will affect how much you’re offered. For instance, a pound of bare bright copper could get you around $3 while copper transformers will only get you around $.30 per pound.
A ton of steel might pay around $110 while cast aluminum could be $.43 per pound. As you can see, metals are priced based on weight, which can change depending on the metal in question. Does the price change from one week to another for scrap metal? The answer is more that it can change every day.
Scrap yard near me prices may be posted on the scrap yard’s website, though this is unlikely. Because demand is based on anything from regional businesses to global events, the reality is that you’ll probably need to call around.
If you’re looking for ‘scrap yard near me open today’ or how to see whether a scrap yard is open on Saturday or not, you should know that many scrap yards are small businesses. It’s not unusual for the owner to be the sole employee who works there. Their hours will depend on their support staff, which may mean that you’ll need to wait until a certain time to visit. In addition, you may need to make an appointment to ensure that an employee will be able to accept and process your metal and, more importantly, pay you for what you’ve taken the time to collect.
If you’re wondering how the age of scrap metal affects the prices, you should know that degraded metal will receive less per pound or ton. So if your items are corroded or have residue on them, you’re unlikely to be paid top dollar for them. If it’s possible to clean and remove any of its insulation before bringing it in, you should be able to get more for the pieces. This is because you’re saving the scrap yard time and effort by doing it on your own.
What is a Scrap Yard?
A scrap yard is a business that accepts scrap metal so it can be recycled. People who are in the trades, like plumbing and electrical, are often seen at scrap yards because they work with scrap materials on a regular basis. Scrap yards typically accept metal from a number of different sources, including appliances and vehicles. They play a valuable role in the environment as they’re able to break down items so they can be used again. Old scrap metal can be turned into new cars, bridges, refrigerators, and more.
Steel is the most recycled material in the US, and its popularity drastically reduces the production of new steel in this country. (Unfortunately, its abundance also pushes down the prices.) About half of all aluminum in the country is recycled, largely because it takes slightly less (about 5%) energy to recycle the material than it does to produce it from scratch. It’s also extremely fast. It may only take a couple of months before an aluminum soda can be turned around into another product.
Scrap yards and junkyards recycle about 150 million metric tons of scrap every year, saving energy and landfill space across the board. Finally, metal recycling can help reduce air and water pollution. This is all in addition to fueling side hustles around the country. Plenty of people will use scrap metal harvesting as a way to help them save up, pay off debt, or just enjoy a few guilt-free luxuries.
How to Find the Best Scrap Yard Near Me?
By calling around to different places and checking out reviews. Some scrap yards are little more than scams online. However, the more common problem is that they’ll try to give you the lowest possible amount. They might tell you that your metal is too corroded to be worth anything or that aluminum prices are down everywhere due to a certain event. In some cases, they might be right. In others, they might be trying to get out of paying you what the metal is worth.
Doing your due diligence not only helps you find scrap yards near me with the best possible prices, it also makes it possible to find out who will work with you. If the reviews state over and over again that the owner is unreasonable about what type of metal they take, it can make it easier to decide who will be a better partner to work with.
What Does a Scrap Yard Do?
A scrap yard will collect and recycle metal. The number of employees will vary based on the size of the yard and its operations, but as a general rule, scrap yards are small businesses. Their volume may be limited if they don’t have enough staff to accept and process the scrap metal. When you visit a scrap yard, you might find a number of tools there, including hand-held tools (e.g., screwdrivers, crowbars, hammers, etc.), as well as wire strippers, straps, hand trucks, buckets, reciprocating saws, files, and magnets.
Scrap yards are great for the environment, as they help reduce new materials being made in the country. However, the price given for metal brought to a scrap yard will depend on a number of factors, including global demand.
Do Scrap Yards Recycle Metal?
Scrap yards recycle metal, including iron, steel, copper, and brass, so they can be used to make new items. An old aluminum can can be turned into a new aluminum can in as little as two months, saving energy and reducing air and water pollution at the same time. 58.9% of all materials in appliances are recycled according to the Environmental Protection Agency. About 4.7 million tons of ferrous materials came from appliances, furniture, and tires in 2018.
What are the pricing factors in Scrap Yards?
Pricing is determined by:
- Quality: Scrap metal is worth less if it needs to be treated before it's ready to be recycled. You can potentially get more for it if you remove insulation, corrosion, residue, etc. You may also get less if the metal is mixed with other metals, as the metals may need to be separated before they can be recycled.
- Demand: The more material, the cheaper the price per pound. You may be able to get more if you wait for prices to rise, though it’s not always possible (or recommended) to time the market.
- Location: If a material needs to be transported in order to sell, this will affect how much you’re offered. The farther it is away, the less the price of the scrap.
- Season: Scrap metal is worth more in warmer seasons, as this is when production and construction are more likely to occur.
- New metal: The more expensive new metal is, the more valuable old metal will be.
Does Pricing Change at Scrap Yards?
Yes, pricing changes at scrap yards based on the supply and demand in any given area. It’s important to call around to different scrap yards before making assumptions about what you’ll get. National prices may not be a good gauge of what steel, iron, or brass is going for in your area. You may get more or less depending on who the scrap yard sells to and what kind of volume they work with. If they can process metal efficiently in bulk, they should be able to offer you more for your scrap.
What Is the Difference Between a Scrap and Junkyard?
A scrap yard will accept all kinds of scrap metal while a junkyard will specialize in junk cars. You are likely to receive more money for junk cars at a junkyard. Selling scrap metal is better at a wrecking yard vs scrap yard. It’s important to know who you’re working with, so you’re able to get the most money for your metal.