Spending your time driving around in a pickup truck can be profitable if you're picking up the most valuable types of scrap metal during your trips. Even the newest scrappers know about checking demolished houses and appliances left on the curbside for copper wire, but to make a serious income you need to know the secret places to look for big loads to sell to scrap metal buyers. Check your community for these four overlooked sources of scrap metal to boost your success at selling scrap metal for a profit.
Since most thrift stores charge enough for appliances that you can't turn a profit on them, try looking in the cookware and home decor areas instead. A solid copper statue is obviously a major find, but it's common to find at least a few decorative copper pots, serving platters, and potpourri holders. Many older items are made from solid copper rather than a decorative plating over a less expensive metal, and solid copper items are worth quite a bit even when they're relatively small. Bring along a small pocket scale to make sure you'd still a turn a profit after paying a quarter or 50 cents for a knick knack.
Another way to get scrap metal from a thrift shop or similar charity is to ask to pick up items that are too large or damaged for the store to sell. For example, many smaller thrift stores don't want to test and store large appliances like refrigerators and stoves, so leaving your contact information with the store allows them to put you in contact with the person trying to make a donation. You can drop by, pick up the unwanted items, and profit without any extra work.
Taking advantage of online classified ads and local sales groups on social media can reveal all the leads on free scrap metal you need to make a full time income. If you live in a relatively populous area, your local Craigslist page is likely already full of listings for free or very inexpensive sources of scrap metal like appliances, junk cars, old computer monitors, construction waste, and more. If you don't find enough listings already existing or you keep getting to them too late, try making your own advertisement to make it known you pick up scrap metal for free. You'd be surprised at how busy you can stay just by putting the word out.
Many scrap metal collectors think of asking for supplies from HVAC installers and mechanics replacing solid aluminum engine blocks, but don't overlook gyms, amusement centers with batting cages, and other golf courses. Weightlifters are known for dropping their weights to get attention and create a lot crash, but despite banning the practice, many gyms still end up with damaged weights and other equipment that is full of valuable stainless steel, ferrous metals, and more. Aluminum bats used at batting cages are always being dented or bent and discarded, which is another common problem at golf courses. Medium to high end golf clubs are often made of specialty metals that can fetch a premium price at the right scrap metal buyer.
Willing to do a little sorting of small objects in order to rake in plenty of profit when brass prices are high? Get permission from your local private or public shooting range to collect the shell casings and recycle them. While some facilities handle this task themselves to make a little money back, most would rather outsource it and save the extra effort. Getting a contract to come in once a week or month and collect dozens of pounds of casings each visit can pay off quickly.