Scrap Yard Near Me – How to Get the Best Prices (2024 Guide)


If you’re looking to get into the scrap metal business, we’ve got all the tips to get you started right! (Plus, scrap yard near me location finder)

Author: Kari Lorz, Certified Financial Education Instructor

Author: Kari Lorz – Certified Financial Education Instructor

Did you know that anyone can make money selling scrap metal? Yup, you just need a good eye to spot free scrap and a truck, and you’re in business!

But it can be tough to start selling scrap metal; how do you even start? What kind of metal should you be looking for? And most importantly, where do you find a scrap yard near me to sell to? (Hint: you want the highest-paying scrap yard, and we’ll show you how to find it!)

Follow these simple tips, and you’ll be on your way to cashing in on your scrap metal.

scrap yard near how to get the best prices

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How to find a scrap yard near me

The best way to find a scrap yard near me is to go online and search for “scrap yard + (your city)” and hit enter. That should pop up all your options nearby. You can do this on…

  • Google Search
  • iScrap App
  • Online directories

But you can also just click the button below…

Highest paying scrap yard near me – location finder

Here’s what your area may look like…

Yet, I know you don’t want to find any scrap yard; you want to find the highest-paying scrap metal yard too! Because there’s no reason to settle for a low price when you could get a lot more money for your scrap metal at the best scrap dealer.

To do that, you need to know the current scrap metal prices. Let’s dig into that now.

Scrap Metal Prices – 2023

The best way to find the highest-paying scrap yard is to know the prices for each metal. Here’s a list of what you can typically expect for the most commonly scrapped metal, as these are the ones that bring in the most money. (prices October 2023)

MetalPrice per lb
Bare Bright Wire$2.40
Copper Tubing$2.10
Roofing Copper$1.80
Stainless Steel$.23
Aluminum Siding$.34
click for today’s prices

Do scrap metal prices change a lot?

The price of scrap metal often changes (daily fluctuations are normal), and it largely depends on the market. When there’s an increased demand for a certain metal – like copper – you can expect the scrap prices to go up because there’s more competition for it.

It’s kind of like the stock market but more relaxed. You can always check right here to find today’s prices on scrap metal.

How much can I make selling scrap metal?

This really depends on a few factors…

  • How much scrap material do you have? The more you have, the more money you’ll make.
  • What type of scrap metal is it? Some metals are worth more than others (see prices above).
  • How heavy is the scrap metal? Heavier pieces will obviously pay more. A lot of “volume” may not necessarily weigh very much.

According to IBISWorld, the scrap metal industry in the US was a $50 billion industry! That’s a lot, and regular Americans are cashing in big time! And yes, you can be one of them with some training and practice!

It’s not uncommon for good scrappers to make $200 – $400 a day, but it will take time for you to get there (just like in any side hustle, you need to build up your business).

What is scrap metal?

Scrap metal is any kind of metal that can be recycled and reused. This includes things like old car parts, appliances, electronics, and even construction materials. Basically, anything made of metal has scrap value.

Some people think that if an item is old or broken, it’s not worth anything. But that’s not true. Old refrigerators can be about $30 at the scrap yard.

How does a scrap yard work?

A scrap yard is a place where you can take your scrap material to be recycled. They will usually pay you for your scrap, and then they will recycle it and sell it to a manufacturer who will use it to make new products.

It’s a win-win! You get paid and help the environment by doing scrap metal recycling.

You can also take your items to some of the larger recycling centers, as they may take scrap too.

What types of scrap metals are there?

There are two main types of scrap metal – ferrous vs. non-ferrous metals.

Ferrous metals:

Ferrous metals are those that contain iron, and they are usually magnetic. This includes steel, stainless steel, carbon steel, cast iron, and wrought iron.

These metals are magnetic, as they contain iron.

Non-ferrous metals:

Non-ferrous metals don’t contain iron, and they are not magnetic. This includes aluminum, lead, silver, brass, gold, zinc, copper, and tin.

It’s important to note that ferrous metals are worth less than non ferrous metals. So when scrapping, if you just want to focus on non-ferrous, make sure you have a good telescoping magnet with you to help you find only the scrap metal you want (as some items may be hard to reach).

These metals are not magnetic.

Note: I wouldn’t take any scrap gold to the yard; your best bet is to take it to a gold exchange store or to sell your scrap gold online.

What has scrap metal in it that I can use?

You, of course, want to know what has which kind of metals in it, as there’s no point in searching for low-paying metal. So let’s go through the best places to get the top paying metals.

MetalWhere to find it
Copper1. Old appliances – washers, dryers, refrigerators, and air conditions have copper coils
2. Old household plumbing for copper pipes
3. Copper yard art & statues
4. Older electronics for their copper wire
5. Copper pots & pans
Brass1. HVAC pictures & fittings
2. Bullet casings
3. Door knobs
4. Bathroom fixtures (typically red brass)
5. Higher-end costume jewelry (white or silver brass)
Aluminum1. Car rims
2. Siding & gutters
3. Old bicycle frames
4. Cans (canned foods, soda pop, etc)
5. Wire & cables (if it’s not copper, then it’s likely aluminum)

How to sell scrap metal for money?

1. Know where to find scrap metal

Ideally, you want to find free scrap metal; luckily, there are several places to get it.

  • Browse Craigslist for people getting rid of old appliances

  • If people are doing home remodels, ask them for their old stuff (they’ll be thankful to have you take it away). Look for things like faucets, pipes, drains, appliances, etc.

  • Check with your local dump. People often have no idea that the items they are taking to the dump are worth anything. Trust me, they just want to be rid of it, so they’ll happily let you have it (probably as long as you transfer it). Usually, you can hang out at dump sites and talk to people as they pull up to dump their items (some dumps don’t allow this, so be sure to check).

  • Look at garage sales (usually focus on neighborhood-wide sales to make it worth your time). Look for things like appliances, BBQs, etc.

  • Check with hardware stores and rehab stores (especially older stores), as sometimes they’ll have items in their possession that never sell, so they just want to make room in their place for something that will sell.

  • Automotive repair shops, while you may have to degrease some items, they do go through quite a bit of metal parts when repairing vehicles.

  • Smaller manufacturing facilities and warehouses may have “bone yards” where people can come and just take whatever strikes their fancy.

  • Large building remodels – think of places like supermarkets, places with a lot of shelving and racks. Don’t forget about their old metal shopping carts too! Scrappers would love to get their hands on all the metal aisles when a Target is undergoing a remodel.

  • Shooting ranges – lots of brass shells

  • Construction sites – another great source of scrap metal is larger construction sites. But always be sure to partner with the site manager first. If they say no, then that’s a no, even if they put it in the dumpster. (It’s still stealing if you take it from a dumpster on their property).

  • Hospitals and medical clinics often get new equipment, and usually, no one wants the old, outdated (or broken) items.

  • Rural farms – many times, farmers have old tractors and farm equipment just taking up space on their property. If you can haul it away, they’ll be glad to get rid of it.

When scrapping, it’s a good idea to make sure to get the names and phone numbers of the people you’re taking metal from. You never want to be accused of stealing scrap metal, so you want a list for the police to contact if you get pulled over. In fact, in some places, you need a license to scrap metal.

For example, in my state, the law requires sellers to carry a completed Metal Transportation Certificate (MTC) when transporting scrap metal intended for sale to a recycling business. Failure to do so is a Class C Misdemeanor.

It’s also a good idea (if you’re going big on this side business) to look at heftier insurance for you (injury protection) and for your vehicle.

2. Learn the different types of scrap metals & how to identify

Again you’ll want a good magnet and some knowledge about what common things are made of. This can be learned over time, so don’t worry if you can’t tell the difference between metals right now by sight.

3. Get your protective gear on (get a tetanus shot)

You will want to work with some sturdy steel-toed footwear, long thick pants, and strong gloves.

Don’t forget to get a tetanus shot too, from your doctor’s office before going out and starting to scrap. When you’re working with old sharp objects, you can’t take chances as they are breeding grounds for dirt, contaminants, and bacteria.

Getting tetanus can be painful (painful, stiff muscles, spasms, and whole body rigidity), so don’t take any chances.

4. Separate your metals

This is very important when scrapping. You’ll want to keep your metals separated by type in order to get the best price when you go to sell. For example, if you have a bunch of aluminum cans, you’ll want to keep those separate from steel cans. The same goes for copper, brass, etc.

This is because each container of metal is priced based on the lowest-value metal in that bin. This sorting ensures that your metals are priced at the highest price according to each metal type.

5. Take care to protect your scrap metal

The last thing you want is to have a bunch of scrap sitting around in your yard or truck bed and have it sitting there for a while (probably rusting if it’s that kind of metal). You should take it to a scrap yard as soon as possible after collecting a full load.

The best way to protect your metals is by storing them in some kind of container, like garbage cans, barrels, or totes. This will also make it easier for you to transport it when you’re ready to take it to the nearest scrap yard. For larger appliances, you should store it inside a shed or tarp it really well and secure the tarp with bungees.

6. Bring larger loads when possible

No one likes to waste their time, so the scrap yard is likely to give you a better price per pound when you bring them larger loads. They may even have a minimum weight requirement (like 100 pounds) before they’ll take your load.

7. Research the prices before you go

If you want to get the best price for your scrap metal, it’s a good idea to do some research before you go to the scrap yard. Check online or call around and ask what prices they’re paying for different types of metals.

This way, you know what to expect and can negotiate if necessary. Don’t take the first offer they give you if you feel your stuff is worth more.

Also, the best time to sell your scrap metal is when the market prices are high. For example, copper is typically worth more in the spring because that’s when construction season starts.

Tips on How to Get the Most Cash for Your Scrap Metal

  1. Always be looking for scrap metal when out & about
  2. Have a reliable truck and a backup (for emergencies)
  3. Know what is worth the most money
  4. Save up stuff to take a big load
  5. Organize your load (sort it all)
  6. Know current prices for scrap metal at different yards so you can negotiate
  7. Don’t rush the selling process

How to protect yourself from a scrap yard scam

In any industry, people are looking to scam you out of money, and the scrap business is no different.

Be aware of these scams, and always be sure to get a quote before selling your scrap metal to any yard. One common scam is when the yard offers you a high price for your metal, but then when you go to actually sell it, they offer you a much lower price. This is called ‘manipulation’ (or bait & switch), and it’s something you should watch out for.

Another scam is when the yard says they don’t have enough money to pay you and will have to hold onto your metals until they do. This is called a ‘float,’ and it’s another way to try and get free metal from you.

Added fees – sometimes, like adding fees onto the deal at the last minute, which can significantly lower the money they’ll give you. Be sure to ask about any and all fees before showing up with metal or agreeing to a pickup.

Be sure to know the signs of a scam before selling your scrap metal, and if something doesn’t seem right, walk away.

Where to sell your scrap metal – scrap yard alternatives

  • Sell it locally
  • Sell it online – if you have a smaller amount of goods, you can sell it to a larger scrap vendor
  • Find a scrapper and sell to him
  • Open your own scrap yard

How much is this appliance worth?

Older appliances can be worth more the newer appliances (more metal, less plastic), but according to experts, you can expect to receive…

  • Dishwasher (150 pounds to 175 pounds): $6 to $10
  • Dryer (150 pounds to 200 pounds): $6 to $12
  • Oven (77 pounds to 180 pounds): $3 to $10
  • Refrigerator (approximately 200 pounds): $8 to $12
  • Washing Machine (200 pounds to 300 pounds): $8 to $17

What about scraping a car for metal? Is it worth it?

Yes, it can absolutely be worth it! According to experts, you can get about $200 – $500 for a junk car.

A scrap car’s value can depend on the going rate for scrap metal. Most modern cars are a mix of steel, aluminum, and iron, currently priced at $145/ton, $0.48$/lb, and $200/ton, respectively.

You’ll want to know…

  • What is the year, make and model of the car you want to sell?
  • Where is your junk car located?
  • Is the car missing any major parts like the engine, transmission, catalytic converter, or wheels?
  • Is there any major damage to the junk car, such as fire, flood (anything that might have corroded the metal?

You’ll want to know that you can get considerably more money for a car if you part it out yourself vs. selling it whole to a scrap yard.

For example, catalytic converters bring in good money…

What do you need to scrap a car?

You can scrap a car anywhere if you can prove that you’re the owner of the vehicle. Most states will allow you to present the vehicle’s registration, along with your driver’s license, in the event that you don’t have its title.

Ideally, you’d have the car title and registration. If you don’t have it, you’ll need to go to your DMV to get a replacement. If you are selling someone else’s car, you may need to do a title transfer in order to sell it, which can be expensive (a title transfer in my state is $90).

Most places require you to have a valid ID in order to sell a car, even for scrap.

Scrapyard near me FAQ

Factors that affect the price of scrap metal

There are a few things to consider when figuring out how “valuable” your scrap is…

– What is the quality of the metal?
– Is the metal mixed with other metals or impurities?
– What is the weight or volume of the scrap metal?
– What is the current market price for the type of scrap metal?
– Is the scrap metal easy to transport?

Which type of scrap metal is the most valuable?

1. Aluminum
2. Brass
3. Copper

Should I sell to a scrap yard or salvage yard?

This really depends on what you’re looking to get out of the deal. Some people prefer to sell to a salvage yard because they offer more money for certain items (especially cars) than a scrap yard, but it really varies from place to place. It’s always a good idea to call or visit a few different places before you make a deal.

The scrap business is all about relationships. The better your relationship is with a salvage yard, the more likely they are to give you a good price for your scrap.

It’s important to remember that while you might be able to get a higher price per pound by going to a new place, it’s worth considering the long-term benefits.

What is e-scrap?

E-scrap is short for electronic scrap, and it refers to any type of electronic equipment that’s no longer wanted or needed. This can include everything from old computers and cell phones to printers and fax machines.
E-scrap is growing in popularity because it contains valuable materials like gold, silver, and copper that can be recycled and reused. Plus, it’s a sustainable way to get rid of old electronics that might otherwise end up in a landfill.

e-scrap rates

What are the benefits of recycling scrap metal?

Recycling scrap metal is good for the environment because it helps to reduce pollution and conserve resources. It’s also good for the economy because it creates jobs.

What do I have to remove from appliances before scrapping them?

Before taking them to the scrap yard, you should remove all Freon from refrigerators and air conditioners. This is because Freon can be harmful to the environment if it’s not properly disposed of.

What can’t you take to a scrap yard?

Most scrap yards won’t take pressurized containers like propane tanks or fire extinguishers. They also won’t take hazardous materials like oil, paint, or pesticide cans.

It’s always a good idea to call ahead and ask if a scrap yard will take a particular item before you try to sell it.

What is the best time of day to go to the scrap yard?

The best time to go to the scrap yard is early in the morning before it gets too hot. This is because most scrap yards are located outdoors, and you don’t want to be standing around in the heat all day.

Do you have to pay taxes when selling scrap metal?

In most cases, you do not have to pay taxes on the money you make from selling scrap metal. However, there are a few exceptions. For example, if you’re considered a professional scrap collector or dealer, you may be required to pay taxes on your earnings.

It’s always a good idea to check with your local tax authority to ensure you follow the rules. This is especially the case if you’re making a regular $200+ a day doing it. Because that’s a job, not a small gig that the IRS agent will overlook.

Let’s do some fun math…
– $100 a day x 5 days a week x 52 weeks a year = $26,000 a year
– $200 a day x 5 days a week x 52 weeks a year = $52,000 a year
– $300 a day x 5 days a week x 52 weeks a year = $78,000 a year
– $400 a day x 5 days a week x 52 weeks a year = $104,000 a year

What else should I know about scrap yards?

Scrap yards can be a great place to find other items that you might be able to use or sell. For example, some scrap dealers sell old car parts, tools, and appliances. Others may offer services like metal recycling or vehicle dismantling, especially if they’re an auto salvage yard.

What’s the difference between non-ferrous and ferrous metal?

Non-ferrous metals are those that don’t contain iron, and they’re usually more valuable than ferrous metals. This is because they’re more resistant to corrosion and easier to recycle.

Ferrous metals are those that contain iron, and they’re usually less valuable than non-ferrous metals. However, they’re still recyclable and can be a good source of extra income.

At the end of the day

So what are you waiting for? Get started today by finding the best scrap yards near me (you) and start cashing in on your metal scraps. With all the money you’ll make, you might be able to finally afford that new Tesla Model S! (Ummm, no, that’s a complete exaggeration.)

But seriously, selling scrap metal is a great way to make some extra cash, and it helps the environment too. What’s not to love?

Find a scrap yard near me by clicking the button below…

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