Selling scrap metal provides quick cash due to rising commodity prices

Selling Scrap Metal

by Ron Geelan

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Do you need to call your stockbroker to make some money off the soaring cost of metallic commodities? No, you don't. You just need to clean your garage, attic, and basement.

Scrap metal dealers are currently paying top dollar for all types of scrap metal, including copper, aluminum, steel, brass, nickel, tin, and lead. They are also paying well for items that contain high amounts of these metals, such as batteries, motors, computers, circuit boards, and electrical wires and cables.

I recently brought a van full of scrap metal to a local dealer after cleaning out my garage. Did I know that I had a garage full of scrap metal? No. But, after reviewing the dealer's website and speaking to a representative from the company, I was surprised to learn what they would purchase. The load I brought in included damaged aluminum baseball bats, rusty golf irons, and old bicycles that would be of little use to anyone. I also brought the motor from a broken ceiling fan and two dead 12-volt batteries from my son's motorized jeep. I was paid $40 for my trouble.

Had I chosen to discard these items rather than take them to the scrap dealer for recycling, I would have had to make special arrangements with the local municipality to pick these items up, as some require special handling for safe disposal.

Note: Scrap metal prices vary from year to year and from season to season; check with a scrap metal dealer to see the current prices.

The amount that scrap metal dealers will pay varies for each type of metal. Payment is normally by the pound, with copper and aluminum currently paying the highest at $3/lb. and $.60/lb. respectively, and steel paying the lowest amount at around $.10/lb. Payment for items containing lead or copper wiring, such as batteries and motors, is also by the pound; currently paying approximately $.20/lb. These may sound like relatively small amounts per pound, but you will be surprised how much the junk in your house weighs when the scrap man puts it on the scale. Some scrap metal dealers will even drive to your house to pick up your unwanted scrap if the amount is large enough for them to send a truck.

As always, it pays to do your homework before selling scrap metal. There are always unscrupulous dealers willing to take advantage of uninformed people. Conduct some research to determine a fair market price, and compare the prices paid by various dealers. The demand for scrap metal is high, so dealers will pay competitive prices for your garbage.

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Think of all the metallic junk that has needlessly been taking up precious space in your garage, attic, or basement. Some of the junk I just sold was in my garage for over ten years. Take an hour or two to clean out the storage areas in your house. You will free up a lot of extra space and make some easy cash in the process.

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