How To Start Your Own Scrap Metal Recycling Business

How To Start Your Own Scrap Metal Recycling Business

As environmental awareness increases, so does the need for more metal recycling companies. After all, various industries—automotive, appliance, construction, etc.— produce scrap metal, so we need someone to recycle it. Get the advice you need in this article on how to start your own scrap metal recycling business in just a few simple steps.

Step 1: Create a Plan

You can’t just jump into things and buy a space to open your business. A plan allows you to budget your money appropriately. Consider the following:

  • Decide on a target market: What industries do you most want to sell to?
  • What amount you’ll pay sellers: What will you pay in exchange for scrap metal?
  • What you charge: How much will ingots cost once you resell the scrap?
  • Business name: How will your business name help you stand out?

Owning a business isn’t easy and requires a lot of planning and understanding of your industry. Investigate the ongoing cost for various metal types, so you pay and charge partnering businesses appropriately.

Stick To a Budget

One of the first things you should do as you plan is to create a budget. How much money will you initially invest into the business? Your starting budget should cover the cost of land, machinery, transportation, employee pay, and more. Avoid making those big-ticket purchases right away if you don’t have to, and focus on purchasing the necessities instead.

Remember Ongoing Expenses

You should also note those ongoing expenses like taxes, payroll, and insurance as you create your budget. These unavoidable expenses can build up in a hurry.

Understanding Your Target Market

When it comes to a target market, you’ll have to decide what types of metal you’ll scrap as this will impact the types of businesses you will work with. For example, if you only scrap iron-based material, you can only sell it to those who will use it.

Additionally, the type of metal you decide to scrap impacts how much you’ll sell it for—you’ll make more money selling copper than you would aluminum, but it may be harder to obtain in your area.

Naming Your Business

Naming your business is among the most important parts of ownership, so take time to do so. You’ll want something easy to remember but also fresh in the customer’s mind. Once you settle on a name, you’ll need to ensure no other business already has claims to it, and if not, register it for yourself.

Step 2: Create a Business Account

Investing in your business and tracking funds becomes a lot easier when you have a separate bank account for this. This way, you can also invest in new assets and track other expenses you make without worrying about it getting intermixed with your personal spending.

Pro Tip

When you open a business account, get a credit card for the company. This way, you can charge expenses such as tools and machinery to a single account that is easy to track and helps improve your company’s credit history.

Step 3: Cover Legalities

When the time comes to register your business, you’ll have to decide what type of business structure you’d like to implement. The four most common ones include sole proprietorship, corporation, limited liability company, or partnership.

After settling on a business structure, you’ll also have to register for taxes—you’ll do this after picking a business structure since that impacts how you’ll pay. This is also where having a business account at the bank comes into play. When the time comes to file your taxes, it’s much easier to note your expenses and determine what you can write off when business and personal money remain separated.

Obtaining Licenses

Finally, you’ll also need to obtain the required permits and licenses so you can open a shop, such as a metal recycling license and a Certificate of Occupancy.

Since you’ll buy and resell metal, you’ll need the appropriate license to do so legally. Almost every state requires businesses in your industry have a metal recycling license to ensure you follow legal measures throughout the life of your business. If you don’t know what licenses you need, contact your city clerk’s office for further information.

Step 4: Get Insurance

You’ll need insurance for both your business and employees, so you’ll have to decide on which policies you prefer. You may find some that are out of your price range, so keep your budget in mind as you look around for what’s best. Insurance protects both your business and employees in the event of liabilities or injuries.

Step 5: Purchase the Essential Tools

One of the most important parts of knowing how to start your own scrap metal recycling business is gathering the necessary tools. Before you begin collecting scrap, you should purchase the appropriate tools and equipment, so you don’t wind up with piles of scrap metal and no way to recycle it. You’ll need:

  • Company vehicles to transport scrap
  • Storage facilities for scrap and ingots
  • Toolbox with wrenches, screwdrivers, etc.
  • Power drills and drill bits to disassemble materials
  • Wire granulators to separate wire from casing
  • Industrial magnets to separate ferrous from non-ferrous metals

In addition to this, employees should have the protective gear so they can safely handle all metals throughout the recycling process. By having all of this before officially opening up shop, you’ll be completely prepared, and your team of workers can complete tasks more efficiently.

Pro Tip

Buy your scrap yard magnet and other machinery for recycling from Moley Magnetics. As industry leaders, we’ve got all the high-powered equipment you need to make your business a thriving success!

Step 6: Begin Collecting Scrap

Once you’ve covered all the essentials, it’s finally time to open your doors and begin collecting scrap. Consider marketing yourself online or contacting local businesses working in the metal industry to see if they have metal to recycle.

The more you advertise your business, the more likely you are to attract new customers, and as you work with these companies, you can build relationships. As you establish these relationships, ask for references to further expand your services throughout the community.

How To Start Your Own Scrap Metal Recycling Business

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Failing To Understand the Values of Metals

One of the most important things to note is that some metals are more valuable than others. While this can depend on supply and demand economics, specific materials like copper are always highly valued. Having a thorough understanding of the values of various scrap metals sets your business up for success.

Not Separating Your Metals

Forgetting to separate metals is another common mistake to avoid when sorting your scrap metal that could mean making less money when you take it to the scrap yard. For example, copper and non-ferrous metals sell at a higher price. By taking time to sort this out, you make it easier to sell your scrap for a fair amount of money.

Use an industrial magnet to sort out your metals since this allows you to separate magnetic material from non-magnetic. By separating these, you can sell each for the individual price. If a specific metal has a lower value than expected, hold onto it until prices increase. At Moley Magnetics, you can purchase a scrap magnet to keep sorting simple.

Forgetting Scrap Yard Requirements

When it comes to sorting your scrap metal, one of the first things you should do is investigate the scrap yard’s requirements for metal types plus other rules. Next, aim to establish a relationship with a single scrap metal recycling center, so you always understand their recycling rules.

This could differ from company to company, and the best way to get clarification is by contacting the business and asking about what rules they have. For example, some companies may specialize in recycling a specific type of scrap, but others may not be so picky.

Pro Tip

As you establish a relationship with a scrap yard, ensure the business is reputable. A trustworthy recycling company will give you a fair price for your scrap, while also correctly recycling it so others can eventually reuse it.

Make separating your metals easy by purchasing high-powered industrial magnets from Moley Magnetics. Once you’ve expertly separated all your materials, sell them for the best prices. By tracking those profits, you make it simple to reinvest in your business with updated tools and machinery that make tasks easier.

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Call the scrapyard beforehand

Though most scrapyards won’t turn away business, sometimes they have to if there’s an influx of people trying to sell their metal, so it’s a good idea to call before you load your vehicle up. You also should call beforehand to get the scrapyard’s prices over the phone. While the price of scrap metal is largely influenced by market and index prices, that doesn’t mean that each scrapyard is following that trend.

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