How To Sell Scrap Metal To A Picker For Some Extra Cash

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Selling unwanted metal items to a scrap metal pick up business is a good way to both get rid of unwanted junk and get a little extra cash. Here's how to successfully sell unwanted items to pickers.

Step 1: Gather All Your Unwanted Metal Items

Start by gathering up all your unwanted metal items. The more metal you have for a picker, the more they may be willing to pay you.

Also, driving to pick up scrap metal is one of the larger ongoing expenses that scrap metal pick up businesses have. Getting as much metal as you have together increases how much a picker stands to earn by driving to your location. With more metal, you may be able to attract more pickers -- which could help you negotiate a slightly higher payment from one of them.

Step 2: Sort Different Metals

Next, sort out different metals that you have into different piles. There should be a pile for each type of metal. (5-gallon buckets work well for holding smaller pieces of metal, such as nails and screws, that could be lost if just piled up.)

It's important to sort metals by type because not all scrap metal commands the same price. For example, Scrap Register listed the price of an old sheet of aluminum on the West Coast at 54 cents per pound at the time of writing. In contrast, Number 1 Copper was selling for $2.35 per pound in the same region.

If you don't sort expensive metals from cheap ones, you may not be paid the right price for each metal. By sorting it, the picker who comes will be able to clearly see what you have and provide compensation accordingly. They won't pay the rates cited above, because they need to earn a profit themselves. They'll base their payment on the going rates for the metals you have, though.

(While you should sort out different metals, it's not necessary to disassemble appliances in order to separate the metals within them. People in the scrap metal pick up business usually know what metal is in an appliance and can, therefore, pay accordingly.)

Step 3: Make Sure Everything is Truly Scrap

Before calling a picker, take one last look through your metal to make sure everything is truly scrap. This shouldn't take long after all the metal is sorted.

Specifically, check to see whether you accidentally grabbed a metal object that might still have value beyond its scrap price. For example, any of the following might be worth selling as something other than scrap metal

If any metal object has a value other than its scrap value, selling it to an individual other than a picker will likely get you a little more money. Scrap value is usually a metal object's lowest value.

Step 4: Call for a Quote and Schedule a Pickup

Once you have all your metal sorted and are sure it's only value is in scrapping it, call a few scrap metal pick up businesses in your area. Talk to several pickers and ask what they'll offer for your metal. You may find that one is willing to pay a little bit more than the others.

Once you know who will pay the most for your scrap metal, schedule a pick up time that works for them and you. They'll come, make sure your metal is as described, pay you the agreed upon amount and take your junk metal away for you. It's an easy way to make a little cash. For more information, visit websites like