Have you considered starting a scrap metal recycling business? Although this is a capital-intensive business, requiring between $2,000 and $10,000 of start-up capital, and you’ll need to have a lot of technical knowledge, it’s also quite lucrative. Regardless of whether you want to recycle copper, gold, lead, nickel, silver, or tin, there are some things you must know to get your business up and running.
1. Setting up Shop
Before you head out and start investing money in your new business venture, make sure you talk to an attorney and learn about what licenses and permits your town requires you to have. You also need to know how to handle things like taxes (e.g. registering your business with the IRS and handling accounting). There are also websites available that will tell you what you must do to run this type of business.
It doesn’t matter where you find the information. What matters is that it’s correct and you follow it to the best of your ability. You must do all of this before moving on to the next step.
2. Invest in Your New Business
Once you have all your paperwork in line, there are some monetary investments you must make:
- Protective gear including heavy gloves and a jumpsuit to protect your hands and clothing
- Recycling management computer software
- Advertising materials, such as business cards and flyers
- Containers for sorting and transporting the metals
- A storage unit or trailer with plenty of room (maybe even a yard too) for sorting the metals. Make sure it’s secure so that your metal isn’t stolen before you can exchange it for money.
- A truck, van, or SUV that’s large enough for transporting the metal. It must not only be in good condition, but it must also have an interior that rust and sharp metal edges won’t damage.
- Insurance coverage for your vehicle is important, as is insurance on your property, especially if your site is open to the public because then you may have liability issues.
3. Start Collecting Scrap Metal
Once you have everything you need, it’s time to start collecting scrap metal from businesses, homeowners, and construction sites. To reach out to these sources, you’ll want to advertise in your local newspaper, as well as online websites e.g. Craigslist. As you engage in advertising, make sure you watch the market as the price of metal fluctuates on a regular basis. You not only need to know what the different types of metal are, but also what people are paying for them.
You also want to have metal collectors and processors, e.g. local scrap yards and recycling centers, lined up to sell your scrap metal too. Sometimes you can also sell to others simply by advertising what you have available. Herein you’d engage in yet another business: operating a scrap yard that’s open to the public during certain hours.
4. Keep These 5 Challenges in Mind and Overcome Them
As with any other business, you’re bound to meet some challenges along the way. By keeping these in mind, you can do your best to avoid them along the way. These include:
- Metal is sharp and you must handle it with extreme care so you don’t injure yourself.
- Some scrap metal is too bulky so if you don’t have a crane or pulley available, don’t collect things like scrap motor parts and zinc.
- This is a time consuming business because you must sort all the metal before recycling it.
- You’re exposed to toxins, e.g. lead, which can cause severe health problems like lead poisoning.
- It takes a lot of time, money, and work. Set up a schedule and stick to it so that you can slowly grow a profitable business.