Friday, January 14, 2011

Advice on Starting Small in the Salvage and Recycling Business

A recent message that I think is of interest.

Mike, I am very interested in the salvage business but I want to start small and put off getting involved in heavy metals, construction waste, and goods that are space and labor intensive. What do you recommend?

My response:

Hi ____ - One of the first things I did was go around to local businesses and see what sort of things they might be interested in. I found a rebuilder of valves - water, oil, gas, etc. - who would buy old valves from me right away.

Also in winter, keeping in touch with insurance agents helps. I've gotten tons of free aluminum from torn up awnings and mobile home porches. The aluminum is easily scrapped - no storage involved.

When I've done deconstruction I've almost always been able to sell the stuff before I took the building apart so no space required there and there are all sorts of sizes of buildings.

The electronics end is going to take space and time to sort, determine what's of value, etc. so probably not best to begin with if you don't have the space to work on stuff. Good winter time work though.

Every community is different. I'd just get your name out there as THE salvage guy and see what happens. I'd stay away from beccoming the hauling guy. That's a different deal and folks will look at you differently if you charge to haul stuff away. Put up flyers, cheap ads, and talk to folks and then pick and choose.

I've run into barrels full of valves at times that I could buy at pennies on the dollars that I would get and turn them over the same day.

Some really big things like a water tank on an 80 foot tower I got for free and resold in a few days and never ever touched it. you just never know.

More examples in the manual.

Good luck and keep me posted on your progress.


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