A lot of people make their way into the metal scrapping world thinking they’re going to make it rich and quit their day jobs. Soon they’re facing some of the hard realities of metal scrapping and how hard things can be. They make one mistake, or have a couple bad months and they pack it in. Quitting after a short dry spell isn’t the right approach. Think about all the time you’ve put into getting good at your current career. It’s very rare for someone to find immediate success after starting a new venture. Scrapping’s the same. Good money is made by learning the trade and how to maximize time and earnings. That takes time. Having a realistic attitude about scrapping will help you through the ups and downs as you learn the industry.

It’s All About the Approach

This story’s been told a thousand times. Someone hears about metal scrapping and they go all in. They clear out the garage and spend a lot of money on tubs and tools. Next, they go around town searching for scrap way longer than they should. When things don’t turn out they walk, leaving all that gear in the garage to gather dust. The problem here is the way things started. With metal scrapping, low and slow is the way to go. If you’re a hobbyist scrapper, a basic setup is all you need to get going. When you run into a job you need a special tool for, buy it, but don’t get it before you need it. Allocate a certain amount of time to source scrap so you don’t become obsessive and end up resenting time spent looking. The people who stay in the game are the ones who manage their time, have a process in place, and most of all make scrapping fun.

Take the Bad with the Good

Even seasoned scrappers get discouraged. Prices may be low for a while, or there may be a few dry months where they can’t get ahold of any scrap. It’s all part of the process, taking the lumps with the victories. Don’t let small obstacles push you out of scrapping. It’s important while things are good to remember that they won’t necessarily always be good. If you stay in the game long enough, you’ll appreciate the good times because you’ve lived through the bad.

Reinvest in yourself and your scrap operation when times are tough. One thing successful people do is work on streamlining their workspace for the future. That way when scrap is abundant, they can handle more in less time. They’ll complete neglected tasks and make connections at more scrapyards. When things are slow it’s a great time to go out and connect with more businesses to see how they dispose of metal. You never know, the next big score could be a handshake away.

Learn from Mistakes

Learning to succeed in scrapping is just like anything else. It takes making mistakes and learning how to get better every day. Don’t let challenges discourage you, especially if you enjoy doing the work. Think of creative ways to do things better, find more scrap and make more money. Focus on the long-term and what got you started in the first place.