Although regulations and word of mouth in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and the rest of Texas have rooted out most of the unethical companies in the scrap recycling industry, there are still some bad eggs out there. To best ensure that you’re getting a fair price for your scrap metal, be sure to go with an official, well-regarded company.

However, even the most ethical and renowned scrap dealer won’t be able to give you a fair price for your scrap every time if you don’t do some preparatory work. The best ways to get the fairest price for your scrap metal all involve a little bit of work on your end, but they can pay off big time.

Considering the Scrap Yard’s Costs

Every experienced scrapper generally knows what the going rate for a particular metal is on a given day, and has at least some idea of what their preferred recycling company pays in relation to that spot price. However, many scrappers do not take the scrap yard’s costs into account.

In order to make money (and continue paying customers and employees), a scrap yard must calculate its costs as well as its revenue. In order to get the fairest possible price from Encore or another reputable scrap yard, one of the best things you can do is cut down on the company’s costs.

The Simplest Way to Offset the Scrap Yard’s Costs (and Make More Money Selling Scrap)

The easiest way to make the most money for your scrap is to sort it out. Depending on your level of expertise, you may only be able to sort completely different metals (such as aluminum, copper, and steel) from each other. If you’re more experienced, you may be able to sort out different grades and types of individual metals.

This offsets a lot of cost on the scrap yard’s part, which makes it much easier for them to pay you more for your scrap. Instead of paying an employee or contractor to sort your scrap, and spending company time on sorting instead of all of the other activities that go on at scrap yards, the company can pay you for doing that work for them.

Having scrap pre-sorted also mitigates some of the scrap yard’s risk. When scrap yards buy “mixed scrap” (or unsorted metals), they pay low, because they’re taking a gamble—there may be something valuable in that unruly pile of sheet metal, or there may not.

If you sort your scrap in advance, the yard knows up front exactly what they are getting from you, which means they are not taking more of a risk than any other kind of investor.

Other Ways to Get the Fair Price for Your Scrap

Here are some other ways you can do a little bit of work in order to get a much larger payoff when it comes time to take your scrap to the yard.

  • Clean your scrap! This also helps offset the yard’s risk, because they know that the weight shown on the scales is actually the weight of the metal you’re selling, and not of everything stuck onto that metal.
  • Check the market! Knowing when prices have risen or fallen will help you time your sales better.
  • Ask questions! Strike up a conversation with a scrap yard employee about metal grades. You’ll probably learn a lot that can be useful to you—and being a great customer and establishing rapport certainly won’t hurt your chances of getting a better price.