If you are in need of some extra cash, and you own a vehicle with a trailer hitch, then you could scrap metal to make money. Scrapping metal is a cheap and relatively easy job to pull off. There are a few ways to find scrap metal and a few techniques to make the most money while doing it.
First, as I stated before, you need to own a vehicle with a trailer hitch and of course a trailer that you can fill with your scrap metal. Make sure that the tires on your trailer are properly filled with air, and that you don't overload the trailer with scrap. Overloading your trailer can weigh down the back of your vehicle creating a dangerous situation. Also, make sure to secure your scrap with straps, rope, or a tarp before you take it on the road: safety first. Lastly, a pickup truck or van can be used to collect scrap metal as well, but a trailer is the ideal choice.
Once you have acquired a vehicle and trailer, your next goal is to locate scrap metal. One way to do this is to post an ad in the classifieds of your local news paper, or craigslist. For instance, "scrap metal wanted; free removal" might be a good ad to start with. Include your telephone number so people can call you. Note: you may need to be licensed and insured before some people will allow you to remove scrap metal from their property. However, there is no law that I know of that can prevent you from cleaning up scrap metal from a person's property when they give you permission. Once the telephone calls start coming in, you can begin to collect your scrap metal. Make sure you wear leather gloves when handling scrap to avoid get cut or scraped.
Another way to find scrap metal is to call department and hardware stores for unneeded metal shelving or defective storm doors. Walmart may need to have dozens of old metal shelves removed for example. With the storm doors, you may need to buy those for a small fee, like fifty cents a door, and then remove the metal from the wood core. The metal will be worth 10 times as much making the time invested well worth it.
The last way to find scrap metal is to simply drive down neighborhood streets and look for it in the trash. People are constantly throwing away old water heaters, washing machines, barbecue grills, metal cabinets, T.V.s, microwaves or air conditioners to name a few things. Another good tool to help you with this type of junk is a good dolly or hand truck. A hand truck takes a lot of the work out of lifting something like a washing machine. Of course, having an extra worker to help you lift things would help even better.
Note, when dealing with junk like washing machines and water heaters, make sure you remove any copper, brass, or aluminum fittings. Once you collect enough of these, they are worth a lot more than regular sheet metal on their own. This is the order of most valuable metals; bronze, copper, brass, aluminum, and then steel/iron. A good trick to tell the difference between ferrous metals (steel, iron) and non-ferrous metals (copper, aluminum, brass, stainless steel and bronze) is to use a magnet. If the magnet doesn't stick to the metal then it is non-ferrous and therefore more valuable.
Other tricks for accumulating quality scrap metal are to harvest the copper from televisions by opening them up and knocking off the brass cap that is mounted to the back of the cathode ray tube. Microwave ovens can be stripped apart for their copper components. Cords from televisions, old computers, and microwaves can be snipped off and sold for their weight in copper. Transformers contain copper and can be opened up and harvested. And if you are really savvy, you can collect silver and gold from the parts inside of a computer for big bucks.
To give an example of how much money you could make scrapping metal on an average day lets calculate a hypothetical load of scrap using current metal prices for 500 pounds of steel, 50 pounds of aluminum, and 25 pounds of copper. As of this writing, steel is worth about 14¢ per lb, so 500 lbs x .14¢ = $70.00. Clean cast aluminum is worth 50¢ per pound, so 50 lbs x .25¢ = $12.50. Copper is worth about $2.50 per pound, so 25 lbs x $2.50 = $62.50. So the total haul would be worth $145.00.
So there you have it. There is a whole world of scrap metal waiting for you out there to harvest and sell for a profit. All you need is a little time, some effort, and the right vehicle.