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How To Become A Junk Man
If you have ever wanted to become a junk dealer or scrap metal collector there has never been as good a time as the present. Unlike Fred Sanford today's junk dealers understand the value of everything from old cars to computers. Our throw away society gets rid of so many things that are still of use to someone or which can be sold for recycling value. A junk dealer may specialize in a certain kind of junk, such as electronics or construction waste. Metal prices are on the rise again and there is a lot of value in the items that private individuals and industry throw away.
What Do You Need To Become A Junk Man?
Most states do not require any special licenses to collect and sell scrap metal. All you need is a good truck and a trailer capable of carrying things like wrecked cars. Depending on what you intend to salvage you may need a boom and winch to lift heavy objects or a helper to help you load the trailer with what you collect. Junk cars can bring from a couple hundred to over a thousand dollars, depending on the make and model. You will need to get a copy of the title to the vehicle, signed over to you by the owner, or depending on what your state requires, or if no title exists something like an notarized affidavit from the property owner giving you ownership.
Once you find your niche in the salvage world it is simply a matter of finding things of value and getting the best price for them from salvage dealers. Some junk dealers attend state and municipal government auctions and buy things like old computers in bulk. They may salvage working parts to sell on sites like eBay or refurbish them to sell on Craigslist. If you plan on storing a large quantity of the things you find a license may be necessary. If you begin to store large quantities of junk your property must be zoned commercial. There are many different rules that a salvage yard must comply with, if you can even get a license. Needless to say your neighboring property owners won't like it very much.
It's easier to start a junk business that specializes in point of origin to recycling facility transfer. You can start off on your own, with a truck and trailer and by placing ads in your community for free removal of items like junk cars and old washers and dryers. If you are making a good amount of income then you can think of purchasing some property and starting a salvage facility. The real money in the junk business is in selling large quantities of scrap that has been sorted and processed to a mill or other buyer.
Buying A Junk Franchise
You may also want to consider investing in a franchise that specializes in junk removal. For about $100,000 you can start a 1-800-GOT-JUNK franchise. You must have at least two trucks to qualify. Gross sales can run around $250,000 per truck, with a bottom line of somewhere around 5% of the gross including once all salaries are paid. You won't get rich but it is a nice way to buy yourself a job and a business that is fairly easy to run. 1-800-GOT-JUNK works on a territory system and many of the best cities already have franchises. There is room in growing areas however, for more franchises. Check your yellow pages and if there is not a franchise near you then consider pulling a hundred grand out of your piggy bank.
Becoming An Eco Junk Man
There is a growing movement to recycle and reuse all construction waste. Many cities now have construction waste companies that process and sell waste they receive from builders and demolition companies. This requires a physical space that has commercial zoning and can be used for such a purpose. Owners of these facilities charge contractors, who bring in loads of construction debris, a fee similar to what a municipal dump would charge. It's a win-win system because the contractor can advertise that they are "eco friendly, zero waste" and the recycling facility can sort the debris into piles that can be sold to a recycling company or turned in to yard mulch. They may remove good materials, such as two by fours or beams, clean them up and sell them to builders.
Specialize In Industrial Junk
One way to make a good profit in the junk business is to specialize in industrial junk of a particular type and become a source of parts and recycled equipment for other buyers. You may specialize in buying old factory equipment and selling it to buyers overseas. Or, you may specialize in a particular type of industrial equipment, such as farm machinery, and take it apart and re-sell those parts online or in a physical location.
There is a huge market for antiques in this country. If you can specialize in collecting antiques from old farms, estate sales and auctions you can build a lucrative antique business. There is a fine line between an antiques dealer and a junk dealer but your banker does not recognize which is which when you deposit your check at the end of the week.
Whether you call it junk, salvage, debris or antiques you will be performing a vital service to society by removing items in the waste stream for re-use. You can make some good money in the process. If you hate to see good things go to waste and truly believe that "one man's trash is another man's treasure", then becoming a junk man, or woman might be a good way for you to make a living.