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Scrap Wire

You probably know that scrap wire is valuable. In fact, you might already be involved in the business. So it makes sense to understand the nuances of the industry, and to capitalize when and where it’s possible. Besides knowing the key players in the business, it’s just as important to understand the materials you’re dealing with, and how best to prepare those materials before putting anything on the scale. Proper preparation and separation will translate into hard cash.

Doing any job properly takes more time, but the benefits are worthwhile. Stripping scrap wire is a good example - it can be frustrating and time consuming, but it has to be done to make good money. Stripping will expose the different kinds of metals within your scrap: copper and aluminum are just two types of metal that can generate more cash at the scrap yard when well separated. And when you have a good relationship with a scrap yard, they will always provide valuable tips.

Now depending on how serious you are, there are some basic stripping methods, and some more sophisticated methods. Heating, melting, and then stripping the wire (in a conventional kitchen oven) is probably the most basic set-up. But there are also special tools and equipment for a more professional approach, and of course, a more costly investment. Whatever the choice, it’s always recommended to use protective safety gear like gloves and eyewear.

When it comes to pricing, scrap wire is no different than any other commodity, and prices depend on many different factors. This is a supply and demand arena, and in most cases those dynamics are responsible for fluctuations in pricing. Understanding this, and knowing how best to navigate around the ups and downs is critical for maintaining a profitable bottom line. Clearly you don’t want to be selling to the dealer when prices are down!

As mentioned before, the cleaner the scrap, the better the price. The more work the dealer has to do in cleaning up the scrap, the less they are willing to pay the collector. But in the end, overall pricing still depends on the marketplace, so it’s vital for a collector to be familiar with both short-term trends and long long-term predictions. With access to the Internet, the learning curve can be quite simple – and being educated and informed makes for better decisions all around.

Properly separating scrap wire is not only about physically separating - it’s also about knowing what is worth the most money. It means determining what you have, and how much you have – it’s simply a matter of figuring out how much work is involved with respect to the payoff. Depending on today’s prices, for instance, putting in extra work separating and preparing #1 copper and #2 copper may have a better payday than aluminum (or vice versa).

The elements for success in this business are basic: work hard to deliver quality scrap materials; create a sound relationship with a reliable scrap dealer; and understand the ins and outs in order to make solid business decisions.

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