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  • Professional Scrapping

    I get the feeling there are a few people on this site who are, so I'd like to know the logistics of scrapping as a day job. I am a pure hobby scrapper, who scraps for the chase and the opportunity to get some play money. Scrapping at the moment couldn't take over my day job, because it doesn't pay as well or offer the same benefits, but who here does do it for a living?

    I'd like to know these questions please?

    Is it worth getting an ABN and paying tax? Do yards treat you differently if you hold an account with them? Do you lease or own and store items, or do you work from home or your own shed? What sort of hours do you work, and do you have to discipline yourself? Does scrapping lose the joy once it turns into a job? Do you employ others, or use the services of others, and how did you start out? And lastly, is it worth it? Does it enbale you to live the life you want live, pay your bills and let you get ahead? Or are you constantly stressed, working your arse off and fretting over commodity prices?

    Whatever you feel like saying, let me know.

  • #2
    I do it for a living but on a hobby level if that makes sense.
    I'm not sure I could survive if I had a mortgage to pay, I guess i'd just have to increase my intensity.
    A one man show is a little tuff as you not only have to pick-up and process it yourself, you gotta be a receptionist answering calls, taking bookings, selling the stuff,
    paperwork, and most importantly going about looking for new clients.

    Is it worth getting an ABN and paying tax? You need an abn to run a business, you shouldn't need to pay much tax in the first year or two though.
    for instance, if you've had a big month and taken in a lot then balance it out by not selling anything next month or even holding things for the next financial year.

    Do yards treat you differently if you hold an account with them? some do, like sims metal would if you set up a merchant account kinda thing but you'd need volumes.
    e-waste buyers generally operate a bit different, instead of a cash public sale they will pay you GST on top, so for e-waste you need to also register for the GST, which is a pain in the arse
    as you then become an unpaid tax collector, you need to send that GST to the taxman within 12 weeks.

    You don't need to register for GST if your business doesn't take over $75,000 p/a

    Do you lease or own and store items, or do you work from home? Home, but that depends on how big you want to be, storing things costs money, this is more of a quick turnaround business.
    leasing a commercial property will require a pretty good business plan as once your stuck in a lease, your stuck.
    A property though can increase your business heaps as you can then have some kind of drop off facility where people could bring in stuff for recycling.
    It's quite a good system as a big expense is picking it all up, if you have a depot people can drop off, it's a huge bonus.

    Employing people is expensive but there are other options like many e-waste companies hire long term unemployed people or people with disabilities, companies get massive subsidies
    and end up paying just a few dollars per hour.

    What sort of hours do you work, and do you have to discipline yourself? There really isn't enough hours in the day but being a flexible kind of job, you make your own hours.
    My favourite days are the weekends when i'm not distracted by calls or pick-up's, I usually get most scrapping done on sunday.
    Sometimes if i'm happy with the previous week's effort I slow up the next week, especially if I've sold a few things on eBay and privately, most businesses wouldn't miss a beat but that's what I like about mine, if I've made a decent wage for the month it takes away the pressure for next month so I enjoy my scrapping a lot more.

    Discipline is the biggest factor, what I do is get up in the morning and put my uniform on, that way I feel i'm in business and ready to go. if I walk out in my trackie dacks i'll bum around and never make a start to the day. I have a mate that runs an admin biz' from home, he actually dresses up, grabs his suitcase and jumps in the car, drives to the shops for his milk and comes home to work, he's had this ritual everyday to motivate him away from the bed sheets

    Does scrapping lose the joy once it v turns into a job? I guess so but business has a mix of things, so if your really bored with scrapping you can focus on selling things for more money or going around picking up fresh work. But yeah, picking up 40 pc's all exactly the same get's monotonous to scrap but there's a much bigger range of stuff to scrap when your picking up from businesses.

    Do you employ others and how did you start out? I'd love to employ a scrapper to just scrap whilst I go about the day but that's not feasable at this stage for me.
    having a part timer, like you son to help out would be very valuable.
    I started out just like you, having fun scrapping stuff, I then went and did a 7 week full time business course which helped me set up a business plan etc, and here I am.

    Is it worth it? well that's a hard question to answer as everyone is in it for different reasons, for me it is, not so much the money but the lifestyle, working for myself and making my own decisions.
    if you need to make good money, like an ever expanding business then that'll take a bit of work, mostly getting the clients.
    there's so many variations to it, depends which way you end up going as the lowest form of money comes by scrapping stuff, if you eventually find an avenue for on-selling then your business can
    expand without having to bring in more stuff or needing to scrap everything.
    Buying eWaste link here


    • #3
      Although i'm basing my biz' on e-waste, whereas scrapping can be just scrap metal removal, scrap vehicle removal or even rubbish removal.
      either way they would be sorting, selling or scrapping out their stuff prior to sending anything to the scrap yard or tip.

      I think rubbish removal is a good thing to get into, obviously there's a lot of competition but for a one truck, a one or two man thing, I think it's a good small biz'.
      seems to be based on cubic metre's, something like $75 a cubic metre to take it away. well that's not bad money to load your truck and take it back to sort through.
      I'd have something like a caged trailer to load actual rubbish and scrap the rest. a fridge and a couple old tv's would be a cubic metre, not bad dough just to pick it up.

      Basically you gotta find your own niche but that may not be apparent right away, sometimes you just gotta go with what you know and let the niche come.
      I spent countless hours googling and researching before I started and come end of month one, it was nothing I expected and my ideas have changed heaps since day one.
      there's so many little factors in everything that can work or completely fail, like advertising, anticipating customers and all that.

      Persistence is the key, advertising to residential homes for instance.
      obviously you want a good flyer to deliver, but one thing to remember is flyers don't work first time round, research shows that it takes 3 or 4 flyers before people start paying attention to it,
      and I can vouch for it, by flyer 3 you really do start getting more calls and your flyer will even get passed on to areas you never delivered to, I even get people asking me for a bunch to deliver in their street

      anyway, thought i'd add this to the first post, so what's your thinking Tybo?
      Buying eWaste link here


      • #4
        Some great information there Ben, not just for me, but for anyone wanting to see the other side of things.

        I've had rubbish removal businesses in the past, along with moving and collection. Basically I've always had utes and people always want help one way or another when you have one. Business can be up and down in this area, you might have no work for two months, then you'll get a month sold worth of weekends doing everything. Personally this is how I like to work, my day job also has it's seasons of flood and drought, so I like to work hard when the works there then cut back and concentrate on other things when it drops off. I used to earn enormous amounts of overtime, which at the end of the financial year added up to a lot. With the economy the way it is, my day job has cut back on OT significantly which means I have more time but not the cash. This is how I got into scrapping. My mate is a plumber and when he was out of work scrapped on the side, he told me the basics and I learnt the rest as I went along. He has a good job these days, paying very and doesn't bother, but said if he was ever out of work again he'd do it again to get by. I guess this is how I feel, scrapping's a handy skill to know if you're hard up against the wall and need some extra cash. Like I've said, even outside Kerbside collection I don't seem to have trouble finding scrap. I've gotten to the stage where I'm starting to get picky as to what I take.

        My day job still pays well and until scrapping pays $40/hr, 40 hours a week I'll never jump ship completely. Small businesses in Australia have that many hoops to jump through, it's really very hard. I had an ABN when I had a few businesses running, trying to do the right thing. After a few years and the dramas of having imbalanced work, statements, deductions and all the rest, I disabled my ABN. My wife and I have a mortgage and the such, so steady income is a must. I have a good work ethic, and have a bit of business mentality where I see value in all sorts of things. I sell things online too, and even did a flea market on Sunday just to sell Kerbside items that had little scrap value or were worth more than just scrap. (I ended up with just over $200 for a couple of hours on Sunday morning, all on stuff people thought was junk.) But I think scrapping will always be a way to get some tax-free money that I can treat myself with. The way things are going in Australia where they talk about unsure retirements and the such, I know I can always scrap. If I owned my house, car and the rest, and money wasn't massively important, scrapping would be a great small business.


        • #5
          There's many options though, if it's higher levels of stuff to scrap you want but want to keep your day job then what about this.

          Make up a single sided flyer, paste 4 onto an A4 sheet of paper, print and cut 'em out, if you can use your works photocopier even better
          Something like: Free Scrap Metal Recycling or E-Waste Recycling (weekend pick-up's) get a prepaid mobile phone to have a seperate number people can call.
          leave it off with a friendly message asking to leave the're name, number etc. end of the day you can check the phone and call back to take the booking for either saturday or sunday.
          weekends are a big factor for many people needing stuff like that done.

          Your ad should have a good list of stuff you recycle, so if you were to advertise e-waste you want to give people an idea of what it is,
          so you might write: Computers, Printers, Televisions, Whitegoods, Kitchen appliances, video equip, toasters, heaters, microwave ovens etc etc,
          I found the bigger the list they have to read, the more items they think of, oh, don't forget mobile phones, check their drawers
          Buying eWaste link here


          • Tybo
            Tybo commented
            Editing a comment
            Don't worry about the print Ben, I'm a printer and graphic designer by trade, I charge for the stuff I produce. The prepaid mobile is a good idea though, and I should get around to a flyer when I'm low on scrap or got some time on my hands.
            Thanks again.

          • WEEE Ben
            WEEE Ben commented
            Editing a comment
            oh, well maybe you can help me with a new design flyer?
            I'm starting a fresh campaign in January and switching over to free pick-up's for residential.
            what I need is someone with a design background that can give me some pointers on the overall look of the flyers.

          • Tybo
            Tybo commented
            Editing a comment
            Can do. PM your details and we can go from there.

        • #6
          Do those of you who do this professionally have any sort of liability insurance in case you smack a trolley with a dishwasher on it into the homeowner's sliding glass doors etc.? I could just see myself doing that one day if I started doing pickups...


          • #7
            I had it my first year, $500 for 10 million cover, I was breaking glass just for fun to see if I could reach 10 million damage
            then after I paid my 12th month they sent a letter saying they can't insure my line of biz' anymore, so I never worried about it.

            If your in a hairy situation where the item is big and you've got an obstacle course then that's not a job to accept, depends on what your charging.
            if it's free or close to it then your just picking up, not being a removalist, I have knocked back giant tv's because of akward staircases, even after they offer double,
            just recently I walked away from a pick up because the massive tv had to be carried over a couch, it was like 60 kg's and no way was I going to lift it with watching me like i'm the dill.
            Buying eWaste link here


            • DJGrecycling
              DJGrecycling commented
              Editing a comment
              I only offer kerbside pickup ... For the fact I don't have liability insurance on damaging there house or myself in there house ... I don't charge for pick up so its either drag it out or drag it to the tip and pay the fee... I find it faster to I just have a list of addresses and a time window and just go go go

            • tvhunter
              tvhunter commented
              Editing a comment
              Did they explain their reasoning, Ben? You'd think if a removalist can get insurance, then recycling would be no problem - I mean, the removalist would need insurance for damage to the items being removed plus damage to the properties they're being moved to and from.
              Yeah, I was thinking about making it the owner's responsibility to get it out of the house, but I think Ben mentioned somewhere that a good number of his clients are the elderly who can't remove things by themselves. It probably be nice to have "fully insured" on your leaflet or whatever, but yeah, if they won't sell it to you, they won't sell it to you...

            • WEEE Ben
              WEEE Ben commented
              Editing a comment
              You'll have no problem getting your first year of insurance, you just do it online, 2nd year they will asses your line of biz' and if they feel your biz' is risky then they will stop it after the contract ends, you can start again with another company or contact them with a more detailed description of your biz'.
              They will insure you but you premium will be high and not worth it.

              if your picking up from homes then it's common sense really, remember there's not many big crt's around, your picking up flat screens so it's not hard to move them.
              don't let insurance stop you, most will have stuff out for you, the odd one you go inside for is not worth paying insurance for, and yeah, always put it on the client, your there to take it away.