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Thread: The Dirty World of Scrap Metal

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  1. #1
    us
    Oct 2017
    Virginia
    Do not use, I specialize in e-scrap
    29
    32 times
    E-scrap

    The Dirty World of Scrap Metal

    The Dirty World of Scrap Metal in The Eyes of A Scrapper

    The world's a tough place, but I'm not telling you something you don't already know. But hey, nobody promised you life would be easy.

    As someone who has actively been associated with the scrap metal industry for 35+ years I tend to be very opinionated when we talk scrap. Quiet frankly I don't think that those who collect and sell metals to a “scrap yard” are treated very fairly. Whether these scrappers are to blame or not we will explorer a little further into this article.

    How society views a scrapper

    The public tends to look down on scrappers, often thinking that they are a “dirty” breed that live on the outskirts of society. They lump sum all scrappers into an uneducated, unrefined, desperate category of people who they believe can't find a decent job or make it in any other industry. Some pity them, some find them disgusting and some just plain ignore them. Those that ignore the scrappers are the ones I pity. I mean, let's face it, life must be tough for someone who believes they are so far up on the evolutionary scale that GOD has to take a seat behind them!

    In reality nothing could be further from the truth than what the public thinks. Some of the smartest, most educated, well informed people I have ever met are scrappers. I will even bet that if you randomly pulled 10 scrappers from different areas of the country, 10 “ordinary” citizens from different areas of the country and tested both groups, then added and averaged their scores, the scrappers would have a higher IQ average than the “ordinary” citizens. Yeah, I know, unless you are a scrapper you are probably not buying this. But I gotta ask, what do you base that on? I mean, how many scrappers do you actually know? I mean really know?. I bet I know your answer.....NONE!

    How scrap yards view a scrapper

    The yards that the scrappers sell their merchandise to tend to look down on scrappers also. I don't know if that's because they buy into the public view of scrappers or if they think they're so much better or smarter than the scrapper or if they're just so ate up with greed that they would steal the pennies from a dead persons eyes (yeah, I know, that's kinda harsh but just bare with me here).

    Now I gotta say this before I go any further, I have a very negative view of all scrap yard owners. I've written more than one article voicing my opinion that they (the yard owners) are a thieving, low life group of people who walked on the dark side of the street. They hold no respect for the law, are void of any honor and can not even spell the word “integrity”, much less define it. Their number 1 objected is to put money in their pockets and their vehicle of choice is to steal it from those whose very merchandise is what keeps them in business in the first place, from the scrappers.

    Now remember, I opened by saying I've been selling scrap for 35+ years in the Richmond / Hampton Roads area of Virginia. In this area we have a lot of different scrap yards scattered around, many more than you have fingers and toes x2. I don't know why so many but if I had to guess I would put my money on the fact we set on the Atlantic Ocean coast line and have the deepest deep water port in the entire country. If it floats, no matter how big it is, you can float it in (or out) on the channel that leads to Norfolk. The way I view all scrap yards and yard owners is based entirely on my experience over those years with the yards in this area. Right or wrong, that's all I have to judge by.

    Who's too blame?

    OK, so the public thinks those of us who scrap are on the lower end of the evolutionary scale; the owners of the yards (where I live) think we are as “dumb as dirt” and they can steal from us whenever they so choose, and we who scrap are having a pity party wonder, “Why Me”. Like I said, no one ever promised life would be easy!

    But wait a second, are we who scrap, the Scrappers of America, blameless, without fault, for how we're thought of or treated? Are we? Hell No! We must share in the blame and accept the fact that we, the Scrappers of America, the majority of us, are as much to blame for the yards decision to steal form us as the yards are for stealing from us in the first place. We, the scrappers of America. made/make it possible for the yards to steal from our pockets and line theirs with that money. We made it possible from the start, we still make it possible today and, unless each and every one of us wise up and make a few changes, will continue to make it possible far into the future. Is that what you want? To have someone steal from you, know that they're stealing from you and do nothing to make them stop? Is that what you want? Is that what you REALLY WANT?

    Does it matter? Do you care? Are you ready to set things straight?

    If that's not how you want to be treated, then read on, if you don't care then no need to read any further, Matter of a fact, if you don't care then forget everything you've read up to this point and move on to something else! This article is not aimed at you or written for you and there is nothing you can take away or gain from it, so good by and have a great life!

    If you do care then listen up, you have to make some changes with the way you run your business, They're not hard changes or difficult to make, fact is they're very easy and if you make them I guarantee you will start to put more money in your pocket and keep the yard owner from having a “night on the town” at your expense. Like how that sounds? I do!

    Time for a change!

    Here's what you gotta do:

    1. Always weight your material prior to delivering it to the yard, ALWAYS! Why? Simple when the yard weighs your material and totals out the ticket how do you know if the weight they write on the ticket is the same weight as what you delivered? You don't! How could you if you didn't weight it in the first place before delivering it to the yard. Failure to weight your material before delivering it to the yard is like writing on your forehead in big red letters “I Have No Clue”. If you fail to weight your material before a trip to the yard then you deserve to be taken advantage of!

    2. Let the yard know in advance before they decide to cheat on the weights that you know what you have and how much it weighs. How? Simple, if your material is in buckets make sure you write the weight of the bucket in big red letters on the outside of the bucket. Something like “Bucket weighs 1.5 lbs” and make sure the person working the scales see it. If you're using a box, same applies. If using tubs or bins to carry your material, same applies. In other words, leave nothing open to chance.

    3. Whether using buckets, boxes, tubs, bins or any other type of container, take a piece of cardboard and write on it in big red letters.
      • what's in that container


      • how much the material weighs


      • how much the container weighs.



      Make the cardboard so the it takes up most of the open space on top of your material in that container. That way it's impossible for them not to see it. Something like, “#1 Copper, material weight 25 lbs, container weight 1lb”. When that container is set on the scale, before the scale operator has an opportunity to record the weight of your material, point out the cardboard, tell them the purpose of the cardboard and make sure you tell them that.

      “If you disagree with my material classification, my material weight or my container weight then let me know up front so I can pull that material and take it somewhere else”

      I guarantee you will get their attention. Guess what, you just took a wash
      cloth and removed the big red words “I Have No Clue” from your
      forehead! Guaranteed!

    4. Always demand to see the weights as the attendant is weighing the items. Most yards will try to turn the scales so you can't see the weight but it's your right to view the item weights as they weigh them. If you can't see the weight on the scale tell them to turn the scale so you can see it. DO NOT BE TIMID AND AFRAID TO ASK THEM TO TURN THE SCALES SO YOU CAN SEE THEM! The yards rely on that fear to manipulate the weights. If they refuse, pull your scrap and take it elsewhere.

    5. ALWAYS call ahead to the yard you are going too and do a price check before you go there. Make sure to get the name of the person who quoted you the prices. NEVER GO TO ANY YARD TO SELL SCRAP UNTIL YOU KNOW WHAT THEY ARE PAYING FOR THE SCRAP YOU ARE SELLING ON THAT DAY! NEVER! Lets face it, how do you know if the price they write on your ticket is a fair price, the going rate for that material on that day if you don't do a price check before you go there? YOU DON'T. How could you if you don't check.

    6. When the attendant hands you your ticket, before you leave the area of the scale, take the time to look the ticket over. Make sure the weights match up and make sure the price on your ticket matches the price you were quoted for that material. Don't walk away before you do this! If there is a problem point it out to the person operating the scale immediately and tell them who quoted you the price earlier. Speak loud and clear so not only does the attendant hear you but the next few people in line also here what you have to say. Let me tell you, nothing rattles an attendant more then you making a fuss at the scales because they played with your weights or try to pay you less then the going rate for that material on that day and everyone behind you in line hears it. All of a sudden everyone in line is going to be on guard and looking for any foul play on the part of the attendant. His day just got real complicated!


    Don't let anyone push you around! Stand up for your rights


    Look, don't be intimidated and let them do what they want. It’s your scrap, not theirs! Not until they pay for it and no one says you HAVE to sell it to them. And don’t let the attendant try and hurry you through. You don’t want to unnecessarily delay the process but you definitely don’t want the attendant to push your items through before you and they agree to the weight and classification. You have rights, demand they respect those rights.

    Bottom line, take control of the process, don't let the yard control the process. If the yard is honest and up front, they will not object; if they are looking to screw you they will yell like a hit dog!

    It's time too “man” (or “woman”) up! Realize that you share in the blame for how things are and how you're getting robbed over and over again each time you take a trip to the yard. Accept responsibility and don't let it continue! If you take the time to make the 6 changes I recommend above it will stop! You will no longer be a victim, you will become a winner and you will profit from those changes. None of the changes, nothing I have recommended above takes any time to start doing, you just have to start doing them.

    Choice is yours, you decide, what's it going to be? If you ask me, it's a “no brainier”

    When I first got involved with e-scrap I knew nothing about the industry, and when I say nothing, I really mean nothing! The different electronic components were all Greek to me but I wanted to learn. I spent the next two and a half years reading, researching and learning all I could about the electronic components and the materials they are made of. Some of that information was not easy to find, almost like it was a secret hidden away for only a few to know.

    I wrote everything down and, as a result of my research, the “E-Scrap Parts Manual” came into existence. Everything I learned, everything I discovered, ended up in my book “E-Scrap Parts Manual”. At first the information was intended for my use only but then I decided, what the heck, why not share it with everyone who wants to make money by e-scrapping. So, that's what I've done. “E-Scrap Parts Manual” is available as a free .pdf download for any and all who want a copy, no strings attached! You want a copy, it's yours, just that simple! Just click on the link below and download your free copy:“E-Scrap Parts Manual”
    http://e-scrap-by-darksky1x.blogspot.com

    "Place Honor Before Profit; Choose Integrity Over Greed"

    Careful of the stones you cast today for tomorrow you might find yourself bending to pick them up!

  2. #2
    us
    Apr 2016
    Washington
    107
    85 times
    Coin Roll Hunter, Thrift Store Hunter & Dumpster Diver
    Thank-you for the tutorial and your wisdom.

  3. #3
    ca
    Feb 2009
    Deus, Minelab 3030, E-Trac,
    11,015
    16293 times
    Relic Hunting
    Thank You for your insight on the problem that has existed since the days of the rag pickers.

    I got screwed, so I'll screw you mentality is rampant in the industry.

    Having been taken advantage of on the weights, price, quality, I decided to put an end to it all when I opened my own yard. Strictly non-ferrous, no lead, oils, steel, if had oil it had to drained. It was a refrigerant/compressor/rad it had to be tagged that it was drained, recycled in the proper way. Crap in the back yard you will have to clean it up-period.

    Scales are the easiest thing to screw folks on, especially electronic ones. For every little bit of resistance it can reduce the actual weight on the scale by pounds. When you go to a yard is the weighing device got a Gov't certification sticker on the control panel. Date it was checked, and when the device has to be certified again? I boasted on the transparency of the scale and prices and the education I gave the picker, peddler, business owners. The scales were checked every 3 months and the finding report posted at the scale. I didn't want to be screwed and the scrap didn't belong to me until the customer signed for the payment.

    Electronic scale test 101: Stand on each corner and you should be able to read the weight-now stand in the centre and that weight should match every corner-period.
    If there is a different weight there's a problem-...RUN!
    Small scales will weight grams to pounds
    Floor models can go up by 1 pound or 2 pound increments.
    Drive on scales might go as high as 20 pound increments.

    Classification of metals is one of the easiest ways of making money period. My brokers would upgrade me every once in a while and I would be able to pass that along if that certain metal crossed the scale.
    I've been cheated, lied to, threatened by customers and by brokerage houses to where death was the option. I'm walking around today for the simple fact that I was my own boss and didn't take the crap that folks dished out.
    Eat or be eaten by some types and it was the free pass back out the gate for many that didn't respect the rules, employees, and the dog.
    The x-cons were treated with the same respect as the upstanding church going business person, as everybody is human and everybody is treated well if they treated me the same.

    I expected a fare price for my goods, and never begrudged another for making a profit on those goods.
    Through these simple practices I was able to build a reputation of being 100% honest, paying a good price, and that gave me success in the business.

    REMEMBER THIS : IF IT WAS EASY, IT WOULD HAVE ALREADY BEEN DONE, SCRAP 101"
    Davers likes this.

  4. #4
    us
    Oct 2017
    Virginia
    Do not use, I specialize in e-scrap
    29
    32 times
    E-scrap
    Quote Originally Posted by pepperj View Post
    Thank You for your insight on the problem that has existed since the days of the rag pickers.

    I got screwed, so I'll screw you mentality is rampant in the industry.

    Having been taken advantage of on the weights, price, quality, I decided to put an end to it all when I opened my own yard. Strictly non-ferrous, no lead, oils, steel, if had oil it had to drained. It was a refrigerant/compressor/rad it had to be tagged that it was drained, recycled in the proper way. Crap in the back yard you will have to clean it up-period.

    Scales are the easiest thing to screw folks on, especially electronic ones. For every little bit of resistance it can reduce the actual weight on the scale by pounds. When you go to a yard is the weighing device got a Gov't certification sticker on the control panel. Date it was checked, and when the device has to be certified again? I boasted on the transparency of the scale and prices and the education I gave the picker, peddler, business owners. The scales were checked every 3 months and the finding report posted at the scale. I didn't want to be screwed and the scrap didn't belong to me until the customer signed for the payment.

    Electronic scale test 101: Stand on each corner and you should be able to read the weight-now stand in the centre and that weight should match every corner-period.
    If there is a different weight there's a problem-...RUN!
    Small scales will weight grams to pounds
    Floor models can go up by 1 pound or 2 pound increments.
    Drive on scales might go as high as 20 pound increments.

    Classification of metals is one of the easiest ways of making money period. My brokers would upgrade me every once in a while and I would be able to pass that along if that certain metal crossed the scale.
    I've been cheated, lied to, threatened by customers and by brokerage houses to where death was the option. I'm walking around today for the simple fact that I was my own boss and didn't take the crap that folks dished out.
    Eat or be eaten by some types and it was the free pass back out the gate for many that didn't respect the rules, employees, and the dog.
    The x-cons were treated with the same respect as the upstanding church going business person, as everybody is human and everybody is treated well if they treated me the same.

    I expected a fare price for my goods, and never begrudged another for making a profit on those goods.
    Through these simple practices I was able to build a reputation of being 100% honest, paying a good price, and that gave me success in the business.

    REMEMBER THIS : IF IT WAS EASY, IT WOULD HAVE ALREADY BEEN DONE, SCRAP 101"
    pepperj, perhaps you missed this in my article or perhaps I did not make myself clear. I'm not sure where of what part of the country you reside in, I really don't care. All of my experience and all my observations regarding the dishonest, underhanded and shady way the owners of the scrap metal yards have chosen to conduct their business are based entirely on those businesses in the Richmond/Hampton Roads area of Virginia. I thought I made that clear in my original comments, if not, my bad!

    I have friends, contacts and associates all over this country, even in other countries around the world and they all tell me the same thing, not all scrap metal recycling businesses/owners choose to walk on the "dark side of the streets" or operate their business in the "shadows". Indeed, they even tell me that there actually is such a thing as an "honest" scrap metal recycling business!

    Even though I have never experienced the existence of such an animal, I have no choice but to believe what they tell me. The smartest, most knowledgeable person I know or have ever meet who's involved in the e-scrap industry lives in the Minnesota/Wisconsin area of our country and he swears that the businesses that choose to operate in such an dishonest fashion are in the minority, not the majority where he lives. The vast majority of those who operate a scrap metal recycling business in that area fully recognize and understand the important role that their “suppliers”, “The Scrappers of America” play when it comes to the success and/or failure of their business and endeavor to treat everyone that comes through their doors with dignity and respect.

    However, they also all acknowledge that a problem does exist with how some business owners in the scrap metal recycling industry have chosen to walk on the “dark side” of the street and how the actions of those few are responsible for the “black eye” the scrap metal recycling industry is forced to carry. If you think about it you will find that through out history the same thing has held true; “The Actions of the Few Always Screw Things up for the Many!”

    I take from the tone of your comment that you have been offended by my article. You wrote, “I was able to build a reputation of being 100% honest, paying a good price, and that gave me success in the business.” If that's the case, then I applaud you for your choice to conduct your business in an ethical and honest fashion and there is no reason for you to take my article personal or be offended in any way by what I have written.

    My experiences are a reflection of those yard owners involved in the scrap metal recycling industry located predominately in the Richmond/ Hampton Roads area of Virginia. They are the “few” who have managed to screw it up for we, the “many”. They, and those like them, are the ones who must be held accountable, forced from the “shadows” and cast into the light so they no longer have a place too hide!

    Here's something I find interesting, you closed your comment with the sentence, ”REMEMBER THIS : IF IT WAS EASY, IT WOULD HAVE ALREADY BEEN DONE, SCRAP 101"

    I opened my article with the sentence, “But hey, nobody promised you life would be easy.”
    Kasper1212 and Oddjob like this.
    http://e-scrap-by-darksky1x.blogspot.com

    "Place Honor Before Profit; Choose Integrity Over Greed"

    Careful of the stones you cast today for tomorrow you might find yourself bending to pick them up!

  5. #5
    ca
    Feb 2009
    Deus, Minelab 3030, E-Trac,
    11,015
    16293 times
    Relic Hunting
    Quote Originally Posted by darksky1x View Post
    pepperj, perhaps you missed this in my article or perhaps I did not make myself clear. I'm not sure where of what part of the country you reside in, I really don't care. All of my experience and all my observations regarding the dishonest, underhanded and shady way the owners of the scrap metal yards have chosen to conduct their business are based entirely on those businesses in the Richmond/Hampton Roads area of Virginia. I thought I made that clear in my original comments, if not, my bad!

    I have friends, contacts and associates all over this country, even in other countries around the world and they all tell me the same thing, not all scrap metal recycling businesses/owners choose to walk on the "dark side of the streets" or operate their business in the "shadows". Indeed, they even tell me that there actually is such a thing as an "honest" scrap metal recycling business!

    Even though I have never experienced the existence of such an animal, I have no choice but to believe what they tell me. The smartest, most knowledgeable person I know or have ever meet who's involved in the e-scrap industry lives in the Minnesota/Wisconsin area of our country and he swears that the businesses that choose to operate in such an dishonest fashion are in the minority, not the majority where he lives. The vast majority of those who operate a scrap metal recycling business in that area fully recognize and understand the important role that their “suppliers”, “The Scrappers of America” play when it comes to the success and/or failure of their business and endeavor to treat everyone that comes through their doors with dignity and respect.

    However, they also all acknowledge that a problem does exist with how some business owners in the scrap metal recycling industry have chosen to walk on the “dark side” of the street and how the actions of those few are responsible for the “black eye” the scrap metal recycling industry is forced to carry. If you think about it you will find that through out history the same thing has held true; “The Actions of the Few Always Screw Things up for the Many!”

    I take from the tone of your comment that you have been offended by my article. You wrote, “I was able to build a reputation of being 100% honest, paying a good price, and that gave me success in the business.” If that's the case, then I applaud you for your choice to conduct your business in an ethical and honest fashion and there is no reason for you to take my article personal or be offended in any way by what I have written.

    My experiences are a reflection of those yard owners involved in the scrap metal recycling industry located predominately in the Richmond/ Hampton Roads area of Virginia. They are the “few” who have managed to screw it up for we, the “many”. They, and those like them, are the ones who must be held accountable, forced from the “shadows” and cast into the light so they no longer have a place too hide!

    Here's something I find interesting, you closed your comment with the sentence, ”REMEMBER THIS : IF IT WAS EASY, IT WOULD HAVE ALREADY BEEN DONE, SCRAP 101"

    I opened my article with the sentence, “But hey, nobody promised you life would be easy.”

    No offense taken as wrote nothing but the truth. When I opened myself up to this world it was built on the school of hard knocks.
    The first three years investment of hours was added up. If one was to decide the time by a 40hr work week the time added up to 7.5yrs of labour in 3 calender yrs. 13yrs later I was still working 85-100hr weeks.
    The times I saw the palms in a upward stance looking for an under the table payment made me sick.
    Third/developing country forms of sound business.
    No sir! I would rather go without profit than paying bribes to somebody.
    darksky1x likes this.

  6. #6
    us
    Mar 2018
    Michigan
    Bounty Hunter IV, Garret Carrot Pinpointer
    39
    30 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Is there a guide that shows you how to know what metals are what? I know what iron and aluminum are and that's about it...lol...What categories do you separate them into? Do any of you all keep your scrap metals from detecting and cash them in? Is it worth it? Sorry im a newbie and have been throwing out all the scrap....so jw
    pepperj likes this.

  7. #7
    us
    ARC

    Aug 2014
    De Tampe Bahia - La Florida
    JW 8X - ML X2
    15,991
    27999 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Interesting and well written.
    Oddjob likes this.
    Have permission... Fill holes... Dispose of trash. - Lurking in The RCT - Random Chat Thread - http://www.treasurenet.com/forums/ev...l-welcome.html

  8. #8
    Charter Member
    us
    Old Tom Cat.

    Jan 2013
    N.of , I-285...GA
    Whites Spc xlt & Tesoro Tejon- Now back ...Fisher 1266-X. TRX Pointer. New .Teknetics G2 + . New AT Pro .
    6,060
    3978 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    I agree 'Classification ' & Bad Scales are most yards 'Extra' Ten's of thousands extra profit each year.
    As I am finding , In life we begin having the Blissful happiness & the Wonder & innocence of a Child, then fall Quickly, then spend the rest of our lives trying to reach that point where we began ,through Pleasure , Fame, & Materials but Only 'Through true faith in Jesus , can we find Prefect Happiness or true Meaning in our Short lives on this Beautiful Earth filled with both the Light of Pure goodness & The Darkness of Pure Evil. D.

    That Said, I judge No Man.
    Davers

  9. #9
    ca
    Feb 2009
    Deus, Minelab 3030, E-Trac,
    11,015
    16293 times
    Relic Hunting
    Quote Originally Posted by Kasper1212 View Post
    Is there a guide that shows you how to know what metals are what? I know what iron and aluminum are and that's about it...lol...What categories do you separate them into? Do any of you all keep your scrap metals from detecting and cash them in? Is it worth it? Sorry im a newbie and have been throwing out all the scrap....so jw
    There probably is some place.
    Copper wire clean and shiney =#1 Millberry
    Clean copper pipe brown or green wire #1 copper
    Dirty pipe copper elbows tinned wire #2 copper
    Copper roof sheet #3 copper

    Propane fittings, spent shells, zippers, yellow brass
    Brass elbows older cast brass is C Metal
    Threaded valves, fittings red brass

    1000 Aluminum is wire
    5000 Ser. Alum. Is sheet
    6000 Ser. Alum is window/door frame. Extruded
    Cast Alum. BBQ, car parts like Alt. Casings
    Car rims is another category

    Stainless Steel 304/
    any type of lead
    Zinc is tap housings
    Any type of insulated wire
    Batteries (auto)
    You would be surprised at how much scrap one digs up over the years.
    A few 5 gallon buckets and it's all free money down the road.

  10. #10
    Charter Member
    us
    Feb 2015
    Oklahoma
    6,956
    4545 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    I tend to take all metals mixed into the yard and tell them up front that its a mixed load. I let them make the extra money in separating it. I just get paid for iron weight. I run through too much too worry about the money lost.
    pepperj likes this.
    Tell me and I'll forget. Show me, and I may not remember. Involve me, and I'll understand. - Tribe Unknown. Those that lie down with dogs, get up with fleas. - Blackfoot

  11. #11
    ca
    Feb 2009
    Deus, Minelab 3030, E-Trac,
    11,015
    16293 times
    Relic Hunting
    Quote Originally Posted by kingskid1611 View Post
    I tend to take all metals mixed into the yard and tell them up front that its a mixed load. I let them make the extra money in separating it. I just get paid for iron weight. I run through too much too worry about the money lost.
    How much weight do you run into the yards?
    If you had approached my company with the mixed loads I would do a 50/50 split on the iron. I would purchase the non-ferrous at the yard prices, so it would of worked out well for both of us.
    I usually supplied the roll off bin to the companies free of charge as well. Giving a little had it's rewards as well especially at plating companies I dealt with.
    They wanted to get rid of the iron, plus they didn't want to spend the time on separating the metals so it was a bonus for them to be paid for the non-ferrous, plus receiving a free bin service and 50% spit for the iron.
    darksky1x and kingskid1611 like this.

  12. #12
    us
    Oct 2017
    Virginia
    Do not use, I specialize in e-scrap
    29
    32 times
    E-scrap
    Quote Originally Posted by pepperj View Post
    No offense taken as wrote nothing but the truth. When I opened myself up to this world it was built on the school of hard knocks.
    The first three years investment of hours was added up. If one was to decide the time by a 40hr work week the time added up to 7.5yrs of labour in 3 calender yrs. 13yrs later I was still working 85-100hr weeks.
    The times I saw the palms in a upward stance looking for an under the table payment made me sick.
    Third/developing country forms of sound business.
    No sir! I would rather go without profit than paying bribes to somebody.

    You made some very good and interesting points! I owned and operated a Mechanical Contracting Company In the Hampton Roads area of Virginia for 18 years. We specialized in Military/Government construction projects. Not only was the type of projects very interesting but due to the government wages scale that dictated what your employees who worked on those projects had to be paid, all your employees made a decent wage that was always above average when compared to the wages of those who worked on "non-government" projects.

    In the Hampton Roads area we have always had a very heavy government/military presence. There has to be at least 30 - 35 different military bases scattered through the area, if not more. Heck we even have a "secret" CIA training facility located outside of Newport News. I say "secret" because no one is suppose to know about it, at least that's what they tell me. Only problem with that is EVERYBODY knows about it, it's no secret at all!

    I have to mention that the 18 years I owned that business were pre-Clinton years. Reason that's important is Military projects have/had a lot of advantages over other type of projects. First off, your competition was very limited. Most contractors were terrified of the of the never ending paper work and forms that accompanied military/government projects. For that reason your competition was very limited on bid day and there were only about a few mechanical contractors that regular bid on those projects. Second, because everyone had to use the same pay scale you knew exactly what your competitors were paying their employees. Everyone using the same pay scale leveled the playing field and made the projects easier to bid. Third, the governments fiscal year for the different military bases ended at the end of September and first of October they received their new funding for the coming year. What was interesting about this was that any money they had not spent or committed to a contract they had to give back at the end of September. Not only that but any money that they had not used would affect how much money they received for the upcoming year. For instance, if they had not spent a million dollars and had to return that at the end of September, any money they were budgeted for the upcoming year would have a million dollars subtracted from it before funding was completed. That's what I call a "Double Whammie"! Needless to say they never gave any money back.

    So, come September all of the bases would dump all sorts of projects on the market to bid. So many that there were times when you would bid on a project and no other mechanical contractors would submit a bid. There were just too many projects for the limited number of contractors that did military/government work and it was not unusual to be the only bid submitted sometimes. We would normally pick up anywhere from 3 to 8 projects in September which most of the time lasted us for the whole year, until September rolled around again.

    Now, why did I make it a point to mention that that was prior to Clinton becoming president? Well Clinton decided that we did not need all of those military bases in our area and that the bases definitely did not need all of the money they had been receiving to operate and he decided to screw every thing up by closing bases and reducing funding! When the next September rolled around the 3 to 4 hundred projects that were normally put out for bid had shrunk to less than a hundred projects. Not only did it catch all of us contractors by surprise but now we no longer had enough work to last the year and were forced to venture into the private market to find work.

    Instead of only having to compete 4 to 5 different mechanical contractors for work we were looking at 10 to 20 competitors on every project and some of those competitors were taking the projects at cost just to keep their crew working. It's hard to survive in a world where projects are going for "cost". If you can't turn a decent profit your days as a contractor are limited!

    One thing that someone who has been in business knows is that when you start your business you loose control of your time. You no longer decide how many hours you work, your business dictates how many hows you work! Like you mentioned above, it was not unusual to work 85 to 100 hours each and every week, seven days a week!. Time off, vacations, forget it! Out of the 18 years I operated that business I can remember only 2 different times when I actually took a "vacation". Even then, I could not escape from the business and my cell phone made sure of that!

    Don't get me wrong, there is no more satisfying feeling then owning your own business and knowing that you and you alone control your destiny, but it's definitely NOT all wine and roses! When there is a problem (and there is always problems) you can't wait for someone else to resolve that problem. It's yours and you have to handle it, does not matter what time of the day or night it is, you have to push everything to the side and resolve the problem, there's no one else but you!

    After about 4 years fighting it out in the "private" market and having to learn how to get by with very limited profits, I decided enough was enough, finished my projects and closed my doors. The wife and I decided that we needed to make some changes so we left Virginia and headed for Rome, NY. This was her birthplace and all her family was there. Like a fool I let her talk me into starting another business with her brother and brother-in law which ended up being the worst decision I had ever made! I will not go into details but let me just say, NEVER GO INTO BUSINESS WITH ANY OF YOUR WIFE'S RELATIVES, NEVER! There is no good that can ever come out of it!

    Something you wrote above,"The times I saw the palms in a upward stance looking for an under the table payment made me sick." really hit home. Before going to NY all of my business dealings were on the up-and-up. No brides, no kick-backs, no pay-offs. All of the businesses and people I had dealt with prior to NY operated an honest and respectable business. Not the case in Rome, NY or central NY in general. Everybody (and I do mean everybody) had their hand out. The inspectors, the managers of the different programs and projects, even the supply houses. They all expected you to put some money in their pockets and if you refused they made operating your business a living hell!. I even had the manager of one of the projects we were doing work on in Syracuse, NY tell me one day, "You know Larry, everyone who comes into my office normally has an envelope with something in it that they put on my desk each time they come in. Your'e the only one who never leaves me an envelope"

    I decided then that I needed to head back to the south just as fast as my truck would take me! Not only did he never get an envelope from me, no one else did either! When how well you do in business is no longer controlled by how good of a job you do or your quality of work but by how much cash you are willing to shove under the table to some self-righteous, greedy slob with dollar signs in their eyes, it's time to find a different line of work
    simonds likes this.
    http://e-scrap-by-darksky1x.blogspot.com

    "Place Honor Before Profit; Choose Integrity Over Greed"

    Careful of the stones you cast today for tomorrow you might find yourself bending to pick them up!

  13. #13
    us
    Oct 2017
    Virginia
    Do not use, I specialize in e-scrap
    29
    32 times
    E-scrap
    Quote Originally Posted by Kasper121[B
    [/B]2;5749471]Is there a guide that shows you how to know what metals are what? I know what iron and aluminum are and that's about it...lol...What categories do you separate them into? Do any of you all keep your scrap metals from detecting and cash them in? Is it worth it? Sorry im a newbie and have been throwing out all the scrap....so jw

    Actually there is such a guide/document. It's published by the ISRI (Institute Of Scrap Recycling Industries. Inc.) and it's titled
    "Scrap Specifications Circular" I'm not sure if they issue a new circular every year or every few years. I've attached a copy that was issued for 2016. Let me know if that's what your looking for


    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	2016ScrapSpecifications.pdf 
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    That circular contains every scrap recycling classification that currently exists in the recycling industry.

    AS far as metal identification there are a few "tools" you need to start using. First and far most important is a good "rare earth" magnet. The best source for one of these is an old Hard Drive that no longer works. Most of the non magnetic metals have the highest scrap value and easy to spot with a good magnet. The non magnetic metals are:

    aluminium
    copper
    lead
    tin
    titanium
    zinc
    brass (alloy)
    bronze (alloy)

    Stainless Steel is sort of an exception to the rule. Some forms of SS are non-magnetic and others are magnetic. it depends entirely on the metals and their percentages used to make the SS alloy. The non-magnetic SS is the most valuable when recycling as scrap.

    Another "must have" tool is a small hand grinder. Most metals can be readily identified by using a hand grinder and paying attention to the type and color of the spark it throws off.

    Another tool you need is a good flat metal file. This is really handy for telling whether a metal is aluminum or SS and a lot easier to carry around then a hand grinder. **Word of caution- until you get a little experience under your belt identifying different metals your best bet is to stick with the hand grinder. Once you get the hang of things you can start using a metal file for certain metals.

    I've attached a copy of the best metal identification spark test guide that I know of for your use.


    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Metal_Identification_by_Spark_Test.pdf 
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    I hope this information will be of some use too you
    Last edited by darksky1x; May 02, 2018 at 07:23 PM.
    MotherOfGeeks likes this.
    http://e-scrap-by-darksky1x.blogspot.com

    "Place Honor Before Profit; Choose Integrity Over Greed"

    Careful of the stones you cast today for tomorrow you might find yourself bending to pick them up!

  14. #14
    us
    Jan 2013
    mother load goldfields
    gold master V-sat
    229
    164 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    The big one i see at scrap yards is them claiming all aluminum is dirty aluminum.
    I had one that went so far as putting a piece of aluminum with some heavy paint on it in my load of cleaned aluminum just so they could call my load dirty aluminum.

    Another yard two employees tried to remove dirty aluminum from the back of my truck after i had unloaded the clean aluminum that i had in the truck and i had to tell them to keep there hands out of my truck.

    Then they still tried to put dirty aluminum on the weight slip and i had to correct them or there would be no sale and i was going to leave with the aluminum.

  15. #15
    us
    Oct 2017
    Virginia
    Do not use, I specialize in e-scrap
    29
    32 times
    E-scrap
    I really like to think everyone is honest and whenever I meet anyone new or do business with a new business I always try and start with that attitude. Unfortunately we live in a world where honor and integrity have taken a backseat to greed and personal gain The majority seems to be looking for the weak and vulnerable so they can capitalize on those who are vulnerable.

    Such a shame.

    The bottom line is you need to be aware of the dirty tricks and rip-off schemes that are out there and always pay attention,take nothing for advantage and if something does not seem just right speak up and ask questions.

    The only one who can protect you is YOU!
    http://e-scrap-by-darksky1x.blogspot.com

    "Place Honor Before Profit; Choose Integrity Over Greed"

    Careful of the stones you cast today for tomorrow you might find yourself bending to pick them up!

 

 
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