Scrap Metal Percentage: How Buyers Pay You For Recycled Scrap Metal

If you're trying to sell scrap metal, be sure you find out the composition of the metal you have. It might look like iron, copper, or even silver, but many times the metal is actually an alloy or mixture of metals. Depending on the scrap buyer you talk to, you could wind up with less money than you'd hoped because of how the buyer evaluates and assigns prices to the metal.

Knowing the composition helps so that you can make a better decision about whom to sell to:

Proportion vs. Flat Percentage

Metal buyers can use different pay systems. One option is to pay out in proportion to the percentage of metal. In other words, if you have two items, one that is 75% copper and another that is 90% copper, the buyer could pay you 75% and 90% of the going rate for copper, respectively. This is a good choice if your items usually have very high percentages of the metal in question.

Another option is to offer a set percentage of the going price no matter the composition. So, using the two copper pieces as an example again, the buyer in this case might pay 80% of the going rate for both pieces. The chosen rate is arbitrary and is up to the buyer. This can be a good deal if you have to sell metal that is usually in an alloy at a lower percentage.

When you look for a scrap metal buyer, if you know the composition of the metal you want to sell, you'll then know whether you need to seek out a buyer who pays a proportional amount or a flat percentage. If you have items that are 60% copper, for example, a flat rate of 70 or 80% of the going price, regardless of percentage of metal, is a good deal. A proportional rate of 60 percent for that item is not such a good deal.

Scrap metal buyers are skilled at identifying metals, and they usually know what items have what sort of percentage of each metal. They can identify the metal by the sheen and coloration. Take your metal to a few buyers and have them give you estimates -- these should be no-cost. Find out which type of payment system they use, too. After you've gotten those estimates along with composition info, you'll be able to choose which buyer to go to, to actually sell the metal.

Have more questions? Contact a professional company like R. Fanelle's Sons for help learning about scrap metal.