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Thursday, August 14, 2009
Gold from Electronic, Telecommunication & Computer Scrap Part 3
by Michael Meuser

This is the 3rd in an ongoing series of articles about my experience in the electronic salvage, recycling and gold recovery business.

In the last post I talked about looking at the material and bringing back some samples so I could begin to develop a market for the salvage - note that selling for reuse almost always brings in more revenue than recycling for the metal value.

In this post I'll talk a bit about getting equipment and marketing.

Once I saw the material, I knew that I needed a real truck. I had brought back quite a few large batteries. Each 2 volt cell weighed approximately 150 pounds and was about a foot square and 2 feet tall. I lived in a rural area where a lot of folks ran alternative energy systems so I put an ad in the local free advertising paper looking to sell the batteries or trade for a large flatbed truck.

I got a response almost immediately. A fellow had a nice old GMC 3-1/2 ton flatbed. It didn't run, but he was willing to trade it for a set of batteries. Recall that I bid so low on the batteries that I hoped that i wouldn't get them - well, I'm sure glad I did - they turned out to be a "goldmine." I found a mechanic who would also take batteries in exchange for getting the truck running well.

I thought I could rent a forklift in Nevada and along with the truck, haul all the stuff back to California. NOT! Turned out the only forklift was a giant weighing 14,000 pounds and was 150 miles away. It took me 6 hours to haul it all the way to the site and 7 hours to get it back once I was loaded. Not good.

So... my next task was to get a forklift. That first load with the 3-1/2 ton truck was almost entirely batteries - 10 sets in all. I found an alternative energy dealer who would buy them for $500 per set so I made the deal and headed to a forklift dealer with cash in hand. I bought a very nice forklift that weighed about 5,000 pounds trailer and all. Good thing too was that it was guaranteed for a year and had a 75% buy back policy. My cost was $4,000.

Now I had a forklift and a market for at least some of the batteries - I had about 200 sets altogether.

I still didn't really have a market for much of the rest of the equipment. There was copper cable and wire of all sizes and some hundreds of feet in length, large radio bays made of extruded aluminum, racks, racks, and more racks, generators, alternators, rectifiers and a lot of gold plated connectors and attenuators.

I stripped down several of the radio bays, taking out all the gold bearing stuff and headed to the bay area. I was dissapointed with the price for "unclean" aluminum, but one dealer told me that an overseas buyer might be interested. Within days I had several dealers calling me and wanting to see the material. It turned out that I was offered $4,000 per load of racks, one load per station. I hesitated and it paid off. I told him I'd have to think about it and get other bids. He asked what it would take to decide right now and I said "$8,000 up front in addition to the $4,000 for each station would do it." He bit and I walked away with $8,000 cash.

By now I realized that I could not haul enough fast enough even with my 3-1/2 ton truck so I ran another ad looking for a semi to lease with or without driver (I had a commercial license so I could drive it if need be) and yard space. Within a week I had found a fellow with 40 foot flatbed rigs, himself and sons as drivers and a 5 acre yard that I could use fully if I'd give him the job to haul everything from the stations. He charged me $500 per load flat and it took 3 loads per station. I didn't even have to be there to unload. He kept all the overseas material separate and was paid by the overseas buyer to load it into shipping containers. The rest was arranged in neat rows and stacks waiting for me.

I should back up a bit. The 3-1/2 ton truck turned out to be very useful. It was my work truck. With it I could pull the forklift and move things around and load up my drivers plus I could use it to distribute the large ex-agricultural bins I purchased as containers for the smaller salvaged items.

Of course, I kept all the gold bearing stuff and didn't ship it.

Click here to learn how you can make the money that you need and want in this home-based business.

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<-- Home Based Salvage & Recycling Business

Michael Meuser bootstrapped his way into the salvage and recycling business in the early 1980s. He began with building deconstruction and scrap metals and then moved into electronics, computer and telecommunications scrap where he learned to recover gold and other precious metal.
Michael tells his story, provides resources and offers his advice at his website, RecyclingSecrets.com, and his blog, Recycling Secrets Blog. Recently Mike completed the eBook How to Make Money in the Home Based Salvage and Recycling Business. It is a chronicle of his experiences, successes and failures in the business. Also, you can follow Michael on Twitter.

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