|Using a GPS is one way to make your trips more efficient,
saving you both time and money!
These 8 tips are for those who like to collect scrap metal that has been left out in trash, garbage, dumpsters, skips, ect. (In a few select areas, this is not allowed and could get you a ticket of $25-$100.) The money is good, you are helping the environment, but the only downfall: It usually costs too much in gas!
The commodities market is in a bit of a bubble at the moment, and while that means metal prices are expensive, well, so is everything else, including gasoline. After implementing these 9 tricks, I estimate I cut my gas expenditure for the week from scrap collecting by about 5-10% immediately and eventually more after finding a rhythm.
- Build Guard Rails And Buy A Trailer
By pulling a trailer (large or small) and building guard rails for your truck (removable ones of course) you will be assuring that you will never need to “leave something behind” because you don’t have enough room.
If you are not able to purchase a trailer at the moment, building guard rails for your truck is a must, and provide more then function:
• They help contain the scrap metal you have collected, stopping any possible “spills” of metal onto the road.
• They allow you to easily store and transport larger amounts of scrap without being a danger to other drivers
• They can be taken out, and put back on easily.
• They can be used in situations not involving scrap metal, such as moving grass cutting equipment, ect.
- Set Up A Collection RoutineJust like any business, efficiency is key. Having a constant plan of action is the number one way to stay ahead of the curve. The first way to do this is to have a collection routine, and slowly hone it into a confortable and efficient cycle. Do you want to collect for 3 hours a day, 4 days a week, 2 hours a day 7 days a week, or maybe just on the weekend?
Learning the different garbage days near your house, and maybe further from your house if there is more metal to be found; yes that involves more gas, but maybe the drive is worth it! It involves a little trial and error, but that doesn’t mean it is a waste; You will learn the most efficient systems, and that is what will keep you collecting scrap.
- Bring a GPS
When driving through complicated systems of houses or condominiums, it can be a challenge just to know what direction you are heading in. With a GPS, everything becomes crystal clear! Like a hole has opened in the sky, and you are looking down through it, at your truck on a map clear as day.The thought of buying such a expensive device, simply for better directions, may seem like a bit of a dumb idea to some; but I promise it is worth it! Just like owning an angle grinder or a Sawzall, it will pay for itself!
This tool makes distant trips to unfamiliar areas a breeze!
My favorite app on my GPS is the tools where I plug in several way points, and then it calculates most efficient way to reach all of them. It is a great way to save gas, and time. If you already own one, definitely start using it!
- Save Your Scrap For As Long As PossibleThis should be a major saver for those who live many miles from their favorite yard, or any yard at all. The more trips you make to the scrap yard, the more gas you will be burning. Because your trucks are built to handle hauling, you will be saving many gallons of gas by turning four light loads into one giant load or two large loads.
- Don’t Drive An Over Loaded Truck (except when you are driving to the scrap yard as in #4)We have all done it before, and sometimes it is a necessary evil. But, obviously, your truck will use less gas per mile if it isn’t weighed down with an over flowing mountain of scrap. The benefits may outweigh the bad occassionally, like when travelling to the scrap yard for example, but every other time it needs to be avoided. For this reason, consider a route that allows you to come back to your “homebase” to drop off what you have collected.
More importantly, unload your truck and leave whatever scrap you have BEFORE you go out again. I have seen some amazingly ridiculous people before: they will drive around with the same junk in their truck and trailer for days, even if they have a full trailer! So, if you have a full trailer, don’t haul it around all day – leave it behind until you are ready to go to the scrap yard.
- Only Drive Aggressively When It Works (Obvious, but true)If you are collecting scrap on trash day, chances are, you feel like you need to be extra speedy in order to find anything. The thing is, you don’t need to be! Unless it is early morning, and you are chasing behind garbage trucks, you really are not increasing your odds of running across things by moving quicker.
If you start out collecting soon after people get home from work, you will slowly see the curb fill up with garbage. If you zoom by all the houses that have not put their garbage to the curb yet, then you will miss out on what they may leave out!
Conversely, you will want to move quickly if it is late at night, or early in the morning, and competition is all around you. The GPS will prove very handy in high tension situations!
- Ask For A ContainerIf you have any business sense, you constantly offer your customers a complimentary container. You will come by, pick it up for free, pay them a sum, and then sort their metals! ( If you have no idea what I’m talking about, read up some on the Scrap Metal Guide)
Most scrap yards operate the same way: they offer free container drop off and pick up on a much, much larger scale. If you would rather save the time it takes to drive to the scrap yard with your ferrous metals, weigh in, unload, weigh out, and then get payed – consider getting your own metal container(s) from your favorite scrap yard. Of course you would need enough volume for it to be worth the yard’s time, ect.
This is still not the most efficient way to operate, but it is a big step in the right direction.
- Scrap With a More Fuel Efficient CarThis is at the bottom of the list because, frankly, I love driving my truck around. But, the sad truth is that it is a gas guzzler.
To save on gas when collecting scrap, use whatever car you own that is most fuel efficient, and pull a trailer behind you. This may mean driving a large van, or car and trailer.