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You too can break into the scrap metal business on a shoestring and turn someone else's junk into gold. Start out by becoming a "local junk dealer." All you actually need to get started is a couple of empty boxes and either a pickup truck or a station wagon. Any metal that you'd find is worth money these days.

Check with local machine shops, plumbers, electricians, roofers, and building contractors. And be sure and check in the neighborhood trash containers and service stations. It's a good idea to contract with these sources to remove their metal on a regular basis - most of them will just give it to you, it saves them hauling it away. Sort out the metal according to type - copper, steel, iron, tin, brass, aluminum, etc. Separated, it is worth $30 a ton more. Your next step is to search the yellow pages for scrap metal processors - they are anxious to purchase all the scrap that you can provide at the going rates.

Check your daily newspapers to keep in touch with metal prices. Also subscribe to the "AMERICAN METAL MARKET", "IRON AGE", AND "FIBER MARKET NEWS". Put up signs in laundromats and bulletin boards all over town. Distribute flyers house-to-house.

Let people know that you are in business of "recycling" scrap metals - most folks will give you what they have free. You can even establish your own "recycling center," providing separate bins for each metal. People are super ecology-minded these days and will gladly bring it to you. Newspaper is worth about $50 per ton, cardboard $40 a ton, and old telephone books bring about $150 a ton.

Contact businesses and pick up their paper on a regular basis. Hundreds of fortunes have been built in exactly this way - simple, low-investment beginnings. Perhaps 9 out of 10 giants of the industry started in exactly this way, and so can you. After you've gotten your feet wet, jump into the big time, the "junk automobile" business.

This is the best source of scrap metals. It requires a pretty good investment for equipment, such as tow truck, mobile crusher, and a yard to store cars to do the crushing. To begin, rent the yard, purchase a used tow truck and crusher, and contact your County Clerk for insurance and licensing requirements. Tow in wrecked and abandoned cars, buy old cars for say $25 each and strip them for usable parts - then crush them for scrap. Body shops, garages, and service stations are prime markets for used and reconditioned parts of all types. You still sell the scrap metal to processors or even brokers. Here are several publications you should consider to help you get started in this highly profitable business:

AMERICAN METAL MARKETS, 7 E. 12TH ST., NEW YORK, NY 10003;

SCRAP AGE, 6311 GROSS PT. RD., NILES, IL 60648;

INSTITUTE OF SCRAP, 1729 H ST., WASHINGTON, DC 20006;

ASSOCIATION OF SECONDARY MATERIAL, 330 MADISON AVE., NEW YORK, NY.