When it comes to starting a business without a lot of overhead, this idea might be one of the best: Recycling wood pallets for cash.
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That’s because you can find wooden pallets in several locations, often for free, which means you can earn a profit no matter where you sell them.
It’s also a fun and creative way to earn money and one that shouldn’t take up a bunch of your time like other jobs can.
And it’s not an oversaturated market!
A lot of people and businesses need wooden pallets, but not a lot of people or businesses sell them as their primary business method, which means you have plenty of room to earn and grow your biz.
If you’re interested in learning how to find and sell used pallets as a potential business opportunity, this article will give you the information you need.
How to Start a Wooden Pallet Recycling Business
Whether you want to start a side gig for a little extra cash or turn wood pallet selling into a viable business, here’s what you need to know:
Why Wooden Pallets?
You might be wondering what all the fuss with wood pallets is about.
Why choose this money-making opportunity over others?
Can wooden pallets really make you money?
The answer to the last question is definitely yes.
And you’ll want to choose this opportunity over others for a couple of reasons:
- This business opportunity requires very little money to start, especially if you already have a pickup truck to haul pallets with, and
- Pallets are EVERYWHERE.
It’s not hard to find wood pallets to sell.
They’re at your local grocery stores, factories, and tons of other places around your town.
Because many places that get wooden pallets in with their shipments don’t want or need to keep them, they’re probably more than happy to let you come take them away for free.
That means little costs to you and plenty of profit to be made.
What You’ll Need to Get Started
When it comes to picking up and selling wood pallets, you don’t need much.
You can even get started with a large SUV, if you want, as long as you have enough room in the back to hold some pallets.
Of course, a pickup truck makes more sense for this gig, so if you don’t have one yet, it’s a good idea to start looking for one.
Other than that, this business doesn’t require much cash to get going other than what you’ll be paying for gas to get to each location that you pick up pallets from.
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You should also consider grabbing some basic tools, like a hammer, nails, and sandpaper, if you don’t already have them.
You may end up needing them if you have pallets that you need to repair before selling them.
Setting Up Your Business
How to set up your business relies heavily on the state and city/town in which you live, as each have their own requirements for business licensing and paperwork.
Many businesses will require a license of some sort, and almost all of them require registration in your state.
You can check your state’s Secretary of State website to learn what is required of you to start your business.
You’ll need to speak with your local business management office to find out what you need to do to be compliant in your town or city.
Make sure you have an organized system for tracking your income, expenses, and taxes, too, as you’ll need all that information when it comes time to file taxes.
Finding Wood Pallets to Recycle
The sky is almost the limit when it comes to finding the wooden pallets that you’ll recycle or sell (and, yes, some recycling places will pay you for them!).
Like we mentioned, you can find pallets at local stores and factories.
You can always call businesses and ask them if they have any pallets that you can pick up for free.
Craigslist is another place to try.
There’s a section of the website for free stuff, so you can always browse that or conduct a search to find free pallets.
Do the same with Facebook Marketplace, which is a good spot to find free stuff near you.
You might also try:
- Auto repair shops
- Recycling centers
- Flea markets
- Craft fairs
- Large events (concerts, business promotion events, community events, etc.)
- Home improvement stores
- Shopping malls
- Sporting arenas and fields
- org (this site lists all the free stuff that people in your community want to get rid of)
Repairing Wood Pallets
It’s one thing to get wood pallets for free.
But if you want to sell them, you’ll probably need to do some repairs on any that are not in great condition.
It’s not uncommon for wooden pallets to have some split boards or nails coming loose, but people and businesses will probably expect for these issues to get fixed before they buy them.
You should make sure that all boards are secure and not broken before selling the pallet.
You might also need to sand down some boards that have splinters or rough edges, just to clean them up a bit and make them safer for hauling.
Depending on the route you’re going with your business, you could also clean up the pallets and paint or stain them, making them ready to go to people who want to use them for crafting, furniture, and other fixer-upper purposes.
How Much Do You Get for Recycling Wooden Pallets?
How much your business makes largely depends on how much you work toward building it.
If you have several places where you can go to get wooden pallets a few times per week and several places lined up to sell them to, it could be easy for you to earn consistent income from your business.
That usually takes time, though, so it’s not something you should expect within the first couple of months.
Your income will also depend on where you live, the deals you make, and how you choose to sell your pallets.
Generally, you can expect to make between $1 or $5 per pallet, depending on their condition and who’s buying them.
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If you have a bulk order to sell, a company might pay you a little more than what you’d make from just selling a few pallets.
It also helps to have contracts with businesses you sell pallets to ensure that you’re getting consistent income from your efforts.
Where to Recycle or Sell Wood Pallets
Are you wondering “Who buys pallets near me?”
Here are several places where you can try selling your wood pallets for extra cash:
Facebook Marketplace can be a place to try when you have a few pallets to sell.
You’ll want to save your bulk pallet orders for the big guys, though, like manufacturing companies that will gladly pay for 50 or more pallets at a time.
Craigslist is free in most areas to use, making it a good option for people who don’t want to pay to list their pallets for sale.
You can always keep a listing for a bulk set of pallets up as a backup in case you can’t find anywhere else to sell them.
Just remember to close your listing if your pallets do end up selling.
A pallet broker works as a liaison between pallet makers and companies who need pallets.
Often, they have contracts in place with manufacturers and businesses that use pallets regularly to move items.
Therefore, these brokers need pallets to keep supplying to their clients who need them.
You can contact pallet brokers in your area to see if they have a need for another consistent stream of pallets that come from you.
If so, you might just land yourself a contract!
Local high schools and colleges with woodworking classes might buy pallets from you so they can use the wood for their projects.
You probably won’t make as much money selling them to schools as you would other places, but it could be an excellent method for getting rid of a few extra pallets that may not be in the best condition.
North American Pallet Recycling Network
This service connects people in the United States and Canada who need pallets with those who give them away or sell them.
Each state in the United States has its own page, so you can find people near you who are looking for pallets.
The Recycler’s Exchange
This site lists pallets for sale and people who need them, so it can be a good place to find buyers for your pallets.
If you create a listing, you can also mention how much you want per pallet.
Manufacturing plants and factories always use pallets to move things around their warehouses.
Contact them to see if you can set up a contract for regular pallet delivery.
Local Pallet Suppliers
You might have local pallet suppliers in your area that take in, store, and sell pallets for businesses that need them.
If so, these are excellent options for getting your pallets sold!
Many of these suppliers will gladly buy pallets in various sizes for their own use and to sell to others.
For example, there’s a place in Akron, Ohio, called TriCounty Pallet & Mulch.
This place will buy pallets from you for $3 each.
Say you have 50 pallets ready to go. That’s an easy $150 from just that company.
There’s also PalletOne in Bartow, Florida and Kamps Pallets, which has several locations scattered across the United States.
You can always check with your local Chamber of Commerce to find pallet suppliers or do a quick Google search for “pallet suppliers near me.”
Use selling apps like Letgo and OfferUp to find people near you who want your pallets.
These apps are super easy to use and let you list items, add photos, edit your listings, and chat with customers about your listings.
Other Ideas for Making Money with Wood Pallets
When you have a business in buying and selling wood pallets, you don’t have to just rely on selling wood pallets as they are.
If you’re crafty, you can use your talents to do more with pallets and take your business to the next level.
Here are a few ideas:
Use Them for Crafts
Lots of people make money turning wood pallets into awesome crafts, like signage, home décor items, planters, and more.
There are virtually endless projects that you can make with wooden pallets or the wood from the pallets.
People are often willing to pay more for handmade items like these than they are for stuff they can buy in a store because it’s more meaningful, so it’s possible that you can get quite a profit from your creations.
Refinish the Boards to Use for Flooring
You can also take apart the pallets you collect and refinish each board to create rustic hardwood flooring.
Keep together pallets of the same size so that you can get a set of matching boards for flooring.
Then, sand them down and stain them to create gorgeous handmade wood flooring that you can sell to someone who wants to renovate their home.
Turn Them Into Furniture
Wooden pallets are perfect bases for furniture, whether you want to make an end table or a king-sized platform bed with them.
Browse Pinterest for some inspiration.
There are tons of ideas floating around that can teach you how to make coffee tables, a dining room table, a dresser, and just about any other piece of furniture you can think of.
Then, turn around and sell your masterpieces to local furniture stores, open up a stand at a flea market to sell them, or put up listings on Facebook, Craigslist, or eBay to find buyers.
Turn Wooden Pallets Into Cash
Selling wood pallets might be a business venture you never thought of trying before now.
However, this is one that really could be a unique business opportunity for the right person, especially if you live in an area with a lot of places where you can find pallets and sell pallets.
The key to this business is similar to other businesses of any nature: Get yourself properly set up as a business and be consistent.
With determination and a good work ethic, you’ll set yourself on the path to success with your pallet business.
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