Wooden pallets are extensively used in the transportation of countless goods in the U.S. Every year, 1.9 billion wooden pallets travel around the country just for this purpose alone.
Research reveals that there are 500+ million wooden pallets manufactured and repaired in the country, but out of this number, only about 3% of these pallets are thrown away.
What this means is that there is a golden opportunity for you to utilize these countless numbers of wooden pallets lying around and put them on the market to earn some cash.
Furthermore, you don’t have to put up a huge amount of capital to begin working on the idea. In fact, you can start this side business with less than $100 out of your pocket.
What You Will Need
First off, you need a pickup truck to embark on your pallet recycling trade.
Once you start, your biggest expenditure will be gas since you will be moving pallets from one place to another. Luckily for you, there are simple ways you can do to save on this big expense.
For one, install sides on your pickup truck so it can accommodate more cargo. You then save gas when you transport more wooden pallets in fewer trips.
Other useful things you need for your new business are: a pair of gloves, nails to repair broken pallets, and a drill.
Where Can I Get Wood Pallets?
Contrary to what most people think, finding wood pallets is easy. Start with businesses in your area that regularly receive large quantities of deliveries. These would be:
- Department stores
- Flooring/tile stores
- Tire shops
You can also try asking about shipping pallets from companies that typically give these things away. These are:
- Home Depot
- Tractor Supply
If you go to these areas, it’s possible that you’ll find wooden pallets strewn about. Talk with the store’s manager and offer to take the items out of their property at no charge to them.
It’s often typical of many businesses to have unused wooden pallets in their building that they won’t have a lot of room for. Thus, they’ll appreciate your offer and let you remove the pallets for free.
At several establishments, they seek out and pay services to remove wooden pallets from their property. Most often, these companies have extremely sizable volumes due to constant and large numbers of deliveries.
Capitalize on this opportunity by inquiring about the number of pallets they usually receive and how often these are delivered. Offer to pick up the pallets on a regular basis.
Additionally, scout your area for other sources of wooden pallets. The proximity of the sources is an advantage since you can schedule the pickups and remove the pallets in fewer trips.
Are Wooden Pallets Stocked Behind Stores Free?
You may spot wooden pallets left lying around in a store’s parking area. You can presume that the store has no use for them, however, there are businesses that do not give out wooden pallets at no cost.
Some companies actually sell wooden pallets. It shouldn’t daunt you at all because you can always talk terms with the owner and work out a good price for the pallets. And, if you can agree on a pickup schedule, you can get an even more lucrative agreement.
The bottom line is: Whether they earn from it or not, most businesses prefer to do away with the wooden pallets. A few dollars in exchange for freeing up their space is a welcome idea for them. If not, they’re still going to remove the pallets anyway.
Where to Find Wooden Pallets
From my standpoint, Craigslist is the quickest and simplest method to locate wooden pallets at no cost that you can sell to earn income. Whenever I check out the “free” section of my local Craigslist, I always find lots of advertisements from people and local businesses talking about giving away wooden pallets in different shapes and sizes.
To find them in your area, do the following:
- Go to Craigslist.com. In loading this on your browser, you’ll automatically be redirected to your local Craigslist site.
- Go to the “For Sale” section and click on the “Free” tab.
- Browse the listings posted. You can also search for more listings by using search terms like “free pallets” or “free pallets curb alert”.
- When you find what you’re looking for, take note of the information and get in touch with the contact person. Schedule the pickup of the wood pallets.
Using Craigslist has to be the simplest way to find free wooden pallets.
Freecycle.org is an excellent venue to find free stuff. With its 9 million members worldwide and more than 5,300 groups, you literally have in your hands a treasure trove of information on where to find free wooden pellets. Start by focusing your search on local groups.
There are other great places to acquire wooden pallets free of charge.
- Classified sites
- Local newspapers or classified sections
- Apps for local buying and selling (Offerup, etc)
- Local Facebook groups
The constant handling of the wooden pallets can cause them to be broken, but repairing them is fairly simple.
You may be asking, “Why do I need to repair broken wooden pallets?”
The simple answer is: You get more money selling a useful pallet than one that needs repair.
Repairing broken pallets is an essentially non-complex task. You only need a drill, a hammer and a few nails.
Pallets are usually made with tough wood like seasoned oak to keep them durable. This makes it tougher to nail them, which is why you use a drill to create small pilot holes. This would make the nailing task a whole lot simpler.
Where to Sell Wooden Pallets
If there is one task that many people find challenging, it’s how to sell the wooden pallets.
Is anyone still buying wooden pallets these days?
Actually, there are several alternatives. You can sell your wooden pallets to any of these options below.
The North American Pallet Recycling Network
Selling to a pallet broker is the most likely choice for you. Whatever location you’re in right now – New York, Houston, San Antonio, Virginia, Los Angeles, or London – it’s highly likely that there is a pallet broker near you. You can start looking for them using The North American Pallet Recycling Network website.
NWPCA has a list of almost 700 companies that are in the manufacturing, repair, and distribution of wood packaging, wood pallets included. The site has a directory where you can search for companies near you that will buy your wooden pallets. Use this resource to find their contact details and work out an agreement with them.
Recycle.net’s Pallet Exchange Listings
Recycle.net is a great resource to find people and companies who are in the business of buying and selling different types of wooden pallets. Since it acts as a listings directory, use it to locate said companies in your area and find contacts that are willing to do business with you.
Local Woodworking & Furniture Schools
Local woodworking and furniture schools are also great prospects. Find them using the Woodworker’s Directory or you can look them up using the local phone directory.
Manufacturers have a wide use for wooden pallets. You can reach out to them in person or through phone and inform them that you can be their wood pallet supplier.
Use sites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace to find woodworkers, crafters and locals who have a need for your wood pallets. Get your pricing ready. Set pickup or dropoff arrangements with your potential buyers using these platforms. Use this free platform to your advantage.
Local Pallet Company
A local pallet company comes in handy in the event that you have leftover stocks. Work out a deal with the owner so you can sell the balance to them. Locate such companies in the white pages or in the telephone directory. It is typical and convenient for wood pallet recyclers to sell their stocks to a pallet company, although this setup can decrease your profits.
How Much Can I Sell Pallets For?
The cost of wooden pallets depend on several factors:
- Quantity of wood pallets recycling in your area
- And the most important of all: the price that pallet buyers are inclined to pay
The primary factors, however, that influence the cost of wooden pallets are size and the condition of the pallets.
You can expect the price of wood pallets to be $0.50 minimum and can go up to the range of $2.50 to $4 each. As mentioned, these prices are dependent on the size and condition of the used pallets. Another major factor though is your buyer.
For instance, you wish to sell your wood pallets to local makers. A local manufacturer may need 50 to 100 pallets a week. If you can find even just 5 of them that need 50 pallets 5 days a week at $2.50 each pallet, you’d earn an income of $625 per week.
Benefits of Recycling Wood Pallets
Recycling wood pallets provides numerous benefits. If you’re in the business of recycling wood pallets, you won’t have to be tied up with the usual 8-hour duty. You can choose to set your schedule so that it complements your clients’ and you can plan your work smoothly.
Additionally, you can choose the clients you want to keep. This is especially important if you dislike working with a client that you think is not worth the money and effort. You can just move along to another customer with whom you can form a pleasant business relationship with.
When you operate your own business recycling wood pallets or any other business endeavor for that matter, you have a self-employed status. So, you need to monitor your income and your expenditures as well.
Come tax time, you’re obliged to report your income on your tax reporting form. When you keep track of all your expenses, you’re able to reduce your taxable income. Alternatively, if your business shows profits after expenses, you’re obligated to pay taxes on that income.
Due to this, we recommend that you open a different savings account where you can keep your income from your sideline hustling. Make sure though that you save this money because it will be useful when tax time comes around. An ideal approach to this is to save 20% for taxes, no matter what your side hustle may be.
You can then make necessary adjustments on your tax payment savings after you’ve run your sideline hustle for about a year or two.
No matter if it’s recycling wood pallets or any one of the many side hustle alternatives you can find, maintaining a side gig is a surefire way to get higher income and accomplish financial goals.
Aside from the fact that you’re your own boss in your wood pallet recycling business and you get to choose what hours you work, there are several other excellent reasons for utilizing used pallets and selling them for profit.
The main beneficial attribute of this business is that when manufacturing companies buy wood pallets from you, they will pay you against delivery. What this means is that there is no credit involved.
You earn right away from your recycled wood pallets and you immediately get paid in cold hard cash.
This is one of the many side hustle ideas out there I’d like to share.
As always, if you want to add to what I have written or you want to throw in your two cents, then you’re more than welcome to add to the comments below.
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