If you’ve ever gone out to your car in the morning, only to hear the dreaded clicking sound when your engine won’t start, then you know what it’s like to need a new battery. But what do you do with the old one?
Well, if you’re like me, you take it down to the auto parts store, where they give you a (really small) credit towards your next one. Maybe that’s what led you to start considering selling your – and other peoples’ – batteries somewhere else.
But can you honestly make money selling junk batteries? Yes, you can make money selling old junk car and boat batteries. All you need to do is know where to get your hands on them and how to sell them for top dollar.
Let’s discuss this further so you know how it works.
What Are Junk Batteries?
Junk batteries are old, unusable lead-acid batteries. We aren’t talking about double A Duracell or lithium ion phone batteries. Think of the heavy, expensive car and marine ones.
Basically, those types have a lead core that can be refurbished and then reused, which is why you can make money recycling them.
Making Money Selling Junk Batteries
The idea is simple: you find someone’s old batteries that they’ve trashed, and you collect them and bring them to a scrapyard to exchange them for money.
So, the first thing you need to do is actually get the batteries – which surprisingly is the most difficult part. Since these types of batteries last longer and aren’t supposed to just get thrown in the trash, it can be a little harder to find your supply.
Here are some ways to get your hands on these batteries:
- Ask your friends to give theirs to you when they need to replace them
- Look behind auto service shops and auto part stores for abandoned ones
- Check the dumpsters in your local boatyard (if you have one)
- Ask auto and boat supply stores if you can look through their scrap pile
Basically, you just have to spend some time looking and asking around. Eventually, you’ll start building up a little stash. And don’t just stop when you have one or two, you’ll want to gather as many as you can before taking them to the scrapyard – more on that later.
And when you’re ready to rid yourself of the batteries and make some cash, you can generally sell to any of these places:
- Local Recycling Centers
- Metal Recycling Centers
- Auto Parts Stores
And before you speed off to the nearest location, hit the brakes and pick up the phone. This is where patience is really going to pay off. You want to call around to as many scrapyards and recycling centers as possible and see what price they offer you, because they can significantly differ.
After you’ve found the highest paying option, call ahead to their office and ask what exactly you do. This can save you a bit of time, because in most cases (if you’re just bringing in batteries), you can skip the potentially long lines and go straight inside.
Then, all that’s left is to talk to the teller (or, in some cases, machine) and collect your cash!
How Much Can You Make?
For such a straightforward process, you might be wondering how much money one can actually make at this.
Well, most car batteries weigh between 40-60 pounds, each containing around 21 pounds of lead (on average). Most places will pay per pound of battery, but some will give a flat rate per battery.
Which means you could potentially earn between $11.60 and $17.40 per battery you sell.
However, certain places may offer less or more, depending on certain factors. These are some things that will help you get top dollar for your batteries:
- Quantity: The more you have, the more money per pound you’ll be offered.
- Location: Areas with harbors that have boats going directly to China or India (places that commonly refurbish the batteries) tend to pay more.
- Time: The price for lead fluctuates, so places will offer a higher amount per pound if the price of lead per pound is higher.
What Are the Startup Costs?
The startup costs for this type of side hustle are essentially negligible. Since you’re looking for batteries that someone else has already junked or thrown away, there should be no need for you to purchase them and then flip them for a profit.
The only thing that you’ll be paying for is the gas you use to get from place to place.
Your time will undoubtedly be the biggest investment, since (like we’ve mentioned earlier) getting the batteries can be quite time consuming.
You could, however, significantly rack up your startup costs if you wanted to turn this into a full-blown business. But that is an almost entirely different business model and would require significant amounts of business know-how as well as a lot of cash up front (and that’s not to mention the different legalities that would come with it).
Honestly, this type of thing is best left as a way to make some extra money on the side.
Pros and Cons
While this might seem like the dream side gig, there are always good and bad aspects you’ll want to consider before diving in head-first. So, let’s take a look at those.
- Virtually no startup costs
- Ability to make decent money
- Requires no prior knowledge or expertise
- Limited to a side hustle
- Can be very time consuming
- Supply might be limited, especially if you live in very rural areas with a low population
Overall, you definitely can make money selling junk batteries – so long as you know where to get them and have the patience to sell them at the highest price.
In fact, as long as you have enough of a supply, this could be the dream side hustle. With a little gas, a little time, and a bit of patience, you could be walking away with hundreds of extra dollars a month!
However, if you live in low-populated areas, you’ll have a harder time finding enough of a supply to make it worth it. If that’s you, you’d probably have better luck selling reclaimed wood (which is in high quantities in the countryside) or making some money cleaning yards.
Either way, we hope this article helps you in deciding whether this money-making venture is right for you!