One interesting way to make extra money is collecting and recycling wood pallets. Wood pallets are used all over the country and the world. Companies use them to help transport goods from one place to another.
Some companies simply discard these pallets. They leave them outside their business for anyone who is willing to pick them up. People like you and me then gather them and haul them to another location for resale. Anyone looking for ways to make extra money can collect these pallets and sell them to other companies. Yes, you’ll have to put in a little time and effort. However, the money you make may be worth it.
Here are some answers to questions you might have about recycling wood pallets. Learn how to do it and how much you can make. If you have access to a lot of wood pallets, this could be a viable side hustle for you.
How Much Do They Pay for the Pallets?
The price you’ll get for your pallets depends on a few factors. If the pallets are in good condition, you’ll be able to sell them for more. Pallet prices range anywhere from 50 cents each up to $4 each. The price you’ll get per pallet depends on these factors:
- What area you live in
- How many recyclers are in the area
- What local recycling companies are willing to pay
If you deliver quality pallets, you may be able to get yourself a few clients who are willing to pay a decent price for them. By finding the right clients, you can earn some valuable side hustle money.
For instance, let’s say you can get two clients willing to pay $2 per pallet. If each client buys 100 pallets a week, you can make $400 per week selling pallets. You might be wondering why companies would want to buy pallets from some guy (or girl) off the street.
Companies in need of pallets for shipping will be eager to save money by purchasing recycled pallets. If you can help them cut their costs in half, you’ll be saving them a lot of money.
Remember that the companies you service will want to know you can keep up with their needs. They’ll want you to be able to meet their daily or weekly pallet demand and provide good service too. If you’re committed to doing these two things, companies may want your business on a regular basis.
Bonus: In most cases, pallet reselling is handled on a cash basis. This means you have the money you’ve earned in hand as soon as you drop the pallets off at their specified location. No waiting two weeks to get paid like you do at your 9-to-5 job.
Where Can I Find Wood Pallets?
There are a few places you may be able to find wood pallets. Local businesses are likely one of your best bets for finding wood pallets. And check your local Craigslist site as well to find pallets to re-sell. In my local area, there were several listings for free wood pallets on Craigslist.
Also, I know of two local businesses in our small town alone that give away wood pallets. They have piles of wood pallets available for pickup with a “free” sign alongside them.
Another option would be to check with local manufacturing companies that receive a lot of supplies. Stop by and see if they have wood pallets you can take off their hands. If they pay a company to remove the pallets, they’ll likely be glad to have you take them for free.
Who Buys Wood Pallets?
If you want to make money recycling wood pallets, you’ve got several options for selling them. Of course, the number of clients you’ll have depends on where you live. It’s likely that the bigger the city you live in, the more places you’ll have that buy wood pallets. Here are some options for finding places to sell your wood pallets.
Sell to Local Manufacturers
Do you live in an area that has a lot of manufacturing companies? If so, this might be a good avenue for selling your recycled wood pallets. Visit various company headquarters or call them on the phone. Explain that you’re a seller of recycled wood pallets. Start negotiations for a price that will make you a profit and save the company money as well.
Sell on Craigslist
On my local Craigslist site, several people were offering to buy wood pallets. They might want the pallets to resell themselves. Or they might want the pallets to use for wood art or other projects. The prices they were willing to pay ranged from 50 cents a piece on up. So check your local Craigslist listing to see if there are buyers available in your area. They might want to purchase the pallets you get for free.
Sell to Pallet Brokers
Pallet brokers exist all over the US and Canada. They work to make sure that wood pallets avoid a lifetime in the landfill. Sometimes the companies repair and reuse the pallets. Other times they might resell the pallets. In cases where pallets are beyond repair, they often grind them up into wood mulch and resell them to those needing mulch.
There are a number of pallet brokers that could be a viable option for you as a pallet recycler. Here are a few to chose from:
Kamps Pallets has locations in nearly all major metropolitan areas. They have a contact page on their website for those interested in selling pallets to Kamps.
North American Pallet Recycling Network
This is another prominent company that could be willing to buy pallets you collect. They have locations in many of the 50 states including Alaska and Hawaii. The North American Pallet Recycling Network is eager to work with pallet recyclers. Their goal? To help redistribute pallets for long-term use.
National Wooden Pallet Container and Association
The National Wooden Pallet Container and Association works differently. It has a directory of companies on its website that will buy and sell wooden pallets. Recyclers can use the directory to find contact information for companies in their area that may be interested in purchasing the pallets they have for resale.
The recycle.net website has a section specifically for people who buy and sell wood pallets. This site might be a good place for you to find buyers for your pallets. Or places where you can pick up pallets for free.
Local Pallet Companies or Furniture/Woodworking Schools
These two options might also be viable places for you to sell the pallets you collect. Check local technical college listings for woodworking or furniture making schools. Or check your local phone book in the yellow pages for pallet companies near you that may want to buy your recycled pallets.
What Will I Need to Get Started?
The costs to start recycling wood pallets can vary. If you’ve got one of the main items already in your possession, they’re minimal. The main things you’ll need to get started are a truck and a trailer. Of course, the start-up costs will be cheaper if you already own these things.
I wouldn’t recommend purchasing these items unless you’ve already done your research. If you are certain there’s a market for recycling wood pallets in your area, it might be worth the expense. Or if you were planning on purchasing a truck or trailer anyway, it could be worth the expense too.
You’ll also need a decent pair of work gloves. Along with that, you’ll want to have a drill and some nails for repairing any broken pallets. Remember the better shape they are in, the more money you’ll get for each pallet.
It’s likely the biggest expense you’ll have is the gas needed for hauling the pallets. You can save money on gas for your pallet recycling business in many ways.
- First, you can plan your trips so that you’re hitting businesses near one another on the same day.
- Second, if your truck has a topper or sides installed on it, or if your trailer has high sides on it, you’ll increase the number of pallets you can haul. This can minimize the number of trips you’ll need to make which will save you money on gas.
- Third, knowing where you’re going in advance (so that you can avoid extra driving) will save money on gas. Use your GPS to plan your route.
- Fourth, keeping your truck well-maintained will help it run better and use less gas.
- Fifth, knowing where the cheapest gas prices are in your area will also help you save money on gas.
Combine these tips to maximize the profit you make on your wood pallet recycling business.
The Benefits of Recycling Wood Pallets
There are several benefits to recycling wood pallets. One great thing about recycling wood pallets is that you choose the hours you work. You can plan your work around your schedule and your clients’ schedules.
Also, you get to choose the clients with whom you work. If you find that a client’s attitude isn’t worth the money you’re earning, simply move on. Being your own boss also means that you choose how much money you’ll make. You can work ten hours a week or fifty hours a week – the choice is yours.
Note: When you earn money recycling wood pallets or any other “on your own” job, know that you’re considered self-employed. This means you’ll have to keep track of your income and your expenses.
When tax time comes around, you’ll need to report your earnings on your tax reporting form. Keeping track of expenses helps reduce your taxable income. However, if there is a profit on your business after expenses, you’ll need to pay taxes on that income.
For that reason, we suggest putting aside some of your side hustle income in a separate savings account. Keep this money untouched, so you have money to pay the tax man in the spring. Saving 20% is a good number to start with. After you get through a year or two of side hustling, you can adjust your tax payment savings accordingly.
Whether it’s recycling wood pallets or one of the many other awesome side hustle options available, having a side gig is a great way to increase your income and achieve your financial goals.