Are you looking for an innovative way to make some extra cash? Do you want to find a side hustle that has the potential to develop into a full-fledged business?
Selling used wooden pallets might be for you.
Companies like Tri County Pallet & Mulch are always looking for entrepreneurs who can pick up and sell us used wood pallets from low-volume users (like restaurants, convenience stores, etc.). We have our own fleet of 53-ft. van trailers that we use to pick up used pallets from large users (ie grocery stores, manufacturing plants) but there are a lot of smaller businesses whose daily deliveries come on wood pallets that need to be recycled. Approximately 30% of the pallets we buy are from lower-volume users.
Though it may seem random, starting a business picking up and selling used pallets has helped make several individuals serious money. And it can work for you, too.
This article will walk you through everything you need to know to get started selling wooden pallets for a profit.
Even if you don’t know the first thing about this business, don’t worry. We’ll make sure that you have the knowledge it takes to start selling pallets in no time—even if you don’t know what a pallet is now.
Follow this advice carefully and adapt it to your current situation for maximum benefits. Done right, this can become a serious business.
What Are Wooden Pallets?
Before you can start breaking the shackles of a 9-5 job life by selling wooden pallets, you’re going to have to know what they are.
Wooden pallets are used by manufacturing companies to transport products.
Large quantities of product are put on these pallets and are then transported by forklift to other areas of the warehouse or loaded onto trucks to be delivered elsewhere.
Pallets offer incredible convenience in product transport and delivery, but once they have been used, it’s often the case they can’t be used again.
Because the weight of the products can be so heavy, many of these pallets break under the pressure. Unskilled forklift use also can damage pallets, making them unfit for repeated company use.
When this happens, these pallets will likely accumulate in a business’s warehouse or outside its doors until it they’re busted up and thrown away.
This can be a lengthy and costly process for businesses, as their employees have to take time from important work in order to discard these pallets.
Additionally, what most businesses don’t know is that it can cost them thousands in potential earnings.
Companies like Tri County Pallet & Mulch buy and recycle used pallets—meaning that this could be a goldmine for people with an entrepreneurial spirit.
Because these businesses recycle these old pallets, it’s also good for the environment—making it a popular choice for some companies.
The truth is, however, that many businesses have yet to buy into these effective services. Instead, they are left dealing with unnecessary pallets littering their warehouses and walkways.
This is where you can come in.
By being able to take these pallets off a business’s hands, you can start turning a profit for yourself. Once you’ve found businesses looking to get rid of their used pallets, you’ll have a supply of material you can sell to us or any pallet recycler near you.
With businesses getting deliveries on pallets every day, you’re sure to have a constant stream of materials coming your way.
Learning how to take advantage of this process, however, isn’t easy.
Keep reading below to see how you can start making money from collecting and delivering wooden pallets.
If done right, you can even develop this into a profitable business of your own.
Who Buys Wooden Pallets?
Before you get started, you’re going to need to know who, exactly, is willing to buy wooden pallets.
Chances are there’s a company in your area.
But you’re going to have to know where to find them.
Your best bet is to search for pallet recycling companies in your area. Do an online search to find a pallet recycler near you.
Get an idea of what they will pay you for the different pallets that you bring in. Choose the one that will bring in the most money.
There are several factors that may affect how much a company is willing to pay you for a pallet, including:
- Size—Larger pallets will typically bring in more money. You can expect to get more money for a larger pallet in good condition than a smaller one in a similar condition.
- Condition—This is the most important determinant of how much you’re going to get paid. Pallets that are still in fairly okay shape can be repaired and sold again for reuse. This makes them worth a lot more to recycling companies than those that are in bad shape. Don’t get discouraged, however, as these pallets can make you some extra money, too. Many recycling services will offer lower rates for pallets in bad condition—and some will even pay you so that they can turn them into mulch.
- The Number You Have—While this doesn’t determine how much you will get paid per pallet, it’s a safe bet that the more pallets you can bring in, the better. Though it stands to reason that a shipment of good condition used pallets will make more than a mixture of good and bad, you can be fairly certain that you can get more money with more pallets. This means securing more clients can help you gain more traction to starting a business of your own.
With this information in mind, you can start to get a better idea of how much you can make per haul. You may even find that once you’ve gotten into the swing of things that you can predict how much you’ll get with each delivery.
You’ll start to recognize, for instance, that pallets from one client generally bring in more money than those from another, giving you a better eye for which pallet pickups are better for your bottom line.
By establishing good relationships with the businesses from which you’ll pick up pallets AND the recycling companies to whom you’ll sell pallets, you’ll find these companies will depend on you, ensuring a steady stream of income.
What You’ll Need to Sell Wood Pallets
Getting started requires two things:
- The right equipment
- A plan for how you’ll run your business
Without the right vehicles, you’ll be unable to transport any significant volume of wooden pallets.
With standard pallets being 48”x40”, you’ll have a tough time fitting them into a regular vehicle—even a truck. So, you’ll need to acquire a vehicle that will allow you to transport a high quantity of wooden pallets.
If you can’t afford such a vehicle, it may be possible to store some pallets in your current car or truck—preferably a truck. But, this will require making multiple trips to pickup and deliver used pallets, costing you time and gas and limiting your income.
Still, if you’re just looking to make some money on the side, this should be enough to get started. Starting small provides you the time to build your business, earn some income and gain valuable experience until you’re able to get a larger vehicle to expand your business.
If you do plan on going professional, it’s generally recommended that you obtain a vehicle that can accommodate the size and the volume of the pallets that you’re transporting.
It’s also important that you don’t damage the pallets even further during transport, as this can cost you money.
Some suggest that in order to combat this, you build walls around your vehicle in order to protect your cargo. Stacking them vertically in a truck bed may also be an option—and if you’ve got a trailer that you can pull, you can load them there, too.
By taking the steps to secure proper transportation, you can begin a professional career in selling used wood pallets.
As your business begins to take off, you should look into buying or leasing a commercial-grade vehicle that will allow you to safely transport a large number of wooden pallets at a time. Doing that will boost your income and profit margins over time.
Plan to Make Money Selling Used Pallets
What other steps should you follow in order to start making real money by selling used pallets?
For starters, once you’ve found the recycling company and vehicle of your choice, you’re going to need to find clients.
Companies that distribute products are typical users of pallets, as are grocery stores, restaurants, and other types of retailers. All of these will be looking to offload their used pallets.
Because you’ll get paid by the recycler, it’s probably your best bet that you don’t charge the businesses from which you’ll be collecting pallets.
In this way, you provide a free service that’s hard for them to turn down.
Once you’ve got your foot in the door with one business, it will be easier to get others to follow.
For this reason, you may want to start with the biggest business in your area. If you can secure them as a client, you can be sure that others will want your services, too.
Be sure to present yourself professionally and be able to sell your service to businesses without a hitch.
If you’ve never sold anything before, you might want to consider practicing in the mirror or by yourself so that you can make a more confident pitch.
Remember, you’re selling points are:
- You will remove their used pallets for free
- You will save the company time and money of having to dispose used pallets
- You will free up their employee’s time doing this work
- Your work won’t cost them anything.
By making sure that you’re selling these points to businesses, you’ll find that you will get more clients than you thought possible.
Some businesses might want to see the vehicle you’ll be using. If that’s the case, it’s better to have viable transportation early so that you can secure more clients.
Make sure that you sell yourself confidently so that you can get your new business off the ground.
What If You’re a Business Owner?
If you’re the owner or manager of a business that needs to offload used pallets, you can make money by recycling your wooden pallets, too. With large enough volume, you can cut out the middleman and go straight to the recycling company to get paid for your used pallets.
In this way, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of recycling and get paid to do it.
By taking advantage of these great opportunities, entrepreneurs and businesses can make money selling used wooden pallets.