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Making more money off the same cars

(Teaching old dogs new tricks)

My name is Alvin Collier, owner of Alvin’s Auto Recycling Oakland CA. I have  owned it since May 1985. Prior to that Iy name is Alvin Collier, owner was employed in the auto recycling business since I was a young man. In total I have  been in this business for 40 plus  years. Things have  changed dramatically over those 40 years, not only in the economy, but in our industry and  that is what I want to talk about. Back  in the day there was not as much competition as there is today: back  then it was just us dismantlers at the auction to purchase cars, and  now  it is anybody and  everybody from all over the world. Other competition that was not as big back  in the day is all the different parts that are available aftermarket today. The lack of access to inventory to buy,  mixed with a lot of parts we used to sell that are readily available aftermarket has  cut into our profits. This  means to me that I had  to find more money in the cars I was already processing. I pre-dismantle about 400-450 cars per year at my store. We process the car as normal: draining all the fluids  and  pulling and  tagging all the parts we are going  to inventory. This  is where the extra money comes in. We save as much of the wiring harness from the car as we can  that is easy and  accessible. This  includes under the hood, in the trunk taillight harness, and then if you pull the inside rocker plastic covers there is always a big loom of wires right there that is very accessible to cut. We never use to save these harnesses — all we saved  was the battery cables in a 55 gallon drum. I would get maybe 2 of these barrels full in a years’ time with a low value. Now that we have  started saving as much of the wiring harness as we can,  I am planning on bringing 5-7 4x4x4 metal bins to the mill per year, which should get me thousands of dollars. Now that is squeezing money out of cars!

We also use these same 4x4x4 metal bins  for a number of other things that are easy and  not time consuming when processing a car. We have  a bin  for clean cast iron such as brake rotors and  drums (which we do not stock anymore because of the aftermarket suppliers). These rotors and drums are very easy and  quick to pull off as we process the car. The other bins  we have  are for clean aluminum and  one for dirty aluminum. There is a lot of easy aluminum to pull off the engine compartment after the engine and transmission is out of the car, AC condenser, AC lines,  AC receiver dryers and  evaporator cores. Also all the quick and  easy aluminum on the engines such as valve covers, intakes, and  mounting brackets are usually quick and  easy. The next way we way we are making more money off of the same cars is by selling parts that we are not saving for inventory to core companies. If you have  not been doing this I personally know this is a way to make more money off the same cars. In the 14 months I have  been selling these kinds of cores to this company we have  generated over $8000.00. Now that is making more money off the same cars! Just for an example here is a list of parts I recently took off of one car that we were dismantling. This car is a 1995 Honda Accord EX 4cyl: auto the core company is going  to pay me for the front calipers, the engine computer, the power brake booster, the rack and pinion, and  the power steering pump. That is over $50 I would not have  gotten if we did not deal  with this company.

These parts that I do sell to this company will go in a bin  and  when the bin  is full I call them and  they arrange and  pay for the shipping to them. They also have  a program where they will buy your excess  inventory that you may  have  duplicates of or maybe it has  just been sitting on the shelf forever. Something we just started recently was to start saving the O2 sensors. There are companies that will buy these, so start saving them now  in a box or bucket. Another tidbit is to save all the extra keys you get with the cars. Find keys throw them in a bucket: keys are brass, and  brass is roughly .50 cents a pound. Question: how much does  a 5 gallon bucket of keys weight? I have  my bucket started and am  waiting to find out. Will you? Talk with your representative from your local  scrap recycler (he is an associate member of your state or local  association): ask him  to help  streamline your dismantling operation to help  you make more off of your scrap you are already sending him. I hope after reading this article the ideas help  you like they have  helped me make more money off the same cars. All of this information I have learned from attending and participating in not only my local recycling association, but also the state association. I hope to see you at this year’s state convention in Tahoe and  hear your success on how you were able  to make more money off the same cars.


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