A scrap yard could be one of the more "green" businesses that you could operate since it involves recycling scrap. You can also make a profit at it, too. There are very few start-up costs to open a scrap yard, and the endeavour will make you feel good about doing your part for the environment.
Check with your local municipality's codes and regulations that govern scrap yards. There may be very restrictive policies in place that could curb the types of scrap that you will receive and sell. The codes will also direct you to the kinds of properties and zoning that you'll have to include in your property search.
Decide what kind of scrap you want to deal in. This decision will also help guide you when you begin looking for a location. You must decide if you will buy steel and precious metals or just take in broken-down vehicles to strip for parts.
Find a location. This step will probably be the toughest part of your start-up requirements. Not only do you need to find enough acreage to support the kind of scrap yard you envision, but you also have to deal with neighbours who may not be too happy about your proposal. You must also choose a location that is somewhat convenient for your customers.
Start collecting your scrap before you open so that you will have some inventory in place when you are set to go. Set up some relationships with tow truck drivers or resellers of steel, letting them know when you will be ready to receive their scrap.
Set up a marketing campaign that includes advertising and press releases to announce your opening. Find a good source where your clients look for scrap yard ads, whether it is in the local free paper, eBay or an "Auto Trader" kind of publication. Consider building a website, too, since more consumers search for items, especially used car parts, online.