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How to sell copper wire

Updated February 21, 2017

Selling old copper wire can be profitable; the metal is so valuable that unfortunately copper wire and pipe is being stolen from numerous job sites, forcing lots of contractors to strictly tighten security. Legally selling copper wire can result in an extra flow of cash, but there are a few tips that should be followed first to ensure you maximise your profit and avoid legal problems.

Cut copper wire into reasonable lengths using wire cutters. Six foot lengths are about as long as the wires should be. That allows them to be coiled into compact sizes that make it easier for the scrapyard workers to weigh them.

Remove the insulation on the wire with the wire strippers. The wire must be stripped of insulation before it can be sold to scrap metal dealers.

Call local scrap metal dealers to find out if they are accepting copper wire. At times, scrap copper dealers may be inundated and will refuse to accept more copper wire until they are caught up. If the scrap metal dealer doesn't have ample storage, he may temporarily refuse to accept the wire; if so, store it yourself until the market improves.

Determine which local dealers are offering the best prices for your copper wire. Make sure to factor in distance and the cost to transport the wire when making your decision.

Coil your scrapped and stripped copper wire and place it in a large box or bin for storage and for transporting to the scrap metal dealer.

Tip

Check to be sure your local scrap yard is listed in your community's Better Business Association listing, and make sure they don't have complaints filed against them. That will help ascertain that you are selling to a reputable and legal dealer.

Warning

If you are authorised to sell scrap from a job site, it is wise to provide the contact information (name, address and phone number) of the owner, as well as your own driver's licence or state approved identification card. That way you won't be accused of selling stolen copper wire.

Things You'll Need

  • Wire cutters
  • Insulation stripper
  • Vehicle to transport wire
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About the Author

Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, N.H. She has authored five books and hundreds of articles and short stories. Her work has appeared various publications, including "Parenting," "Writer’s Digest," "Vacations" and "Discovery Travel." She studied at the University of Maine and later pursued her writing studies through numerous classes and workshops.