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How to Make Money From Used Wood Pallets

Wood pallets are flat wood structures used to support items while they are being loaded and unloaded into trucks and warehouses. After they are used, they are often stacked behind commercial buildings waiting to be taken to the landfill. Refashioning the wood from pallets into other items is a hobby that can turn into a profitable business, if you have basic woodworking skills.

Locate a supply of wood pallets. Most businesses will let you have them for free if you take them away. Just go into the business and ask what its policy is on the pallets. Look at the classified ads in newspapers and websites too; often people advertise their pallets for free if you haul them away.

Design or find plans for a few items you can make from pallets, like birdhouses or feeders, tables, bookcases or even guitars. Many online resources or woodworking books can help you determine what to build and how to build it.

Cut up your pallets into usable wood pieces. Use a circular saw or Sawzall to cut up the pallets into the lengths you need. Remove the nails if you intend to use the whole pieces in their pallet lengths.

Build your selected project. Make a prototype first and make sure it turns out the way you want it. Have friends and family give you their opinion on the project and make adjustments, if necessary. Once you have a perfected prototype, you can build five or 10 at a time.

Sell your creations. Ask local gift shops if they will take your items on consignment or purchase them from you outright. Create a website or sell through an already established crafters' or auction site. Go to local craft fairs or farmers' markets, set up a booth and sell your items while giving a demonstration on how you build them. If you have a home on a main thoroughfare, you can hang your birdhouses or other creations outside and attract interest and shoppers with a sign advertising them for sale.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood pallets
  • Circular saw
  • Sawzall
  • Woodworking tools
  • Signage
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About the Author

Michelle Hogan is a writer and the author of 13 books including the 2005 bestselling memoir, "Without a Net: Middle Class and Homeless (With Kids) in America." Hogan studied English at American University and has been writing professionally since 1998. Her work has appeared in "The New York Times," "Redbook," "Family Circle" and many other publications.