Need some extra money? You might want to recycle old tires for cash.
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Yep, you read that right.
As we discussed in our article on how you can Get Cash for Recycling Old Appliances, recycling is not only good for the planet, it can be great for your wallet!
Believe it or not, there is money to be made in the old junk you see laying around, including tires.
You might be asking yourself: who buys scrap tires, anyway? The good news is that there are many tire centers that retread or recycle old tires.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, tires are banned from most landfills as they are a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other pests. That means there are a lot of used tires hanging around auto shops and garages, just waiting to be scooped up.
We created this guide to teach you how to get paid for used tires. There’s no reason you can’t profit from another person’s trash!
Let’s start with what you really want to know.
Is a Used Tire Business Profitable?
The short answer is: yes.
Tire retailers are required to keep the used tires that they remove from vehicles they are servicing.
But when retailers must get rid of their old tires, they have limited options.
They can either pay their employees to take the tires to a recycling center, or they can pay the recycling center to come pick them up.
Recycling centers can charge retailers anywhere from $1.00 to $10.00 per tire to properly dispose of or recycle tires.
Why is that a good thing? Because it means you can get free tires!
A retailer would much rather have you come pick up their old tires for free, than pay someone to take out what is essentially their trash.
And free tires mean cash in your pocket.
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How? It’s simple, actually.
You connect with local tire retailers, auto body shops, and even mechanics to let them know that you are in the business of buying used and scrap tires.
How to Get Paid for Used Tires
Your best bet is to go the legal route and start a legit business.
It’s important that the retailers recognize you as a legitimate business, and not someone who is just going to illegally store or dispose of their old tires, as that could get you both in trouble.
Also, it is easier to form a relationship with other companies when you are “Joe from Ultra Tire Collection” rather than “Joe from down the block.”
So how does one go about getting in the business of selling used tires?
First, be sure to check with the local and state regulations for your area regarding the storage and resale of used tires.
After that, you’ll want to register your business and obtain a business license.
From there, you can create business cards, fliers, and advertisements to share with local businesses and individuals.
How to Recycle Tires for Money
The first way you might want to consider is simply recycling the tires to recycling centers yourself, many of which might pay you just to recycle them.
After you’ve made your business official, you will need to do some research on your local recycling centers.
Have some less-than-perfect tires on your hands? If you’re trying to figure out who buys scrap tires, your best bet is to visit your local tire recycling centers.
Tire recycling centers will buy scrap tires, though you won’t get as much money for them. You can expect around $1 to $5 per tire, but that’s nearly all profit!
If you can’t find any businesses locally, the internet always has your back. Recycler’s World has been matching buyers and sellers online for over 20 years.
Another great site is Recycle Nation. Bonus: this site helps you find places to recycle almost anything, so why limit yourself to tires?
Note that not all recycling centers will pay you for your tires, so you’ll need to make it clear when you contact them that you’re looking for cash for your tires.
You can always gather offers from different centers before you make a final decision to make the most out of your used tires.
Re-Sell Them to Tire Shops
Another way you can get paid for used tires is by selling the ones you’ve gathered to other tire shops.
Some shops keep a wide selection of used tires for customers to buy for spares, or even to install as spares for people in need of a quick install until they can get a new set of tires.
Many tire shops are even willing to buy used tires that are able to be re-treaded and will pay good money for them!
There are a few stipulations, of course. The tires must be puncture-free and in decent shape, or they won’t be accepted. These tires usually aren’t able to be re-treaded, so they won’t be much use to the tire shops.
Like you did with recycling centers, take some time to call around to local tire shops and see what they might offer you for your tires.
They might give you a quote over the phone or ask you to bring the tires in so they can look over them and give you a price.
It’s a good idea to look up the market value of the tires you have in their new condition first, so you can at least get a basic idea of what they’d be worth new, and set your prices accordingly.
Sell Them on Selling Sites
Of course, Craigslist is always a good place to sell things that you don’t have a need for. While you’re there, check out want ads to see if anyone is looking for tires already.
This can help you compare the tires you have to prices other people are getting for their tires so you don’t under or overvalue yours.
Facebook’s Marketplace is also a good place to list tires online.
You might find a local buyer in need of a spare for a decent price, or maybe even someone who does auto repair work on the side.
Facebook Marketplace lets you list items for free and you can share them between buying and selling groups or on your Facebook page to reach more potential buyers.
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Make Stuff Out of the Tires
Another, more fun, option is to consider recycling them yourself!
What I mean by that is this: there are a lot of really cool things that can be made from old tires!
You can make and sell tire swings as an additional side business. Even more than the traditional round swing with a rope, you can cut and paint the tire to look like a horse!
(For real, check out this awesome tutorial on Instructables.)
If you have a spare minute, head over to Pinterest to check out all the things people have made with old tires.
Simply search “old tires,” and you’ll see things like planters, see-saws, dog beds, and geodesic domes.
Create some really amazing custom projects and artwork, and you could find yourself with another lucrative business on your hands.
Go take a look at our list of Places to Sell Handmade Crafts Online for websites where you can sell your tire crafts.
Start Your Own Auto Repair Business
You can use the used tires you collect as part of your own auto repair business out of your home or a rented shop.
If you know a lot about car repair, you can start your own business and hire other workers as you expand.
This is always a good business to get into and you can stand to get a lot of business if you keep your labor prices competitive.
Collecting and using used tires can help save you and your customers a lot of money over purchasing new ones when they’re not needed.
You can always store the ones you collect in a garage and use them for various vehicles that need a quick tire replacement or upsell them as extra spare tires to your customers with compatible vehicles.
Shredding tires is another possibility, although you’ll need to shell out a lot of money to get a tire shredding machine, so you might want to save this idea for a later time when you start expanding your business and can afford to invest in one.
A tire shredder shreds the rubber of tires to make a variety of materials, like landscaping mulch and soft playground surfaces.
In some cases, shredding makes it easier for manufacturers to break down rubber to make other materials, like glue.
Your business model can be configured in a couple of ways if you choose this route.
One, you might be able to package the shredded material and sell it to relevant businesses, like playground surfacing companies or landscapers.
You might also be able to sell it to fuel makers because shredded rubber can be used for some alternative fuels.
Asphalt making companies might also be able to use the shredded tires for road resurfacing, and shoe companies might be able to use them to manufacturer rubber soles for shoes.
There are a lot of potential options, but you’ll need to do your research to figure out what might work best for you, especially in your area.
Find a Re-Treading Facility
Some companies focus on re-treading tires, turning used tires into practically new ones with gripping treads that customers can buy for a bit cheaper than a new set.
You might have some of these facilities near you and you don’t even realize it.
To do this, you’ll still need tires that are in relatively good shape and are repairable, meaning that they can’t have any punctures or tears that would render them useless even if they get new treads.
You can Google “tire retreading facility near me” to see if any of these companies exist in your area.
If you’re lucky, you might have a couple of options in your town that are willing to pay you for the tires you collect.
You won’t get the final sales price (the company will re-sell the tire) but you’ll at least get a few bucks out of each of your tires you turn in.
However, you can always pay to have the facility tread the tire, and then give it back to you to re-sell yourself.
Re-Tread Them Yourself
There’s always the option of re-treading the tire yourself, too, which will save you a lot of money over getting them re-treaded.
But, this isn’t an easy process and you’ll need to have a good amount of knowledge to do it correctly, not to mention the right tools!
In most cases, professional equipment is necessary to do the job right, so I wouldn’t suggest re-treading tires if you don’t have the tools to do it with.
You might be able to come up with an agreement with a local repair shop to rent their re-treading equipment during specific hours, so you can do the job yourself and make a better profit.
Get Paid to Haul Used Tires
Finally, you can check around your neighborhood to see if anyone has any used tires that they need hauled off.
Like I mentioned before, checking with local tire and repair shops should be your first step.
However, there might be people in your neighborhood who have spare tires they don’t need, or people who do some repair work out of their homes.
They might jump at the chance to have you haul away their tires for a lower cost than a recycling center might charge them.
Or, you can offer to do it for free and just take the money you’ll make when you re-sell them, turn them into crafts, or do whatever else you want with them to earn cash.
How Much Can I Actually Get Paid to Recycle Used Tires?
I know that this seems like a really strange business idea to many of you, but it’s real. You absolutely can get paid to recycle used tires, sell them, or make something new with them.
The money you make from it depends on a lot of factors, though, mostly related to what you choose to do with them.
The goal should always be to spend as little as possible doing something to the tire in order to sell it.
Therefore, crafting could eat into your profits, depending on what you’re making and how much materials you need.
However, it could also give you an excellent return if you find that your projects are way more popular than you expected.
You might be able to sell a tire swing, for example, for $100, depending on the size of the tire!
But how much can you expect to make simply from reselling your recycling old tires?
It depends on the center, of course, but most do take a fee for each tire you bring there.
This is where it helps to come to a beneficial agreement with the auto shops from where you’re getting your tires.
Call the recycling centers first to ask about their fees. Then, you can price your hauling accordingly.
If a recycling center charged $3 per tire to take it away, then you’ll want to charge the auto shop $6 or more per tire to pick them up and still get a decent profit.
Remember that you’ll need to take vehicle wear and tear and gas prices into consideration when you set your prices.
So, the truth is that this work can vary a lot, but if you’re smart about pricing whatever services you offer (this will take some time to get the hang of, as with any business venture), then you could end up making a full-time income with a part-time work schedule.
Other Things to Consider
If you’re going to make a side business out of selling used or scrap tires, you’d better make sure that you have the equipment first.
You’re going to need a decent truck or another large vehicle to haul the tires from retail or individual locations and to the recycling center or re-treading location.
Another thing you might want to consider is creating a short-term storage plan for your tires. Many centers will only accept tires at a certain number, like when you have accumulated 100 to recycle.
You’ll need somewhere to store the tires until you reach your quota.
Depending on how much time you are willing to invest, this could take a couple of days to a couple of weeks.
Finally, you’re going to want to think what you might do with tires you can’t sell right away.
As with any product, there are going to be a few duds that won’t sell. It would be extremely beneficial to have a plan in place for what you’ll do with the tires that won’t sell.
That’s where a lot of other ideas I listed for making money with your tires can come in handy.
It’s all about being creative!
You can, of course, bring them to a recycling center without getting paid for them, but the whole point is to make money, right?
I want to remind you not to throw away the rims or hubs of tires you might find.
These can also be sold, so you don’t want to get rid of anything that could potentially make you more money!
Re-selling tires that are in decent condition is likely to bring you the most money, but the other ideas I mentioned are perfect for filling in dry spells when you don’t have buyers.
Utilize the other ideas above to get the most out of your tires and don’t be afraid to get creative.
To Wrap It Up
As the old saying goes, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.
We know that our readers are always looking for the best ways to make real money from home, and this is one of those so-crazy-it-works ideas!
Old and scrap tires do major damage to our environment, as they will not degrade over time.
Rather than destroying our environment by tossing them in a landfill, you can make some money by recycling them.
Do good work, get good cash.
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