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How to Become a Salvage Dealer

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Salvage dealers provide a valuable service to society. Instead of roadsides, yards and fields becoming junkyards of discarded metal, appliances and vehicles, there are places for these items where they can be turned into cash. In addition to providing a service to the area residents, a salvage yard can be a profitable business if handled correctly. Lots of land, careful planning and community connections can help turn someone else's junk into your treasure.

Secure several acres of land on which to store the salvage items you purchase and want to resell. Whether you are going to focus on salvaged vehicles, appliances, metals or a combination of several different products, you will need somewhere for them to be stored. Once you have found the land, check with your city and county government to ensure it is properly zoned for that use. If not, you will need to look for other land or appear before the city/county zoning boards of appeals and plead your case for rezoning to see if they will change the zoning for your purpose.

Apply for your business licenses. In most cities you will be required to get a city business license and a county business license. If your business will be located outside of the city boundaries, however, you only will be required to obtain a county license.

Contact all area groups and businesses that might have need to use a salvage dealer's services. This might mean contacting area public service departments, businesses and individuals. Let them know what type of products you are willing to salvage, whether you are willing to pick items up or or if they must be delivered.

Establish hours of operation and hire and schedule employees. Be sure to contact your insurance carrier to get covered for liability. Discuss with your carrier the cost of liability for letting customers wander the yard themselves looking for salvage items versus having an employee locate the item for them while they wait in your lobby. Choose a method and obtain the coverage.

Advertise your services using word of mouth, local media and attending business-to-business networking events.


Candace Webb has been writing professionally since 1989. She has worked as a full-time journalist as well as contributed to metropolitan newspapers including the "Tennessean." She has also worked on staff as an associate editor at the "Nashville Parent" magazine. Webb holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism with a minor in business from San Jose State University.