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How to Make Money Recycling Wood Pallets?

How to Make Money Recycling Wood Pallets

Are you looking for an easy way to make some extra cash in your spare time

Around 1.9 billion wooden pallets are used in the United States each year to transport goods throughout the country. Once they have been used, these pallets are generally discarded and often find their way into landfills. However, you can track down pallets, recycle them, and then resell them for cash. Not only is this a great way to make some money, but you will also literally be turning trash into treasure. 

So, let’s find out how to make money recycling wood pallets. 

The Steps You Need to Take

Before you dive right in, you need to map out a simple business plan. This should consist of small steps that you can take toward achieving your goal. Make sure you complete all of them before you launch your business and start making money.

Decide on a business name

Having a professional name and brand will make it easier for customers to find you. This is the name that you will use in all your marketing and advertising. Therefore, it’s important to take the time to choose a business name that connects with potential customers on an emotional level.

It is best to make a list of at least five potential business names that could represent you. Then, you need to ask friends and relatives for their input. Make sure the domain name is available so that you can create a website when you’re ready. 

Decide on a business name

Register your business

You need to register your business with local, state, and perhaps even federal governments. You also need to make sure you register with the IRS so that you can pay your taxes when they’re due. 

Finding Old Pallets

You need to make sure you have a constant and reliable source of old wooden pallets to repair and sell. If you are lucky, you may be able to find large numbers right on your doorstep. Start with sources that will provide what you need free of charge or at a very low price. 

Some of the places you can find old pallets include:

  • Local businesses
  • Shopping centers
  • Distribution centers
  • Recycling centers
  • Grocery stores
  • Landfills
  • Construction sites
  • Dumpsters
  • Hotels
  • Airports

Collect the pallets

While some businesses will deliver for a fee, others will expect you to take care of the collection yourself. When you are getting started, it’s best to rent a truck or van that’s large enough for your needs. You can purchase the necessary vehicle and invest in a trailer once your business expands. 

Work out a safe storage solution

You need a convenient storage solution that will keep the pallets clean and dry. You need a garage or other location that’s large enough to store a big stack. This ensures you will have enough inventory in case a large order is made. 

Start sorting

You need to make sure that all the items you collect are sorted by size and condition. You should always stack items of the same size so that the stacks are more stable. This will also help you to keep track of your inventory so that you can sell it more easily.

Pallets are shipped to the United States from all over the world, and different countries use different sizes. It is best to try and offer a range of standard sizes to give your customers more options. Make sure the stacks are clearly labeled so that you can quickly see what you’re working with. 

The six main sizes are:

  • North American Standard size – 48 inches long by 40 inches wide.
  • North American Medium size – 42 inches long by 42 inches wide.
  • European Standard size – 47.24 inches long by 39.37 inches wide.
  • European Medium size – 47.24 inches long by 31.5 inches wide.
  • Australia Standard size – 45.9 inches long by 45.9 inches wide.
  • Asian Standard size – 43.3 inches long by 43.3 inches wide.

Purchase the equipment you need

Like most businesses, you need to invest capital to get things up and running. You need a good pair of gloves to protect your hands while you’re working. You also need a pair of goggles and suitable ear protection. It is important to invest in high-quality safety equipment to protect your hands, eyes, and ears. 

You will often need to work with saws while repairing pallets. Make sure you invest in a high-quality respirator to protect your lungs from the sawdust you generate. It’s also worth investing in a pair of high-quality and comfortable steel-toed boots. 

purchase the equipment you need

Practice repairing the pallets

The more you practice, the better your repaired products will be. It’s important to take the time to master the necessary skills before you start selling. Spend time researching the entire process and mastering the various stages.

You will need to replace broken boards and make sure any nails that stick out are hammered in. The edges should be as smooth as possible. Once you have finished repairing the pallets, you should grade them based on their overall condition.  

Launch your business

You’re now ready to market your business and start finding customers. Take the time to look at the different platforms where you can make sales. Research the current prices in your area and make sure you don’t set your rates too high. You can always raise your prices a little once you have gained some experience and a strong reputation. 

Start making sales

A large part of running your own business involves interacting with potential customers. People are likely to call and email you with questions about your products. It is important to be polite and professional at all times and take the time to answer questions in detail. 

Where To Find Old Wood Pallets?

Many businesses have large numbers of pallets that are cluttering up their warehouses. These local businesses are likely to be happy to give you these items and may even deliver them for a small fee. It is best to ask business owners if you can take and pay for them rather than assuming that they are free.

Start with local businesses that regularly have large and heavy items delivered to them. These include factories, warehouses, tile shops, and animal feed stores. Here are a couple of other places where you can score pallets regularly. 

Where To Find Old Wood Pallets


This is a great place to find very cheap or even free pallets. You can create a free listing to tell users what you’re looking for. You can also do a keyword search and see what pops up. Each local Craigslist page comes with a ‘free’ tab where users are giving away unwanted items. 


This website is a great place to find free stuff in your area. Freecycle runs a total of 5,300 groups and has nine million members around the world. Simply by doing a quick search for local groups, you may regularly score free pallets. 

Other places to find pallets include:

  • Local buying and selling apps
  • Classified websites
  • The classified section of local newspapers
  • Facebook Marketplace

Where to Sell Them?

Once you have set up your business and followed all the steps, it’s time to start making money. To do this, you will need to find a collection of regular customers. Here are some companies that are likely to purchase your recycled pallets. 

National Wooden Pallet and Container Association 

This organization boasts members located throughout the United States. You can search for potential buyers by entering your zip code into the search bar. You will then be provided with a list of companies in your area that may be interested in your products. 

national wooden pallet and container association

Gruber Pallets 

This prominent manufacturer is also a buyer and is happy to talk with local sellers. It is important to note that Gruber Pallets only buys in bulk and has specific size demands. You can reach out to the company through its website and find out what they are looking for. If you manage to strike a deal, you are sure to have plenty of regular orders. 


This company features a directory of listings that you can use to promote your business. You can also search the directory for potential customers in your area. It is worth creating a listing in as much detail as possible so that potential customers can find you. 

Kamps Pallets 

This is one of the largest brokers in the Midwest. The company buys in bulk, and you will need to make sure you have plenty of inventory before reaching out. Selling in bulk is a fast way to make sales if you’re ready to take your business to the next level.


This company only buys products that are in good condition. PalletOne buys in bulk, and they usually place large orders. It’s best to check out the rate they are offering before deciding if you want to deal with them. If you decide to accept the offer, you are sure to have plenty of orders rolling in. 

The North American Pallet Recycling Network 

Selling to a broker is perhaps the fastest and easiest way to make money. This organization helps you to track down brokers in your local area. Simply head on over to the website, do a quick search, and see what pops up. You will also find tips on the restoration process and on how to market your business. 

Local manufacturers

Any large company in your area that manufactures goods is sure to have a use for your products. It’s worth contacting these companies and explaining what you have to offer. The personal touch is often appreciated, and you could score lots of regular orders.

How Much You Can Make?

Several factors affect how much you could make. These include the area you live in, the number of sellers in your area, and the going market rate. If there are lots of buyers in your area, the price you can sell for is likely to be higher than average. 

Depending on the condition and size, you can sell from 50 cents to $4 per piece. The higher the quality of the product you are selling, the more money you can charge. Demand from buyers also helps to drive up the price a little.

how much you can make

Consistent business is key…

Finding consistent buyers who regularly place large orders is the easiest way to make money. If you can find buyers who buy in batches of fifty, it’s worth charging $2.50 per piece. If you find five of these weekly, you could stand to make a little over $600 per week. 

Of course, you need to deduct your associated costs and taxes from this total to calculate your profit. However you look at it, this is a good chunk of change, especially if this is your side hustle. If you consistently receive large orders, it may be worth turning this into your main revenue source.

More Interesting Facts On Recycling

If you’d like to know more about recycling, check out Does Target Recycle Plastic Bags, and Does Walmart Recycle Plastic Bags And Bottles, as well as Can You Recycle McDonalds Packaging and Are Starbucks Cups Recyclable?

You can also get free pallets from certain stores. So, let’s find out Does Lowes Giveaway Free Pallets, along with Does Home Depot Rent Trailers, to help transport them.

Do you have a passion for saving the planet? Then, you might be interested in our career guides, such as our Environmental Engineer Job Description and our Environmental Specialist Job Description for 2023.

Final Thoughts

If you like the idea of being your own boss, recycling wood pallets could be a great side hustle. As long as you are relatively strong and have the right tools, you could make good money. It is very cheap and easy to set up this business, and you can work as little or as much as you want.

It is best to start small while you’re working out if you enjoy this line of work. Try to find free pallets and spend your spare time repairing and sorting them. Once you have developed the necessary skills, you are sure to find that the cash comes rolling in.

Happy Pallet Hunting!

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