We see the signs heading down the road, tied to light poles or stuck in a patch of grass in busy intersections.
We see the Ads online on craigslist.
May even saw a few billboards on the way to work.
“CASH FOR JUNK CARS.”
Does someone really want my rust bucket?
and are even willing to pay me for it?
Can it really be done today?
And if so how does it all work?
Well I’ll begin by answering the questions, Yes, they do and people are willing to pay some cash for it and even pick it up today! (Given it’s not 2 am on a Sunday of course)
However they’re some informative things you should know before making some calls to haul away the junker.
Who Are The People Who Pay Cash For Junk Cars?
They’re are a few different types of car buyers out there, I will name a few of them to give you a basic idea of who you are going to be dealing with and most likely calling to your home.
1. Scrap Yards
Scrap yards also known as salvage yards or junk yards usually purchase junk vehicles for the metal parts that are attached to them.
The typical process is to weigh the vehicle on a large scale and pay you a per pound price for the car or pay you a flat rate based on your year, make and model.
I personally have been in the car business for the better part of my life and have junked literally thousands of cars over time. At the time of writing this article prices vary between $0.04-$0.08 per pound nationally.
Scrap prices do vary over time similar to the way stock prices go up and down. At one point I remember (not too long ago) prices soaring to the heights of $0.12 per pound. This may not seem too exciting as a car seller but as a company getting junk cars in large volumes these were some exciting times.
Scrap yards do sometimes deduct if the car is not complete. A complete vehicle typically means that the car has
- Alloy Wheels
- Catalytic Converter (Also called “CATS”)
- Major Missing Components. Such as engine, transmission, seats, doors, headlights (etc)
- Rims and tires. (Some companies may not want to tow the vehicle without wheels or tires)
- Title/Bill of sale
Scrap yards are the final resting place for vehicles. It’s where everything salvageable has been removed and/or crushed down and the shell gets packed tightly to resell for it’s steel.
Not every salvage or scrap yard tow vehicles. Some even charge customers for towing, for instance
Say you want to junk your vehicle and you call your local junk yard and they give you a per pound price or a flat rate which is common practice for many yards also. Your transmission is blown and the vehicle does not move a inch so you need it towed to them. They send over a tow truck and you head over there on your lunch break to bring over the title and get paid. Well you would be in for a surprise when they deduct $80 out of your $150 payout for tow charges.
Unfortunately this happens all the time, especially if you neglected to ask the employee on the phone “Is the tow included in the quote?”
It’s always best to ask and ask again. I never charge my customers for removal, it’s displayed everywhere we advertise and clear on our websites “Free Towing”
To be somewhat fair (and I’m not justifying slick moves on unsuspecting people) this is not a business that people make a whole lot of money on each car. It’s more about volume and consistency so some not so great companies try and squeeze every dollar they can.
2. Cash For Car Companies
Some but not all Cash For Cars companies accept junk vehicles. I own two cash for car companies one locally in New Jersey and also one nationally and yes we do accept junk vehicles.
Cash for car companies are usually looking for the better product. Vehicles that run, need minor work, newer models, low mileage.
A determining factor I let my customers know is that if I take the value of a potential customers car and add in all the major work it needs (I do not mean the little minor stuff like a oil change and inside cleaning) and then deduct the repairs out of the common market value resell price and the repairs exceed the resell price, that pretty much sums up the question “Is my car junk or not?”
If a Cash For Car company you contact does accept junk vehicles I would ask the following questions;
- How Much Do You Offer?
- Is Pick Up Included?
- What Paperwork Do You Need?
- Is That A Guaranteed Price?
As per the last question, yes some companies do say the highest price for your junk car just to be the first one there and then pick on every scratch and ding to get the vehicle cheaper. Obviously if you tell the poor guy that your vehicle is complete and he gets there and its sitting on car jacks and the transmission is sitting in the back seat then the price change is understandable but for the most part the guaranteed price should be the price you get, as long as you are honest with your description of the car.
Some warnings you should watch out for when dealing with cash for car companies or any company for that matter.
- Get your belongings out of the vehicle at least 2 hours before the tow truck arrives. Tow drivers aren’t always the most punctual, they say one time and they show up one hour early or one hour late. It isn’t always their fault it’s just the job. Be sure to remove anything of importance including toll booth passes (good luck asking for your stuff the next day if you left something behind)
- Remove your license plates. The results of what can possibly happen if someone uses your license plates are for another article. For this one I will just tell you take your plates off before that hunk of junk gets on the truck. Even if your state allows transferrable license plates to the next owner I would still take them off. Isn’t this thing gonna be going to the junk yard or broken down for parts somewhere anyway, what the heck do you need my plates for?
- Ask for a receipt . Your insurance company may ask for proof the vehicle is no longer with you or you may start getting tickets in the mail saying the vehicle was abandoned in a alley, who knows? I have seen it happen. Either way you should get a receipt for the transaction.
- Follow Your States Guidelines For Title Transfer. Just hit the google search and follow the instructions for your DMV website. The company should respect your wishes.
We have all heard the advertisements on the radio or saw the ads in the local paper (wait do people still read newspapers?) Donation companies are always battling for your unwanted vehicles, mainly because well they don’t pay for them!
I’m not here to bad mouth donation companies or say they do not do what they say they are going to do (although that may be the case in some situations) but it is a business no matter what you may think or are told about donating your car and businesses need to generate income. I hate to harp on this again but I have been in this business a very long time and I know every inch of it but my job is not to question people’s methods of acquiring free vehicles my job is to help you make a decision and to ensure you know your options before choosing.
The benefits of using a donation method is;
1. The pick up is usually included in the service.
2. They sometimes offer free vacation vouchers with pick up.
3. You receive a tax deduction when you file for a predetermined or later arranged price.
Obviously they do not pay you any cash payment for the car but if they do offer you cash also RUN FOR THE HILLS!
These companies are legally not allowed to offer customers cash and a tax deduction, so if they are making this type of offer I would question the following;
1. What exactly are the plans for this vehicle
2. Are they looking to resell the vehicle while it’s still legally your car according to documents not being properly transferred over
3. You are probably giving the car away at a insane value and short changing yourself out of thousands of dollars
If you like the idea of donating your vehicle use a very good and reputable company to do so. Believe it or not I have heard more horror stories of this method of getting rid of a car then any other method.
4. Random Tow Drivers
If you have ever saw a tow truck on the road and the side of his truck says “We Pay Cash For Cars” or “Junk Cars Wanted” this is how it operates.
The random tow driver picks up junk vehicles and pays you a price and hauls it away to the scrap yard and makes what he can make in between.
My biggest issue with this method is the price your going to get is probably going to be lower then the other two cash paying methods. Reason being is the tow driver is usually trying to get the best price he thinks he can get and does not have a real system in place for quoting customers. Some not so great tow guys usually play on customers desperation or lack of knowledge to make a extra $50 or $100 bucks on the deal. We operate with a very sophisticated online quote tool that gives our customers an instant price no matter who they are or what their situation may be. The best tow trucks I know just charge the customer for the tow and let them keep whatever the junk yard pays them. I would recommend dealing with someone who operates this way so you don’t get that I’ve been had feeling, yuck!
Well folks this is how the basic junk car system works and once again yes you can get cash for your junk car today as long as you follow some simple steps and deal with the right people.