Choosing a partner to work with on your industrial or commercial metal recycling program can be a daunting experience. There are countless considerations to make based on what the pressing needs are for your individual operation. A business recycling program has many facets to consider, especially with the move to create a more sustainable environment in our corporate landscape.
How Do I Know What My Metal Is Worth?
No matter where we are in the business cycle or the state of the economy, one of the first discussions we have when invited to work with a customer is surrounding the value of the materials they have. We often find that customers are confused about how prices are established, have very little exposure to the reports that pricing is based on, and have not understood the process.
We explain that at Sahd Metal Recycling, upfront, transparent pricing is a promise we make and stand by. We believe this is crucial to establishing a business relationship with any customer. For varying grades of steel or non-ferrous metals such as copper, brass, insulated copper wire, electric motors, copper-aluminum radiators, or aluminum or stainless steel, customers often don’t understand the reports or open markets that these prices are based on. Sometimes the price changes without any understanding on their part until the check comes in the mail after the fact.
We have found that establishing formula pricing has been key to having a steady stream of communication with our customers and keeping them in the loop as changes happen. First is establishing what resources are the benchmarks of price discovery.
For steel, we follow the publicly published American Metal Market monthly issue for the Philadelphia region and access our subscription through Fastmarkets. Pricing is usually published by the 10th of the month after a discovery process that involves reporting on negotiations between buyers and sellers at steel mills, foundries, export yards, and the scrap metal dealers that sell them the metal, often through brokerage firms. Each steel commodity (foundry steel, A36 steel, galvanized and busheling, prepared steel, unprepared steel, lite iron, and steel turnings) has its own category. Our customers have indexes that match up accordingly. Steel materials are segregated and sold to various end consumers based on the size of the material, alloy analysis of the elements that make up the material’s chemistry, and other factors that buyers must consider in their melting mix.
Steel pricing is set for the month and usually does not change until the beginning of the month. Factors that often impact pricing include the level of steel sales activity anticipated, the level of melting the mills are running at the current time, shutdowns, supply chain issues impacting customers of the mills, and even the strength of the US dollar. Because we are an East Coast accessible market, this often overlooked factor is very important. If international buyers find it more expensive to buy steel, they will lower the price that domestic steel mills need to pay because they are less competitive.
Non-ferrous metals such as aluminum, copper, brass, and stainless steel are much more volatile and can shift dramatically daily. We have a subscription to live London Metal Exchange and Comex information through metalexchangedirect.com. This allows us to have immediate market updated information in each commodity we use to track metal prices. So our customers can follow for free, we encourage them to use kitcometals.com. That free resource allows for fairly updated information for prices for each commodity traded. We love this resource as it allows the customer complete control over the time to sell their metal.
Each metal commodity is priced out on a formula basis, with our customers getting a percentage of the publicly traded price for that commodity. An example would be yellow brass, a common brass item that could be chromed, or yellow brass, which is common with pipe fittings and fixtures. Yellow brass is approximately 70% copper and 30% zinc. Kitcometals.com has LME copper updates accessible to everyone, and we would price yellow brass as a percentage of the LME copper number. If, for example, LME Copper is pegged at $3.35 per pound- and our formula for yellow brass is 45% of that number- the current value would be $1.51 per pound. Should LME copper jump to $4.00 per pound, the price of yellow brass would jump to $1.80 per pound. This percentage stays the same and bounces with the price of copper up and down.
The process for the other non-ferrous metals, aluminum, stainless steel, copper, and zinc diecast, would proceed the same way. Within the major categories, the subcategories would each be assigned a different percentage of the main commodity. For example, aluminum extrusion is typically the highest priced aluminum grade, and it would command a better percentage of the aluminum LME than aluminum siding or cast aluminum. Other grades like mixed aluminum and 5052 aluminum would similarly carry differing valuations. For stainless steel, the price is based on a percentage of nickel. Nickel can fluctuate wildly and have very different percentages of material in each stainless steel alloy.
How Will I Know If The Price Changes?
Once the process is clear, and customers understand it, the next step is consistent communication. Aileen Romich sends customers monthly email communication on where their pricing stands for the typical commodity categories that they recycle. That email will come out when the steel price is set for the month, and it will include a snapshot in time for non-ferrous metals on that day, understanding that those numbers change daily. The important item to consider is that the information includes access to the percentage and a tool to find the daily shifting of metal prices so our customers can easily understand where the pricing is when they need to get the number.
How Can I Keep My Shop Floor Organized? How Often Can We Get Service And How Quickly?
After we provide clarity on pricing and our upfront formula process, we often get service-related questions. Customers are often frustrated by the slow or inconsistent service that vendors supply, and this can hurt the organization of their shop floors in the case of a metal fabricator, limit the storage of finished products and not yet shipped goods, and in the case of demolition projects can idle expensive labor that is hard to find. For these reasons and many others, Sahd Metal Recycling is committed to providing our customers with a 24-hour turnaround time guarantee. We will provide you with the service you need within 24 hours of your representative calling, emailing, or texting us for service. And because we prioritize this service and pride ourselves on being able to deliver, you are not sending information or communication to a faceless, nameless portal. You are sending a message or calling Mike, Dan, Shelbie, Aileen, or in some cases, our drivers who you speak with when they service your account–either Juan, Tony, Ron, Sam, or Gil. Whoever it is, you are connecting with someone who will prioritize your needs and commit to fulfilling your request. This service is not always easy to achieve, but it is a commitment that we stand behind because we know how important it is to our customers.
How Do I Know What We Will Be Paid? When Will We Get Paid?
Sahd Metal Recycling provides each customer with a detailed ticket that includes information on what was in your load by commodity and pricing for each commodity that makes up the ticket total you will be paid for. We believe in complete transparency in our process and will send every transaction with the same level of detailed information. In most cases, our industrial customers are paid on the last day of the calendar month for all monthly business, but we can make other arrangements if quicker pay is needed. The most important consideration is that we provide all the information necessary, and you can have confidence in the fact that you will be paid promptly for your metals,
How Can I Track What We Recycle? How Can I Use Your Data To Help Me Run My Business Better?
Whether you are part of a larger corporation that needs itemized information by ticket or a company that needs to give the local township recycling reporting figures, Sahd Metal Recycling understands the value of providing information to make your job easier. We produce annual metal total reports by commodity to help you in all areas of reporting. We have also been called upon and are happy to provide more current information on totals to help you optimize your process, drive a company commitment to reducing scrap in your process, or simply for helping you understand your material usage better.
How Do I Know That You Are Handling Our Materials Responsibly?
No company wants to get entangled in a chain of custody of improper environmental handling of their scrap metal. Sahd Metal Recycling is a processor that is very careful about who we partner with in an attempt to ensure the metal we can’t ultimately melt or shred is being handled responsibly. We have stringent requirements for the metals that come into our yard and ensure anything that could have any fluids are removed before entering our yard. We do not accept any vehicles or items that could cause environmental issues. Sahd Metal Recycling is committed to the environment, educating our community about sustainability issues, and making our world cleaner. We open our yard monthly to Earth Day Everyday tours and will host our 17th annual Earth Day in April 2023.
In summary, choosing an industrial scrap metal recycling company to help with your industrial and commercial metal recycling needs comes down to many factors, including understanding the value of your metal at all times, knowing the factors that go into your upfront pricing formula, timely service which for us includes our 24 hour turnaround time commitment, prompt payment, accurate reporting and sustainable handling of your scrap metal. Once these considerations are met, being able to trust that the promises made will be kept is crucial, and it’s what Sahd Metal Recycling has done for 80 years and counting!