I'm working to start a small salvage, furniture and tool restoration and upcycling company, recycling anything from furniture to scrap metal to building materials and landscape elements. I will be focusing on upcycling or reuse instead of scrapping or demolition. Is an economic downturn a good or bad place for this? Will there be less demand or more, and for what?
Since this is my subject matter, I thought I would jump in. Your question had me back searching old messages from one of my contacts. I eventually found it.
My contact jokingly said- "If the wwrol ever happens Ill secure the nearest scrap yard and value village (a second hand store chain) and be king of the world..."
That said, You may want to reconsider the scrap part. I'll cut and paste from the same person- "Yep, prices are great (for the buyer) in fact steel has fallen to the floor, in talking with the guys (at the scrap yard) its the slowest they have seen in 20+ years, 2,3 years ago they were shipping out steel to china and korea as fast as they could, now nothing......no demand, the only metal that's still relatively expensive is stainless.... Last fall I was buying 2.5 inch to 3 inch diameter pipe ( used) 1/8 to 1/4 inch wall cheaper than I could buy pressure treated woodfence posts...In fact I wound up cutting a bunch into fence post lengths and reselling it out in the country to farmers for a little more than they would pay for pressure treated posts, pocketed some easy coin....and steel fence posts are so much easier to pound in."
So, its good for the buyer but not for the seller. Recent high prices in metals came from the HUGE economic expansion in China. That has now stopped...and the entire world is now in economic contraction because of this. Right now, we are in the middle of a Commodities Crash....leading to Deflation (lower prices due to lack of demand). Remember this new word, "Demand Distruction".
Gilbert Fritz wrote:I'm working to start a small salvage, furniture and tool restoration and upcycling company, recycling anything from furniture to scrap metal to building materials and landscape elements. I will be focusing on upcycling or reuse instead of scrapping or demolition. Is an economic downturn a good or bad place for this? Will there be less demand or more, and for what?
Interesting question... I'd think there'd be lots of demand. When economy is business-as-usual and rosy, seems people tend to be frivolous and wasteful.
On the plus side, if you are looking for Sipping Containers to store said recyclables in or workshops to do the work...Buy, Buy, Buy!!! They have finally dropped in price due to "Demand Destruction". Same with used Toy Hauling Trailers for moving all the stuff you want to recycle. Laid off oil workers are selling their not well thought out purchases to keep the banks from foreclosing on their not well thought out home perchases .
Now, I was in the second hand store today....and all the parking spots are full...as usual. Three pieces of clothing I`m wearing as I type, came from that thrift store. OMG! Every other item on me except the knife came from other thrift stores. Both canning pots heating bath water on the wood stove...thrift store...
But I wanted to talk about Bicycles...and bike parts...as salvage. When I was in Kingston, Jamaica, I noticed many people had tiny bike repair shops stuffed full of bike parts. I saw similar in Mexico.
Now, if you are handy enough to recondition tools and furniture...you probably have the aptitude for cleaning up an old bike.
I tell people, when thinking about what living is like in a `cracked economy`, Its not Mutant Zombie Bikers. Its , you lose the job, the house, the truck...and probably the wife...but you still have to get around and move stuff. Thus Bikes.
That's my 2 cents worth...or 40 dollar bikes worth that you picked up for 15 and cleaned up.
I'm planning to start start out small and decentralized, in several different garages, to avoid run-ins with code folks. Also, there are several people involved with different skills, and I hope to eventually attract more. The final goals is to be able to repair and resell just about anything.
Good point about scrap not being as good of a market in a depression.
I suppose I would have to diversify enough that no matter what happened, something was still in demand?
Joel mentioned that demand would be up. Do you think that supply would be down? I.e., would there be a great shortage of scrap of all sorts, and a huge competition for it?
I suppose it all depends on the continuing existence of a rich class and some people in the middle that can buy at least a few things.