Earl Shipley of Shipley's Home Services

A jack of many trades, Earl Shipley of Shipley’s Home Services can earn up to $300 a day metal scrapping when his other skills aren’t in demand. “With the economy we live in now, you have to do what you have to do,” Shipley says. “It’s good supplemental income and you can live off of it.” Copper and brass yield the highest payouts, but Shipley says he’ll take even the cheapest metals: “It’s like walking over pennies. If you walk over 100 you walk over a dollar.”

Although the majority of scrappers operate legitimately, the prevalence of metal thieves can make things difficult. Shipley is regularly pulled over by police and asked about his cargo. And then there are the aggressive dogs. “You just gotta use wisdom when you are doing it,” Shipley says.

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