Recyclers and Dismantlers, and Other Related Job Profiles in the Automotive Industry

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If you are calling these places junkyards, you are living in the past. Today this huge and growing industry is known as automotive dismantling and recycling. Perhaps you have never given it much thought, but a career in the automotive dismantling and recycling industry could be a great opportunity. It may be hard to believe, but today it is the sixteenth largest industry in the United States. There are two thousand member companies in the Automotive Recyclers Association, all part of an industry with $8.2 billion in annual sales ( Business is booming, and there is plenty of room for a lot of people.

There is dignity in being an automotive dismantles. You will be doing something worthwhile for both yourself and your community. By recycling, we conserve energy and natural resources. The price of repairs, which is generally high, can be kept lower by using salvaged parts.

As the costs of collision and mechanical repairs go up, more and more insurance companies are requesting that recycled parts be used whenever possible. On the face of it, this may seem unfair, but in the long run, it may help to keep everyone's insurance rates within reason. Americans are beginning to realize the necessity of recycling in many ways, from paper to glass to metals. The auto-motive recycling industry has understood how important it is for many years.


The dismantler's job is to take a car or truck apart carefully and identify each part so that it can be put in inventory or sent directly to the sales counter upon request. The dismantler uses a variety of basic hand tools, such as wrenches and screwdrivers, in addition to cutting torches and power saws and a variety of lifts and machinery. It takes a lot of ingenuity to get specific parts off a damaged and twisted vehicle, and every usable piece must be salvaged whenever possible.


Once the dismantler gets the parts off, they go to an inventory control person who is responsible for keeping track of every available used part. This person is responsible for inventorying major parts, usually via computer, and is therefore vital to the business. He or she keeps records of what has been sold and any items that may be needed or on order.

The inventory control person must be good with details and must keep accurate records, which may be as simple as a neat card file or as complex as a computerized system. Efficiency is the key to a superior inventory control system.


Another vital link in the recycling business is the salesperson. He or she may be an outside salesperson who is on the road visiting body shops, new car dealers, or garages and service stations. Or he or she may be a counter salesperson who handles sales either in person or over the phone. A salesperson must enjoy working with many other people.


Most of the automotive recycling establishments are small businesses that are individually owned. The owner usually manages the operation, but sometimes a general manager is needed as the business grows. The annual gross sales in the typical automotive recycling business are below $500,000. It is the responsibility of management to keep the business operating profitably so that it can grow and salary and wage increases can be awarded. If you desire to become a member of management, it is important to learn to operate as productively as though the business were your own.


There are a myriad of other positions available in the auto recycling industry. There is a need for forklift operators, truck drivers, warehouse stock persons, office managers, administrative assistants, sales managers, and many, many more. As with any small company, often many jobs are combined. But in large companies, they may be separate.

Some operations specialize in a particular area of recycling. One business may deal only in import parts, while another may specialize in one make or model of car, like only Buicks or exclusively Corvettes. Others may deal specifically with motorcycle parts. Automotive recycling is a big business, and it is growing. About six thousand recycling shops in the United States employ forty-six thousand workers. They recycled 4.7 million vehicles in 1997, according to the ARA.
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