When you work in an industry for a long time, you will see the different ways you can start making money. I have been in the tire industry for over nine years, and in all that time, I have learned tons of ways tires can be a profitable business or side hustle.
I have seen the profit statements of tire stores with my own eyes and know just how much money can be made in the tire business. If you think tires are not profitable in any way, shape, or form, you need to read this guide. You will be surprised just how much you can make.
How to make money Selling Used Tires?
Have you ever been to any retail store that offers trade-in value for a new product? If you haven’t, well, you will be absolutely floored by how much money companies make using this trade-in system.
For example, when I was ten years old, I really wanted a new video game that had just come out. My parents told me I had to figure out a way to get the money to buy my new game.
Being the resourceful young man I was, I knew that a little store called GameStop would take all my old games and give me cash or store credit. I rounded up all the games I no longer played and traded them in. I only got about five to ten dollars per game that cost sixty brand new!
As I got older, I realized they were taking these games they paid me five to ten bucks for and selling them anywhere from twenty to forty dollars per game. That’s fantastic profit margins.
Used tires work the same way tire retailers give customers twenty bucks a tire if they are in good shape and turn them around to sell them for sixty to a hundred dollars each.
Who’s to say you can’t get a cut of these big profits?
How Do You Find Tires To Resell?
This will not be easy, and you will probably have many shops say no, so you need to be prepared for the rejection. Kernal Sanders was told no over a thousand times before starting his chicken empire, now known as KFC.
Local tire retailers
Take a trip to your local tire retailers and see if they have used tires they are willing to sell. Most tire retailers have a used section of tires, and in most cases, they forget their used tires even exist (trust me, I would know).
The fun part will be getting the store to sell you these used tires for a low price. Ask for the store manager and see if you can make a deal on the used tires they have been sitting on. I remember always wanting to get rid of used tires, and if someone said they could take them off my hands for even just five bucks of profit per tire, I would make that deal.
You don’t want to be paying anything more than thirty bucks for used tires that meet the criteria of the resellable product.
The last-ditch way to find tires you can resell would be to keep an eye on online marketplaces (Craigslist, Facebook, KSL, etc.). Some people will have tires sitting in the garage, and their wife demands they get rid of them (I’m guilty of this). Sometimes they will be posted for a meager price or free to get rid of them.
Refer to the criteria in the next section to see what you need to look for to make a profitable resale!
Criteria for finding used tires to resell
The last thing you want is to buy junk tires you can’t resell to make a profit. Here are some critical factors a used tire should have.
- Minimum of 6/32nds of tread depth
- No damage or chunks missing on the beads of the tire
- No irregular wear (alignment wear, cupping, overinflation, etc.)
- It should be an All-season, All-terrain, even Mud-terrain but nothing else
- Try to go for name-brand tires, Continental, Bridgestone, Michelin, Yokohama, etc.
- NO damage or repairs in the sidewall of the tire
If you follow this standard of criteria, it will ensure you can successfully sell them again.
This is what a used tire to resell should look like
Is it legal to resell a used tire?
It is not illegal to sell used tires. However, you may be at risk of tax implications. Depending on the volume of sales you perform, you may want to have a chat with a tax or financial professional to avoid problems.
States have different tire disposal regulations, so locating a shop willing to sell you second-hand tires may be challenging, depending on the state.
Some states, like California, have strict rules and regulations in place. Tire centers will be audited to verify that the disposal fees charged are equal to the amount of old recycled tires. This can make it very hard to find a shop you can go rummaging around to find used tires.
How do you sell used tires?
Now that you know where to find and select tires to resell, It’s time you learn the different ways to sell your newly acquired tires.
Online will be the most efficient way to move your used tires. You can post them on eBay, Craigslist, Amazon, or even Facebook Marketplace.
The downside to selling online would be shipping fees. If you cannot have the consumer pay for shipping, it could cost you between fifteen and forty dollars per tire. The reason tires are expensive to ship is because of their weight.
Right in your front yard
This is a pretty straightforward approach. Stack the tires in the front of your house and slap a big FOR SALE sign on them.
If you don’t live on a busy street with a ton of traffic, you could sit on your tires for a long time. The other thing you will want to watch out for is porch pirates. The last thing you want to happen is for someone to pull up and throw your tires in the bed of their truck and drive off.
In your own tire store
Maybe you are reading this and are potentially going to open your own store. Used tires are a great way to make an easy profit if this is the case.
Can You Recycling Tires And Make Money?
I think the craziest thing about tire shops is that they profit off of EVERYTHING.
Tire retailers will charge a consumer anywhere from three to ten dollars to dispose of old tires. After you have paid upwards of forty dollars to get rid of your old tires, these shops will pay a company less per tire to pick them up and recycle them.
The companies that pick these old tires up will then take them to centers where they will get paid for properly recycling an old tire.
Sounds like an excellent opportunity to get in on some of the profit.
NOTE: Check your local and state guidelines before pursuing this route. Some states will require licensing to recycle more than a specified amount per year.
Here is an in-depth video of how to start a tire recycling business.
What does it take to be able to start recycling tires?
The only thing that you need to be able to start recycling old tires is a reliable vehicle (preferably a truck or car that can transport a lot of tires). You are much more likely to partner with tire centers when you have a viable that can relieve them of enough tires to make working with you worth it.
Over two hundred million tires are sold in the United States every year, and for every tire sold, an old one has to come off, right?
With how simple it is to start, there’s no reason you can’t begin recycling some of those two hundred million tires.
How do you get old tires to recycle?
The best way to get started recycling tires is to contact all your local tire stores and see if they require your services.
In the store where I worked, we would frequently have so many old tires to be picked up we would have to start storing them outside. Far too often would, the company responsible for picking up the tires would be unable to take all of the tires we had.
I can’t tell you how quickly I would have told somebody, “yes, absolutely take these tires off my hands.”
Don’t get discouraged if you are told no. Some companies have contracts that allow them to go through one tire pick-up agency. If you talk with the store manager and feel you could better serve them, feel free to go over their head and contact their corporate offices.
You never know. You might strike a big deal.
How does recycling tires make money?
Tire recycling centers actually pay you to bring them old tires. These recycling centers take the old tires you provide and will shred or repurpose them. Since the rubber can be repurposed, the centers can resell the byproduct of the old rubber.
Who knew old tires could be such a cash cow?
Do not take the tires you have picked up to the local dump. These are not tire recycling centers.
How much does it cost to start?
If your state or county doesn’t have any licensing requirements, this can be something that will only cost you the gas in your tank. That’s right, as long as you have a vehicle that can transport tires, that is all you need.
If you want to make the most money, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to invest in a truck or commercial van to recycle as many tires as possible.
How much money will recycling tires make?
Let’s break down the numbers.
On average, a tire company will pay you between $1 and $3 per tire to take them away.
Recycling centers will pay you potentially $1 to $7 for these old tires you have acquired.
I’m gonna use the high end on these averages for easy math. You are making at most $10 to take away old tires. If you can’t manage to recycle one hundred tires a week (that is not a lot of tires), you could be pulling in $1000 a week in revenue.
You will need to factor in vehicle gas costs and wear and tear to determine your net profits.
If you can get some big-name retailers under contract, there is a potential for some serious money to be made.
Other low-cost ideas to make money off old tires
- Sell them to centers that repurpose tires
- Sell them to retread facilities
Can You Start Your Own Tire Business?
This will be a method that will require a lot of capital to get started. I won’t get too in-depth because there are many moving parts to starting your own tire business.
I will give you the most essential info I have to help you determine if starting your own tire business is something you want to pursue.
Is a tire store profitable?
At first, your profits will not be very high. When selling tires as a new business, you must set up wholesale accounts with third-party vendors or manufacturers.
Wholesale tires are not that much cheaper compared to what other retailers can sell the same products for. Big box tire stores can sell their tires for low prices because they sell so much and can set up accounts with the manufacturers directly, which provides much lower costs to acquire the tires (aka economies of scale!).
When first starting, you may only be making a profit on the labor rates you charge to install tires. So you need to make sure you sell a lot of tires and put them on quickly to have a solid turnaround.
I have seen individual tire stores make as much as $250,000 in profit in one month. Many tire retailers can easily surpass $1,000,000 a year.
So yes, tire stores can be highly profitable.
Are tire stores competitive?
The hard part about the tire industry is that it is highly competitive.
The largest fish in the tire game is Discount Tire and their sister companies, which include America’s Tire, Discount Tire Direct, and TireRack. They total over one thousand stores and are still rapidly expanding. The next closest retailer to Discount is Mavis, which has over nine hundred stores.
It’s not impossible to get your skin in the game and succeed, but with the low prices offered by these large independent tire retailers, it will be tough to compete for sure.
My best advice would be to open a store where there is not currently either of the two companies mentioned above.
How to be successful with a tire store?
How low your tire prices are will not be the most significant factor in being a successful tire company.
You need to have the consumers’ best interest at heart and provide a world-class experience. I know firsthand that most retailers are successful because of their willingness to take care of people and do the right thing.
If you want to succeed, you will need to put your customers first and do right by them at every opportunity. I prefer to shop at Target over Walmart, not because it’s cheaper. Target has a cleaner and more organized environment, so I am willing to pay the extra price.
That is the best example of how prices don’t significantly affect where you shop.
Can you sell art or things crafted from tire rubber?
You read that right. You can make money off tires by cutting them up and turning them into something beautiful. If you have a knack for crafting things, turn an old tire into a swan or use it as part of a coffee table (both things I have seen on the internet).
People are willing to pay more for something handmade. All you need to do is pick up some old tires from a tire store. Sometimes they will give them to you for free, then turn that old piece of rubber into something someone will find value.
It is quite a simple concept, but I will tell you that it is not easy to craft using tire rubber. It can be rigid and hard to cut through. Get some pumice soap, as you will also get extremely dirty doing this.
You can make up to $50 per item you make. It can be a great way to make extra cash if you have a crafting hobby.
Check out this swan made entirely from tires, just one example of the many possibilities with a tire.
Start making some money
If you read this guide, you will find multiple ways to start a side hustle or even replace your income and become your own boss.
After nine years in the tire industry, I’m surprised I haven’t implemented any of these ideas. But it’s never too late to start, so maybe our paths could collide someday in these ventures.
Now stop reading and start making slime money!