We get asked where we find pallets a lot. Like, a lot a lot. Our sign business keeps us so busy and needing so many pallets that we are constantly on the hunt. During our time in business, we have learned how to quickly spot great places to locate free pallets, who to ask, and where to not even bother. Whether you are looking for a few free pallets or you want to start a business, these are great resources to get your projects started in no time at all.
- Factories – When we started searching for pallets the first place we went was the industrial area near us. We drove around each business and looked for stacks of pallets. We would ask each business if they were interested in getting rid of the pallets they had. Many were ecstatic to get them off of their hands. They appreciated us saving them the cost and time of disposing of them. It is a win-win. Even if a factory uses pallets to ship they usually have a stack they can’t use. Be sure to ask before taking them though.
- Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist – I look on both of these sites regularly for pallets. You will find a lot of people trying to sell them. We have used over 1,000 pallets in the life of our business and have not paid for a single one. Those trying to sell them typically ask $2-$3 a piece. Once in a while, you will find someone asking $5 each because that is how much a pallet costs a company to purchase. If you don’t happen to find a free pallet near you, I would keep looking.
- Personal Facebook Profile – #2 really leads me to #3. We ask our friends and family. Quite often, my friends will have an extra pallet propped next to their garage, shed, etc. They haven’t made it around to getting rid of it. They are usually glad to have it gone. Also, my friends and family know we are always looking for some. They actually keep an eye out for us! I get messages regularly telling me where they saw a stack of pallets. It’s great!
- Businesses – Businesses that receive shipments for larger items typically have pallets they would like to get rid of. A few types of these businesses are auto parts stores, appliance stores, furniture stores, pet stores, local hardware companies, and lumber companies. Another place is motorcycle/boat/ATV dealerships. Our hymn signs were actually born out of a friend that gave us wood from his motorcycle shop. It was a great find and we have a cool story about those products now. I have even found pallets at ice cream parlors! When it comes to businesses, we have worked hard to build relationships with the employees. I have businesses that will actually get a hold of us when they have a stack of pallets. It is so important to be nice to people when asking. It goes a long way.
- New Businesses – Remember that business that is opening up in your area? They are going to be receiving lots of shipments of products and displays. Go grab those pallets! I typically find 3-5 pallets each time I approach a new business.
- Refuse, Garbage Disposal Companies, and Recycling Centers – We have a refuse company near us. They have people that pay to get rid of their pallets! They stack them up and there they sit. Seriously, stack after stack. I’m shocked every time I see people take entire truckloads there. When I go I feel like I hit the jackpot. There are so many to choose from. I always try to stay out of their way. This is especially important when they are busy.
- Construction Sites – Construction sites are beautiful glorious places to find pallets. You have to be quick though! They are constantly getting rid of construction materials. You might see them one day and they are gone the next. One of the benefits is that rarely have a use for leftover pallets. Also, they can be a great resource for reoccurring finds. Throughout the course of building, they will continue to receive shipments for materials. If you don’t see one that day, keep checking back.
- Pallet Makers – Yes! Pallets have to come somewhere, right?! One day our family was driving down the road. We happened to see stack after stack of pallets. Piles of wood. They were everywhere! I couldn’t believe my eyes. Mr. Wheatland pulled in and started talking to the owner. Come to find out, he was a pallet maker. He was a wealth of information for us. We also struck up a deal. We trade the middle pieces in pallets for boards he isn’t able to use. Pallets have standard sizes. If the boards are too short, they can’t use them. He has a whole pile! The cool part about this is, the boards are already removed from the pallets. We don’t have to pay to dispose of the pieces we can’t use. He saves $1 in the cost of a $5 product. Plus, we get ready to use boards. Now I know this might not happen for everyone. If you are interested in finding a pallet maker try:
- Search the logos on the pallets you do have. They brand their products just like other businesses. You might be surprised how close they are.
- Post a wanted ad on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist.
- Search for things like, “buy pallets near ______” and “pallet builders near ______”. See what shows up!
- Hashtags – Posting about pallets and reclaimed wood seems to be very popular on Instagram. I have actually met quite a few people that tear down barns, work with reclaimed wood, etc through searching hashtags. A few of my favorite hashtags are: #pallets, #pallet, #palletwood, #reclaimedlumber, #barnwood, #rusticwood, #wood, #woodsign, and #repurposed. One search helped me find a couple that tears down barns. It was a great opportunity to get leads on wood in our area. They travel all over the state and have a pulse on the reclaimed wood industry. They have been a great resource.
I hope these help in your search for free pallet wood! Pallets are great for one time projects or as a resource for business owners. They have been the foundation of our products since day one. Don’t forget to ask before taking them. You never know if they are being used or not. Also, kindness goes a long way. When you are nice people are usually excited to provide you with their extras. We have met some incredible people on our travels. Have fun and happy pallet hunting!