Updated: Oct 29, 2019
Many people have recently become attracted to the hobby of Metal Detecting, allured by big stories in the media. We've all heard them haven't we? Some little sod goes out for the first time, using a machine from the 70's that he found in Granddads shed. Within twenty five and a half minutes, he's a millionaire, posing for the national cameras, grasping some treasure and grinning from ear to ear whilst planning on what console he's going to buy first.
The little git didn't even get muddy.
Youtube has also catapulted the hobby to its current popularity. Clickbait titles such as 'OMG! TREASURE!' and 'EPIC GOLD ANCIENT JACKPOT STUFF FOUND!!!!' will only pique interest in those who don't know better.
But what is 'better'?
I'll tell you. 'Better' is the wisdom gained from those who have done this a LONG time, and not earned a penny, or at least - very little. Now in some instances, people get lucky. Something of value IS found. This happens quite a lot, seemingly. But if we weigh the statistics, and take into account the many thousands of people who go out at the weekend, and DON'T find anything - we'll soon see that finds of a financial interest are actually very rare indeed. But we don't tend to hear about those people, do we? Nor do we hear about the sheer amount of time and divorces put in to get to those finds. We only hear about the conclusion. I'm just trying to tell you it straight. Don't take up the hobby of Metal Detecting thinking you will get rich. You won't last long. Instead, enjoy the other positives of the hobby, such as exercise, fresh air, being in beautiful environments, and anything that comes AFTER that in the form of 'good' finds is a bonus, right? That being said, this blog is titled 'Make Money Metal Detecting' so let's take a look at some practical ways of doing that. Or at least try. Before we move forward, be sure to check out my extensive guide to Beginners Metal Detecting right here.
1. Sell your scrap.
You'll be surprised at how much scrap builds up over time, and how much it can be worth. My mate Mark runs a scrap yard, and was dismayed when he found out that I was throwing my scrap away. Those bits of dead lead, and brass shrapnel really do begin to build up, and can be worth a pretty penny once you've got a bucketful or so. My tip is to separate the types of metal into different buckets before you go to the scrap yard to cash it all in. It makes it easier in the long run. Also, pay attention to the metal prices before you hit the yard.
Remember, scrapyards will typically not take munitions of any kind. Shrapnel is fine, but bullets etc are a no no. Also, pay attention to WHAT you are scrapping. You don't want to be accidentally leaving something of a historical value in there...
2. Apps that pay you.
This is a bit of a tenuous one, but will work for some. Recently, we've seen the rise of apps that 'pay you' to move and exercise. The one I use the most is called Sweatcoin. I did a little video explaining more about it here.
Now, this app won't 'pay you' in money (well, in some instances it does, but you need to get a LOT of steps!) but instead gives you discounts off of items, and in some cases you get them free using the 'coins' you build up walking whilst Metal Detecting. I've found it quite handy, and have purchased items when relevant ones that interest me come up. Sweatcoin sits in the background and logs your steps as you go. Worth a look!
3. Provide a service.
I can't imagine you'll get rich doing this one, but providing a service could well bring you in a little income, if you chose to go down that route. Typically, as Metal Detectors 'find things' it makes sense that your service would be one that finds things. Lost jewellery, perhaps. Lost wedding rings or lost keys. That type of thing. Or maybe create a service that searches for specific piping when someone is creating changes in their garden? Again, you won't get rich offering any services like this, but I thought i'd add it to the list.
Another 'service' could be to educate others on how to Metal Detect, or recommend Metal Detectors. This brings me onto the next idea:
4. Create Content around Metal Detecting.
And this is what I do. Do I make loads of money doing it? Nope. But I do make money, so that is technically making money from metal detecting. I create content on Youtube who pay me a pittance monthly, just to make people smile or get angry at my stupid face. Its a one way deal, and the time I put in doesn't, in any way fairly equal how much I'm paid a month. This is why I have my own Patreon page where people can support me further, if they like my content enough (hint hint).
I'd make a LOT more working at MacDonalds, trust me. But let's not be too cynical. If you ARE lucky enough to break it big in the Youtube realm, the rewards can be very big indeed. But trust me, it's a slog. (Away from this channel I used to run my own Bass Guitar tuition channel which has 62k subscribers, so I have a fair amount of experience.) And it's a gamble. A massive gamble. You're effectively gambling your very precious time in the hope for reward in the future. So beware.
In addition to the above, Youtube Metal Detecting is now VERY saturated. There could be an argument that the 'hey day' was around 2012-2013 type time, when the advertising revenue was actually quite good (before the adpocalypse happened) and is now very much saturated through the many many Metal Detecting Youtube channels that now exist. Additional ways of creating income based content could be to start a podcast, a radio show, a blog, or anything else that is Metal Detecting related, which can also be monetised. But again, you'll run into a similar problem as with Youtube, if you think it'll be a viable source of income in the first instance. Trust me. It won't. Infact, I think that new Youtube rules mean that you have to get 1000 subscribers before you can even monetise your channel...
5. Sell your finds.
Yup, the most obvious of ideas - and one that can divide opinions in Metal Detectorists as much as Brexit in Britain. Well, maybe not that much but you get my drift. Some Metal Detectorists are dead against selling their finds, whilst others are only in the game to find and sell items (they don't last long) I sit somewhere in-between the two. I always said i'd never sell any of my items, but some recent financial bad luck involving a car(s) forced me into relinquishing an old coin into the hands of a collector, in return for a more modern type of money. It was a needs must situation, and I don't regret my decision. This is the only time I've ever done this. And if other people find themselves in some sort of financial strife, who are we to judge? But let's make this clear. You have to understand the law around reporting finds, and in-particular - treasure. Don't make the often made mistake of thinking that you can just go on E-bay and sell that bronze age hoard you just dug up, because guess what? There are teams of police monitoring the trade in illegal antiquities online, and you could be looking at being in big, big trouble if you're caught - which you probably will be. Do the right thing by the hobby, and the history.
6. Get Creative!
As a last thought, my friend Stephen has created a creative way of turning his old coins into rings, which are really good quality. I've also heard of other people modernising old finds, and turning them into jewellery, breathing life back into them and giving them a nice aesthetic purpose once more. Your mind is the limit with this one!
So as you can see, making money from metal detecting is easier said than done. It does happen, but it is extremely rare. As I said above, it's best to focus on the other benefits of metal detecting, and then anything that comes to you in the way of finds, is a bonus. But you never know. That one important find may just turn up one day...
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