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How to Start a Battery Recycling and Reconditioning Business

Do you want to start a battery conditioning & recycling company? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a battery conditioning business with NO money and no experience.

So many electrical and electronic devices make use of batteries, either single use or rechargeable batteries. Whichever purpose the battery serves, the owner can either throw it away after use or have it recycled. Battery recycling can be described as crushing old batteries into pieces and then using the new pieces to make a new battery.

Recycling helps companies to save the money that they would have used to procure new batteries because the same materials from the old batteries will be used to make the new ones.

In recycling batteries, you will need two set of clients; those that will be selling or giving their used batteries to you and those that will be buying the batteries from you. This therefore means that you should have collection points convenient enough for your customers to drop off their batteries.

Once you have collected the discarded batteries, you can then go into the process of either recycling them yourself and sell to companies that need recycled batteries.

Battery reconditioning is also in the same line of recycling albeit with a different process whereby instead of crushing the batteries, a chemical is used to restore the batteries. Both forms are very good for entrepreneurs who are dedicated environmentalists and who are looking for a business that is very cost effective.

Even though this is a lucrative business, it is not an easy one because reconditioning of batteries can be a bit hard and dirty.

Ensure that you have conducted a thorough research about the business and your potential market as this will allow you to know what the entire process entails and if you are going to be able to make any sort of profit from the business.

It will also enable you to arm yourself with the relevant knowledge and skills by studying useful guides that can allow you have an easy start in the business. However you intend on running the business, you will require a business plan.

17 Steps to Starting a Battery Recycling and Reconditioning Business

1. Understand the Industry

Due to the increasingly tight government regulations all over the world regarding the emission of greenhouse gases in order to protect the environment, the global battery recycling market has been revitalized.

Also, the general population has become more aware about battery recycling which has helped demand in the market and opening up more potential for the industry. Battery manufacturers who have realized that used batteries are causing environmental and health hazards have started setting up their recycling plants.

According to research analysts, it is expected that the global market for battery recycling services will see a steady increase of its CAGR to about 11 percent between the periods of 2016 and 2024, therefore increasing market value from $7.1 billion to nearly $20 billion by the end of the forecast period.

Globally, the market for battery recycling services is segmented geographically with North America leading the rest of the regions – South America, Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. However, in 2014, Europe led the market due to its implementation of technologies that conserved energy.

Also, the awareness level in Europe regarding energy conservation and pollution control is very high, which has led to an increase in demand for battery recycling services supported also by its various government institutions. Another factor that has worked for Europe is its strict rules as regards properly disposing of used batteries as well as compensation packages for battery recyclers.

North America is the second largest market due to the implementation of strict environmental norms by the United States as well as Canada. In North America, there is a streamlined process regarding spent batteries from the recycler to the consumer, which has helped the region to better utilize discarded batteries as a means of saving the environment.

However, even though the united states is the market leader in this region, it is expected that Mexico will in the near future surpass the American market.

The region that is regarded as the fastest growing with an attractive market for battery recycling is the Asia Pacific and the industry is expected to receive a significant push due to stringent environmental regulations from the government as well as an increase in exports. india that has fewer environmental regulations and labor protection laws is expected to see an increase in its market share between the periods of 2016 and 2024.

In 2016, the market recorded the highest shares from lead acid and it is expected that lead acid will continue to lead over the others till 2022 even though this is regarded as a mature market that has had strong demand for over a century.

The reason for lead acid’s strong demand is due to the fact that they are widely used in sectors such as material handling, telecommunications and automotive. Also, these kinds of batteries cost less than other kinds of batteries and have an increased life cycle, better discharge performance and charge acceptance.

The automotive sector has the highest demand for the battery recycling market especially in 2016 and it is expected that this trend will continue till 2022. This is because the automotive sector which makes wide use of battery energy has received a surge in sales over the past years and this has had a direct impact on the battery recycling market.

2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies

  • Demographics and Psychographics

The demographic and psychographic composition of those that use batteries can be said to be almost all Americans from car owners to business owners since there are a lot of electronics using batteries that are being used in the country.

Therefore industries like trucking, automotive, electric carts, medical, recreational, warehouse, farming, telecommunications, construction and renewable energy form part of the demographic for this business.

3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On

The niche ideas that exist in this industry depend on the chemistry of the battery. While there are several companies that will offer all of the services in order to be able to attract more customers and due to their large investment scale, other companies prefer to focus on one or two niches in order to be able to focus on a particular set of customers.

Whatever niche you intend to focus on, ensure that you have conducted a thorough research on the areas so that you do not end up wasting energy and resources on areas that will not generate revenue for your business. Below are some of the niche ideas within this particular business that you can specialize on;

  • Lead Acid
  • Lithium Ion
  • Nickel Cadmium
The Level of Competition in the Industry

The level of competition in this kind of business will depend on the processes used to recycle and recondition the batteries. Those that will have an edge are those that will take the environment into account (green technology) when reconditioning their batteries.

When it comes to recycled and reconditioned batteries, affordability and quality are what clients have in mind. Also, while buying clients prefer to patronize those that recondition the batteries with formulas that are eco-friendly in nature, selling clients want to deal with businesses that rapidly pay and offer a seamless transaction.

The battery recycling and reconditioning business is in high demand, however the level of competition is not as stiff as other businesses and industries and so any entrepreneur looking to start this business in the United States of America has an opportunity to do so.

4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry

In every industry, there are players that stand out and the battery recycling and reconditioning market is no different. Most of the key players in this industry are those that have stayed in the industry for a long period of time, those that recycle and recondition top quality batteries and those that have aggressive advertising techniques.

Knowing these key players can help you better model your company into achieving your goals and objectives. Below are some of the well-known battery recycling and reconditioning businesses in the United States and even on a global level;

  • Battery Solutions LLC
  • Call2Recycle, Inc
  • Exide Technologies
  • East Penn Manufacturing Company
  • G&P Batteries
  • Johnson Controls, Inc
Economic Analysis

Used batteries are one of the most compelling factors in the rising hazards experienced in the environment all over the world. The battery recycling market is segmented by the chemistry of the battery (lead acid, lithium ion and nickel cadmium).

It is also determined by the spent battery source (electronic appliance, automotive and others) as well as by the end-use (reuse, extraction of material, second life and repackaging).

One of the factors that have boosted the battery recycling market is the huge gap in the supply and demand of lithium. This is because even though there is adequate supply of lithium on a global scale, most of the lithium can be found in the South American region, where the unsteady government affects the supply significantly.

Lithium is being demanded across several industries such as construction, pharmaceuticals, ceramic and glass. Also, many automotive manufacturers and OEMs have started with collaborative steps to enter the demand market.

The global battery recycling market is highly diversified due to the presence of both domestic and international players. The market is also highly vulnerable due to financial and technical challenges which have led the market to experience an inorganic growth.

5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch

When looking to start a business, one serious decision that you will need to make is whether to start your business from scratch or to buy a franchise. Now, while each option has its pros and cons, you should pick the one that will help you achieve your goals and objectives faster.

Also, there is no guarantee that any of the option will ensure that your business becomes a success if you do not put in hard work. When looking to start your business from scratch, it is necessary that you understand all the processes that are involved in recycling and reconditioning a battery.

There are several advantages to buying a franchise for your business because not only will you get guided, you will also not need to worry about how to attract customers to your business as your franchisor will deal with all that. However, it is important that you conduct a thorough research regarding whatever franchise deals you are looking to get into so that you do not end up buying a franchise that is a total waste of money.

6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face

When starting any business, there are several threats and challenges that you should be prepared for in order to ensure that your business is able to overcome these hurdles and become a success.

Not being prepared for any of these hurdles will mean that you are not committed or passionate about the business you are looking to go into. Every entrepreneur knows that no matter how lucrative a business might seem, it will not always be smooth as internal and external challenges will always crop up every now and then.

Some of the threats and challenges that you will therefore be facing when looking to start your battery recycling and reconditioning business include; having to deal with competition from already existing and well known businesses, having to deal with changing policies from regulatory federal and state agencies, as well as change in industry trends.

7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)

When looking to start any business, the legal entity that you are going to choose for the business will go a long way to determine how much of an impact your business is likely to have, which is why it is important to conduct a thorough survey of the business before you go into it.

An entrepreneur in the United States has the opportunity of choosing from five legal entities – sole proprietorship, partnership, S corporation, C corporation and Limited Liability Company (LLC) depending on the kind of business the entrepreneur is looking to run.

Each of the legal entities all has their defining attributes and an entrepreneur is expected to use these to decide which will be best for his business in the short and long run. Also, while some legal entities are easy to form, others will require certain formalities before they can be set up and run.

Some of the defining attributes that help distinguish these legal entities include; ease of setup and control, liabilities, flexibility and taxation structure. If you are overwhelmed about what legal entity to go for regarding your battery recycling and reconditioning business, then you should engage the services of an attorney to help you out.

One important thing to note is that even though a legal entity might be suitable for an entrepreneur running the same business in another state, it might not favor you in your own state because of certain laws that might or might not exist.

8. Choose a Catchy Business Name

When looking to start any business, it is important that you choose a catchy business name because this is what will enable potential customers to not only get attracted to your brand but also remember it when referring your brand to others.

Ensure that the name you intend to pick isn’t being used by another and that it is unique as well. Below are some of the catchy business name ideas that are suitable for your battery recycling and reconditioning business;.

  • Beniz Batteries, Inc
  • Eco Battery Doctor
  • Battery Life, Inc
  • Battery Booster
  • Wein Batteries

9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You

When starting a business, you have to take into account the fact that there will be a number of calamities – internally and externally – that you will likely encounter during the process of running the business; so that when they occur, you will not only be able to handle them but also have help from those whom you have transferred these risks to.

As an entrepreneur, you should know that every endeavor comes with a risk of its own and if you have emptied all your life savings into starting the business, then you will need to be more careful in securing the business against unforeseen circumstances.

One challenge that you might face will be determining what coverage is best for you and you can engage the services of an insurance agent to help you out in this regard. Some of the insurance policies that you will therefore be required to purchase should you be looking to start your battery recycling and reconditioning business in the United States of America include;

  • Property Insurance
  • Casualty Insurance
  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance
  • General Liability Insurance
  • Commercial Property Insurance
  • Product liability insurance
  • Disability Income Insurance
  • Umbrella Policies
  • Pollutant Cleanup and Removal Insurance
  • Mechanical Breakdown

10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents

A battery recycling and reconditioning business requires only skills in reconditioning the batteries, therefore, applying for intellectual property protection is not considered a priority.

There are some entrepreneurs in this industry that however apply for intellectual property protection on their company name and logo or processes used in reconditioning these batteries. This however should not be considered a priority.

11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification

It is important that you equip yourself with the right knowledge as well as resources necessary to start the business as this business does not require any sort of formal qualification or professional certification.

Asides from knowledge, you will need skills – in removing battery banks, measuring the charge capacity as well as restoration of dead cells – and passion in order to ensure that you provide quality services to all your various clients.

12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate

When looking to start a business, it is important that you get all the documents that will be required of you so that you do not get in trouble with the authorities. Asides from legal hitches, having all your documents allows your clients to have confidence in your business and puts you in the league to be able to bid for certain jobs.

If you aren’t so sure of the documents that you will require, you can ask others that are in the same business as you especially those in your area or you can go to the city hall in your locality to get all the necessary information regarding the documents that you will need for your business.

Below are some of the documents that you will require to run your battery recycling and reconditioning business;

  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Operating Agreement for LLCs
  • Business Plan
  • Insurance Policy
  • Employment Offer
  • Business License and Permit
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • Federal Tax Identification Number

13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital

Finance is a major deal when it comes to starting a business because it determines how far your business can achieve its goals and objectives.

While one’s capital is usually determined by the scale of business one intends to run, it is still not regarded as an easy feat for any entrepreneur to have to source for capital, which is why it is always advised that every entrepreneur writes a business plan which will be used to approach external investors and convince them on the need to invest in the business.

Some of the financing options that are available for the entrepreneur looking to start a battery recycling and reconditioning business include;

  • Generating startup capital from savings and sale of property
  • Source for soft loan from family members and friends
  • Apply for loan from commercial bank
  • Get a business partner and split startup capital

14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business

The location where you choose to run your business has a lot to do with the success of the business and so every entrepreneur has to take this into consideration as certain businesses require specific locations before they can be run. Be that as it may, the battery recycling and reconditioning business is one that can be run from home especially for entrepreneurs that do not have the capital to run this sort of business from a rented brick and mortar facility.

If you intend running this business from home, ensure that you have cleared a place within the home where no one can easily get to especially if you have little children, pets or a steady influx of visitors because of volatile chemicals that you will be using in reconditioning the batteries.

If however money is not considered a constraint, then you can start this business in a rented facility. Ensure that you choose a place that will be very convenient for clients that want to drop off dead batteries or are looking to buy recycled and or reconditioned batteries.

Renting a facility also will ensure that you are conspicuous to those that you are looking to buy from or sell to. However ensure that you do not pay for a place that is way above your budget so that you do not end up causing a strain over your overall budget. Ensure that where you have chosen for your facility or even if you are looking to run the business from home, has a place for storage, workplace as well as the admin office space.

If you aren’t sure what location will be best for your business, it is best that you engage the services of a real estate agent or broker to help you choose a place that will be within the zone set aside by regulated authorities for your kind of business. You can get an agent to help you ensure that the lease is to your advantage so that should you find out that you aren’t generating enough revenue as you should from that location, you can easily be opt out without violating any terms of contracts.

15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs

The battery recycling and reconditioning business requires the entrepreneur to have the right knowledge and skills to be able to run the business successfully. Some of the core skills that the entrepreneur needs to know about are; having to remove battery banks, restoring dead cells in the battery, measuring the battery’s charge capacity, reverting a reversed cell and how rechargeable batteries can be reconditioned.

One good thing with the battery recycling and reconditioning business is that you are running a cost effective business and are going to generate lots of revenue. The demand for batteries has made customers not only become conscious of how they spend but also how their actions are having an impact on the environment. However, while this might be a lucrative business, it is also one that requires a bit of hard work and can be quite dirty as well.

It is important that you have all the necessary equipment that will be needed for you to start your battery recycling and reconditioning business and run it effectively. Some of the tools and equipment that you will require include; reconditioning chargers, electronic battery analyzers, hydrometers, battery additives, drills, and load testers.

If you are running this business on a small scale, then this is definitely a business that you can run on your own but if however you intend to recruit others, you should hire only those who are competent enough. Some of those that you might need to hire include, administrative manager, receptionist, logistics and inventory manager, marketing and sales manager, battery reconditioning staff and driver.

Therefore, you will need at least 7 key staff in order to be able to run your battery recycling and reconditioning business successfully.

The Service Delivery Process of the Business

It is however important that you know about the different types of batteries; lead acid, Ni-Cd, Li-lon, Ni-MH, how to measure the charge capacity of a battery, how to revert a reversed cell and whatever safety measures will be needed when dealing with acids. Battery recycling has to do with having discarded batteries crushed in order so that they can be used to make new batteries.

Battery reconditioning is a process that starts with a test that is used to determine if the battery is fit to be reconditioned or not. Once the battery test shows that the battery can be reconditioned, a mixture of certain formulated chemicals is then added into the battery so that the in-built acid crystals on the inside lead plates can be dissolved.

Once the crystals have been dissolved, the battery can then be recharged normally and then undergoes a rigorous test again before it is delivered to the client.

16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies

Effectively marketing your business is very important if you want your business is able to sustain itself and achieve its intended goals and objectives. Marketing not only helps a company to achieve revenue generation, it also ensures that they are able to achieve awareness for their business.

With marketing, you are expected to anticipate what your customers want and ensure that you meet these expectations. Marketing also ensures that you are able to penetrate the market in order to get a fair share of the market for yourself while competing against your competitors.

At the beginning stage of your business, you might not have the best marketing ideas to help in furthering your goals and so you will require expert advice from those that understand the industry well so that they can help you craft the right marketing ideas that will help you achieve all your intended goals and objectives. All you will need to do is to ensure that whatever strategies are being created align with your core vision and objectives.

One thing that you should note when it comes to marketing is that your location matters a lot. If you are located in an environment where there are less people interested in your kind of business, then you will find all your marketing efforts in vain. If you are located in an area that is not too conspicuous then you will need to spend more than necessary in ensuring that you get people to become aware of your business.

Some of the marketing ideas and strategies that you will therefore require for your battery recycling and reconditioning business include;

  • Engage in email campaigns by sending emails to a lot of potential customers informing them about your services and rates
  • Get a professional web developer to create a website for you in order for you to be able to advertise your services
  • Use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and YouTube to advertise your services
  • Engage marketing executives to advertise your business both online and offline to potential customers
  • Ensure that your battery recycling and reconditioning business is listed in yellow pages as well as online directory
  • Advertise your battery recycling and reconditioning business in local newspapers and on radio stations as well

17. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity

Starting a battery recycling and reconditioning business is just like starting any business in the United States, if you do not take the time to promote your business so that your target audience can become aware of what you do, then you might as well be running the business without any concrete plan as to how you intend to recoup your investment.

While it may seem like all you need to do is engage in several activities in order to boost the image of your company and achieve success, it doesn’t work that way as activities have to be effective before they can attain any degree of success. This therefore means that it is important that you conduct a thorough plan on what it is you are looking to achieve and how you can achieve it with less trial and error and without wasting so much time and resources.

Knowing who your target market is and what they will be expecting from you is very important as it will enable you tailor your strategies to meet their expectations, allow you penetrate the market and also get a fair share for yourself. Also, knowing your competition is very important if you are looking to have the leverage that you need. You can pick some strategies from companies that are already successful and modify them to suit your own brand.

It is important that you create a budget for your publicity campaigns and stick to it so that you do not end up causing a serious strain on your entire budget. Ensure that you continually review your strategies all the time so you can remove those that are ineffective or modify them in order to suit industry trends.

Below are some of the strategies that will boost awareness for your brand and create a corporate identity for your battery recycling and reconditioning business;

  • Place online banners in popular blogs and forums in order to advertise your battery recycling and reconditioning business
  • Use social media platforms by creating a Facebook page, opening a Linkedin account and creating a Twitter account to use in giving your brand publicity
  • Have a YouTube Channel and use this to enlighten your audience about recycling and reconditioning batteries
  • Place adverts about your battery recycling and reconditioning business in local newspapers and magazines as well as on radio and television stations
  • Create customized tee shirts for your staff and brand your vehicle with your company logo in order to publicize your brand
  • Place flexi banners in strategic and conspicuous locations in order to create awareness for your battery recycling and reconditioning business