Yes, you could make money recycling wooden pallets, and make a nice part time, or full time business out of it! About the only thing you would need to start this, is a pickup truck, or bigger truck, or a trailer towed behind a car to start. Wooden pallets are a big business! Most all big companies ship their products out on trucks, using wooden pallets to hold everything. Wooden pallets cost money, because wood is not free, and sooner or later, most pallets meet their fate, and end up as sawdust, or in a fire somewhere.
There are companies all over, that buy and sell pallets. The company might have a crew of guys that make pallets out of brand new wood. Some companies that have thousands of dollars worth of merchandise, do not mind the added few dollars, for brand new shiny pallets! Other companies want things as cheap as they can get them! I know this from experience! When I used to own two retail stores, I would usually drive from San Diego to LA, every Thursday, and pick up 8 pallets of merchandise for my stores. My truck would only Jacksonville pallets hold 8 pallets, and I always came back with a full load. Some of the warehouses would add a pallet charge to your invoice, for 8 pallets, if you took 8 pallets. Others have a pallet exchange, if they give you 8 pallets, you should have brought 8 pallets back to them, or they charge you for them on your invoice.
Other companies don’t hassle their customers to much about pallets, especially if they just sold them thousands of dollars worth of goods! These are the companies that usually need to buy pallets from pallet companies. The pallet companies obviously don’t have the time to drive around and retrieve used pallets. It is just like the recycling system, they will pay you to find them, and then they will sell them for a higher price. You sell them to the company, the company sells them back to the warehouses, where you later make a deal with the warehouses, to pick up their left over pallets on a regular basis, and keep the recycling process going!
Sure, you can drive around, in an old, beat up, pick up truck! Driving down alleys and parking lots, looking for left over pallets, and you will find some. But if you make it more professional, and offer a service to businesses, that they will want, then you will make money from it!
You would want to have signs made up for your vehicle, that you buy and sell pallets. If you did a search, and found several places that bought pallets, you could then come up with a cheaper price, that you could offer the warehouse, for their old pallets. If you sent a flier out to 200 businesses, that you think use pallets, you would get some new customers out of that, and then you could keep doing it over and over, until you were driving around, in a nice truck! People will call you, to come and get their pallets, and you could turn them over to the bigger companies, and make a nice profit, and look professional doing it too!