Most people miss some of the greatest metal detecting opportunities because they simply don’t know how to ask for permission, or they fear rejection. The worst thing that can happen is someone can say no. If that’s the case, then move on. Don’t be afraid to ask someone to hunt their property with your metal detector.
There is a right way and a wrong way to go about this. Here is the wrong way to go about this. Show up at the property wearing old and dirty clothes and say, “Hey can I dig a bunch of holes in your yard looking for gold?” If you do this, you can forget about getting permission. It is all in the presentation.
Look clean, and professional when you approach the person. First impressions are very important here. If you are knocking on a stranger’s door, then introduce yourself. Be honest, and tell the property owner that you would be interested in metal detecting their property.
Tell them you won’t destroy anything, and in most cases, they will never even know you were there. This is usually all it takes to get permission. It has worked for me about 70% of the time.
One day I decided to bring my son with me because I had located a really good spot to metal detect. It was on private property, and I had to gain permission first. My son was about 8 at the time. We both approached the door, and I introduced myself and my son to the property owner.
I told him that his property had some pretty interesting history. I brought a few older articles with me that explained some of the past histories. I told the property owner that my son and I would be interested in metal detecting their property. The property owner smiled and said,
We found quite a few civil war relics that day. I brought quite a few of them back to the property owner who was very happy to have them. I learned two things that day. One: bringing my son seemed to help break the ice. It made the situation less intimidating for everyone, especially the property owner. The second thing I learned was this. Property owners are always very happy to have relics or anything found on their property handed to them.
Additional tips for getting a permission
There may be a situation or two where you might have to trade or do a little bit of bartering to obtain permission. You may even have to do a little bit of work around the property in order to obtain permission. Don’t be afraid to offer to help lend a hand. You will be surprised by how many doors this can open.
Business Cards or Flyers
If you look professional, but down to earth, then obtaining permission is easy. You could go so far as to have business cards printed that have your name and phone number on them. This can have some drawbacks because the property owner may think you are trying to sell them something.
I have found that bringing a small color flyer with me helps big time. I fill the flyer up with pictures of some of my best finds. The flyer can be an easy way to break the ice. You can direct the property owner’s attention to the great items on the flyer while you tell them about every piece of treasure.
You can even go so far as to bring a log book or a finds journal with you. This can really help get the conversation going. The property owner may even have a story or two to tell you about some possible great places to start hunting on their property.
Give a Short Demonstration
Some property owners are so fascinated by the idea of locating treasure on their property that they may even ask for a demonstration. Go for it! Show the property owner exactly how your machine works. You may even want to take them on the hunt with you.
Write a Letter
If you don’t like the idea of approaching a stranger’s door, then you can break the ice with a well written letter. The letter should have a brief introduction, and then it should quickly get to the point. If you have any interesting information about the property, you may want to include it in the letter.
With a little bit of practice, you should have no problems obtaining permission to hunt anywhere.