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.
Heat treated export pallets Wooden pallets are a big business! Most 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 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 too 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 leftover pallets on a regular basis, and keep the recycling process going!