What's a fair profit for "Pickers"

As many of you know I collect traffic signals. I noticed that an installation that had some choice pieces was about to be dismantled, so I approached the contractor about buying them with cash. Some of the ones I wanted he had made a different deal for already, and some were smashed, but there were still some I wanted in decent condition. He asked what I would offer for everything, and I said half again as much. He thought about it for a moment, but then accepted without making a counter offer and kind of implied he might like to contact me again if he had another signal project. I think my offer was about what the scrap value would be if it were pure aluminum, but my understanding is scrappers pay less if other stuff like glass, plastic, steel, and wiring is mixed in.

I expect to double my money while still keeping a few pieces for myself. But I have haul them home in multiple trips each taking 90 minutes, repair them, list them for sale, ship them, etc whereas all he had to do is make a deal and they disappear without much effort on his part. He did have his guys spend a few minutes with me to cut them up into movable pieces, but I don’t know if they had work to do or would just be lounging around.

So do you think I made a fair offer?

So you offered $100 for all of them (for example), but he said you couldn’t have all of them, so you offered him $150 for all of them and he said you could have all of them?

Well it obviously seemed fair to him. Are you concerned that you paid too much?

A “fair profit” is whatever you’re willing to pay.

Nope, my original email offer was, to use those numbers, for example, $100 for a couple of choice pieces. Some of the pieces I wanted had already been sold but some were still there (and of those that were there a couple had been damaged). I offered $150 for the entire lot, was wondering if this was too low considering I’m hoping to get $300 after considerable amount of work.

I don’t see how it’s possible to be too low. You bought them for an agreed upon price. It was the other guys responsibility to know what they were worth. You should be concerned that you will only double your money after a considerable amount of work. Doubling your costs is the goal for low volume sales. What if you paid yourself just $10 an hour for your efforts, what would you have left after that?

The best transactions are where both parties think they got a good deal.

Don’t over-think this.

30% is the bare minumum markup in most sales jobs. 50% is where you should be to defray unexpected costs, which often do happen.