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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Station Trading Primer

Just as a disclaimer, this primer is not meant to be extremely comprehensive and exhausting. This is meant to pass what little knowledge and experience I have to any who are interested in starting to station trade. It is a basis from which a working application can be built and progress.
  This is my first time taking a shot at any type of guide for anything really. If you find a way to do it better, let me know since I am still a noob about so many things in Eve. For those newer to the game or have not thought about station trading, I hope this will be helpful. Station trading, or trading in general, can be very useful as an ISK generator during war or simply as a low SP required profession. It can be extremely lucrative and many veteran traders challenge themselves to turn 10k ISK into 1 billion ISK in a month or two. I have yet to achieve anything like that.
   We will go over skills to start off. Whether you want to have an alt dedicated to trading or just a side job for your main, there are a few skillbooks you will want to pick up:
   -Trade (the very basic you will need)
   -Broker Relations
    Daytrading might also be useful, but that is only if you plan on working multiple market areas.That will not be in the scope of this primer. 
   A solid trading character will have Trade up to at least IV, Accounting IV or V, Broker Relations IV or V, and Retail to III or IV. Retail allows more orders to be active at one time, so depending on the scale of your trading that skill may or may not be relevant to you. 
   As a station trader, you will work only in buy/sell orders. What this means is that you will not just buy what is immediately available and you will not sell to the highest buy order. This I will explain soon. For the skill side of things, Accounting and Broker Relations can be very important to reduce the cost of placing sell orders. This will allow you to keep as much capital as possible to put towards actually acquiring goods to trade. Accounting reduces transaction taxes, while Broker Relations helps reduce broker fees.
   When you set a sell order, you are giving your money to a middle-man called "escrow". You pay broker fees to set the order, like a classified ad, for your goods to be sold which are a percentage of the total order. When those goods actually are bought, you then pay a transaction fee. Reducing both will go a long way to keeping money in your pocket.
  So now we have a good skillset to work with, but what comes next? Where to start? Well, since you won't be moving as a station trader you want to find a hub that will work well with your time commitments. Jita is a cutthroat environment, with orders changing by the seconds. Things move fast and have a good quantity. For a slower pace, Hek will do you well. Things move in good quantities, but usually take longer to move. Rens, in my opinion, would be second to Jita. There is good movement and good quantity, but prices might be more expensive. Each hub is different, so take the time to check each out. I have never been to Amarr so I apologize, I do not know how well that hub works.
   We have the skills, we have the place. Now all we need is some starting capital and goods to move around! The capital will be a matter that is up to you. Whether you want to start with 10k ISk or 10 mil ISK, this is your investment. As to what we want to go after, this is when the issue of trading becomes a bit more nebulous. 
   You will want to start small. Get the hang of moving different volumes of goods around. This is easily managed with ammunition and smaller modules that are common in Pvp environments like energy neutralizers or damage control units. With ammo, you will most likely be working in bulk orders, ie buying and then selling 10,000 Fusion S. But how will you know which goods to invest your time and money into? That is where product history comes into play. 
   Bring up the market from your neocom menu. At the top you will see different tabs. Click on the settings tab and look at your options. You can set price ranges, jump ranges, quantity, etc etc. These act as filters when you are working on seeing what orders will be profitable. You certainly don't want to find that you have goods in a different station. Make sure you are focusing on orders in your station only. Now, on the left you see the browse, search and quickbar tabs. The quickbar can come in handy if you visit an item often and don't want to search for it every time. For now, the browser is your friend. When you open it up in the ammo section, Fusion S for consistency, in its subsection, click on the item and it will bring up lists of available sell and buy orders in the market data tab. The other tab, price history, is an invaluable tool. Click on it and you'll see alot of pretty lines and dots. This is what you want to study.
  For accurate results, set the time filter at the bottom to 3 months. This will show how much of the ammo is being moved daily, how quickly it moves, etc. But how am I supposed to make sense of this crazy stuff, Mem?? Ah patience, I shall explain. Or rather I will show you.

This is what is known as the Bullworth Burger. This is a rough version of what you will want to look for. The end. 
  Only joking, I will explain. This particular information is courtesy of the Uniwiki article where I got the picture and the name. It gives a far better explanation, so I will only summarize its contents. What you want when you trade is items that:

 "1. Trade in large volume
  2. Have good profit margins
  3. Are used and replaced often
  4. Steady in their pricing"
  What are you looking at anyways? 
Well, the green bars at the bottom is the volume that is traded. The more bars, the better for quick turnover. The big brown part is your profit margins. This shows the lowest buy and highest sell orders, so the wider that region is, the better. The little yellow squares that seem erratic are your median prices. You will want those squares as much in the middle of the brown region as possible, since these will show the supply/demand is balanced. The green and red lines are the different time frames of movement. The green is long term, so you want a relatively straight line so you know that it is stable. The red line will work inversely, with a jagged and spiky look to it, indicating price fluctuations in the short term, allowing for buying low and selling high. The link I gave you to the Uniwiki will perhaps explain better and gives other visual examples, but that is essentially what you are looking at in the history. It is alot, I know. It can be a bit daunting to start out with but it gets easier, I promise. 

  You've done research, you know what to look for and what you want to move. Now how to move it? First, set your sell orders to filter the lowest first and in the buy orders, filter so the highest orders are at the top. In buy and sell orders, you will never just do it the simple way. Find the goods you want to buy and place a buy order. Wait! Before you do that, hit the advanced button in the lower right corner of that buyorder. New windows will come up with quantity, duration and range. In the quantity field, keep the minimum at 1 and the maximum at the volume you wish to move. ie 10,000 units of Fusion S with a min of 1. For duration, set it to 3 months since anything shorter isn't really worthwhile and you'll have your goods far before 3 months is up. For range, keep it in station since you do not want to move. Now, before you hit that button, go all the way up to bid price. You should still be able to see the market data of that good. Whatever the highest buy order is, set your bid price above it. Often times, the easiest way to keep the margin large is to change the bid by .01 ISK. When you have waited and gained all the goods from your buy order, right click and press sell item. Pull up the advanced options again and look at the lowest sell order. Similarly to the buy order, you want to sell your goods slightly cheaper, perhaps by .01 ISK. This type of buying and selling will give you the best margins and make you the most money. Depending on your location, it could take 5 minutes or a couple of days. Remember, patience. 

  This information is what you will use to research items with AT LEAST a 10% profit. Any less and you are wasting your time and money. Ammo, implants, Pvp modules, and other things will be good to check out and begin your trading career. The more money you gain, the larger you will be able to work. The research portion can be difficult, depending on your time constraints. But when you find something that works for you, stick with it and keep trucking. Station trading can be a very good way to earn money with less effort than risking ships in missions or wormholes. Who knows, you may find you like it and have a knack for it.

  I hope this gives you a few tips on how to start and a general understanding of what to look for when you do trade. I'm sure there are better guides out there that I don't know about, so if you find one feel free to send me the link so I know where to send my dear readers. 

  Luck to you in your endeavors


Anonymous said...

Good guide, nice work.


reaper cross said...

Nicely done and informative ive never been able to understand the price history thingy but i think i get it now so thumbs up from me

Memoocan said...

Thanks guys :)

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