Saturday, 26 January 2013

Learning to flip items.

Once you have your seed money you're ready to start playing the market. In this post I'll be explaining some steps to get started in flipping items, if you're still unsure after reading I'll list some 'further reading' links at the bottom of this post for more guides/advice on flipping.

What is 'flipping'?

In my Black Market 101 post I mentioned how things can be bought cheaper by placing buy orders and sold for more by listing your own price rather than matching the highest bidder. 'Flipping' is buying items cheaply using buy orders and then selling them at a higher price, making a profit in the process.

It sounds simple enough but of course you can't just look at the difference between the highest buy order and the lowest seller, you need to take the Trading Post fees into account.

What should I invest in?

This is something you'll always be asking yourself as you learn to play the market. Eventually you may settle on some favoured markets that you consistently invest in but first you need to find those markets! There are two flipping methods for making decent money:

1) Buy low profit items that will be bought in bulk. Following this method your money will be made from selling in volume. This method is usually applied to things like consumables and crafting materials where there is constant demand for the items.

2) Buy higher profit items that will be bought one or two at a time. Following this method your money will be made as you make individual sales. This method is applied to things like armour, weapons and trinkets.

Today I'll be showing you my take on the second method, both are viable starting points though and I'll likely do another post in the future on the first method.

Step One: Buying Your Stock.

Our first step is investing in items to sell on. As you get used to playing the market you'll learn what margins between your buy and sell price you're comfortable with but while starting out a good rule of thumb for investment is buy at (roughly) half of the current selling price. This rule allows for the lowest selling price coming down while you wait for your buy order to be fulfilled.

I picked trinkets as my market as I learnt from my crafting that people tend to impulse buy their jewellery, they're reasonably fast moving items. I spent a while clicking through items, comparing the highest bidder price to the lowest seller price and sticking to my rule. A good thing to remember here is that I said 'roughly', you can go a little over half what the current lowest seller is at with your bids.

I found several items like this one. This ring was selling at 1s 58c, but I could order one for 68c. I only ordered one at that price, at this point it's good to be cautious, especially if you're just starting out and even if you're an established trader it's often best to test the waters with a single flip if you're exploring a new market.

At the end of my earning seed money I had 1g 4s 58c to invest. I went through the list of trinkets placing buy orders. I stopped when I only had 9s 9c left on hand. Always make sure you have a few silver left at the end of your ordering stock, otherwise you won't be able to afford to list your items!

Step Two: Wait.

I realise this is a frustrating step as you'll want to see quick results but depending on your market it could take a long time for your orders to fill. So relax and go find something else to do for a bit, it'll be worth the wait.

Thankfully for me trinkets is a fast moving market at times so I didn't have to wait too long (in fact some of my stock was arriving before I'd finished putting in my orders!)

Step Three: Pickup and List.

Here's just a small selection of the stock I picked up, as you can see the price per unit is pretty low in most cases allowing me to make a lot of offers on a variety of trinkets, increasing my chances of getting items to sell.

I listed my jewellery at 1c under the current lowest seller in most cases. If the current lowest seller was only selling 1 of the item I was usually matching their price on rings or earrings (as these items are often bought in pairs). When you get more comfortable playing the trading post you may list your items for a little more and wait for cheaper items to clear out, maximising your profit. However I'd recommend this method for those just starting out to get quicker sales.

Step Four: Wait Some More.

This wait can be even more nerve-wracking when you're starting out, this is the moment of truth where you're waiting to see if your investment will pay off or if your items will end up undercut. Try not to worry too much, sometimes you'll make losses but more often than not your profits will happily cover these. Just go off and do something else for a while and let your money roll in.

Step Five: Pick Up Those Profits!

Whether you're happy to pick up the money as it dribbles in so you can use it right away or you've got the patience to wait and pick it all up in a nice lump sum it's always gratifying to see your money come back to you, bringing extra coins in tow.

There's a lot to learn about playing the market, there a so many markets to explore and tactics to try, there are tools to help you along the way and methods that involve a good memory or a good spreadsheet. But it's all up to you how you approach it. The simple steps above will get you more money, flipping items is as complicated as you make it. Yes, more advanced methods will earn you more profit but not everyone has the time/inclination to pick them up, it's all up to you and what you feel happiest with.

A few more tips:

Repeat successful sales. While listing my trinkets some of them sold almost immediately, I could have just collected my profits and been happy with them, but whiles the market's active it's worth exploiting to it's full potential. To doublecheck what you just sold click on your 'Transactions' tab and then pick 'Items I've Sold' from the drop-down menu.

Click on these items to be taken straight to their trading post listing where you'll be able to place another buy order for one or two more. At the bottom of my example above you'll see the same Amethyst Silver Earring that's in my 'Pick Up and List' section of this post. I bought the earring for 36c and sold it for 1s 9c, that's a profit of 57c on that one item, so of course I wanted to duplicate the success. I went and bought two more of the earring which I bought and sold at the same prices within half an hour.

Don't remove listings. I know it's frustrating to see your item get undercut by someone else, but remember you've already spent money on your listing fee! The market fluctuates a lot, there's a chance those items that are cheaper than yours will clear out at a busier time of day. Of course sometimes the value of items doesn't recover well and you don't want your items gathering dust when they could earn a little money back, but I'd advise waiting at least a week or two to see how it goes before throwing away that original listing fee!

Clear your buy orders. Not all of your orders will get filled, be sure to check the 'Items I'm Buying' section of your transactions once a day, you don't want your money tied up in bids on items that aren't currently being sold/that others have put in higher order amounts on.

My Results:

Following the steps and tips above Roselli ended up with 1g 92s 31c, which is a profit of 87s 73c! That was with minimal repeating of successful sales and only buying one or two of an item at a time, I wanted to approach this cautiously, as though it really was my first time flipping items to give a realistic feel of what can be achieved when starting out.

Further Reading:

Guild Wars 2 Trading Post: Damn this is a Gold Guide. This is one of the first resources I found on flipping items and where I first learned to do it. I just reread it and realised that Marcko's tips must still have been in the back of my mind when writing my guide given some of the similarities in advice. So if you'd like to see flipping explained in a different way this guide is well worth the time.

GW-Market Forums.  I'm an active member of these forums and I've found the community there to be very helpful and supportive, so if you'd like to just ask for advice on starting out or if you'd like to join in on discussions on markets/tactics that may be profitable this is a good place to go.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the link, even though you did a stellar job explaining flipping in this post.

    Going to add you to my blog roll, glad I found ya today :D