So, this is actually the hardest part of the whole trading business, and how well you do as a trader is a direct product of what you choose to buy.
That said, don't feel too pressured. So long as you set your sell order higher than what you bought the item for, you will make a profit. Of course, when you make that profit is a completely different question. It depends on your patience, and how active you want to be in trading.
Before you do anything, choose your hubs. Here is an excellent description buy a far wiser trader than I am, which highlights the regional hubs by size. The idea is buying from a bigger hub, and selling to a smaller. The hubs I work are Amarr and Hek... the reason being I was born in Hek, and Master Arcani operates from Amarr.
On a side note, flooding the Republic's markets with cheaper Amarr goods also sucks wealth from the regions economy. This is the one reason my Master didn't kill me on site for selling guns to his enemies. An added bonus is the intelligence my Master picks up from his patrols. Every ship he blows up gives us an idea of what the Liberation Force is buying, and thus what I should be selling.
A better idea is to work from Jita, that giant ISK blackhole in Caladri space. Prices tend to be the best there, and you'll never want for supply. If you are a serious trader, not working a Jita store is dumb. Really dumb.
Anyway, the easiest way to find things to buy is to use appropriate intelligence channels. This trade tool will give you a distinct advantage in choosing items. Essentially, set your budget, fill in your hubs, and you can just select the items you want to trade.
Sound simple? That's because it is! Using this site, you are nearly guaranteed to make profit.
This is where your experience and knowledge will come into play. Some items sell faster than others. As a rule of thumb, the fastest sellers are:
- Skill books
... and in that order too. Avoid things that are manufactured, since you'll put yourself in competition with the industrial capsuleers. Use your common sense too. If you can pick something up for a million and sell it for a billion, chances are it's too good to be true.
Feel free to take risks and gamble on unfamiliar items. The only thing that can hurt is a slow down in profit, provided you don't go all in on one item.
The actual buying can be done in two ways. Ideally you'd set up 'Buy Orders' at the bigger hub, so you can get something for the cheapest possible price. The problem with that is that you'd have to manage the buy order, which is added hassle.
The lazy way to do is simply to buy from the cheapest 'Sell order'. Not the most ISK efficient, but it depends on your chosen vocation. A pure trader can spend his time managing the buy orders along with what they station trade. If you'd like to do other things with your time, just pick up a sell order. It all comes down to what's important to you.
That's all for now. Stay tuned for the next post which tells you how to haul.