Friday, 18 October 2013

Trade Log: Hauling (Regional Trading)

The graceful art of moving stuff.

Here's the secret. Look at your stuff. Put stuff in ship. Undock. Fly to destination. Dock. Take stuff out of your ship.

And that's it.

There are some tips though.

I rarely use industrial ships for this. Now that there are speedy industrials, it's not a terrible idea to use them, and can give you a good deal of tank.

What you deal in is usually quite mall, so the cargo capacity of a hauler isn't necessary. Gankers, pirates who prey on the humble hauler, used to be able to pop open most industrial ships without breaking a sweat. Not quite so true now, but gankers will still target you, since you're most likely to have cargo.

A fast frigate requires someone to have a ship designed for speedy locking, since they warp quite quickly, and they will also have to cargo scan you. No sense in wasting a destroyer or battle cruiser on a rookie's mission ship.

A Vigil, the Minmatar E-War ship, is usually the hauler of choice. However, gankers know this too, and will target those first. Any frigate will do though. I know of some traders that used to haul in destroyers too... no one ganks destroyers.

The speediest ship for moving around valuables is an interceptor. With this ship you'll zip across the space lanes, and outrun all but the most determined ganker.

It goes without saying that you shouldn't be asleep at the pod when you haul something valuable. Auto-piloting gives gankers an awful lot of time to peruse your ship. They'll scan you to see if you have cargo, and then blast you at their leisure. Manual piloting limits this time, and makes it less likely for you to be a target.

Also, avoid low and null security space. CONCORD won't help you out there. If you absolutely must, get a cloaked ship. Covert Ops vessels are good for this.

If, on the other hand, you find hauling too stressful (and boring), I recommend using either Push X or Red Frog on Courier contracts. I mostly deal with Push X. They are reliable, and have have a good insurance network.

When setting collateral for the contract, you might want to consider putting a small mark-up on your goods being hauled. Certainly do this for public contracts. I'm disinclined to do it for Push X though, as they're very professional about what they do. Good relationships are the foundation of any business.

The reason for the small mark up is lessening the damage to your business cycle. If you lose your valuables to a pirate, then you will have lost all that time spent buying and setting up the Courier contract. The small mark-up gives you a little bit of profit, to make up for the lost time. Don't be greedy, though. Just a little bit to pay for your time. Too much is simply unfair for your courier, and will damage your reputation.

So there you go. Get moving stuff. I've got things to do... 

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