Trading is the act of buying and selling items within Eve.
There are many recordings of Uni trading classes available on the forums. A few examples are listed below:
- Trading 101 - Lompster (Basics of trading, some emphasis on station and wartime trading)
- Eldiora (The basics of trading. Emphasis on interregional trade and getting started.)
- Dr Deus (Introduction to trading. Emphasis on station trading, trading in Jita, Maximizing profit.)
- Sun Win (Buy and Sell orders. Creating a Trade Alt. Buying Low, selling high. Trade via hauling. Details of the Market system, Market analysis. Recommended Skills.)
Advantages of trading
- Easy to get started: You can start trading right away on a character with no skills, and the amount of skill training needed compared to other professions is fairly low. The only skill you really need to start with is Trade, without which you'll probably feel a little limited in the number of orders you can have open.
- Easy to do during war: With a small investment in skills (Marketing, Procurement and Daytrading to level 2) you can easily station trade in one system while docked up in another, or use an alt to trade in other ways.
- Time-flexible: A lot of trading happens while docked up, and it's easy to go AFK with no real danger most of the time. While this isn't true during hauling, good hauls tend to be fairly short and you can always dock up halfway through.
The Trade Window
Possibly the simplest and least-used form of trading, the trade window requires you to be docked up with someone in the same station. It's mostly used to deliver items personally to a friend. The trade window is less useful in general since mass trading is not possible and scamming is common.
A contract is a public, formal agreement for work or goods, available through the contracts button on the NeoCom. Like the trade window, mass trading is hard and scamming is common. However, contracts have a couple of advantages. They can contain goods not normally available on the market, and finding an audience for your trading is much easier than through the trade window.
Alternatively, courier contracts can also add extra profit to hauling routes.
This is where most trading in Eve takes place. The market is essentially an automated list of item exchange contracts: buy orders and sell orders. Since orders can be partially filled and searched easily, it tends to be a lot more convenient than trading through contracts, although the basic principle is the same. Another advantage of the market is that it's easy to see the price and quantity that items are actually selling for, using the market details tab. Markets are limited to the specific region they are in.
Trade skills can be divided into four groups:
- Skills that increase maximum number of active orders orders: Trade, Retail, Wholesale, Tycoon.
- Skills that allow you to buy and sell things remotely: Marketing, Procurement, Daytrading, Visibility.
- Skills that reduce trading overhead: Accounting, Broker Relations, Margin Trading.
- Skills that increases maximum number of outstanding contracts: Contracting and Corporation Contracting.
With no trade skills a character has can set up 5 simultaneous orders.
- Trade (1x, 20k ISK) – grants 4 additional orders per level.
- Retail (2x, 100k ISK) – grants 8 additional orders per level.
- Wholesale (4x, 35M ISK) – grants 16 additional orders per level.
- Tycoon (6x, 100M ISK) – grants 32 additional orders per level.
With all these skills trained to level 5 character can manage up to 305 orders.
The info for these skills can be misleading. Sadly, these skills do not magically move goods around. For example, Procurement will not allow you to buy goods in a distant system and have them appear in your current station's hangar. What these skills do is allow you to buy and sell goods that are not in your current station/system. If you are a station trader, for example, you hang out somewhere else from your goods; this increases safety, because trade hubs tend to attract PvP action. Similarly, you can deliver your salvage to a trade hub then go back to missioning where the missions are, while still managing the sale of your salvage.
- Marketing (3x, 3.5M ISK) – allows to setup sell orders remotely. Ranges:
- level 0: limited to current station
- level 1: anywhere within current solar system
- level 2: 5 jumps
- level 3: 10 jumps
- level 4: 20 jumps
- level 5: entire region
- Procurement (3x, 1.5M ISK) – allows to setup buy orders remotely. Ranges are the same as for Marketing skill.
- Daytrading (1x, 12.5M ISK) – allows to change orders remotely. Ranges are the same as for Marketing skill.
- Visibility (3x, 7.5M ISK) - increases maximum range of remote buy orders, so sellers can fill such orders from any station with this range of the remote buy order. Every buy order can have own effective range limited to this skill. Ranges are the same as for Marketing skill.
Overhead Reduction skills
- Accounting (3x, 5M ISK) - reduces the transaction tax rate by 10% per level from 2% to 1% at level 5.
- Broker Relations (2x, 100k ISK) – reduces the broker fee collected on market orders in NPC stations by subtracting a flat 0.1% per level from 3% to 2.5% at level 5. This fee can also be affected by standings between the trader and the corporation that owns the station.
- Margin Trading (3x, 20M ISK) – decreases amount of ISK you have to place in buy orders for 25% per level. The remainder will be drawn from character’s wallet when someone actually sells you goods. Escrowed values are:
- level 0: 100% – The full ISK amount is removed from your wallet when the buy order is set up
- level 1: 75%
- level 2: 56.25%
- level 3: 42.18%
- level 4: 31.64%
- level 5: 23.73%
- Contracting (1x, 150k ISK) – increases the maximum number of contracts by 4 per level up to 21 at level 5.
- Corporation Contracting (3x, 150k ISK) – increases the number of concurrent corporation/alliance contracts you can make on behalf of your corporation by 10 per level up to 60 at level 5.
Trading using the Market
The main method of trading is doing what other players can't be bothered to do: either they're too lazy or the opportunity cost is too big. Most market activity occurs in and around Trade Hubs.
Hauling is the act of transporting goods between stations for profit. Basically, you buy some goods at one station, load them up into your hauling ship, carry them off to another station and sell them for profit. This works because most players don't have the ships or the time to move everything themselves. Interestingly, there are a lot of trade goods that exist only to be hauled between NPC stations. Finding good trade routes is hard (and changes on a daily basis), so most players use an external tool such as Eve-Central or Navbot. However, there are usually certain routes that are profitable in general, such as hauling stuff from mission hubs, where mission runners dump their loots, to trading hubs where there is less supply.
- Racial Industrial skill for beginner ship usage
- Hull Upgrades to use Expanded Cargoholds.
- Creating an Alt Hauler
- Using EVE-Central to haul profitably
- Hauling 101, Advanced Hauling
- Making Money with Hauling - Level 4 Cargo Missions
- The Dark Side of Eve - A discussion on suicide ganking and pirate tactics. Firmly recommended listening.
- Known pirate systems - Avoid these.
Station trading is like hauling, but without the hauling ship! Instead of buying low and then taking the goods to where you can sell high, you buy low and sell high without moving the goods.
Basically, you want to find items with a reasonable volume traded and a significant difference in buy and sell order prices within the same station. A large source of these types of items comes from NPC loot: players run missions, collect loot and just want to sell it for a quick buck, since they don't have the time or the Trade skills to set up sell orders for everything. Another example is trade books that are given during the tutorials - if players have one and don't need it, they just want to dump it for ISK. On the other hand, players searching for one will pay quite a bit more since they can't get it anywhere else.
The simple rule of thumb is buy low and sell high. For station trading to be performed effectively, ensure that your sell order's gross profit minus your buy order's cost minus taxation still leaves a profit! Setting up buy and sell orders on multiple items minimizes risk of a market price crash on any one particular item. If you can make 20,000 ISK on an item and manage to trade 100 of these per day this will give you 2,000,000 ISK. Do this with 50 different products and this equates to 100,000,000 ISK per day!
Start small, reinvest, and you will soon see your total ISK grow very quickly. When you start working with billions of ISK you can trade higher priced items, which, in turn, can increase your margins and also price out some of the competition!
Station Trading Skills
Station trading is all about volume. Your margins are going to be thin, and you'll need to save money everywhere you can. That means training Broker Relations and Accounting to 5.
Early in your trading career, these fractional percentages have a minimal impact i.e. if trained to level 5, you need to trade 667 million ISK of goods to earn back the 5 million ISK you spent on the Accounting skillbook. As you build your trading volume, however, these reductions are quite meaningful. Without getting into the math, training Broker Relations and Accounting to 5 will increase your profits by 11%.
Other skills you'll want to familiarize yourself with include:
- Trade, Retail, Wholesale and Tycoon: These skills increase the number of open market orders you may have.
- Procurement, Marketing, Daytrading and Visibility: These skills allow you to buy, sell and modify orders in stations other than your current one.
- Margin Trading: This skill allows you to reduce the amount of escrow required when putting in a buy order, effectively letting you place buy orders for more money than you actually have. (But you still need the ISK to be available when the Buy order goes through.)
- Social, Connections: Increases your standing so you pay less in taxes. Caveat: Broker fees are based on your base faction and corporate standing. The Connections skill does not affect broker fees paid on an order.
- Guide to Making ISK Part 4: Titan Production Notes: Excellent station trading guides by Eve trillionaire Sinqlaison
- Station Trading 101(notes) and 102(notes): classes by Turhan Bey
- Identifying items for trade
- Irdalth Delrar's Impromtu Station Trading Guide
Basically, refining for profit means training up some refining skills, getting good standing with your current station's corp and then refining ore bought on the market. Most ore on the market is sold by miners without refining skills or who don't know better, so the margins are usually pretty good.
- Reprocessing, Reprocessing Efficiency - Increases your base refine amount.
- Social, Connections - Increases your standing so the station takes less ore.
Speculation is the act of buying goods in the hope that their price will rise in the future. For example, PLEX prices can rise significantly during the summer holidays, so buying them earlier in the year and selling them during the summer can create a large profit. Speculation can also occur on patch changes or market stampedes.
Tips and Tricks
As with other aspects of Eve, the first rule of trading is to never invest what you can't afford to lose.
Once you get into trading, you will notice that a lot of people tend to over/undercut you by just 0.01 ISK per unit. Quite a few new players seem to have a problem with this - often getting annoyed to the point where they radically change their orders, slashing huge chunks off their profits. However, a more useful way to look at the 0.01-isking is that it is simply the game mechanism by which a logged on and active trading player has the advantage over logged off or AFK traders. Over or undercutting your competitors by just 0.01 ISK is precisely how this is achieved. So when someone else over/undercuts you by just 0.01 ISK, they are just getting their turn at the front of the queue. If you are there, updating your orders, you can simply update your orders and it is back to your turn to be at the front of the queue... On the other hand if you are not there, or not logged on, don't get so bent out of shape when someone that is active happens to be reaping the rewards.
And when you start doing some 0.01-isking of your own, try using your mouse-wheel to bump your price. You might like it, specially since it can be quite quick once you get used to it.
Of course, sometimes the market for a particular item is simply unrealistic, or maybe you need your trades to go through quickly for some reason - a radical price change might be called for, but a good trader will have identifiable reasons for making such a change, rather than it just being an emotional "I'll show you!" response to being 0.01-isked.
Finding items that are good to trade
There is an incredibly simple 3-step plan for finding good trading items:
- Click on a market category, and start looking at the orders and market details for each item
- Switch to another category, and keep looking at each item.
- Look at items some more.
With that said, it's important to know what you're looking for, and hopefully the burger method and the tips on this page should be enough. Generally, for station trading, you want to find items that:
- have a high and fairly constant demand. You can check item demand by looking at the volume sold chart in the market details. While some items might have huge margins, if the volume sold is small or infrequent then there is much more risk associated with that item.
- actually sell for the buy and sell orders listed. You can check this by looking at the market details and seeing whether the range of prices includes the current best buy and sell orders. Hopefully the median price should be somewhere between the two.
Good items to trade are (depending on region and current market) meta-4 items (e.g. arbalest launchers): they can't be produced and some of them have better or the same attributes as their T2 counterparts.
Remember to diversify between different items so that if your market breaks down you don't lose all your money.
Alternatively an EVE University member has created a dynamic TradeBook that provides real-time market data on any EVE item, so long as the API calls to EVE market-central are working (and they usually are - as of June 14th, 2016, CCP deployed a massive update that greatly increased the speed at which market data is updated). You can find the TradeBook in the EVE University Forum under the Research, Production, and Trade tab. Click here to access the document.
Like almost all of Eve there is math. Fortunately most of the math in trading is basic math and/or the game does the math for you. If you want to find out how much you will be paying or selling an item please use the following equation.
X=The amount of units you want to buy or sell
U=The price of one unit of what your trying to buy or sell
P1=The overall cost of all the units you want to sell
P2=The overall cost of the units you want to buy
B=The broker percentage in decimal form
E=The amount that you will get after a sell
A=The amount you will have to pay to buy something
X * U = P1
P1 - (P1 * B) = E
X * U = P2
P2 + (P2 * B) = A
So if you were buying PLEX for 100 isk each and you want 100 PLEX the amount you would have to pay after a 10% broker fee is 11,000 in isk. The equation for this is below.
100 * 100 = 10000
10000 + (10000 * .1) = 11000
And if you want to sell the same PLEX for the same price and amount and same brokers fee you will get 9000 isk and the equation will look like this:
100 * 100 = 10000
10000 - (10000 * .1) = 9000
Trend lines are used in the real world to help self brokers and stock brokers find out future events in the stock market, or more commonly known as a technical analysis. To use a trend line all you need to do is find a way to draw a line from peak to peak and trough to trough in the line graph on price history on an item. You will want to draw a line that hits at least 2 to 3 peaks and another that hits 2 to 3 troughs. This will tell you that the price should fall between the 2 lines and if the prices hits one of the lines or go a little past it then its time to buy or sell the item in Eve. The trick to this in both Eve and the real world is to do this and know what you're doing as fast and right as possible.
You should be able to look at a graph in 5 minutes and say if it's a good buy or sell for you if you're buying and selling short term. The only trick to using something is it must be straight. If worst comes to worst you can press print screen, paste the image into paint and make the trend line there but if you do this you will lose some valuable time.
Because there is so much information already out there here is a link that gets in detail on what you should do to make and read a trend line.
Lastly here is another video that shows you how the trend line works on line graphs.
Scams to avoid
- Trade routes or courier contracts might be set up by pirates - a camp could be waiting on one of the jumps on the route to collect your ship, their goods and the collateral.
- Courier contracts might be set up to deliver to a player-owned station with a large docking fee - you are forced to not dock and lose the collateral, or dock and pay the fee.
A good way to avoid courier contract scams is to only accept contracts for routes you were planning on hauling anyway, and to not accept contracts to player owned stations.
Trading Cost Modifiers
- Broker Relations [Req: Trade 2] reduce base broker fee by 0.1% per level
- Accounting [Req: Trade 4]: reduces sales tax by 10% per level
- Margin Trading [Req: Accounting 4]: reduces escrow requirement for buy orders by an additional 25% per level
Whenever you set up a buy or sell order, you will have to pay the broker fee: 3% of the total order (2.5% at max skills), modified by standings. Whenever each unit gets sold, the seller will pay 2% of the sell price as a sales tax (1% at max skills). The fees show up in the wallet journal as "Brokers Fee" and "Transaction Tax".
So the typical station trader with zero standings will pay 3% of the order price as fees/taxes, 2.5% at max skills. This is important to take into account when calculating your profit, but of course the standings below can change that further.
Faction and corporation standings relevant to the station the orders are placed in will have an effect on the broker fee. Faction standings contribute 1/3 more than corp standings. Note that the unmodified standing is used for the calculation. The exact formula is:
- BrokerFee % = 3%-(0.1%*BrokerRelationsLevel)-(0.03%*FactionStanding)-(0.02%*CorpStanding)
With no skills or standing the broker fee is 3%. With 10 faction and corp standing, the broker fee is reduced to 2.5%. With broker relations V and perfect standing the fee is further reduced to 2%