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Is station trading a viable profession?

Author
Nicholas Lafisques
Dark Matters Retail and Distribution
#41 - 2013-12-26 17:20:55 UTC
Chris Carlyle wrote:
Skurja Volpar wrote:
...waking up in the morning to find a huge surprise payout when all you've done is sleep, feels, when compared to countless hours of "primary the niarja", like pure distilled ambrosia..


I can't agree more. Nothing beats a big payout in the morning. I think we've pretty much proven that station trading is a viable profession. I did, however, not expect it to be so much fun.

You mentioned you have an alt for station trading. Would you recommend using an alt for the trade, instead of a main character?


It really doesn't matter... It's nice to have an alt do it so you can just leave them there.
Jori McKie
Horde Vanguard.
Pandemic Horde
#42 - 2013-12-28 17:51:47 UTC  |  Edited by: Jori McKie
Thermopylaee wrote:
Jori McKie wrote:
There are two types of trading, you can break it down to
- High volume items
- Low volume items

Low volume items have two big advantages, nearly no 0.01ing and easier to manipulate. They're perfect for medium/long term trading between different trade hubs.
High volume items are for the most part t1, t2 stuff and materials, if you aren't producing t1 and t2 yourself i won't trade with them. Materials on the other hand are easier to trade with, example are Isotopes like clockwork they are manipulated on Friday morning to get a higher sell price for the weekend. This sort of manipulation is wide spread among many high volume items.

I spend 1h per day actively trading with low volume items, that is 7h per week. My weekly profit is between 5b to 7b, so 714m to 1b per hour. You won't get that numbers from the get go, but 200m per hour are easy once you set up shop.


That sounds very interesting. Do you pretty much solely station trade, or is there more to it than that? I'd like to be able to focus my ISK/hr generation, and trading sounds like a great way, just haven't figured out my own formula yet ;-) Maybe I haven't put the money into it that is required... takes money to make money?


My buy orders are station orders. I know pretty much out of me head what the buy/sell is for most items i trade (aren't that many about 50 different ones). Longterm trading needs some ISK to cover possible downtime between buying and selling stuff, if you trade longterm think at least in 1month cycles up to 3months cycles.
Be aware that low volume items are easy to manipulate, like i'm buying stock for a about a month not selling a single item back, then putting up block sell orders to push down the price. Finally buy out the item at all main trade hubs, setting new very high sell orders and pushing the buy orders to a new limit waiting for the new equilbrium. Sometimes you have to repeat it to dry out the market for real after that it is profit.

Easy but dangerous method for quick cash on low volume items, know the buy and sell (and the history) of an item, know the current buy and sell in all main trade hubs. Then buy from sell orders in Jita and with 25% to 50% markup sell it in a another hub, works very well for medium/high priced faction and deadspace stuff if you know what you are doing. An extrem example was some time ago, i bought stuff for about 4b in Jita at a Thursday, let it haul via courier to Rens and on Monday most of it was gone and i made 3b profit.

"It's easy to speak for the silent majority. They rarely object to what you put into their mouths." - Abrazzar

Ritual Union
Sebiestor Tribe
Minmatar Republic
#43 - 2013-12-30 10:27:54 UTC  |  Edited by: Ritual Union
Jori McKie wrote:
Easy but dangerous method for quick cash on low volume items, know the buy and sell (and the history) of an item, know the current buy and sell in all main trade hubs. ...

That's exactly what I'm doing now and it works pretty well.

Chris Carlyle wrote:
Is it possible to make a living from station trading alone?

I will modify your initial question to sound like "It is possible to make a living from trading alone?" The short answer is "yes", and now the long answer.

In comparison with running missions, trading requires patience and a different kind of Eve time schedule. This brings us to:
Quote:

  1. The average income per hour of a mission runner is constant in time during the day. This is in contrast with the income of a trader. For example, run some missions for n hours during some day. At the end, assuming X to be your income per hour, you'll get n*X. For a trader this doesn't hold. You'll always get (n-S(n))*X, where S(n) is some positive monotonically increasing function of n such that S(x)=0 for all x in [0,1]. What does this mean? It means that the people staying for hours, continuously, updating market orders are morons. Why is that? Because there is a point, given enough time, after which they could be making more ISK by doing something else. With low capital, you shouldn't pass over two hours per day, time that you should distribute in many smaller intervals. With high capital, 30 minutes to one hour is more than enough.
  2. All I said above at comma 1 it applies to the income per week. It's very inefficient, potentially disastrous - i.e. you could lose ISK, to trade today then make a break for three days, come back and so on. Don't get me wrong, you can make some ISK but don't expect to get rich beyond your wildest dream by trading like that.


Now, it is time for some cliches. It’s not hard to figure it out that you can break down all trading activities, no matter the nature of a trade, into a cycle: the research, the transaction and the analysis. These three areas can and will often overlap but, in general, a trade operation will consist of many such cycles forming a complex process.

I'm not very helpful, I know. However, it brings me to: thanks to the market-data provided by the Eve-EMDR project via the established market-data websites, custom-made tools and/or established tools can cut the time needed to do the research and the analysis for a trading business to ridiculously low levels.

In addition to the mentioned EveMentat and JavaAssets, which are more useful if you ask me for the analysis part, you should do your own custom tool for the research part. You can start with spreadsheets, like the others suggested, but that is not the way to go. They simply don't allow the level of customization that you will need. Learn to code if you don't know. Basic javascript knowledge, which is more than accessible if you are willing to put in the effort to learn it, can allow you to build your tool and it will work exactly the way you want it.

How many orders should you play? Well, think about probabilities and ask yourself what role location has in all this. Anyway, if you'll get, somewhere in the future, to play thousands of orders actively every day then it means that you didn't get the point.

I left the transaction part out of the discussion so far. You should learn all the tricks to set up the buy/sell orders and modify them in the least time possible. You're not there to admire the market tab and the wallet tab. You're there to get the job done and get the hell out as quick as possible. One simple thing that I noticed so many not doing it is to clear the cache all the times you log out. You'll find other things to speed up your process. I'm sure. Just look for them.

To end this text wall, I will add only this. As you move to higher available capital keep in mind that you can trade by contracts, you can try long term trading - similar to investments, and so on.

I hope that you'll have fun.

...

Thermopylaee
Caldari Provisions
Caldari State
#44 - 2013-12-31 13:46:55 UTC
Ritual Union wrote:
Jori McKie wrote:
Easy but dangerous method for quick cash on low volume items, know the buy and sell (and the history) of an item, know the current buy and sell in all main trade hubs. ...

That's exactly what I'm doing now and it works pretty well.

Chris Carlyle wrote:
Is it possible to make a living from station trading alone?

I will modify your initial question to sound like "It is possible to make a living from trading alone?" The short answer is "yes", and now the long answer.

In comparison with running missions, trading requires patience and a different kind of Eve time schedule. This brings us to:
Quote:

  1. The average income per hour of a mission runner is constant in time during the day. This is in contrast with the income of a trader. For example, run some missions for n hours during some day. At the end, assuming X to be your income per hour, you'll get n*X. For a trader this doesn't hold. You'll always get (n-S(n))*X, where S(n) is some positive monotonically increasing function of n such that S(x)=0 for all x in [0,1]. What does this mean? It means that the people staying for hours, continuously, updating market orders are morons. Why is that? Because there is a point, given enough time, after which they could be making more ISK by doing something else. With low capital, you shouldn't pass over two hours per day, time that you should distribute in many smaller intervals. With high capital, 30 minutes to one hour is more than enough.
  2. All I said above at comma 1 it applies to the income per week. It's very inefficient, potentially disastrous - i.e. you could lose ISK, to trade today then make a break for three days, come back and so on. Don't get me wrong, you can make some ISK but don't expect to get rich beyond your wildest dream by trading like that.


Now, it is time for some cliches. It’s not hard to figure it out that you can break down all trading activities, no matter the nature of a trade, into a cycle: the research, the transaction and the analysis. These three areas can and will often overlap but, in general, a trade operation will consist of many such cycles forming a complex process.

I'm not very helpful, I know. However, it brings me to: thanks to the market-data provided by the Eve-EMDR project via the established market-data websites, custom-made tools and/or established tools can cut the time needed to do the research and the analysis for a trading business to ridiculously low levels.

In addition to the mentioned EveMentat and JavaAssets, which are more useful if you ask me for the analysis part, you should do your own custom tool for the research part. You can start with spreadsheets, like the others suggested, but that is not the way to go. They simply don't allow the level of customization that you will need. Learn to code if you don't know. Basic javascript knowledge, which is more than accessible if you are willing to put in the effort to learn it, can allow you to build your tool and it will work exactly the way you want it.

How many orders should you play? Well, think about probabilities and ask yourself what role location has in all this. Anyway, if you'll get, somewhere in the future, to play thousands of orders actively every day then it means that you didn't get the point.

I left the transaction part out of the discussion so far. You should learn all the tricks to set up the buy/sell orders and modify them in the least time possible. You're not there to admire the market tab and the wallet tab. You're there to get the job done and get the hell out as quick as possible. One simple thing that I noticed so many not doing it is to clear the cache all the times you log out. You'll find other things to speed up your process. I'm sure. Just look for them.

To end this text wall, I will add only this. As you move to higher available capital keep in mind that you can trade by contracts, you can try long term trading - similar to investments, and so on.

I hope that you'll have fun.


Good stuff, some great perspective for all of us reading this thread!
Chris Carlyle
Doomheim
#45 - 2013-12-31 19:01:33 UTC
Ritual Union wrote:
You can start with spreadsheets, like the others suggested, but that is not the way to go. They simply don't allow the level of customization that you will need. Learn to code if you don't know. Basic javascript knowledge, which is more than accessible if you are willing to put in the effort to learn it, can allow you to build your tool and it will work exactly the way you want it.

You may be right there. Another great benefit is that I'll have a fun reason to get back in to coding (I've been thinking about it, but never really got back into it) and learn some skills that are quite useful outside New Eden. I'll make that my new year's resolution.

Quote:
The average income per hour of a mission runner is constant in time during the day. This is in contrast with the income of a trader. For example, run some missions for n hours during some day. At the end, assuming X to be your income per hour, you'll get n*X. For a trader this doesn't hold. You'll always get (n-S(n))*X, where S(n) is some positive monotonically increasing function of n such that S(x)=0 for all x in [0,1]. What does this mean? It means that the people staying for hours, continuously, updating market orders are morons. Why is that? Because there is a point, given enough time, after which they could be making more ISK by doing something else. With low capital, you shouldn't pass over two hours per day, time that you should distribute in many smaller intervals. With high capital, 30 minutes to one hour is more than enough.

This is, fortunately for those with little time to play, true. I did not manage to make a lot more more ISK in 8 hours than I did in 2x30 minutes. Full-time trading would be overkill.

Lord LazyGhost wrote:
its basicly artificialy changeing the prices of things be it running the price down with ur order taking chuncks off the sell price. when people follow you down in price keep going until ur hapy then buy up all the sell orders and then relist :) same with buh orders pricethm up people folow you until ur happy then dump ur stock on the market :)

In hindsight, this is a lot harder than it sounds. I noticed some traders will be prepared to buy up your stuff with a loss, just to prevent you from messing up their market. 'Simple re-listing' feels a lot less risky in contrast to market manipulation. Is this true?

Oh, before I forget. Happy New Year to you all!
Chris Lehman
Doomheim
#46 - 2014-03-17 16:01:13 UTC
I'm relatively new and I just stumbled upon this article. I got into station trading after watching this video by Scott Manley.

I understand the basics, but there seems to be a lot of secrecy about what items are worth trading. I guess it would not be wise to give my API key to anyone (which more or less makes it impossible to join any of the major alliances etc.) since it more or less reveals my trade secrets. What do you think?
Myriad Blaze
Common Sense Ltd
Nulli Secunda
#47 - 2014-03-17 18:57:35 UTC
Chris Lehman wrote:
I'm relatively new and I just stumbled upon this article. I got into station trading after watching this video by Scott Manley.

I understand the basics, but there seems to be a lot of secrecy about what items are worth trading. I guess it would not be wise to give my API key to anyone (which more or less makes it impossible to join any of the major alliances etc.) since it more or less reveals my trade secrets. What do you think?

What do you think your trade secrets are worth?
And do you really believe that just knowing what you trade would give others the chance to take that out of your hands?

I could give you my API but would that give you the knowledge I have? The experience I gained from trading for 18 months now? Or the ISK that I earned and that is needed to trade how and what I trade atm?

And if you gave me your API, do you really believe I could be interested to grab your niche for myself? Isn't it more likely that you as a new player are not making enough to pique my interest (yet)?

My corp (to be precise my corp CEO) has my full API. If he cared he could find out all my "trade secrets". But since he is busy running the corp he has no time and even if he were going against me in market PvP he still would have to beat me in the 0.01 ISK game. And considering how many other people already try that I probably won't even notice.


TL;DR
You need to trust (some) others with your API if you want to get into certain parts of the game.
And it's really worth trying out those parts of the game. Big smile
Almiel
Aliastra
Gallente Federation
#48 - 2014-03-17 19:12:19 UTC
Myriad Blaze wrote:


My corp (to be precise my corp CEO) has my full API. If he cared he could find out all my "trade secrets". But since he is busy running the corp he has no time and even if he were going against me in market PvP he still would have to beat me in the 0.01 ISK game. And considering how many other people already try that I probably won't even notice.




I'll confirm this as a ceo and long time trader. Running even a medium sized corp takes a lot of time and effort and going through api's their concern is more for the safety of the corp and not for stealing secrets or personal gain. And as a relatively new player to the trading market, the secrets you possess are not going to be anything new and if they are they will most likely hold little value to the more experienced traders.

While you should be careful on who you give your api out to, don't worry about giving it out to those who need to view it such as recruiters, trusted third parties, auditors, etc. Pick a corp based on if you like to hang out with them and not to try to protect any secrets.
Chris Lehman
Doomheim
#49 - 2014-03-20 09:03:53 UTC
Almiel wrote:
I'll confirm this as a ceo and long time trader. Running even a medium sized corp takes a lot of time and effort and going through api's their concern is more for the safety of the corp and not for stealing secrets or personal gain. And as a relatively new player to the trading market, the secrets you possess are not going to be anything new and if they are they will most likely hold little value to the more experienced traders.

While you should be careful on who you give your api out to, don't worry about giving it out to those who need to view it such as recruiters, trusted third parties, auditors, etc. Pick a corp based on if you like to hang out with them and not to try to protect any secrets.

I guess one can also be too paranoid, even in EVE Online.


Myriad Blaze wrote:
You need to trust (some) others with your API if you want to get into certain parts of the game.
And it's really worth trying out those parts of the game. Big smile

Good point. I don't want to miss out on the good stuff.
Axel FoIey
Audacious Entrepreneurial Businesspersons Academy
#50 - 2014-03-20 14:53:56 UTC
One thing that new traders or people who don't know how to effectively trade are always concerned with is "trade secrets." If only they knew what us successful traders knew, they could make billions. New traders tend to focus too much on the items, which is important in the meta, but otherwise is completely irrelevant.

You want the secret to which items are profitable to trade? Ok, here's the secret. All of them. All of the items are profitable to trade.

Sure, the profit of some items is too small to be worth the time and investment, and others are more then worth the time and investment. But sure enough, giving enough time and the right day, all items are profitable.

Time and day is also important. The items I am trading today for a profit doesn't mean that I can trade that item tomorrow for a profit. In fact, all items fluctuate like this. I trade different items at different points in the week/month. I could tell you the name of an item I'm trading right now, but what would you do tomorrow when that items profit are ground into the dirt?

I know what I do. If the item is at it's low end of the spectrum, I buy a healthy stock and wait a few days until it is selling at its high end of the spectrum. If it's already at its high end, then I look at a different item. Then tomorrow I'll check it again.
Luthias Austrene
Brave Newbies Inc.
Brave Collective
#51 - 2014-03-21 12:34:54 UTC  |  Edited by: Luthias Austrene
My jEveAssets graph over the last month

Noob trader/player reporting in.

I think the fact that I've gone from 132m to almost 900m in 1 month with no help speaks volumes. So close to the 1b milestone! I've only paid my subscription once (which still has 18 days left), and I'll be able to PLEX this account from now on. I try to update AT LEAST once a day, usually twice which works out to be about an hour.

There's also been a few Jita runs (because I like 100% profits on T2 modules) throughout the month which account for some of the better trading days in the screenshot.

After I buy a plex, I'll probably take a good look at what I'm trading, what I'm not trading, and how I can make more money to fund an alt in another station :)
Percival Rose
The Scope
Gallente Federation
#52 - 2014-05-04 11:39:10 UTC
Axel FoIey wrote:
One thing that new traders or people who don't know how to effectively trade are always concerned with is "trade secrets." If only they knew what us successful traders knew, they could make billions. New traders tend to focus too much on the items, which is important in the meta, but otherwise is completely irrelevant.

You want the secret to which items are profitable to trade? Ok, here's the secret. All of them. All of the items are profitable to trade.

Sure, the profit of some items is too small to be worth the time and investment, and others are more then worth the time and investment. But sure enough, giving enough time and the right day, all items are profitable.

Time and day is also important. The items I am trading today for a profit doesn't mean that I can trade that item tomorrow for a profit. In fact, all items fluctuate like this. I trade different items at different points in the week/month. I could tell you the name of an item I'm trading right now, but what would you do tomorrow when that items profit are ground into the dirt?

I know what I do. If the item is at it's low end of the spectrum, I buy a healthy stock and wait a few days until it is selling at its high end of the spectrum. If it's already at its high end, then I look at a different item. Then tomorrow I'll check it again.

Thanks for your advice. It turns out you're absolutely right.
When I started station trading I had a bunch of items with a decent margin and volume. I made a decent amount of ISK only to see the market for those items crash. Today I'm continuously looking for new opportunities and my income has become a little more stable.
Do you focus primarily on station trading, or do you move your wares between stations too?

Do you know who's going to inherit New Eden? Arms dealers. Because everyone else is too busy killing each other.

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