Weed and Feed

Plus one.

A little over six months ago, I started a side project.  

You have a lot of side projects Bren. Faction War. Hauling. Mining. Wormhole Ops.

Yeah.  Well this time, I decided to get back into trading.  On a very small scale.

Now, I am not a uber badass market trading expert.  I dabble.  When I was new at this, I just bought stuff and moved it for profit.  That gets old, especially when hauling stuff around was cutting into my blowing up other people’s spaceships time.  When I moved to null permanently, I stopped that aspect of trading and confined my trading activities to pure market speculation.  Minerals.  Modules.  I bought things cheap, sold them for a profit.  I would, and still will, sit on stuff for a year if I have to.  

For instance, six months before the last Hulkaggedon, rather than compete with everyone buying and selling minerals or Hulks, a friend and I bought all of the Covertors in Derelik.

Buy. Wait. Sell. Profit.  

For the most part, I’ve worked the relatively poor region of Derelik, where OUCH has it’s high sec base in Berta. Derelik has two minor trade hubs: Gamis and Berta.

Gamis and Berta sit in the Subi constellation and act as gateway trading hubs to low sec Derelik, NPC null Curse and the bordering sovereignty null in the southeast.  Both Gamis and Berta are fed from jump freighter and carrier traffic coming in and out of Hothomouh and low sec.  Berta also sees the traffic of pilots moving back and forth between null and empire through Sendaya.  Both systems are inside of 10 jumps from the major trade hub of Rens in Heimatar, but because Rens is in the next region, you can’t see it on the market.  

When a new student joins OUCH, we tell them to get set up with Student Fit frigates and that the modules and ships should be on sale right in Berta.  Over the years I’ve learned that markets being what they are, availability of ships, modules and ammunition in Berta may vary.  To ensure availability, we used to fit up ships and place them on contract for the students, but to be honest, it was a lot of work.  Students, conditioned by Eve Vets to think they were going to need lose lots of ships, would buy up all the contracts.  So we tried putting ships up for sale on the at reasonable prices.  That didn’t work, because traders would buy out stock and move them someplace else for profit.  

What’s the use of buying a ship to fit out at the home base if you still have to go to Rens to pick up ammunition or a stasis webifier?

It’s not the money, it’s the time.

I’m a patient guy, but I’m not patient enough to manage my market orders every day playing .01 isk games on T1 frigs and T1 modules in a minor trade hub.  I’m a stubborn guy, but not as stubborn as Sugar Kyle, who relentlessly relists items to force her market adversaries to follow her lead and use reasonable prices.

I want three things from the local market.  I want all the student fit ships and modules available in one station so our students don’t to have to travel around to find them.  I want the student fit items to be reasonably priced.  I don’t want to touch the market more than once a month.  

It is the last part that is the challenge.  If I would take a little time and list items every week, I could guarantee that items would always be available.  I just don’t want to; side projects are supposed to be something you do on the side.  I had to figure out how to make the market work for me.

So I flew to Jita and bought everything I needed for student fits and shipped them to Berta.  I ignored the local prices and listed all of the stuff at 120 percent of Jita price.  That seemed reasonable.  No one is going to buy all the stock and ship it back to someplace that sells it cheaper.  Over the first few weeks, some things sold, some things stayed on the market.

I bought more of the things that sold and put them on the market at 140 percent.  Some things sold and some things stayed on the market.  I bought some more stuff and relisted it between 130 and 150 percent of my buy costs.

As it stands right now, I probably have no more than 150 million isk invested in the Berta market. Just sitting there on the market.  Every so often, someone might actually end up buying from me something from me, which covers my broker fees.

My stuff mostly sits because there are traders who see that this stuff sells a little bit and they can’t help but compete with me.  They list a few ships, a score of modules.  I rely on their competitive nature, their desire to “screw me over” with their low, low prices to provide a service to my corporation:   low cost frigates and modules to our students in their home base.  At the worst, a student has to buy a frigate from me at the cost of convenience, but they get it back in the end, because we replace their ships for free if they lose it in a fleet in null.  

So now I check my orders and if I see something has run out, I jump to high sec, buy some locally, move it to Berta and relist it at 130 to 150 percent.  I only have to mess around with the market every couple of months now because within a week of listing something, someone is usually undercutting me.  

You’re not going to get rich off the Berta market that way.

Well, not if I can help it.  

Minus one.