Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Running a Marketplace

In Curse I try to run a "marketplace" in one of the systems I frequent, I typically manufacture items in station but also import materials and some items that I cannot make or would be too expensive to manufacture.


It's not as bad as Jita but there is a thriving market and looking at what is available its a good market. T1 ships and modules are plentiful, local rats provide a lot of these modules and so prices are low but there is also a good supply of common T2 ships and items priced higher than Jita but not uncompetitive.

I know of at least three people in a nearby system who populate the market along with probably another 10 or so who post small numbers of items or things they have. In my system there are four people I regularly see, two of whom are in my Alliance and we try to keep prices similar and I certainly try to avoid stocking the same items they do.

As a result we have a well stocked market with good (for null sec) pricing. I've spoken to a couple of people who have travelled eight or nine jumps just to buy at our prices rather than someone closer. 

Deciding What To Sell

This is other major issue. the other being pricing, that any seller has. Deciding what to sell can take a lot of time and research to answer but it may not be the right answer next week or the week after.

I've received a lot of advice from friends but I've also found a lot of other blogs useful reading to understand the market and the HOW/WHAT to sell. MarketsForISKMerchantMonarchy and the TCS series from Sugar Kyle.

I find I have to review what I have for sale and what price it is compared to the price in Jita as well as other sellers locally at least every 48 hours. It is a lot of work and I do wish I had a better tools to help me manage this I still do most of research of the work manually.

I have setup three Google Docs spreadsheets that uses EVE-Central to get pricing data for items and using these spreadsheets I can review and update orders in less than an hour. A CSV Export of Active Orders from EVE Mon twice a day (unfortunately I haven't automated this) allows me to track the current status of what I'm selling.

Having access at work and on tablet devices I can actually do quite a bit of the work when I'm not logged into EVE and then when I do login I can get straight to it.

The market is profitable but nothing like running operations in a major trade hub. I'm lucky to make 2 billion ISK a month from sales but what money I do make goes back in to stocking and running the market.

I guess that makes me technically a non-profit corporation.

Custom Orders

As well as the market I also run contracts to/from Jita for friends who also live in/around my Curse home. I have a simple rule, any contracts up to 350,000m3 and a small charge for fuel (this is either per m3 or a fixed rate). It works well and I rarely leave or return with my cargohold empty.

This adds extra income, not a huge amount but its a steady amount and helps offset fuel costs rather than contribute to the market directly.

New Items, New Opportunities

I started selling Combat Boosters on market when I saw there wasn't any of the ones I usually use, I invested a few hundred million into getting Blue Pill, Exile and Drop in Improved and Strong variants. 

So far sales have been slow for Exile and Drop but I've sold out of all but a couple of Strong Blue Pill. Prices are competitive but sales are just slow, hopefully with the return of people from the northern hemisphere summer I'll see an increase in sales.

One area I want to increase my profits in is the sale of ships especially pre-fit ships that are available for either Public or Alliance only contracts. I know a lot of T1 frigates and cruisers are used locally so I'll spend some time on zKillboard reviewing the kills around me and seeing what the most common T1 ship losses are and then I'll try to add contracts for those fit ships.

New Category View Wish

Tracking what I have is quite easy, the market Window shows my current active Sell Orders easily but I do miss things and I'm fortunate that EVE Mon tells me when market orders have expired. But I don't always check EVE Mon and sometimes I do miss things that I need to restock.

Sell Orders List - a list of completed would be really useful
What I'd like to see is something like the Buy/Sell Orders but for all expired orders over the past 7 days. I could check this tab and see the Sell Orders that completed in the past 7 days and from this I would easily be able to see what I needed to restock and re-list for sale.

Profit and Loss

So far I've not suffered a loss populating the store, I've had weeks where I've only made enough to cover costs but most weeks I'm running at least a profit. A 20% profit margin was my aim when I started and I'm doing well to get that most weeks but the market is a living entity and it doesn't always work to my advantage but rolling all my profits back into my market means that I'm always able to stock it.


  1. Regarding "expired orders", while it's not quite exactly what you're looking for, jEveAssets should work for your purposes.

    Use the "Market Orders" tool and sort on "Expires" to find which orders will be expiring soonest. Or sort on "Fullfilled" to find the ones that have been bought out (sell orders) or completed filled (buy orders).

    That won't help you find orders that have actually expired but it will help you find orders that are about to expire and probably even more importantly sell orders that have sold out and need to be restocked.

  2. Oh yeah, you can also configure jEveAssets to use the Jita price as obtained from EveCentral, EveMarketdata or w/e to value items.