Tuesday, March 26, 2013

TCS: Will it be sustainable?

I am fond of saying that I do not know what my readers like the most about what I write. I consider it my own fault. A side effect of the fact that my topics wander and spin about in random directions. My entry into this low sec market idea seems to interest a lot of people. It interests me too!

Let me answer the own question in the title of my blog. Yes. It is making money. From the trends that I see it will continue to increase in its amounts.

In the first week and a half I have made about a billion ISK. I consider that a success. I don't know if it actually is.  The amount of items I have turned over to reach that is staggering. I have funneled all of that money back into the store to increase its stock. The pay off I that most of what everyone needs is available allowing me to branch out into a wider range of stock and needs. My plans for personal repayment do not start for 1-3 months depending on how the store is doing.

Right now, if my estimate is solid, 4 billion a month is not a bad income to me. To some, it is dirt poor. To me, who averages about a billion after all of my expenses most months, a steady quadruple in my monthly income is not unappreciated. However, I expect the store to make more money if I’ve made this amount and still have stocking needs.  I'm also trying not to focus on liquid but focus on having what people need in amounts that will allow me to restock once or twice a week.

I feel appreciated by the people I started this project to benefit the most. My ego is full and satiated at all of this petting. Yes that matters. I really didn't need to set up a market for myself, I normally keep myself over supplied. I have received many compliments over my stocking and tons of appreciation. Due to my prices people are more prone to shop at my store instead of making their own Jita prices.  Hell, I had to shop at my own store the other day to refit some ships. It was weird to buy things for myself but damn it, I had everything that I needed on the market and that was cool as hell.

What is my markup? About a 10-15% markup after taxes and fees. With hulls I make sure the price covers my fees and taxes and that the rate is competitive with other ships or, for grossly overpriced ships, very undercut. Hulls are the hardest thing to move but something I have to have.

What am I doing to earn the money I make?

Well, I do all of my own logistics and buying. I buy in Jita and jump my 30 jumps to Molden Heath via Orca or Charon. This saves money because I am not paying a freighter service and my delivery is fast. Holes that appear in the market are cleared up that day or, depending on time, the next.  I try to deliver the best prices. Sometimes this means I take a side trip for a particularly cheap ship sitting on the market a few jumps off the major space lanes. This savings is passed onto my buyers.

I have sworn that I will not undercut myself. Items may sit and that is fine.  If I am not gouging they will eventually sell. It was hard at first but I am standing firm and my resolve is strengthening.

My boys have been very supportive with gate guarding for me when I bring in the freighter or Orca. They don’t grumble or complain.  It also means the get their hulls faster. There is no better way for me to move them and no faster way for the market to have what they need on it.

I find that people prefer the relaxation of buying instead of trying to do direct to direct sales.  I have another rant about shopping for people.  I’ll write on that later. There is some use of my form which makes me happy. The bulk of it is still, ‘Sug the store needs this,” and “Sug can you stock that,” but I’ll take the feedback however I can get it. It is invaluable.

My original concept was to sell to ‘my people’.  I will say ‘my people’ don’t even make up a quarter of my sales.  I’m selling cyno fields and jump fuel at a steady rate. I need to pick up a shuttle blueprint because I sell them like candy. My next random addition will be small containers. When I buy modules I buy the T1 versions as well. Often, they are not on the market and once there people snap them up.

My conversation with a new player drove home to me some of the differences of Eve. He complained that there were no 1mn afterburners on the market here. I said yes there was. But his complaint was not, “Sugar how dare you not stock the market for me?” it was “I want to buy stuff and I can’t and that’s irritating.”  People expect the market to have stuff and many people do not realize the full extent to which stuff enters the game and eventually their hangars.

That’s fine. I’m having a grand time with ‘my’ store and running this market. It’s fun (for me). My trifecta of trade alts is brewing away. Once they have their tax and fee issues sorted out I will transfer the store into their hands. The end goal should give me around 800 available orders if each one trains to Tycoon IV.  Plenty of room for expansion and both buying and selling.

I have not dipped my toes into battleship hulls.  They are still a down the line.  Right now I am selling around 300-500 mil most days in between my logins.  The weekends seemed to double.  These are vague numbers based off of my buying habits.  It isn't profit it is just stuff selling.  The profit sits on top. I reroll it all back into buying larger quanities of stock.

2-5 battleship hulls would tie up all of that expansion ability.  Instead, I am dipping into cheaper T2 ships.  I've started with covops frigates and a few assault frigates.  I will expand from there.  I'm still very focused on highly used ships because I need the return sooner to allow expansion to continue.  Right now someone can fit out their battleship but not yet but them.

My last little expansion was into drone modules.  The amusing part is that I remembered how hard it was for me to find a drone navigation module back when I got one for my Myrm.  When I checked the area market there were none available.  As soon as I listed them they started to sell.  It feels weird sometimes as stuff starts to vanish as soon as it is listed. I keep buying larger and larger stocks of scanner probes, both faction and basic.

But it is addicting. My Aura app keeps crashing when I attempt to view transactions. It makes me sad. I love the vicarious viewing from work.

2 comments:

  1. Parallel with my experiences; fantastic work!

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  2. These sale numbers for a just starting lowsec "hub" are great. Soon you'll make much more.

    Two things though: count with the opportunity cost of those freighter jumps. I mean if you could make more money during the time you are jumping than red frog price, you are wasting money. I understand the time issue (RF is sloow), in this case I hope the freighter is on another screen while you are doing other stuff. Alternatively you could put the freighter into a 2-man corp and escort it with lot of webs.

    Secondly the Charon is not surely the best choice. Sure, it's the largest, but the smallest tank and horrible align time. I bought myself one too and now hate it and train for a Providence.

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