Friday, 28 June 2013

Weekly Gold Report 28/06/2013

Phew back after missing a week, been inundated with work in real life so haven't had much time for gold making, anyway more on that after the totals.

Current Balances:
Bank Balance - 800,000g
Altoholic total gold - 33,025g
Incoming AH gold - 805g

Grand Total: 833,830g

Well not much of an increase for a week, much less two.  I do a lot of landscaping work and for the last week I've only been able to get on and post auctions once in the morning and once in the evening, additionally I temporarily shut down by profession kit services to rework them a bit.  I modified a few of the crafts to lower the amount of rarer materials I had to accumulate and added Blacksmithing and Inscription kits to my line up (BS takes a horrifying amount of metal).  Anyhow I've finally got some free time again so hopefully with the addition of the new kits I can reach goldcap within the next week or two, and no promises but I may see if I can scrounge up a little giveaway in celebration when I finally make it.  Anyway not much else to say for now and tomorrow will be the first day I can sleep in, have a good weekend as always and I'll see about getting something out to read tomorrow that isn't me complaining.


Sunday, 16 June 2013

The Big Unveil

Drumroll Please!
Well my secret project that I've been teasing about for the last few weeks is......Profession Kits!

Okay I never said it was an exciting project.

Anyway while browsing through The Consortium I came across an old post outlining the concept and a good few of the intricacies behind making, marketing and selling profession kits.  The post immediately intrigued me as I'd toyed with a similar idea beforehand considering I always hear people wanting to change professions, or finish levelling an alt characters professions, but don't want to put the time and effort in to farm the materials or keep an eye on the auction house for days at a time to find rarer materials.

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, a profession kit is essentially a bulk package of all the materials needed to level from 1-600 in a profession, or any other level range if you want to tailor it to the individual customer.  When I decided I'd try my hand at it I noticed something; in my extensive (5 minutes on Google) research into the kits the most recent post with more than a passing comment on the topic was either almost a year old or had only been modified for MoP.  Now that is in no way taking a shot at the great post on The Consortium or any of the other posts, most of them are great and have wonderful amounts of detail, however after setting it up myself I feel I could add a few more notes and techniques, as well as outline how I set up my kits.  Let's take it from the top in a 5 step process:

Step 1: Storage
This is by no means a small undertaking.  I have 3 bank guilds at my disposal, all 11 of my alts have a minimum of four 20 slot bags, and 2 of my bank characters have full 28 slot Royal Satchels (which is a great investment for any selling character that requires lots of bag space), of those three banks 2 of them are designated towards my profession kits.  The level 25 guild I bought a few weeks back was entirely intended for this project and consists of 6 tabs dedicated to Jewelcrafting, Alchemy, Enchanting, Tailoring, Blacksmithing and Inscription kits, with the seventh tab used as overflow for kits that exceed 84 stacks of items (my enchanting kit takes 97 slots).  The second guild I use in the kits stores backup stock of all the materials needed, as I like to be able to restock within a day if need be.

Step 2: The Horrifying Logistics
I spent over two weeks gathering enough materials to start selling my Enchanting, Alchemy and Jewelcrafting kits in anticipation that they would have the highest demand, and I'm still gathering materials to complete the other three kits.  As a simple example most people can recognize the difficulty of, each enchanting kit requires 325 hypnotic dust, not the easiest thing to gather a stock of almost a thousand of.  The tailoring kit requires 1200+ Frostweave and almost 1000 Embersilk, thus be prepared to get your hands dirty and go out to farm materials.  Now here comes the most appealing part of selling the kits:  When you go out to farm scarce materials you can farm tons at once;  Purple Lotus shows up only a few at a time on my auction house, rarely more than 10 at a time and usually only every week or two.  The lotus only spawns in 4 spots in Felwood and only a stack is used in levelling any individual profession.  This means that the only influx of the herb is from those that want to make peanuts farming and selling it (hint: these people are far and few between) and those that go gather the bare minimum amount they need to get through levelling their professions before tossing the few extra on the AH.
I spent 20 minutes making 3 loops around Felwood and gathered almost 6 stacks of Lotus, enough for 5 alchemy / enchanting kits while at at the same time gathering almost 2 stacks of Gromsblood, another uncommon herb that I use in my alchemy kit.

Step 3: Only 5000 crafting recipes to choose from? Let's go
I'm a patient man, but I'd rather use a ghost pepper as a suppository than spend the time going through WoWHead looking at all the different crafting recipes, their materials, and what level those recipes go yellow/green/grey.  Thus I skipped over to WoW-Professions to get a rough outline of what to use.  A massive thank you to those that put the time into those lists, but I'll give the same advice about them that I give to people who defer to Noxxic, Icy Veins and AskMrRobot - DO NOT take the information at face value, what works in theory is not always right for you.  My strategy for preparing my shopping list of materials I'd need was to open up a word document and type along the lines of the following:

"2-70: Enchant Bracer - Minor Health   68 strange dust"

I then did this for the entirety of the guide, however as I said, what works in the guide was not necessarily the path of least resistance for myself.  In producing the bulk materials needed for a kit you may find yourself with large amount of materials that are ordinarily considered too expensive or rare to use for levelling, thus my next step was to modify my list.  The kits are meant to get you from 1-600, with little input on my end besides handing them instructions and all the materials needed, this means the less volatility in the process the better, which doesn't bode well when you have 20 levels where the item is cheapest to make overall, but only has around a 50% chance to give you a level.  To amend the problem of volatility I went down the list and picked out each area where I noticed 10 levels - 13 crafts, I then searched the materials relevant to the profession / level and sorted the "Reagent for" tab by level, if the item had a suitable replacement I substituted that, if not I added an extra stack of materials to help get past RNG.  It took me a good few hours to put together all my lists, so be prepared to do your research.

Step 4: Infrastructure
Now that you have your kits prepared what next? Walk up to random people and offer to get them quickly from 1-600 in a profession?  Well a dozen instances of being misidentified as a gold seller or shady dealer later and you'll decide maybe it's time to make it so people know your product.  Personally I've set up 8 different macros for selling my kits:

Sales pitch macro: All I say is that they will get 1-600 in 15 minutes (a blatant lie I admit, it takes more than 15 minutes just to craft everything, but catches interest), that instructions are included, and to whisper me for pricing / info.

Transaction:  Outline the details of how the transaction works.

Technical 1/2: Detail all of the finer points of how to use the package and offer them to mail the instructions in game or e-mail it to them if they consent to give me their address.

Assurances 1/2: I tell them that I 100% cover any issues with the kit free of charge, assure them that all their character names and email are confidential, and tell them that I only take payments up front in full.

Tidbits: I outline that I buy back any excess materials included and many of the items they craft in the process if they wish to resell them to me, and mention that I'd appreciate if they'd consent to me using them as a reference if they're pleased with the results.

Bags: I offer to include four 16 slot bags free of charge, four 20 slot bags at 1/2 of market price and four 28 slot bags at 2/3 of market price.

Step 5: Customer Server
Now that they've agreed to the sale make sure that you take good care of them.  I offer my battletag and tell them to let me know if there's any problems and that I'll take care of them ASAP.  If they want to immediately use the kit I will go and take care of my other sales while I wait for any questions / problems they may have and check in with them once in a while to make sure everything's going okay. If they happen to accidentally make the wrong item I assure them it's no problem and give them the materials they need to get back on track.  This is the important part where you build reputation,  it's a massive transaction by most peoples standards and you can't offer them anything in the way of assurance except for your good word, this is where you make your word count.

Now we get on to the details, we'll start off with pricing.  After I have my shopping list of all the materials that I need I price them at either market price or slightly under market price if I produce the materials for significantly cheaper.  When I have my total material cost I tack on a 50%+ markup for services.  If I come up with a price of say, 18k I'll take it down to 17.5k, it's a small amount and makes the price seem lower and less intimidating.  Remember that usually almost half of the sale price is your markup, so feel free to tack on extra materials, give people deals, or play with your profit margins.

The Sale:
For the sale I have them join my kit selling guild on an unguilded alt.  When they join the guild they are unable to view any of the tabs, and then are quickly promoted to an appropriate rank (labeled Alchemy, Enchanting, etc) that allows them to see the all the relevant tabs.  I insist on 100% of sales price deposited in the guild bank up front, which people may be wary of initially but will be more comfortable with as you build reputation and gather a list of references.  The second they've deposited the full amount I modify rank permissions to give them full access to all the relevant tabs and begin the customer service step of my process.

Sweeten the Deal
I took the advice of the original Consortium post and offer a 10% discount to repeat buyers and even larger discounts for package deals (though I haven't sold more than 2 kits at once yet),  as well as offering a 10% commission to anyone that brings me a paying customer.  When I think the buyer is seriously interested about purchasing I give them my bag macro offering to toss in 16 slots for free or larger bags for a good deal below market price.  I also offer to buy back many of the items produced through levelling:  JC items can be repurchased to disenchant for enchanting kit materials, alchemy potions can be purchased if they just want to get rid of all the items and then resold for 100% profit.
Most of your buyers will not be experience sellers, think of the position they're now in after hitting 600: They're happy that the kit worked out, pleased with the results, but also just dropped a large amount of money and find themselves with a large amount of materials that they're going to have to either vendor or sell over the course of days if not weeks.  It may sound a little shady but they're at a vulnerable point now, and if you offer to buy back everything (even if you're just going to vendor it yourself) they'll be happy to jump on the deal and make back some of their money.  Generally I offer 1/3-1/2 of the price I estimate that I can get for the useful pieces plus some to cover the vendor trash, and so far all my customers have readily accepted.

Closing Up
Ask people if they mind being used as a reference, I suggest telling them you'll tell people to only mail them and not to bug them with whispers, and keep your word.  Remind them of your deals and offerings, such as the discounts and commissions, you don't want to come across as "I've got your gold, now get out." so be friendly and reassuring until one of you has to run.

To take things a step further you can control the prices of all the items in your kits.  Buy up excess materials even if you're just going to toss them and fix prices at 50-100% above what you're getting the items for, though make sure to only resell on a different character.  This way if a wise customer takes time to look at the market prices your kit will seem all the more appealing, but make no mistake, this takes a lot of effort to keep on top of.

Anyway without making this into a book I'll sum it up here:  Customer service above all else.  Your main goal here is to build a reputation where people unquestionably get their monies worth, do that and be firm with your prices (if you give someone a lower price, make sure you express it as a special deal).
Good luck to anyone else that decides to undertake this project, so far I've sold at least one of every kit and have a waiting list for the enchanting kit.  It's a fun project to undertake but make sure you know what you're getting in to before you start buying out the auction house.


Friday, 14 June 2013

Weekly Gold Report 14/06/2013

Been a fun week for me so far, 2 days without power not withstanding, so here's the weekly totals:

Current Balances:
Bank Balance - 700,000g
Altoholic total gold - 53,400g
Incoming AH gold - 127g

Grand Total: 753,527g

Well I launched my secret project this week and got great reception on it, making around 20k profit on it so far which made up for the days I missed with the power outages (ah the WoWCrack withdrawl..).
Tomorrow I'll have a post out on that, but until then it still remains a secret.

Now on to the big topic for this week - the 5.4 patch notes.  I've been wracking my brains trying to come up with a good modus operandi for preparing for 5.4 but everything comes with a risk.  Generally I've been stockpiling windwool, ghost iron, trillium, magnificent hides, living steel, serpent's eyes and imperial silk.  According to the patch notes there will not only be new pvp crafted armor, but potentially crafted rings as well, and I'm sure anyone that's been around for a while remembers the crafted dreadful boom;  Additionally there will be new daily cd's for all the gear crafting professions including:

Balanced Trillium Ingot:  Costs 1 Trillium Bar
Hardened Magnificent Hide:  Costs 2 Magnificent Hide
Celestial Cloth: Costs 10 Bolts of Windwool

From what I can see crafted malevolent will be using the same materials as crafted dreadful, additionally there seems to be crafted malevolent rings, though no materials are listed, and crafted trinkets are listed along side them, which means it may be temporary / placeholder.  Don't take my advice as infallible but I'd start getting a nice heaping pile of raw materials and gems.

Next on the agenda is Virtual Realms, for those of you on high population servers this is a bit of a side note, but if you're on a med-low population server like I am..... well frankly it scares the crap out of me.   On the one hand I want to get a giant stock ready for 5.4, as I thought I was prepared for 5.3 which was the first content patch that I'd been doing anything but casually selling for, but I ended up almost running out of stock in the first 2 days and having to scramble to get materials to keep up with demand. On the other hand with Virtual Realms I could have purchased an item at 100g and find out that it's only worth 50g after the server merge.  Prices will likely be jumpy for a good week or two before things settle down after 5.4, with maybe a half dozen different servers all used to paying different prices, the high population server players will grab all the cheap items thinking they're getting a good deal, where as the people used to paying a low price will scoff at the low population server prices.

My advice is to watch any announcements from Blizzard related to Virtual Realms like a hawk and IMMEDIATELY start researching if/when they announce what realms will be merged.  Take a look on TUJ and see what the historical prices for the other servers items are.  If your server usually has 20 of an item up for 100g each and a server you're merging with has a average stock of 300 at 20g each, you'll find the value of your stock dropping threw the floor overnight.

Step 2 of watching the announcements: Go hog wild!  Once you know what servers your merging with and have a general idea if the impending price changes buy EVERYTHING you can get your hands on.  Big content patches will always see absolutely massive demand for the first few days, and with Virtual Realms even sleepy smaller sized servers will see a huge amount of sales.

My personal plans in preparation for 5.4 are to:
A. Gather lots of raw materials and magnificent hide to make crafted malevolent
B. Craft a ton of potions / flasks then turn all 5 of my alchemists to transmute mastery. I've set aside 2 stacks of every blue quality gem for if epic gems are announced (considering we've had epic gem transmutations for the last 2 expansions), and in the mean time I'll be pumping out a ton of living steel as I assume the new plate gear will still use it in addition to balanced trillium.
C. Cut a stack of every high demand gem, and keep at least 100 raw gems in reserve to restock as needed (sans blue gems).
D. Do the same as C with enchants.
E. Do as much research as possible ahead of time to take immediate advantage of any disparities in the merged realms.
F. Sit through 16 hours of extended server maintenance due to launch difficulties on Blizzards side.

Anyway I'll have more advice up as it comes along, and a post on my secret project up tomorrow, enjoy the weekend all.


Friday, 7 June 2013

Weekly Gold Report 07/06/2013

Lots to talk about (and I can't think of any intro ramblings) so lets get right into the totals and then on to what I've been up to this week.

Current Balances:
Bank Balance - 600,000g
Altoholic total gold - 38,240
Incoming AH gold - 1560g

Grand Total: 639,800g

So I started off the week in a grand way and bought a lvl 25 guild.  I caught the seller on their first trade spam and, having a need for a bank guild with high level perks, immediately whispered them asking to take a look.  After doing a quick appraisal of the guild by eye I came to a price of around 28k, with the cost of its 7 bank tabs being 19,350g and another 9k or so in miscellaneous lower level materials and patterns, with a few jewels tossed in (half a stack of trillium bars and two Arcanite Champion patterns anyone?).  The 28k appraised value made me prepare to drop up to around 40k with the guilds 25 levels being taken in to account.

A good rule before purchasing a guild is to check it's log and make sure that the GM's account hasn't been compromised.  After checking the guilds log I started chatting up the GM and seeing what the story behind the guilds decline was, as I remembered them from back in early Cata but couldn't remember hearing the guilds name in almost a year.  While the GM was telling the sad story of the guilds slow decline, they mentioned that they were looking to get around 9-15k for it.  Jackpot.  After weighing my options I decided that I'd like to try for a low price, but didn't want to scare off an opportunity like this, as if I started raising my price the seller would have leverage on me.  I offered 13.5k and winced as I anticipated the coming bartering - only to have her readily accept the price and agree to a 2/3 before 1/3 after deal.  Two trades for 9 and 4.5 grand later and I was the proud owner of a slightly less than brand spanking new guild.

For those of you keeping track this brings my total guild banks up to 3, which prompted me to also take this week to re-structure my set up for selling / storage.  My monk and rogue drew the shorts sticks to become the GM's of the additional guild banks and as a result my selling structure now goes as follows.

Lvl 2 Guild - 6 Tabs
GM: Warrior
Sells: All enchants / greater inscriptions / gems / item enhancement / wellfeds/ high-tier items
Stores: All the mentioned above + high end materials and a personal trash dump for items I keep telling myself I'll use in the future.

Lvl 1 Guild - 6 Tabs
GM: Rogue
Sells: Transmog
Stores: Surplus low level materials + transmog

Lvl 25 guild - 7 Tabs
GM: Monk
Sells: My little secret
Stores: Also my little secret

I godda say, having a designated transmog selling character has made my life a lot easier, especially as I was getting up to around 400 pieces of transmog if I include all my doubles.  The lvl 25 guild is going to be the storage for my project I've been working on, and as I said last week I'm going to be keeping quiet about it until I have everything set up.

Basically I have 2 selling guilds, 1 major storage guild and 1 surplus storage guild.  Restructuring this way should give me plenty of room to expand into more markets and keep everything uncluttered as I continue to gain market share.  I started making 5k a day, then jumped to 10k, now I'm inching my way to a 20k a day average and hope to keep on climbing.  With the increased need for stock and storage this will bring I think I'm now in fairly good shape for the next month or two, however I plan to acquire a second level 25 guild when the opportunity arises.

That's all for this week folks, as always enjoy the weekend!