Runescape Merchanting Guide

Table of Contents
What to Merchant:
How to Merchant:

Pricing My Items

What you need to know: Never buy or sell all of your items at one price. Stagger buy and sell offers for greater returns.

One of the greatest criticisms after the release of the free-trade system was implemented in 2011 was that the 'Guide Price' listed on the Grand Exchange homepage is really, in fact, yesterday's price. While this is true to an extent it does provide a valuable insight into the overall direction of the price of a certain item, as a merchant this data alone is insufficient; buying at the guide price sacrifices potentially hundreds of millions in profit.

Instead, it is important to know the exact price of the item at the moment you place buy/sell orders on the grand exchange. How is this done? There are two strategies that you should employ, one for high value items which you may possess only a few of (in order to leverage capital), and one for lower value consumable commodities (logs, potions, fish, etc). Although they work in much the same way, there are minor variations.

High Value Items - Buying:
Place your initial buy offer at the minimum price, always start below the guide price minus approximately 5%. The reason for this is that with some exceptions, prices do not change that dramatically over the 24 hour period when the guide price changes. Buy if the buy offer doesn't complete, slowly increase your offer until you're able to purchase the item. Once this happens, you have hit the low range of the items value at which players are selling items. You should then utilize the cost-averaging technique with the rest of your purchase orders to see if the price continues to decline. If you aren't able to purchase any more of the item, chances are the price is increasing, even if only slowly and you may need to incrementally increase the price you pay for each item, as long as you're not chasing the curve.

High Value Items - Selling:
This is the converse of the buying strategy. When you're ready to flip your items (sell them), you begin by placing an offer at the maximum price you believe someone is willing to pay (generally 5-10% above the guide price). If the item sells immediately, increase your asking price or hold onto the items as they may increase in value even further. If your offer does not complete - and you are certain you wish to sell, slowly decrease your offer by odd number increments (more on this later) until the trade completes in order to fully maximize profit.

Commodities (Buying & Selling):
The trick with commodities, following a similar vein as the procedure for high value items, is that you only need to buy or sell one of the particular item in order to know the prices you should be using the price for the entire volume you wish to buy or sell - be it 10, 15, or even 25k. In essence, buy or sell one lobster in order to feel out the price instead of placing all 25,000 on the grand exchange at once.

...In addition to the above, there is another factor that heavily influences your buy and sell prices: laziness. You read that correctly, Runescape players are tremendously lazy. As anyone who has been rushed by clanmates while preparing to venture off to the King Black Dragon for a clan event can tell you, time is almost always of the essence. In times like these, players almost always choose lazy prices for buy and sell orders. For instance, it's quicker to type 25000 than 24987 (which might be the bid price at that moment). There is two merchanting lessons here:
  • (1) Do not do this when you're buying and/or selling items and;
  • (2) When buying and/or selling items, use odd pricing in order to capture the greatest market.

By leaving yourself some extra wiggle room, you may be able to undercut players with similar prices, but by beating them, even if just slightly, your order (buy/sell) may be processed first and you might save yourself a lot of GP. Remember, every coin counts!
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