RuneScape Merching Guide
RuneScape Merching Guide by FreedomX20a
Got several requests for a merching guide, and rather than give my advice all over the place, I have decided to just compile everything into one place for reference.
Merchanting generally is a good way of getting a passive income alongside whatever you’re doing. Whether you’re already a rich pvmer or a player struggling to afford his t90s, I hope this guide would benefit you.
This guide has a more practical approach in mind, rather than a theoretical approach in most merching guides. When teaching other people to merch, I realised most people already understand the basics from their high school economics classes. However, they dont really know how and where to start. I aim to help you, as the reader begin on your merchanting journey!
Also, requests for specific items to merch will not be entertained.
b) General tips
1) To make a clear distinction, merching in rs3 has 2 forms, short term (a few mins to a few hours), which is known as flipping, and long term (few hours to few days/weeks/months), which is known as merching. That’s the terminology used by the general rs community. I shall use that also from here forth.
Personally, i hardly flip cause its too tedious. I usually just merch, and then flip when i want to dump for that extra returns.
2) Never trust GE prices, always price check yourself before starting. The terms merchers and flippers alike use are:
Inb = Instant Buy, which is the best selling price atm (atm = at the moment)
Ins = Instant Sell, which is the best buying price atm
So, if you wish to sell something for highest value, don’t ins, rather, inb 1 of the item, then get the best selling price, and sell by a few gp lower. This ensures that you have the best selling price in the market atm.
e.g, I buy a noxious staff at 145.0m. If i wish to sell my stock of them, i sell them at 144,999,999.
The same logic works for the reverse. Sell, find the ins price, then put in an offer for a few gp higher than the ins price. e.g, i sell a noxious staff at 143.0m. I place an offer at 143,000,001
The increments/decrements which you wish to use is up to you. Most people use 1, so as to maximize profits. Bear in mind that the more you undercut/overcut prices, the lesser your profits become.
3) Be patient. Do not inb/ins, as stated in 2). Merching is effective because of market inefficiencies, caused by people wanting the gp/item quickly. To profit off their impatience, you need to have more knowledge on the actual prices, and then setting them accordingly to ensure your offer is the best.
That extra knowledge is gained by doing regular price checks(finding inb/ins prices)
4) Be generally aware of the updates in rs. Updates can affect prices a lot, and indicate to you which items to merch/flip for profit.
5) Trade limits. Lots of items in ge have trade limits. Generally, potions are 1k, armour/weaps are 10, bones are 10k, energies are 25k, high level armours/weaps(tier 80 and onwards) are 2, herbs are 10k, leather is 10k.
These trade limits are for a time span of 4 hours. The time starts counting down when you buy your first item, not your last. From here forth, i shall refer to 4 hours as 1 trade window.
6) Look at everything you buy/sell/use. Ask yourself if there is a money marking opportunity in it.
7) High volume items for lower, more consistent, less risk money. Low volume items for higher risk, higher money. e.g, rares, excluding phats. Phats are a totally different market.
I personally just do high volume items.
8) Calculate well and fast. Most rs people cant count and/or are lazy, so they just inb/ins out of convenience. Thats where you come in. You count for them and realise they’re selling at a loss or out of impatience, and then you buy their stuff up.
9) Altscape. Ge limits limit your merching profits daily. If you’re confident you can earn at least 1m/day in even the worst case scenarios, start an alt. The cost of running an alt is on average 1m/day.
10) Change your strategies according to your gp pile. A common complaint among flippers is that once they get rich, money gets hard to move around.
Thats not true. When you’re 2b wealth, you cannot do the things you did when you had 500m. Unless you plan to earn the same amount as back then.
For me, I started with 1 account when I was <1b. Moved to 3 when i had 2b. Did 9 accounts when i had around 4b. I constantly change strategies as my cash stack gets bigger.
For example, I used to just buy/sell when I saw gaps in the market. These days, I use my wealth to help create those gaps.
11) Rs companion app is your best friend. Its a god send for merchers. Now we can undercut everyday, any time. I use it a lot while im in university to keep selling my stuff.
12) Learn the styles and tricks of other merchers and outsmart them. merching is essentially you vs other merchers for the money in the ge. Develop your own unique style and you will go a long way.
13) Read rs reddit (HAHA) for first hand info on future updates. I often go through the “new” section to try to gain an edge. The information there can earn you a lot of gp when you buy the related items first.
1) Flipping is generally buy low, sell high in a short period of time. For example, you take advantage of the fact that when ppl usually boss, they want to quickly get their gains. Ppl love to instant sell/buy their stuff, especially when they need to split loot, cant be bothered with the small gp they can save or they’re impatient in general.
2) You start flipping by buying the item to find the inb price, and then selling that item immediately to find the ins price. From there, you reverse the prices. You sell at the inb price, and buy at the ins price. Note: Only do this for items with good trade limits. E.g, you cant do this for noxious items, cause their trade limit is only 2.
3) The general time frame for a safe flip is 20mins to 1hour. According to established standards (what i learnt from a flipping fc), 1hour is the longest you should hold. If it exceeds that, sell back at the price you bought it.
4) High trade volume items are safer, but less profit. Low trade volume items are more risky, but higher profit. My time window is 3) applies more to high trade volume stuff. For lower trade volumes, you can use the same principle, or adjust the waiting time to your own discretion. The longer you wait, the higher the risk of a crash, or a skyrocket rise.
5) What items to flip? Firstly, check the inb and ins margins, and make sure it is sufficiently wide. Secondly, decide if the item is traded often enough for you to actually sell it.
6) Use the forums for rough price ranges for certain popularly flipped items. Runescape official forums -> Item discussion section. You’ll see threads like bond pc, sof/th items, high level weaps pc, etc.
d) Merching (investments)
1) If you go down this route, its way more relaxing, but it requires more thinking and planning. For me, I only spend around 50 – 90mins a day merching, split into 2 sessions, once in the morning, once at night. I spend that time updating my offers. This is with 9 accounts. If you use just 1, its barely a few mins a day at the ge. However, your profits are constrained by trade windows. So merching is more like a passive income kinda thing.
2) Your advantage here is knowledge. In this case, its knowledge of game trends, upcoming updates, behavior of players, and etc. It takes some time to understand everything, so its less easy to get into than flipping.
3) Its about being one step ahead of everyone else. I recommend reading rs reddit for the most up to date info about upcoming updates. Listening to the weekly tuesday night rs twitch stream also helps.
I once earned 100m+ in 10mins from watching the rs twitch from a dormant reprisal codex (could only buy one sadly). Basically the story was that this item was going to get updated. Upon hearing that, i immediately bought it. Got it at the pre announcement price because i was one of the fastest to buy. Sold it to the ppl who bought late for an easy profit.
4) Do not merch according to popular trends. E.g, dxp merching, or looking at high/low points of graphs, seeing regular fluctuations and expecting the fluctuations to be regular again.
Merch independent of popular merch attempts. This is your unique style of merching, based on your available cash pile, predictions, and knowledge.
My general principle is to merch something before everyone else, and then sell it back to the other merchers who caught the trend too late.
e.g, dragon pickaxes and their invention augment update. I bought dpicks upon the announcement that they were going to be augmented, then sold them to other merchers who were trying to hoard for the update. I sold them all before the actual update happened, because i anticipated that many ppl would dump slightly before, or during the update, cause a crash to happen then.
5) Learn how to dump well if a merch goes bad. Just because an item drops in value doesnt mean you should dump then. Analyse the situation to assess if its a temporary drop.
Theres an advanced merching tactic which other mechants use to lure ppl to dump. Thats how some items can suddenly drop in price for no apparent reason. Basically, they sell a number of items at a low price, giving the impression of a crash. Other merchers start dumping, creating a real crash. The merchants then buy up all the stock after a while at their crashed prices, bringing the prices back up again.
Dont fall to that. Always analyse the situation to deduce if its a natural cause, or a manip attempt.
6) basically merching is you vs other merchants for the money of everyone who uses the ge. There are quite a number of tactics that people use, so just be cautious.
7) If you go into merching, try to go for the high volume items. That’s where the huge profits are, most of the time.
di) Merching (arbitrage)
Arbitrage: Economics definition: The simultaneous buying and selling of securities, currency, or commodities in different markets or in derivative forms in order to take advantage of differing prices for the same asset.
This is the form of merching i do on a daily basis, and all my quotes on my gp/day rates are purely from arbitrage because its a consistent form of money.
There are many ways to do this, but it involves a lot of math. What I do is that I set up a google sheets with all my formulas for all the profitable items I frequently use. I do my price checks, key in the prices in the sheets, and then i see which items are profitable.
In runescape, you do arbitrage by analysing the demand/supply chain, and think if there is an opportunity for profit.
e.g, a widely used example is tanning dragonhide. A gap exists when a rich guy wants to power train crafting, and decides to buy up a lot of it. While that gap exists, if you can supply the market to close up the dd/ss gap first, you earn a fair deal of profit. so, demand chain = crafting d leather. Supply chain = kill dragon -> dragonhide
There are MUCH better items out there. I wont state them here. Just giving the general idea. The longer the chain, the more likely there is a gap somewhere you can squeeze for profit.
Think of the demand chain as you demanding the item. How many parts of the chain in the product would be wanted? For the supply chain, how many parts of the chain in the product would the product be supplied? These two chains may not be separate at times. For one product, they could be demanded and supplied at the same time.
A longer chain would be like herb -> unf pot + tertiary ingredient -> super pot -> overloads.
The money lies in the fact that along these chains, the item does not cost the same at every step. So, if you buy up the cheaper portions of the chain, you can either change the product to the next step for more money, or hold it and wait for others to notice, then sell it when the price rises.
This method works like a charm during times of great uncertainty or high player interest in that chain. Eg, dxp, winter weekends. Your edge here would be mathscape. Having done the calculations and realising where the money is.
A sample calculation to input into google sheets: Table A: Sugar buy price , Table B: Spice buy price, Table C: Minimum profit, Table D: PowerPuff sell price, Table E: PowerPuff – minimum profit – sugar – spice
If table E’s value is positive, it means that sugar and spice is worth buying to make PowerPuffs to sell. The minimum profit would be up to you to decide here. No hard and fast rule, just be realistic. Consider your opporunity cost and what other items you could merch with that same amount of money.
However, if you do large amounts of an item, you may have to consider other things.
Regardless of whether you flip or merch, there are some things you have to consider in general:
1) how much money can i make off it? Total profit per 4hours = margin * trade limit
2) how long do i have to hold it? If profit is good, but this item is hard to sell, not a good item.
3) is it a competitive market? Do i have to undercut often in order to sell? that might affect profits too.
4) day of the week. Update days are dangerous.
5) demand chain. Is this item demanded to make another product? If the other product is crashing, this item will likely crash too. Same logic for rise. Cross elasticity of demand
6) supply chain. Same logic as 5)
7) opportunity cost. Is my money better off being used elsewhere? Will i need my money for any upcoming merches?
8) experience on past trends of that item or related items.
9) who are the sort of people who will be merching this too. Are they the type to hoard or dump? E.g, lower rares. Noob trap for merchants, and heavily controlled by the rich. Dumps are hard to predict.
f) How to get started?
1) Look at what you use, make, buy on a daily basis. Ask yourself, who is buying/selling it? Why are they buying/selling it? Can I do it too? e.g, If you sell rune 2h. Who is buying it? Most likely high alchers. Why are they buying it? High alch for profit. Can i do it too? Its 1m/h, i make more than that, so not worth my time (for example only!! LOL)
e.g, If you buy super energy potions. Who is selling it? Most of it should be from herblore trainers. Why are they buying/selling it? Maybe its good to make, or they made it when it was good to make and are selling their stock now. Google sheets tell me the answer! Can I do it too? If google sheets says it is profitable, I shall do it too!
2) Set aside money to merch. You need money to make money. (“Rich get richer SMH!”) No minimum amount needed, but the more cash you have, the more you can earn.
If you have low amounts to work with, consider bossing or slayer first. But start asap because every opportunity you have is a great learning opportunity.
3) Be very thrifty. Buy only what you need so that you have more money to merch. Also, when you merch, be competitive to squeeze every mil you can get out of it. Although a few million may not be much, but if you can get 3m more a day, thats 90m more a month!
Dont waste money on big ticket items (t92, dyes, etc) until those items are well below what you can afford to buy without compromising on your merching income. Even if you’re making good money atm, it does not mean you will keep doing so daily in the future. “The biggest mistake is not learning the habit of saving properly” – Warren Buffet
4) Start small. Just like how you start off bossing with rax and telos, you dont get awesome kill times when you start. For the most of us, we become best friends with death first, and then we get good. Same goes with merching. Work on small profits first, gain experience, and then gradually increase your profits by improving on your methods.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – Lao Tzu
5) Do not be demoralised by losses. Losses happen even to the best of us in merchanting. Investments sometimes go bad, or jagex drops a surprise update. Some things are simply beyond your control. As you get better, you only reduce the risk, not eliminate it totally.
“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!” – Rocky Balboa
I’ve had my fair share of losses, but I focus on what I can do to earn those losses back and prevent similar losses instead of quiting forever. Find out what went wrong, and learn from that mistake
6) Live one day at a time. Dont think about how you’re gonna be a billionaire or where your merching journey will take you. Just focus on today’s investments and get them right.
7) Enjoy the process of merching. Do not see money as an end goal. What keeps me going is that I enjoy merching in general. I’ve never really thought about what I would do if I was filthy rich (apart from getting a phat set haha). I merch because I enjoy the process of outsmarting others daily. Its like a game of chess. Its not about the win, but the appreciation of the strategies involved.
The money is a bonus.
8) Altscape. Ge limits are a hassle, and they restrict your profits. Create alts to overcome those limits. Increase the number of alts slowly to see the ideal number that you can handle with. The bond cost/day for an alt is around 1m/day. So if you can make 1m + your minimum profit a day with the alt, the alt would be a sound choice. Increase the numbers until the alts cannot hit your 1m + min profit/day.
9) The advanced merching techniques which earn you obscene amounts of cash require you to do flipping, investments, arbitrage all at once for one particular item chain.
g) Tips and tricks from comments
From throwaway55231 – honeypotting, basically put some very unused/obscure items for sale at an extreme price and wait for it to sell, the idea here is RWTers and gold sellers use them to smuggle GP around or sell it, using it as a laundering tool.
its a very slow, boring and low in yeild, but it can be done on a fire and forget alts, in fact i have an f2p alt that bought a bunchof heldric rune items in f2p at 1k each, and now 1 year in he has sold 114 of them for 200k a piece, and there’s useally traffic around the time jagex does a bot nuke/ban wave, as they scamper around to launder their gold on new toons.
basically it dosent yeild much but its slow “easy” money that hampers RWTers, and yes its stealing, that i do with pride from cheaters, and honestly if more do it i’ll take pride in knowing i made them mad, obscure items are like tinderboxes,unused TT items, low popularity items like brutal arrows,etc. i have no idea specifically that items they use, i just picked one and stuck to it.
h) My Story
Started off with 100m+ (i think) sometime after the dxp ended exactly 1 year ago. Was pretty desperate for cash, seeing my cash pile decreasing steadily everyday. Im currently in university, so playing long hours was out of the question. I experimented with the market, found some good items to merch, and I’ve been doing that ever since.
Was a returning player after a 5 year break from runescape. So, it took a while to catch up with how runescape had changed.
However,In a span of less than 1.5 years, I had reached a current wealth of 18b, with most of it from merching. Currently using 8 alts for merching.
These days, I make around 100m/day (long term average excluding peak months like december or dxp) purely from arbitrage. Most items are very consistent money.