Wednesday 12 February 2014

The Daily Routine

One question that comes up frequently is what my daily routine is like? That's a more difficult question to answer than it might seem because I do a lot of different things, and I'm always changing things up.

One thing that's important to note is what I do now is quite different from what I did in the beginning or even for most of my first year trading. That's because in the beginning you have plenty of time,  fewer characters, far less investment capital and far fewer orders to maintain. I simply can't spend anywhere near the same amount of time on individual characters or orders now with 23 active traders, 450 billion ISK and over 7000 orders as I could when I first started out with just 1 character, maybe 50 million ISK and 53 orders.

I use a whole bunch of simple rules of thumb to make most decisions quickly and easily. Some are hard rules that I always follow without exception while others are more situational and only come into play under certain circumstances (like that damn no-lifer/bot camper won't go away, it's time to take the gloves off, kill the margin and teach him a lesson).

I also use a priority system where I do the most important and most profitable things first. The things that are most likely to generate the highest total profits (not to be confused with the highest profit margins). That means I tend to spend more time updating and renewing orders on some characters than on others. It also means I spend more time working on my most profitable items (on most characters) than on less profitable items (on any characters).

The very first thing I do every day is check my skill queues in Evemon and update any skill queues that need updating. That takes 5-10 minutes at the most, usually less, then I get into my prioritized trading routine.

My trading priority system starts with using the ISK tool tab in jEveAssets to track where everything is and make most of my decisions about what needs to be done first from the information there. Under that tab the 4 important columns I use to make those decisions (in order of importance) are Wallet Balance, Assets, Sell Orders and Escrows.

Wallet Balance tells me how much ISK each character has. I like to keep a minimum 3 billion ISK on each of my active traders. That's enough to cover at least a couple of days worth of normal purchasing activity on most of them though I prefer 5 billion on the ones in the more active regions and 8 billion on the Jita buyers. This is very high priority, I usually look at this tab first and if necessary quickly transfer some ISK around between characters before doing anything else.

Assets tells me how much stock each character has just sitting around waiting to be picked up and/or posted. Generally when a character has more than 2 billion in assets I should do something about it soon. If prices are good locally or I don't already have enough up for sale, it generally gets posted there. If local prices aren't good I'll usually ship it off to another region for sale though depending on stock levels and prices elsewhere I might just sit on it for a while too. This is high priority, most days I look at this tab second and post or ship stock from any characters that have a large amount in assets.

Sell Orders tells me how much stock a character has for sale on the market. If this number is too high I've probably got an obsessive no-lifer or bot undercutting me and need to drop prices. If it's low, that usually means business is going good there and it should be one of the first places I ship stock to from other regions. This is important but it's not high priority, it can usually wait a few days or even a week.

Escrows tells me how much ISK I have in buy orders in the region. Similar to Wallet Balance, I like to keep Escrow over 3 billion on all active traders and much higher on the bigger, more important ones in the most active regions. Note with Margin Trading V (which all my traders have) that means the total value of the buy orders is approximately 5x higher, 3 billion in Escrow = roughly 15 billion worth of buy orders. This is a lower priority but it is important not to let Escrow drop too low, especially in the busier regions.

For example my ISK tab (sorted by Wallet Balance) currently looks like this:

Each line represents a single character, with 3 traders on Jita and 20 other traders each in a different region. The bottom 6 are 2 combat pilots that aren't involved in serious trading and 4 inactive traders I don't really need right now but am training up anyhow so they'll be immediately available if/when I do need them in the future.

Looking at Wallet Balance I see 2 of my Jita traders which I like to keep around 7-10 billion ISK are both in that range which is ideal. The 3rd Jita trader (the mods trader) is way down the list with only 3.6 billion ISK. One of the very first things I'll do is transfer several billion ISK from other traders that have over 5 billion ISK. I could transfer several billion from the other 2 Jita traders too because the skillbook and implants traders really don't need as much ISK as the mods trader does (5 or 6 billion is enough for either of them most of the time).

All of my other active traders have at least 3 billion ISK so I don't need to do anything else about wallet balances.

Moving onto the Assets Tab, I re-sort the list to put the character with the most in Assets at the top and the one with the least at the bottom.

What a mess!

The first thing I notice is my Lonetrek Trader, who also does pickups for the 3 Jita traders, has nearly 8 billion in assets. Normally I'd have done something about that long before it got anywhere near that high but I've been putting it off and the stuff's been piling up for over a week now. I'm still a bit burned out from the grind last month proving to myself I could hit 50 billion a month if I consistently spent 2 hours a day at it for the whole month.

Really I should (and normally would) take a look at all the characters with over 2 billion in Assets and several of the ones with over 1 billion. I'll have to slowly start working on it one or two characters at a time eventually but not today. I'll put it off for at least another day and maybe longer. Who knows, maybe I'll get lucky and prices will rise in the meantime. :)

It's not as bad as it looks though, several character's Assets numbers are inflated because they're sitting on small stacks of PLEX that I won't sell unless the price goes up a ways. I bought them at good prices, if sell prices rise, I'll sell them and buy more cheap ones, but if sell prices don't go up I'll just use them to extend account subscriptions in a month or so.

After re-sorting on the Sell Order tab I can see 5 characters have over 10 billion in sell orders which might mean I need to update sell orders on them. Normally I'd take a look at all of them soon and update sell orders on any that need it. But that's not really a high priority unless things haven't been selling on them for a long time and that's not the case right now (other than maybe on the Lonetrek Trader with over 14 billion in sell orders). I'll probably take a look at Lonetrek's sell orders in a day or two but the rest can wait until after I get all that stuff sitting in Assets moved around and posted for sale.

Finally I re-sort on Escrows and see that 7 traders have less than 3 billion in Escrow, but only 2 of them are significantly less. I'll have to take a look at those 2 pretty soon, normally that would mean right now but I've been putting a lot of things off for a while and increasing Escrow is lower priority than posting Assets to Sell Orders which still needs to be done. Also the Jita skillbook trader has under 6 billion in escrow. That's a little lower than I like to have him at but not low enough to worry about yet either.

So in a nutshell I really need to transfer some ISK to the Jita mods buyer and get all that stock on the Lonetrek Trader moved around and posted for sale. There are a lot of other things that need doing too but those are the 2 highest priority. When I get over the burnout, I'll do them first. That'll probably take at least an hour (there's a lot of stock on Lonetrek and much of it needs to be shipped elsewhere). Once that's done, I can work my way down the priority list on the rest until I've had enough for the day and then start over again the next time I log in.


  1. Nice read. Its nice to see that you got your routine defined. Even though you say you spend so little time and tell in detail how you do it, it still amazes me how you keep stuff updated for so many characters. I have handful of traders, basically 3 main and 1 that I check very rarely. The 3 traders have so many buy/sell orders filled in on daily basis that if i do not update every few days, they are in stagnation. (I am talking about tens of billions) And with only 3, to manage my loot, setup sell/buy orders check stock levels for items, makes 1 hour just melt, before even starting serious updating.

    As alternative I now setup crazy amount of buy/sell orders and check in once a week. Downside is that I am always low on isk :), even with 250bil for 3 characters.

  2. I'm impressed, decent system. I only have two account myself, but just break down all the items I trade into 7 seperate folders, and scan through them once a week, below that, I have a daily one for things that move fast and are more volatile. The Jita alt has to move that into two daily folders. Since I can do about 5 items a minute, put the list of everything I check a day down to <30, for 7 minutes per char. Then 10 courrier contracts per, so another 5 minutes per char to move stuff in from largest, to smallest margins of profit. Then just put buy orders back up for whatever has just sold out from my inventory.

    Keeps it pretty tight at 15 minutes - 30 at most... I don't think it would scale to the amount of chars you have though.

    1. There are times I think about scaling back to just 5 or 6 characters for a month or so and seeing how that works out.

      Then I think about how much work doing that would be, how the 0.01 ISK bots would react to my leaving all those other hubs and I say Screw that!

      One thing I might try eventually is dropping everything that's either low volume or low priced and working only high volume, high priced items. Work the Big Head harder and drop the Little Tail altogether.

  3. Thanks for the detailed write-up.

    How rich would you be, do you think, had you started trading in 2003?

    1. I dunno, but I'd probably be one of the richest players in the game.

      I'm really not rich enough yet to even make a good estimate of just how rich the richest players are but I'd say that's gotta be at least in the 10s of trillions and maybe a lot more than that.