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Gold Capped: Profiting with tailoring

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Gold Capped, in which Basil "Euripides" Berntsen aims to show you how to make money on the auction house. Email Basil with your questions, comments, or hate mail!

Tailoring is a profession often accused of being a profitless pursuit. While any profession can be unprofitable if you try hard enough, let's talk about some of the things you can do with tailoring. I'm going to start with the market that's newest for this expansion: PvP gear.

PvP gear

Tailoring can make quite a selection of cloth iLvl 339 blue resilience items; there is an Emberfire set and Fireweave set that may both appeal to aspiring cloth-wearing PvP debutantes. The first thing you'll notice is that this gear is a nice upgrade to the greens and iLvl 333 blues your average fresh 85 is wearing when they ding. You'll also notice that while the blue gear you can buy with honor is all significantly better; the honor prices for those pieces represent a very serious investment of time to earn. At maybe 200 honor for your first battleground win of the day and some 400 honor every time you successfully retake Tol Barad, you're looking at several hours per piece.

For one reason or another, PvP entry-level gear for any profession sells. It usually sells quickly, and that means that unless there's someone already in place really capitalizing on this, it'll sell for high margin.

The addon best-suited for the job of making PvP gear is probably TradeSkillMaster. You want to ensure that every crafted piece with the same materials cost is in its own group. What would happen if you put them all in the same group? It would post them assuming the materials cost of every item in that group is the same, namely that of the most expensive piece. Create a tailoring PvP category, and add all these groups to it. It makes the large number of groups manageable, because you can set a default price and markup for all the pieces and adjust it on a item-by-item basis at a later date if needed.

While regular scans will ensure a fair "market value" number that TSM can use to do your profit calculations, you'll want to adjust the cost of the materials manually to reflect your reality. For example, if you only buy cloth in volume when it's below market value, you'll need to manually adjust the materials cost in the profession setup window of TSM.

If you don't want to (or can't) set up TSM, the tasks you need to accomplish with your addon of choice are:
  • Deciding which items to craft based on profit
  • Building a shopping list
  • Crafting all the items you've targeted
  • Keeping track of how many items you have in your inventory and on the AH
  • Posting all your items
You see, it's all doable with the default UI and maybe a pencil, but it's much faster with TSM. Once you've done this for a week or so, you'll want to fine-tune your setting to better reflect your competition and the demand. For example, you'll probably notice that the majority of profits to be had are on the recipes that are not trainable at the vendor.

Cooldowns

There are five recipes that you can use to make Dreamcloth, which is a component of several desirable craftables. Interestingly, none of the epic gear you can craft directly takes Chaos Orbs, which are required to make many blues and epics for other professions. Of course, you could make your Dreamcloth out of orbs if you have them piling up.

The interesting thing about Dreamcloth is that each of the five weekly cooldowns you can use to make the stuff takes a different volatile. This means that your weekly materials cost for five Dreamcloth will always be the same, but each cooldown has a different cost. I'd recommend using the average cost to make five as your actual cost when you calculate your profits. Anything else won't make sense. Also, be prudent about buying volatiles. If your realm is anything like mine, the price varies by as much as 30% a week. It's not very easy to predict, but it's easy to spot when it happens, and I stock up when I see it.

Two of the things you can make with Dreamcloth, other than gear, are permanent leg armor enhancements and bags. If the epic gear, leg enchants, and bags are not expensive enough to justify the cost for you to make Dreamcloth, don't despair. There's always bags.

Bags? I thought we just ...

Yeah, bags. The best-selling bag in the game, hands down, is still the Netherweave Bag. This market hasn't changed much since I wrote about it in Wrath of the Lich King. People still buy them day and night, and they still spend as much as 15 gold on them! The difference is that nowadays, that's a much smaller amount of money than it used to be. Still, if you can afford the time and effort to make and market these, you will probably be able to carve out a nice profit for yourself.

One thing about the bag market you will want to keep in mind while you work on it is that even a small number of bag makers can saturate the market. The more populated the realm, the more bag sellers it'll support. That said, it's a little lower per person than it was in previous expansions because every new character now has access to cheap 16-slot bags when they get revered with their home faction.

Take a long-term approach to this market. If you can build up an inventory of cheaply acquired cloth, you'll be well set to weather any storms of new entrants trying to undercut you out of the market. Also, this is one of those markets where the demand is so reliable that you might want to consider ignoring people who undercut too heavily and wait for them to run out of stock. Don't forget that each bag takes a long time to make, and when someone tries to out-volume and out-price you, it's only a matter of time until they run out of cheap cloth and are forced to raise prices or stop posting.

Maximize your profits with more advice from Gold Capped as well as the author's Call to Auction podcast. Do you have questions about selling, reselling and building your financial empire on the auction house? Basil is taking your questions at basil@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: Economy, Gold Capped

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