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Gold Capped: Inventory balancing in TradeSkillMaster

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!

TradeSkillMaster is the most powerful addon used to automate crafting and batch posting, and today, we'll be learning how to fine-tune the number of items created based on your selling history. Generally, when you started using TSM, you set up a default number of items for each trade skill group that you wanted it to keep in stock. For example, I told it to:
  • Always craft enough scrolls that I had two on the auction house when they were profitable.
  • Always craft enough of each meta-gem cut to ensure that I always had three on the AH when they were profitable.
Now when I hit the Restock Queue button in enchanting or jewelcrafting, it queues up enough stock to bring my inventory levels to two scrolls or three gems. What if I invested in some recipe I sell a lot more of, though?

Balancing act

I have a bunch of expensive bracer enchants and meta-gem cuts that are very popular -- so popular, in fact, that I need to make many times more of these than the next most popular items just to keep from selling out on a raid night or weekend. I also have a few items that sell really terribly and mostly cost me money to relist every day. Ideally, I'd like to balance my inventory to reflect this and keep more of the items on the AH that sell better.

Firstly, click on the TSM button on your minimap to bring up the options. Click your trade skill on the left, and then select one of the recipe categories. You are presented with a complete picture of what you can craft, and only the ones you've checked will appear in the crafting wizard.

Before you adjust your crafting levels, you need to decide how many you want to keep in stock. I base that on the number I've sold. While TSM's live version doesn't have a built-in sale tracker, it does track how many items you've crafted, and that's good enough for me.

If I were just balancing this for the first time, small differences in sold quantities would be far more significant indicators of actual demand differences than here, as I balanced my jewelcrafter a long time ago and continually adjust it. The first time I decided to start cutting more strength gems, I was cutting three of everything and had managed to sell triple the number of strength gems that I had (for example, parry gems). Now, it's more like 20 to one.

A good rule of thumb is to start with your most popular item and decide how many you want to make of that. From there, set the quantities of all the other items proportionally. If you sold 20 of your best-seller and decide you want to keep 10 on the AH at all time, divide the sold amounts for everything else by two to get a rough idea how much you should stock. If you sold 45 and want to stock five, divide sold items by nine to get your rough target.

The long part of this process if going through every single item you craft to set the levels. This is done by clicking on the Additional Item Settings:

Check the Override Max Restock Quantity button to let TSM know you want to manually manage this one, then change the value I've circled to the number of items you want to queue up every time you craft.

The way the queue works, it will queue up enough items to be crafted so you have your max restock quantity on your character (including bags, the bank, and the AH, but not the mail). If you override a minimum restock quantity, it will wait until you're missing that many before queuing anything. I generally only need the first checkbox.

Quantities

Now when you click Restock Queue, you'll be presented with a list of (hopefully profitable) items to make, where the quantity produced vaguely matches the popularity of the item. Unless you want to be left with a bag full of sellable items, though, you have to remember to go and doublecheck your groups. If you remember when you set them up, you defined a maximum quantity of items you wanted listed at once. If this was lower than some of the new restock maximums you defined, you should adjust it. You can do this by changing the category rules, unless you overrode the category maximum on certain groups (or imported from an older version of the addon that didn't support categories).

I generally set the group max quantity quite high for businesses where I craft frequently, reasoning that I'll control how much I post on the AH by how much I create. There are some businesses where I have massive amounts of stock backed up that I wouldn't want to post all at once.

Demand and price

Remember now that price is a balance between supply and demand. The more stock you post at a competitive price, the lower the price will generally be. A surge of demand, for example, won't necessarily burn through all the cheap stock and start nipping at the more expensive auctions if you've posted a lot of cheap stock. The reason for increasing your inventory levels this way is actually not more margin, but it is more raw profit. Assuming you only queue or sell items when they're actually profitable, you'll sell more this way by having larger amounts of popular items in stock to meet demand, and while you might be keeping the price down compared to what it would have been if you had sold out, someone else would have been making those sales.

Maximize your profits with more advice from Gold Capped. Do you have questions about selling, reselling, and building your financial empire on the auction house? Fox and Basil are taking your questions at fox@wowinsider.com and basil@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: Economy, Gold Capped

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