Deposit costs on the Auction House can be difficult assess and they will have an impact on your goldmaking. and profitability. Today I will go through how they work and some things you can do to help minimize them.
Differences between BfA and Classic
BfA and Classic have different mechanics for calculating deposit costs which means that the optimal stack sizes and optimal strategies are different between the two versions.
Deposit costs basics
Some things are similar between both versions, and that is the basic functionality. You pay the deposit cost when you post an auction, and you get it back if the auction sells. Otherwise it is lost. The cost is based on the auction duration with a higher cost for higher durations. For most items in both versions the vendor sell price is the basis for the deposit cost, with one notable exception in BfA.
Classic Deposit costs
Classic deposit costs all scale with the vendor sale price. So posting one stack of 20 or 20 stacks of 1 for the same material will cost you the exact same amount of gold. Duration is the only thing that will change it. This might indicate that you should mostly post in small stacks, as it increases the chance you sell at least some of the items.
Generally i find that players prefer to buy in larger stack sizes though, and I much prefer to post in stacks of 5+.
The main thing you want to avoid in classic is to post items for sale that are just selling for barely more than the vendor price. Unless the price you can expect to sell it for is at least 5 times the vendor sell price you should probably not post it (some fast selling materials can be exempt, but even then it should be 3 times vendor sell to have enough margin for error).
Outside of that there’s no real trick. I prefer 24 hour duration, but you could do 8 hour for items that are either undercut or sold in the first couple of hours. I just do 24 hours personally though.
Low vendor price items
This is the main way to get around deposit costs in Classic. The lower the vendor cost, the cheaper it is to post. For some markets this matters and you can use it. For others it doesn’t help. You can’t change the vendor price of crafted goods. You can choose to flip lower vendor cost materials though.
BfA Deposit Costs
For the most part deposit costs work exactly the same as in classic, so the logic is exactly the same. With one important exception. Materials in BfA have a deposit cost that is based on 20% of the per item price. This means that posting 200 stacks of 1 will be 200 times more expensive than posting 1 stack of 200.
The implication is simple. Post materials in larger stack sizes. 20 or bigger is more than OK and will give you a pretty good margin of error for material flipping.
Canceling your auction means you are guaranteed to take the deposit cost loss. In some cases this will just speed up the process that would have happened regardless. For materials and other markets where a lot of items can sell in a given time frame you should not do it. If it can sell at the current price, let it stay.
Should you be worried?
In BfA the only way to screw up is with stacks of 1, or expensive old world materials. Neither are central to what I do, so if you use my settings you should be good to go.
For classic you need to pay attention. Posting more than you can sell is an actual cost, especially for items like bars, ore and other higher vendor price stuff. Play with durations and posting quantities to make sure you don’t post more than you have a good chance of selling.