Revisiting material flipping, the best market for getting your AH empire started

Material flipping is the market I find myself recommending again and again for players who want to get started with gold making. The main advantages is that you can get started with relatively small investments, the sale rate is high and it is an auction house only market so you learn fastest.

Farming might be lower risk, but it is also much more limited in terms of reward. If you are effective and active it is quite possible to generate a token a month from just material flipping.

Why it works

Just like other flipping markets material flipping works because there are variations in supply and demand. Players typically always undercut when posting auctions which means that as more auctions are posted the price will decrease. Then some big fish crafter like me will run shopping scans and restock and the AH will get cleaned up for any reasonably priced materials.

For some materials I will literally be willing to buy any amount as long as the price is below the TSM market value (as this is used for profitability calculations for crafting). I have spent 500k+ gold in a single material buying session.

Buy cheap sell normal

The headline above was coined by an old goldmaking blogger Just my 2 copper. It perfectly encapsulates what I try to do when flipping materials. I want to buy cheap materials and post them at a reasonable normal price.

With this setup I may not sell everything right away, as I am targeting either mass crafters or other people at a time when the AH is drying up.

I also post all of my stock in nice even stack sizes. This is of course wildly better than stacks of 1. Large stack sizes are amazing for large crafters and I am usually willing to pay 10% more for significantly fewer clicks assuming the price is still below my maximum.

How my setup works

Based on the principles above I use a maximum shopping price of 80% dbmarket (dbmarket is a TSM price source, check my TSM4 guide if you want to learn what this is). I use 100%dbmaret as my minimum price and I have the normal and max prices set to 105 and 110% dbmarket. I want to sell my materials quickly and I don’t want to overprice them as that would significantly lower my volume.

Top materials to buy

There are large differences between the BfA materials in terms of how profitable they are to flip. High sale rates are a must as otherwise you may be stuck with your stock for a long time. I suggest sticking to the most useful materials.

Below is a rough ordered list of my preference for materials based on how well they have worked for me:

  1. Meat (except Thick Paleo Steaks)
  2. Ores (all of them)
  3. High-demand fish (Frenzied Fangtooth and Slimy Mackerels
  4. Herbs
  5. Deep Sea Satin
  6. Gloom Dust
  7. Normal Cloth and Leather (Tidespray, Coarse Leather, Shimmerscale, Blood-stained bones)

I have not tried flipping veiled crystals, umbra shards, gems or any inscription materials, so I don’t know how well that works. I would advise you to stay away from the uncommon leatherworking materials however as they have done extremely poorly for me.

Running shopping scans

My material group is split into several sub groups and I advise running them in batches. The categories in the list above are great to use as the basic shopping scans. Running fewer materials at the time will save time and you will get fewer instances of materials disappearing while you’re waiting.

Understanding the %-max price column

The %-max price column is one that generally creates a lot of confusion. If you just search for the name of a material this column will be a percentage of your normal shopping price source. By default this is 100% dbmarket. If you run a shopping scan for a group with a shopping operation the percentage in this column will be in relation to your maximum shopping price. If your maximum shopping price is 100%dbmarket then the percentages would be the same.

Since I use 80% dbmarket as the maximum price auctions priced at 100%dbmarket will show up with a percentage of 125%. This might confuse you if you’re not aware of it as I have my operation set to show auctions above the max price as well. I do this so I can quickly check if there are any massive inventories posted between my max shopping price and minimum auctioning price. If someone has 100+ stacks of 200 at 113% then I probably won’t be buying.

What to buy

Generally I buy everything that shows up below 100% when I run a shopping scan. The only exception is if there is a huge volume between my minimum and maximum price. In those cases I will not buy anything.

TSM4 Material shopping scan results

When just starting out you may want to focus on materials with smaller volumes below the maximum shopping price so you can buy out everything. This will increase your sale rate and get you up to speed faster.

Longer term you should just buy everything, even if the volume seems massive. Even if you take some losses here and there you will be profitable on average over the long term.

Results will take a little while

Material flipping is not a get rich quick scheme. You need to spend gold building up inventory before you start seeing steady sales. Most materials are cyclical so you will buy for a while and then the AH dries up and you may sell out 5000 items in a day.

You will have to shop and post auctions for at least a week and probably more than that before you get a good idea of how well it works.

I have tested my material flipping settings more than any other settings and I advise against changing the price settings. Auction amounts are something you should experiment with as your realm population and crafter population will mean that different stack sizes may be better than others. You may also want to post more total materials if you have them.

Material flipping resale summary

Avenues of experimentation

As I covered in the podcast this week you will generally not get perfect results if you just use someone else’s settings. That being said, I have tested my material flipping settings more than any other settings and I advise against changing the price settings. 

Quantities however, is something you should experiment with as your realm population and crafter population will mean that different stack sizes may be better than others. You may also want to post more total materials than what my settings do. 

You may also want to post different amounts for different groups of materials or specific materials. It is quite easy to make duplicates of my operations and changing the number of stacks posted. 

TSM Setup

My TSM Setup is as always found in my pastebin. Enjoy and good luck!

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20 thoughts on “Revisiting material flipping, the best market for getting your AH empire started

  1. running this on draenor EU there is nothing showing up below say 110% when i run a shopping scan, could my TSM realm data be off as it has been this way for te past few weeks and i would have though the historical pricing data would have updated.

    1. It could be that Draenor has more active material flippers that are buying them, 110% of the max price is still about 90% dbmarket so nothing suggests your data is wrong.

  2. Loving these guides as I get started on the AH game, have been at it a month with some pretty good results, but what would you do when you make a bad trade and end up with mats worth less than you paid for them?
    First week of trying out flipping I bought a bunch of tiragarde perch below 80% market that didn’t sell quickly, and now the market value has tanked from 18g to 8. Not sure if I should just sell at a massive loss to free up the gold or sit on them and hope it goes back up down the track.

    1. I’d consider selling at a loss, it frees up capital that you can then reinvest and get working again.
      Also double check if the actual market value is tanking or if theres just a couple of people posting at cheap prices, look at where the big stacks of 200 are – even if that might not be always accurate
      Also try to see how much money you could make by converting them to aromatic fish oil and see if that sells better on your server

    2. Personally I just sell them at a loss when that happens. If the price suddenly goes down there’s usually very little chance that the price will increase again so at that point you just want to limit your loss.

  3. Hey, thanks for this post. I started flipping BFA mats based on your earlier post and TSM groups and I was able to make enough for 4 tokens in just my first month!!! Enough to pay for WarCraft3 and pay for my next month. THis has worked great! Thanks again!

  4. do u resell right away or keep it for later? im having a tough time to see what i bought it for and when to resell

    1. I post it right away. I’ll usually always sell some materials at least every time I post them and some times they all sell, but that depends quite a bit on the realm and the material.

      If you have tradeskillmaster installed it will tell you what you bought them for and what you sold them for on average in the tooltip.

  5. Hi! (sorry for my english, not my native language)
    I started to use this guide with your settings. Working fine for the moment but i have a question. How often do you buy (under 100%) and how often do you post your auctions? I tried twice a day but i’m not sure it’s ok or not.

  6. bought everything under 100% as per your guide a few weeks back and now it’s always ‘Cheapest auction below minimum price. Posting at minimum price’. Obviously that means I’m posting something more expensive so no one will buy it. So am I just sunk at this point?

    1. That’s the expected behaviour. My entire setup is based on not being the cheapest one at any point in time. By posting in nice stack sizes at reasonable prices you will typically get sales regularly. If nothing has sold in several weeks you may want to adjust your prices down though.

      Materials is definitely a market you need to buy fairly often in to make decent long term profits.

  7. Hey, thanks for this guide, I’ve been using it for about a month to make very small but steady progress in building up some gold. I realised after using it for a while that I have been making profits in small amounts because my auctioning operations listed items at anything from 75%dbmarket up, which of course gave me the scope to undercut myself by up to 5% on the purchase price. Most profits for that reason came when I ‘reset’ a market bringing the values up as high as 30% at a time.

    Realising this I adjusted my auctioning operations today and set them closer to yours (i.e. buy at 80% sell at 100%) but have noticed that this means I now list at a higher price than a lot of other auctions. Am I right to believe that these will still sell (as they are not overpriced) and will simply move slightly slower from now on as I am no longer rabidly undercutting the entire market (and myself!). Apologies if this seems self evident question I just wanted to clarify the thought process!

    1. Your belief about how the setup works is correct. The idea is to post the materials at a reasonable price in convenient stack sizes to get a good number of sales while still maintaining a fairly high average price.

  8. For a default profile, could I just import this and get to scrolling with no other modifications to the settings? As a brand new baby goblin, if you were to adjust/add something to the settings, what would you adjust? Should I focus on mats from other expansions as well? How would I implement that?

    I’ve spent hours watching videos, reading posts (your blog is the best by far) and playing with TSM in game. I’m learning, but it’s a long road and figured just mouse wheeling you mat flipping loadout will at least give me income while I keep learning the ropes.

    1. I use this pretty much exactly as covered in the post. I do take a quick peek to make sure that there isnt like 50+ stacks of 200 at 90%dbmarket.

      If you are just starting out it could be profitable to adjust your maximum shopping price and minimum price down. I use 80-100, but 70-90 could be better for atarting out (all numbers as percentage of dbmarket).

      I would not use this setup for old world materials as the sale rate is too low so deposit costs would kill you.

      1. Where in settings can I change these percentages? I continue to buy under 80%, and when I post it says “Above Max Price, Posting a Max price”

        Why would I want that? Is there a way to fix this?

  9. I recently tried this out and bought all herbs bellow 100% and posted them right away however in the shopping list, my items show up as still being more expensive than other peoples stacks of 100/200 etc. Is this normal and will they still sell or do i need to alter the operations?

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