Gear is one of the biggest things you can consistently make gold with. Players are always leveling new alts and they want to gear them out. This market will usually never die out, outside of new items supplanting the current options. BiS and Pre-raid BiS gear is always a great gold maker as players are always looking to max out their characters.
Barriers to entry
In gear crafting markets a typical source of profitability is the barriers to entry. The easier a recipe is to get, the faster you can get started, but so can your competition. This will generally limit the long term profit margins, but at least you can make gold right away.
In TBC you can find recipes from dungeon drops, BoE world drops and reputations and all of them are relevant. We’ll look at some exaples from several professions in this post so you can get started.
Cheap is actually good
In Classic players prefer to use trade chat a lot more than in retail. For very expensive crafted items the typical way to buy them would be to assemble the materials and pay a crafter a fee for the crafting process. This means that I personally prefer the cheaper crafts. Anything players are likely to actually buy straight up from the AH is a much better deal for me, as I don’t have to spend time haggling in chat or even advertising in game.
If you play a lot or enjoy the social aspect of bartering a lot more than me then the higher tier recipes will provide much more value to you.
The main cheap option from Blacksmithing is the Ragesteel Breastplate for DPS warriors. This is pre-raid BiS and quite strong. There are sadly no tradeable Blacksmithing pieces that are BiS, that are also on the cheap end of the spectrum, but some more expensive options exist, primarily the Blessed Bracers for Holy paladins.
Leatherworking has access to some absolute bangers in the cheap pre-bis category.
The Fel Leather set in particular is really good for physical damage dealing classes and represents a great value pick up. The recipes are from Consortium rep, which requires a bit of grinding, but it’s not the worst one in the game. Just do all the quests you can in Netherstorm and then start grinding Ethereals in the Heap south of Area 52.
The heavy clefthoof set is also relevant for Druid tanks, where you unlock the recipes from the Cenarion Expedition. This is a much smaller group of potential customers however, so the Fel Leather set should be the priority.
Tailoring has access to several BoE crafts that are BiS for phase 1 of TBCC. The top end include the Spellstrike set and the Girdle of Ruination and the Vengeance Wrap. All of these recipes are quite valuable, but the high cost means you mostly have to sell them as a crafting service.
Significantly better however is the Bracers of Havok recipe. This one is a BoE world drop and the bracers are comparatively cheap. They are also BiS for p1 for casters so they will mostly want these. I would definitely consider picking this one up for 200-400g as the bracers sell really well on the AH.
To sell these I would suggest using a simple 120% crafting based operation. I’m sure I’m missing some potential items, so if you know of any other relevant ones just add them to the group. As always with gear we will be posting one at the time.