This is a newbie-friendly introductory guide to flipping items on the Grand Exchange and similar earning methods for newer players. This is not meant as an “answer to all” or for high-end players trading rares/boss loot. If you’re a purist whose gonna comment “ThAt’s NoT tHe BeSt MeThOd,” don’t bother, it’s gonna fall on deaf ears.
Understanding the Basics
So you’ve finally reached Varrock and discovered the Grand Exchange! But sadly, a lot of your orders aren’t buying, and many items you’re trying to sell aren’t selling at all.
So what do you do?
If you’re like most Runescape Players, you’ll lower the price of your items by tapping the 5% or 20% markers a few times, and presto; everything sold instantly! Great right?
The first rule of making gold on the Grand Exchange, or at least a large amount of it, is patience. Merchant players are looking to exploit the impatience of sellers and buyers by counting on you doing this very same thing.
In further sections, we’ll discuss how to Price Check an item you have a quantity of, or may be interesting in flipping for a profit, but first we need to understand what these terms I’m throwing out even mean. So let’s define our terms:
This is when you buy an item for the highest price possible, and then resell it for the lowest. (Wait but you just said this was bad! Now I’m losing Money) – I hear you I hear you, and you’re right. You shouldn’t always do this. This is typically when the price of the item isn’t that big and we can minimize losses. We’ll discuss more on this in a later section.
This is the difference between the Highest Buyer, and the Lowest Seller. This is determined by performing a Price Check.
No I don’t mean the bottle flipping meme; this is when you buy something for a lower price and sell it for a higher price. A successful flip is when you turn a profit. There will be times when you lose money, don’t freak out, it happens.
These are items with high buy limits (meaning you can buy many of them in four hours) and are generally not has high priced as a result. They are higher risk as they fluctuate in value. This is where you’ll start when you don’t have much gold.
These are items with low buy limits (meaning you can buy only a few of them in four hours) and are generally higher priced as a result. They are lower risk as they do not fluctuate as much in value. This is where you’ll go next once you have a moderate amount of gold.
Low Tier Items
These are items that have a lower overall purchase value to buy the max limit and generally lower profit margins. Generally flipped by poorer players, but still good for moderate wealthy players.
Mid Tier Items
These are items that have a higher overall purchase value to buy the max limit and generally higher profit margins. Generally flipped by wealthier players.
High Tier Items
These items are harder to come by, generally take much longer to flip and have a buy limit usually of 1, 2,or 10 at most. As a result they are the most stable, but require a larger amount of gold to work with safely.
Before we get started, lets discuss some Don’ts of flipping.
- ➤Don’t use more than 75% your overall funds at any given time.
- ➤Don’t throw all your gold into buying one or two items. If they crash in value, you’re out of luck.
- ➤Don’t get impatient and lower/raise your prices just because something isn’t selling instantly. Things take time. We’ll discuss how long you should wait depending on the item.
- ➤Don’t stand at the Grand Exchange all day. When you put an offer in, go do something else. Come back once you get a notification it’s been sold/bought.
Now that the introduction is out of the way, let’s dive in!
How do I Price Check?
Okay, so you’ve heard the term Price Checking, but how do we do this exactly?
It’s easier than it sounds, but the most important thing to remember is to only Price Check Bulk Items, that are generally cheap or you expect to have mild margins. When you Price Check, you are directly losing money. The objective however, is to determine what the margin of an item is.
So let’s start with something simple.
Fire Runes – Bulk Item, Low Tier
Let’s go over to the Grand Exchange in Varrock, and Price Check a single Fire Rune.
To do so, speak to the Blue Suite Clerk at the Grand Exchange Counter. Select an open Item Slot in the Grand Exchange, and press the “Buy” Icon.
Next type “fire rune” in the provided search box, and select the item.
After selecting, change the quantity of the amount of Fire Runes you’re buying to 1. Then tap the +20% several times. (If working with anything other than Low-Tier or Bulk Items, do not do this). Then tap “Confirm Offer”.
The Grand Exchange will now search for the Lowest Seller’s Price, and give you that Fire Rune if available.
In my case, you’ll notice that despite offering a price way over the Fire Rune’s value, it still only bought for 149gp. My remaining gold was refunded to me, and I can claim it back along with the item by selecting both of them.
Now click the item in your bag/inventory and it should bring up a sell screen. Lower the price of your item by tapping the -20% several times. In my example, I’m going to sell mine for 1gp. Don’t worry, it shouldn’t sell for that price unless something is extremely weird with the market.
Now in my case, I was able to sell the Fire Rune for 148gp (a 1 gp loss), which means the margin is only 1 gold. This tells me the Highest Buyer is buying for 148gp at the moment. If we were to buy the max amount of this item it would be difficult to earn a profit due to how small the margin is. In this instance, I would personally move onto another item.
Hypothetically however, lets say I sold the item for 130gp (a 18gp loss) instead. This means that the margin I have to work with is 18gp. Since I know the Highest Buyer is 130gp, and the Lowest Seller is 148gp, I would put in an offer to overcut the Buyer and undercut the Seller.
My offer would be:
Buy x24,999 Fire Runes at 131gp
Then later I would sell the x24,999 Fire Runes at 147gp
Total Spent: 3,274,869
Total Earned: 3,674,853
Total Profit: 399,984
Now of course, if you don’t have that kind of money you wouldn’t buy 24k Fire Runes, instead you’d buy what you can afford. Let’s say you only have 10,000 gold to spend (remember don’t spend more than 75% of your total networth), so you can only buy 76 Fire Runes.
Total Spent: 9,956
Total Earned: 11,248
Total Profit: 1,292
Obviously the more money you can invest the more profit you stand to make. However, the point of this section isn’t to start you off making millions immediately. This is to form a basic understanding of Price Checking and Flipping. In later sections we’ll discuss flipping more in depth.
Turning a Profit
“Okay, so I get how to price check, how do I find what items to flip and start earning millions if not billions of gold?”
Well to be frank, finding items is a matter of persistence, experience, and a bit of luck. If anyone tells you, “Always flip item X, because it’ll be good forever” they’re unfortunately mistaken. The market can be heavily affected by Game Updates, Announcements, the new “Meta” (what everyone’s interested in at that moment), Ninja Developer Updates, and merchant clans who try to exploit the market. The goal of this guide isn’t to make you all knowing, it’s rather to help understand what to do, and when to do it.
First and Foremost, we want to find an item that has a good profit margin. While there is no exact science, generally whether a margin is good or not is based on your time and current gold amount.
If something has a buy limit of 1000 and a profit margin of 100, it might look promising to someone with only a few hundred thousand goal. But you have 1 billion gold, it’s not worth your time. It also depends on how fast the item will buy/sell, and how long your funds are tied up in the market. After all, money that just sits there forever, is wasted money. That said, constantly worrying about not being able to turn a profit and pulling your items off the market or low ball selling every single time, is going to lose you money. Sometimes you have to cut your losses and just sell low, other times you need to be patient and wait. The market falls and rises each day, and you’ll get the hang of it the more you buy and sell.
If you gain anything from this guide it should be:
“Fortune favors the bold, but patience is still a virtue.”
For some insight on what items are being traded the most, what you can afford or what might rise/fall you can check our Runescape’s own Official Grand Exchange Resource.[secure.runescape.com]
At the time of writing this guide the most lucrative item to flip for low/mid tier players is Materials from the Archaeology skill. This is because those items are currently in demand for players wanting to level the skill. Do not assume that this will always be the case.
When to cut your losses?
Sometimes, selling an item doesn’t go as planned. The Market value crashes, or it’s taking far to long to buy/sell the item.
Let’s look at a few examples of what can happen, and how to respond.
Situation 1 – Can’t Buy/Sell anything
So you price checked an item and found a good profit margin, but it just won’t buy no matter how long you wait.
This is frustrating, but very common. It’s likely someone else also saw that same price, and is now buying over you. If it’s been a while, you may want to consider reprice checking, and adjusting your buy price. Don’t overdue this however, you shouldn’t be doing it every 5 minutes.
Well how long should you wait? That depends. (UGHHH I hear you say)
There is no exact numbers on how long you should wait for each item, but in my experience, consumable items with high buy limits fluctuate more frequently than say a sword, or armor set. This is because items with high buy limits are traded, usually, more frequently.
If I’m trying to flip potions, it’s only reasonable to suspect that a lot of other people are as well. Hypothetically let’s say I’m buying a Potion for 100gp and the Sell price would be 200gp. If I can’t buy any after 15-25mins, I’m going to adjust my price to 110gp. I’ll still make a 75gp profit each after they buy/sell. This is called “Walking Up your Price,” and should be done carefully.
If I’m trying to flip a mid tier sword, with a very low buy limit, I might wait an hour or two before I “walk up my price”. Additionally, if the margin is much larger, I will increase in larger increments. For example, let’s say the sword in question was buying at 1,000,000 and I was going to sell it for 1,250,000. After two hours, I might set my buy price to 1,050,565.
All the above information can be repeated in reverse for selling.
You may notice that I didn’t end my prices with 000, and instead did random numbers.
That’s because everyone else is likely to type their prices ending in a zero. Always go over that even if by a tiny amount, so you’ll be above them in the bid for an item.
So, something like:
- 100 -> 101
- 1000 -> 1005
- 10000 -> 10056
- 100000 -> 100413
Situation 2 – Only 1 of my 10,000 (or w/e) items sold/bought
If its been quite a long time and only 1 of your bulk items sold/bought then someone price checked you. No worries, just price check them back, or use the “walking up your price” tactic. Remember, don’t price check if the margin is expected to be too great that you’d lose more money than you’re willing to lose all at once.
Situation 3 – Value of the Item Crashed after I bought it!
First off, don’t panic. The market could recover in several hours or a few days. You could hold onto the item for a bit and try to turn a profit later. If you rather have the money back and the amount you would lose isn’t worrying to you, then you can try getting rid of it, if you see a continuously downward trend.
There have been instances where I held onto an item that would’ve cost me a 20 million gold loss, but turned a profit for 40 million a few days later. There have also been instances where I was too patient and lost 50 million gold.
Whatever you decide to do, remember to be patient and use the Runescape Grand Exchange Resource[secure.runescape.com] before making any drastic choices.
Situation 4 – I accidentally bought an item at the sell price instead of the buy price, help!
Calm down, this happens all the time. I’d be twice as wealthy if I didn’t do this like once a week. Luckily you know what the sell price is because the item instantly bought. So just resell everything at that exact price. This is actually how we price check non-bulk items, by reselling at the exact value, and seeing how long it takes to sell. But we’ll get into non-bulk items later.
Flipping Non-Bulk Items
So you’ve mastered (sorta) Bulk flipping items like Runes, Food, and so on.
Now you’re ready for the semi-big leagues and want to get into Non-Bulk (items with low buy limits) flipping.
First, I recommend you have about 50 to 100 Million gold before you get into non-bulk flipping. Once you’ve done that, you should have enough experience to understand how the market works and fell comfortable take bigger (but smart) risks.
Now I could give an example of a specific Non-Bulk item is, but I find that when guides do that, the specific item crashes as those who are less confident buy/sell it into the ground. The goal of this guide is to help you understand what you’re doing, not hold your hand.
So lets say hypothetically there is a new item released, and while it’s Non-bulk people are certainly interested in it. Let’s just make up a name.
Bow of Learning to Flip – Worth 2.5million Gp
Makes witty puns and constantly encourages you to “not worry about it” while you’re certainly worrying about it.
Why anyone would want this garbage item, is not our current concern, its just that they want it.
Now we’ve gotta figure out what the item is going for at the moment. We can do this one of two ways.
We can check the Runescape Grand Exchange Resource[secure.runescape.com] and try to guess what it might be worth. Once we have rough idea we can try to low ball. If we accidentally buy the item instantly, don’t worry – we can fix that. If you however, don’t get a buy after a little while, great be patient and wait longer. If it’s too long for you to bare try walking up your offer, like we learned previously.
An offer that takes a while to fulfill (meaning you didn’t buy it instantly after submitting your buy price) is a “Non Instant Buy”. This is what you want to aim for. The longer it takes to buy/sell something the greater the margin likely is.
So I accidentally. instant bought a non-bulk item, do I sell it back?
While we would prefer that everything goes smoothly, in a our Sherlock Holmes navigation of the marketplace, chances are that isn’t going to happen. More often than not, you’re going to end up instantly buying an item. We call this “Instant Buy,” and its not the end of the world. Simply sell it back for that value, and note that the actual offer you should be buying at is lower than that. The longer it takes to sell back at the price you bought it for, the larger the margin is.
Got it! My item finally Bought and I didn’t raise my price!
Great, but how long did it take? If it was only 30 minutes or a few hours, its probably safe to assume that the item is worth flipping. But if its days, or weeks even (with the exception of very high tier items or rares) you may just be best off reselling at the price you bought for.
But let’s assume for the sake of learning that you bought the Bow of Learning to Flip for 2,300,000 gp and it’s mid price is still at 2,500,000 gp.
Let’s say it took 15 minutes, that implies that the margin isn’t that drastic and you probably bought it for too high. We could make a rough guess, so I might buy at 2,185,765. If that’s still buying to fast, resell at 2.5mil and try again to buy a lower price. While you’re making a profit in the meantime, you’re still walking down your buy to figure out what you can get away with.
Now for another example, let’s say you bought an item normally worth 2.5mil, at 2.1 million but it took you 3 hours. Well that means it’s far more likely the margin is greater if you are willing to wait a bit longer to sell it. I might still try buying at 2.1 million or try lower if I don’t mind waiting longer. However, if thats too long for me to wait, then I might try walking up my offer to buy it a little quicker.
Remember none of this is an exact science, but personally for mid tier items, I don’t wait longer than 3 hours, and for high tier items I may wait overnight. You’ll get the hang of this with practice, making money isn’t a unique skill it’s a learned habit.
I have a lot of money already, and I don’t want to wait for buys, can I just instant buy, then sell right back to get a price estimate?
Certainly! Though you’ll be cutting into your profit margins, sometimes speed is more preferred. Ultimately, if you’re on your own flipping then this might be more beneficial to you, but if you have a clan, or friends who can also provide item price information, using them as an additional resource can save you loads of time and gold. Just remember to return the favor to your community, friends, or clan, when you know information that they may not.
So Now You’re a Billionaire Right?
In all seriousness, you won’t earn Billions let alone Millions over night. Flipping takes patient, practice, consistency, and experience. However, if you stick at it – Flipping is a very passive income and allows you to enjoy all aspects of the game without having to worry about grinding for everyone coin you get. It also allows you to gear up only when you need to, so you don’t have to hoard items.
Personally, before flipping, it took me 11.5 years to go from zero gold – 25 million just slaying normal monsters and skilling. After flipping, it took me 9 months to go from 25 million to 1.5 billion and I was really lazy at it. If you keep at it, reaching a billion flipping from nothing shouldn’t take longer than a few months. Don’t let anyone sell you on the “get rich over night” schemes, because most are optimistic, have long-term player knowledge, or use other resources that aren’t always legitimate.
That’s all we are sharing today in RuneScape Newbie Money Making Guide, if there are anything you want to add please feel free to leave a comment below and we’ll see you soon.
Credit to Komuroto