Monday, 8 July 2013

Starting research - T1 research for sale

We all know that research is meant to make ISK and enable 'cool items'.  I have been asked by some about how do you start research, and what is it good for?  This post is about T1 blueprints for sale.  Buyers of blueprints may also care about this post.
Two routes that I can see to making isk out of research:
  • Blueprint for sale : buy a BPO, research it for sale, sell it.
  • Blueprint for use : buy a BPO, research it for use, use it.
Some researched T1 blueprints can have very large margins, but are a smaller volume business.  Others T1 blueprints have cut-throat (or even negative) margins.  If you are in the market for a couple BP's, especially if you do not yet have the skills, consider buying them rather than doing your own research (your buying may increase my sales).

In theory, research for sale would be the same as research for use.  If you are planning to use a blueprint, you should care about comparing the cost of research vs the saving you make in ISK and/or time while manufacturing.  If you are planning for sale, you care about having a better blueprint than the alternatives for sale; whether simply cheaper or better ME (material efficiency), PE (production efficiency) and for blueprint copies (BPC's), the number of licensed runs.

Basic skills : Metallurgy, Research, Science, Advanced Laboratory Operations, Scientific Networking, Contracting.

A blueprint original has 2 research affected statistics:
  • Material Efficiency (ME), improved with Material Research.  Metallurgy 5 is recommended.
  • Research Efficiency (PE), improved with Time Efficiency Research.  Research 5 is recommended.
A blueprint copy (BPC) has a third statistic: 'Number of licensed copies'. That is, the number of runs that a particular BPC can be used for.  To make a blueprint copy, you care about your copy speed.  Science 5 is recommended.

Note that when doing T2 invention (requiring T1 BPC's), the only stat you care about is 'Number of licensed copies'.  More about T2 invention later.  However, if selling BPC's, you might like to apply ME and PE before copying, to maximise the available buyers.

Your research pilot will also want Advanced Laboratory Operations 4, for a total of 10 concurrent research jobs.  (ALO 5 would be nice but nearly a month for one extra slot, that I need to use elsewhere at the moment)

Scientific Networking allows for starting research jobs in another system in the same region.  1 is strongly recommended if you use POS for research.  Personally, I have trained this to 4.

While you can buy a 'clean' blueprint on the market, to sell, you have to use contracts or direct exchange (eg in a station).  will generally be selling to manufacturers (or possibly collectors that sometimes think of themselves as manufacturers).

Contracting is how I sell my researched BP's.  Note that as an individual you have a limit of 21 contracts per pilot, and that is with contracting 5.  Each account has 3 pilots, so you might like to sell with multiple pilots.  Corporate contracting allows you to sell up to 60 contracts per pilot.  A problem with corporate contracts is that you need to sell out of offices, and I like to sell my contracts in Jita.  An office in Jita is 1B per month, and we are not yet at a scale to justify that.  Note that there is a minimum 100,000 contract deposit.  An item exchange has upto a fortnight sale time, an auction (with minimum sale, and buyout option) has upto a week.

As a buyer, I like contracts with ME/PE (Runs if applicable) in the description.

Some blueprints have additional requirements; either in skills or extra items to do research.  Look at the Bill of Materials tab to see any additional requirements for each research type.

Look at the contracts in question and 'Find in Contracts'.  If you are planning on selling Originals set the Item Category to 'Blueprint Original'; For copies, set it to 'Blueprint Copy'.

Look at what the competition has done.  View contract, look at the Material Level, Productivity level, and for copies, number of licensed runs.  Do 'better' than the competition; either in terms of more research or cheaper blueprints.

I disregard any contracts that are simply re-listed 'clean' blueprints (that is, BPO's with 0 ME, 0 PE); use the market to trade those, much easier and quicker.

When working out your costs, how long would/did you spend on ME, PE and/or Licenced copies.
NPC ISK costs can be negligible, but you will have a wait of a month on at least ME and Copy higsec slots.  We use rough POS costs of 10,000 ISK/hour for ME and Copy slots; 1,000 ISK/hour for PE slots.  There is no right way to apportion costs between slot types, apart from to look at your own corporation's supply/demand requirements.

I have personal experience in researching T1 component research BPO's for some profit, and am starting to use my research as a base for manufacture.  I am not yet an expert in research yet, but for 3M POS research costs + 300k BPO; and selling at 15-20M is an acceptable return.  I have also had some profit with selling cheap BPCs as sets.

Other reading:
  • (check all the numbers; not all bp's are current)

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