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The trouble with most WoW crafting professions is that it’s tough to make decent coin from them, at low level anyway. Either there is too much competition or the items are too expensive to make. There are some sweet points, though. At high levels there are some in-demand items that can easily make your investment back.
Of course, to make money with any of the professions you have to watch your costs. This means either selling high enough that you don’t care about the costs or buying/gathering at a low enough price that you can make a profit even with the competition. Many items just aren’t worth the effort, either because they’re way too expensive to make or they just don’t sell for much.
Farming your Materials
You’re weighing your time against materials being free.
What’s not to like about farming, other than it’s boring? Grab a ton of herbs, skins, ores, etc. for no cost other than your time (and what’s your time worth?) The problem with farming, of course, is that it takes time. If there’s competition then it takes more time. If you are on a PvP server, then there might be other issues. There might also be some question of scarcity and availability (such as Frozen Orbs or True Gold.)
One of the reasons people buy gold is to buy their mats. If you only have a couple of hours at a time to play then spending that time farming probably isn’t such an attractive idea. Buy a good gold guide and you’ll make enough, in a short enough amount of time, not to have to buy gold, ever again.
That said, farming your mats is a great way to cut some costs and it’s a good way to kill some time while waiting for your dungeon/pvp/raid queue to pop or for your guild to get its act together and start that event.
Buy your mats cheap
Save a ton of time at the cost of your gold.
Learn the price cycles for your mats. Keep a close eye on the Auction House and on the trade channel. At certain times the prices will be much higher than other times. Weekends, for example, have a ton of people playing and farming, the market is flooded, and prices drop. At other times a farmer, or group of farmers, may drop a ton of stuff at a rock-bottom price. Maybe several get into an undercutting war.
At other times a bunch of people just happen to buy up everything available and prices might be very high, if the item is available at all.
If you see someone selling your mats cheap then trying sending her an email and offer to buy a lot more at her posted price.
Make an offer in the trade channel. You might get laughed at, but maybe someone wants to dump a load of stuff in a hurry.
Buying cheap is easier if you’re not pressed for time. Anticipate your needs and keep an eye on the AH or trade channel. Basically you’re looking to buy next week’s crafting mats, when the price is right.
Learn the Auction House - Keep an eye on prices and what things sell for. Add up the numbers and ask youself if …
- You can make a reasonable profit, meaning that it’s worth it to you to make & sell this thing? Don’t forget to factor in the time it takes to farm the mats.
- Can the item be sold at a higher price and still sell?
Offer services in chat. Pretty much any crafting profession can do this. Most people work for tips (or to level their skills for free) as the “buyer” brings the mats. Some don’t tip (shrug) and a few tip well.
Most crafting professions are expensive to level and the low level stuff generally doesn’t sell very well, or for very much, though there are some exceptions. If you plan on losing money until somewhere in the 200s, depending on the profession, then you won’t be disappointed. All of the profs have several items worth selling, especially at the highest levels.
Once you know the market well you will be able to spot the points where someone posts their crafted items at too low a price. Buy them out and repost at the right price.
The better you can control your costs the more flexible you can be with your pricing and the more likely you are to make a profit.
As an example of the above: the Blacksmithing profession has several blue items, at or near level 60 (old raid items,) that require Dark Iron bars, various gems, and some other stuff. And to make the Dark Iron bars you will need to head into a dungeon to learn a specific skill and to use a specific anvil… Sheesh. Fine for back then, not so hot now. Several iLevel 359 items look pretty good, but require True Gold and other price mats.
On the upside, the Vicious PvP gear is much less expensive to make and sells better. Ditto with the Redsteel and Hardened Obsidium sets. The situation is similar with the other crafting professions.
I’ll use inscription as an example here, since that’s how I made my 242k gold (here’s the pic.) Everyone in the game is a potential repeat customer for glyphs. They’ll buy the three Prime, three Major, and three Minor (Primes are going away in Mists of Pandaria,) plus another set for the dual talent build, and may want to have some others to swap in and out for particular situations.
Inscription isn’t quite the money maker it was when it was introduced with Wrath of the Lich King, but if you do it right it can pay off nicely. (TradeskillMaster is a BIG help here.) Keep an eye on your costs and sell a large variety of glyphs. If people post a few at very low prices it just means that you don’t have to make them. Buy and resell. If they constantly post at super low prices then drop that glyph and make a different one.
Costs: If I’m buying herbs at 20g a stack it works out, for most glyphs, to cost me a bit under 15g to make each glyph. Basically, 20g of herbs makes 5 inks (on average) and you’ll need three inks to make each glyph. Paper costs are trivial. If you farm the herbs then there’s just the paper costs and the farming time involved.
If you buy the inks directly off the AH then you can skip the boring milling process and save a lot of time. Sometimes the prices are dirt cheap. This is what I do. Just kep your eyes open for bargains.
Obviously, if you don’t want to make the glyphs, you can sell the pigments and inks and lazy scribes (like me) will buy them over the herbs. Check prices, though. Selling the herbs directly may make you more gold (and save the time of milling them into inks.)
Then you have to know glyph prices. For example, I’ve never seen Glyph of Stranglulate sell for very much so I don’t think you’ll make up your costs. Glyph of Death and Decay, on the other hand, can easily sell for 50+ gold and sells well. Get a deal on the herbs/inks and your profit margins improve. .
Which glyphs to sell? Start with the ones that offer a useful improvement to commonly used skills.Glyph of Pickpocket isn’t wonderful, but Glyph of the Ghoul or Raise Dead sells well at almost any price. IF you don’t have a bunch of clowns selling it for pennies. Quite a few glyphs sell well at 50+ gold, so try not to get caught in the “sell for pennies” game.
This macro will help with your milling:
- /cast Milling
- /use Name of Herb
- /cast Milling
- /use Cinderbloom
- /use Twilight Jasmine
- /use Azshara’s Veil
- /use Whiptail
- /use Stormvine
Many an enchanter knows that disenchanting is a great way to make some extra coin. Disenchant your useless green/blue/purple items, sell the parts, make gold. One huge advantage of selling enchanting mats is that you do not have to undercut prices. Why?
- Most enchanting mats sell quickly, especially those for the more desireable spells,, and
- there’s no deposit. So unless you really need a quick sale you can price them well above the lowest price and they’ll still sell, eventually, and there’s no cost to reposting them. Of course, if there are 500 stacks priced below yours you might have a long wait for that sale.
- Buying parts that are priced too low and reselling them is a tried and true method for profit.
Buy cheap green items, disenchant them, make a profit by selling the parts.
Everyone wants enchantments, especially the PvP and raiding crowds. A tried and true method of making gold is to offer your services in chat. Your services free (“buyer” brings the mats) and tips are appreciated. Just like in a restaurant, fast and friendly service gets more tips.
Check prices for the enchant scrolls and if they look good then buy some vellums, enchant some scrolls, and post them on the AH. If you can get a deal on the mats you may be able to make some bucks with the scrolls. High end enchant scrolls can make you some nice money if you can get the materials cheap.
Mining, Skinning, Herbalism, and Fishing. No processing needed, just go out and gather, make nice stacks, sell them on the AH. Some fish sell quite nicely, some don’t sell at all. Look for the fish that go into nice buffing foods or into Alchemy parts. Herbs, skins, and ores all sell quite well. See our Gathering page for more.
All the gathered items a frequently bought in large quantities. For example, someone powerleveling Leatherworking will park near the AH, buy a ton of mats, and get to work. For this reason you do not need to undercut prices, especially of the low prices are all for small quantities. Sell your 10 stack of 20 whatever at a price that’s higher than all the little stuff and below the other guy’s 15 (or 50) stacks.
Sell them in stacks of 20, but the herbs for inscription can be sold in stacks of 5, 10, 15, or 20. (Inscription milling uses 5 herbs at a time.)
Keep in mind that the prices will vary day to day and week to week due to a variety of reasons.
Potions, elixers, flasks, etc. are always in demand. Especially by the Raiding and PvP crowds. Always keep an eye on AH prices and the cost of mats. Buy the mats when the farmers dump tons (and undercut each other) and sell pots when the quantity available is low.
Troll’s Blood potions are great for leveling and grinding. Raids always want various flasks and other chemicals. The high end products are very much in demand.
There’s pretty ruthless undercutting on potion prices, especially the low level ones. You can try the buy and resell techniques, limit your costs, and/or look for a sweet spot where you can make cash on a few pots. For those most part you’ll have to wait until your skill is pretty high level to make money with Alchemy.
Bags, clothes, and some pretty nice armor pieces. Shirts (and other clothing items) are decent money makes, even at low levels, and greens can be disenchanted for selling of the parts. Enchanting goes well with Tailoring for this reason.
Look into items such as Tuxedos, dresses, fancy shirts, and so on. You might be amazed at what they sell for. Some recipes are available only at certain events, such as the Festival Dress (Lunar Festival.)
The high end stuff, such as the PvP gear, is cheap to make and can sell for nice prices.
Blacksmithing, Engineering, etc.
Always keep an eye on the market for bargains on the stuff you need to buy.
Blacksmiths look into making rods for enchanters. You might be surprised at how much they sell for on the AH. Also look into buckles, spikes, chains (weapon enchants,) and keys. Cataclysm PvP gear and some other gear sets can do nice things for your bank account.
Leatherworkers have a few bits, as well, especially with the Cataclysm recipes. As with the other crafts, PvP gear sells well and is relatively cheap to make.
Engineers don’t have much until you hit the really high levels and the sellable items tend to be expensive to build. Also, many engie items require engineering skill to use, so are pretty much “self-only.”
Jewelcrafters can prospect ores for gems (and sell them) and cut gems for profits and tips, as well as make a few nice items. Hard to find gems and raid only gems can be cut and sold for very nice profits. Some of the epic gems might take awhile to sell, though.
Our Recommended Gold Guide
Most people say that the best use of the crafting professions is to obtain certain items or self-only buffs, or just to have fun doing them. As gold makers, well, with a couple of exceptions they aren’t great for gold. This is why people recommend getting your stash first, then learning a profession.
There are some secrets, though. You can make serious cash with these professions if you know what to do, when to buy mats, and what products are in demand. This Secret Gold addon will help you by doing all the research for you, allowing you to make serious cash with the professions, even Blacksmithing. Check it out, here.