Section 1 : Trading Basics
Tip 1 : Where do you begin?
The first thing you need to ask yourself is "What do I want when I'm all done with trading?". With out a goal to work towards, trading for profit simply will not work because at times it will become hard and frustrating. You'll want to quit, you'll want to just sell off whatever it is you have just to get rid of it, you may even find yourself incredibly mad, but if you have a goal in mind, be it profit or an item, it may just help keep you on course.
Second, are you prepared to lose money? You need to decide if you are ok with the whole idea of your trading ending up being a failure. This is important because at times you will find yourself struggling to gain any profit, you may at times have to just cut your loses and start over again from scratch. If you can't handle failing at times, then this isn't something you should be trying to do.
Third, you need to decide if you have the time to commit to trading. Trading for profit doesn't work magically or overnight. It takes tons of time and dedication, and trial and error. There maybe days where you'll trade things so fast and move up in value so quickly that you can't even remember how you got there, but there will be days, weeks, months where you won't trade at all. If you have little patience, trading for profit is not for you. If you think you are going to make this your full time job, don't bother. Although it is possible to make lots of money on TF2, the chances of you getting to that point quickly enough to make it your job before your electric is shut off is practically none.
If you feel like you have a goal in mind, be it money or items, are not afraid of a little failure, and don't mind things that take a long time to develop then continue on in my guide, but if you have doubts already you should probably stop reading now and go back to playing the game and enjoying it for what it's worth.
Tip 2 : Studying
At this point you must have decided that you want to pursue the idea of trading for profit or the chance of getting up to your dream item if you are reading this, and I wish you all the luck in the world. In this section I'm going to list researching a little.
The most important thing you can have in your trading tools is knowledge. Researching prices is by far your number one tool when getting started with trading. When you research prices, you need to look EVERYWHERE for a price. Do not rely on one site, like backpack.tf, to carry you through your pricing needs. Look at different trading sites and see what people are selling their items for on each site individually, see what people value your item at on resource sites like backpack.tf but not only backpack.tf, ask questions on trade servers and find out what people on the actual servers feel your item is worth, and above all always take someones elses estimates with a grain of salt as they maybe out to try to buy something off you cheaper.
After you have done your research, compare everything you have learned. You may find that some prices on the resource sites are much higher then what people are actually selling the item for on the trade sites or in server, or you may find just the opposite where the resource site is way off the mark on the prices people are asking for. Once you have taken the time to compare an items value around the web, you can now get an rough estimate of the average price people will pay. Don't ever expect to get a buy out price, but somewhere in the middle is about what you'll get when you are actually trying to trade.
Tip 3 : Starting to trade
So at this point you've figured out that the value of your item, or rough estimate on how much you may get for it. Now you need to try out the market. The first thing you need to do is not to limit yourself to your favorite trading website, or the most popular ones. Post your item everywhere, and NEVER list a buy out. All listing a buy out does is tell people what price to stay under, it's very rare that anyone will ever offer a buy out price. What you want to do is tell people to leave an offer, and that you know the value of your item so don't lowball me. This will tell people that you have done your homework, and it should leave the sharks at bay.
Tip 4 : Saying No
Don't be afraid to say no. You will find that people will say anything to try to get you to do a trade, don't let people get to you. You have nothing to lose by waiting if you feel uncomfortable with a deal. Sometimes your gut feeling is the best one, don't be afraid to question a trade before you accept it. There is nothing worse than feeling like you just made a bad trade. Be patient, don't feel like you have to take the first offer you get.
Tip 5 : Server Hop
For whatever reason, most traders will find a server they like and won't leave it. I don't understand why this happens, but it's not very productive. Although the trading servers here at firepowered.com are top notch, telling the same people on the server over and over again that you are selling or trading or buying a specific item without getting any interest is a sign of insanity. There is no reason to stay on a server advertising to the same people over and over again for more than a half hour. Hop from server to server if you want to see faster results.
Edited by Fridgeraider™, 10 September 2013 - 11:26 PM.