Hello I am BitOfAle and as many of you already know I own a successful shop. A few players have asked me how I got so high up on the /mall top list so fast and even asked me for my advice. I find this surprising because I'm still fairly new to the whole shops thing. Anyway, to those of you that are thinking of getting a shop on the upcoming auction, or even some veterans that want some extra advice. This is a guide from which you can gather information on how to get ready for auctions, how to run a shop, and other bits of advice I have. I guess the first question I should address is one people have to ask themselves before an auction. "How do i get all the money to buy a shop??" The issue with getting the money for a shop auction is one that often discourages people. This first part of my guide is devoted to this part of the shop process so if you already have a shop, skip ahead to paragraph [Owning a shop]. Digging right in, there are two main ways to get the 20-ish thousand Dei needed in order to get a decent shop. The first is freelancing your way there, this requires hard diligent and organized work. This option is meant for the people that have a lot of time to spare and mine heavily.To start off your business get boatloads of supplies, anything from common cobble to glow-stone and pack up on it. A mining schedule is a good way to keep on top of your stock, and remember that the over-world has tradable things to. After gathering your starting materials its time to advertise, post a thread in the trade forum or alert townies in game. Gather buyers and they'll tell others if you are good. Another good way of finding buyers is stalking the /trade channel, if someone needs an item message them quickly and get the needed item to them as soon as possible to make the buyer like you. A last thing to remember is taking the money first, then giving the item, getting scammed is not a good feeling. The second option you have that gets you money quick is becoming a supplier. I highly suggest doing this since I did it myself for my first month of selling things. The number one thing needed for this is a shop that has steady income, sales, and prices for both buying and selling. Once you have found a shop that meets the specifications it is strongly recommended that you talk with him/her daily. Build a relationship with the shop owner and get anything he asks of you. Focus on popular items such as sandstone, logs, or coal. Some shop-keeps like myself give out bonuses every few supplies and discounts on items, so being a supplier is a good starting point. The last thing people need to know about this option is how to play the market. Look around the shops, if one sis selling say stone for 8 and another is buying for 8.5, buy out shop A and sell it to shop B. This method gets you some cash quick with virtually no work. Once you get enough money to get a decent shop at auction time you can say goodbye to all the hard work. [Owning a shop] Okay so you've got a shop, now what? Well the first thing you need to learn is how to use the sign system. First place a chest where you want it to be and get a sign, crouch and right click the chest and it will appear on it. Now the sign just needs to be filled out. The order goes like this. BitOfAle64B 10 : S 8 Stone The first row is your name, second is amount buying or selling at a time, third is buy and sell price and fourth is the item name. Having mastered the sign system we are now moving on to the basic things you need to know about owning a shop. The price of something depends on supply, demand and competition. Find out how fast you can get an item and how much of it. Next see who wants it an toy with the prices to get maximum profit. Finally check out the surrounding shops and see who has prices that are cheaper than yours, Keep these three things in mind while setting up a price. The 2nd basic essential piece of information is to play the shops, there are a few ways to do this. If you have a bit of spare money you can buy out a certain item from a lot of shops and raise your price a little. This will make it seem as though it is more rare and people will buy from you more. This also lets you control prices. If a shop owner does not have stock, he cannot make money or sales. Another way to play the market is to have friends in high places and get them to buy someone out consistently to make hem scramble for materials meanwhile losing customers. The 3rd piece of essential information is how to balance your buy and sell prices. Always remember that any sale you make is taxed by 8%. This means that if you sell 100 Dei worth of an item you will only make 92. So do the math, buy and sell prices should be separated by a thin layer or profit. This style of selling will earn you long term buyers and make you money that is consistent. An example of this is. BitOfAle64B 10 : S 8Stone If you sell one stack of stone you make 10 Dei right? Wrong. With the tax you only make 9.2, and if you bought it from someone you have to do 9.2-8 which is 1.2. the profit of a stack of stone bought from someone else and sold along with tax is 1.2. Seems like a lot of work for so little profit huh. Well yes but that little profit gets you big time buyers in the log run and that equals money. The last part of this thread is some tips and things you should or should not do. Don't undercut prices unless you have a lot of stock! This may seem like a surefire way to get money but it doesn't last. Buyers will lose interest after the stock is out and leave. Always check other shops prices! Be informed about the highs and lows of items. Never have a full chest open for people to sell to you, at least not until you can afford it. Put single pieces of cobble in to fill up undesired space. Don't overstock on an item you are unsure of, prices can turn on a dime so make sure to get rid of extra. You never want to log in and find that you can't make a profit on an item. Make sure you have at least one or two suppliers on hand at all times, they just might save you when your out of stock. Control the market by buying out an item or selling chest fulls to shops to lower or raise the prices to where you want them to be. Have an emergency fund of a bout 20k for bulk sales or quick resupplies on popular or costly items. This is all the knowledge I have of being a shop owner except for a few tricks I keep to myself to remain top shop. I'm sure that if you follow this guide you'll make it just fine as a merchant. If anybody wants to give me advice leave it on this thread or start a convorsation, same goes for anybody that wants to supply me. Special thanks to Barryx15, for starting me on my career as a merchant. The_Yogs, for believing in me. And all the Doha Teamspeak users that made my ImDeity experience so much fun. So long Minecraftians, I applaud those of you that read all this information. Ale, out.