I mentioned this briefly in my mining post, but Titansteel Bars are one of those products that seems to be used for just about everything. Check out the Wowhead "Reagent for" tab, and you'll see what I mean. It is also used in very large quantities by the more popular items, like the iLvl 264 BoE crafted items. One way or another, titansteel is one of those things that seems to have bottomless demand and is therefore an excellent product to sell.
High demand means high profit?
OK, so it's not perfect. Titansteel may always sell quickly, but that just means you'll have more competition. Also, every buyer has a fairly good idea of what market price is, so when the supply dries up, you can't make too much of a premium. Let's look at your costs.
- 3 titanium bars, usually made from a total of 24 Saronite Bars (or 20 if you're a transmutation master with a 20 percent bonus to yield).
- An Eternal Fire, either purchased from the AH or Frozo.
- An Eternal Earth and Shadow, never purchased from Frozo.
Saronite Ore on a weekday is about 16g a stack, fires are usually about 19g, earths are usually about 3.5g, and shadow is about 7. Final cost: 61.5g. I can sell titansteel for about 75g some days.
OK, realistically that's only on the weekends if your competition is out of stock or busy. The nice part of selling titansteel is that it's mostly AFK work to makel however, it's a lot of AFK work. On the weekends, most people like to, you know, actually play. Unless we're crazy enough to have purchased a second account just to do trade skills without costing us playtime, then we're going to be limited in how much of the stuff we can crank out in a week. Just look at the time costs: Transmuting three titanium takes 15 seconds, and smelting 20 saronite bars takes 30 seconds. Plus you have to buy all the base materials and run around emptying and refilling your bags.
As with any market that only has a single end product, your pricing and posting methods will be a large factor in your success. When you're pricing your titansteel, remember that there's a very hefty deposit cost. Personally, I list smallish batches for 12 hours; however, whenever I notice that the competition is running low, I'll blast out 50 bars or so. I wouldn't take that risk if I knew I'd be undercut right away, but when the conditions are right, I can make 750g profit in a night. If the crafting was true AFK time (as in time that didn't take me away from some other auctioneering task), it's very much worth it. One problem I run into periodically is campers who never list more than 12 bars with a short duration, but check the auction house (seemingly) 10 times a night. The best way to deal with these people is to either camp back (use the mobile app if you have to) or undercut until they lose interest or start buying you out.
Lastly, since there is a decently long turnaround on making new stock, this is one of those markets where you might be able to turn a quick profit overcutting when the supply starts to thin, buying competitors' stock and listing it yourself.
As for stack size, I like to list them in singles and doubles simply because there's no one recipe that's more popular than all the others. I've sold stacks of 20 before at a good price, but that was right after the removal of the titanium transmute cooldown, and back then, mats were cheaper.
I like to think of titansteel as a saronite sink. Not that I've needed one for a few months, but every so often, I find way more saronite than I could ever conceivably prospect or use some other way, and this is a simply way to get rid of it for a decent profit. If the titansteel market is saturated, I'll also just sell titanium or saronite bars, but one of the nice things about titansteel is that there's so much consistent demand.
Insider Trader takes you behind the scenes of the bustling subculture of professional craftsmen, examining the profitable, the tragically lacking and the methods behind the madness. Don't forget to check out the author's Call to Auction podcast. Do you have questions about selling, reselling and building your financial empire on the auction house? Basil is now taking questions for a special series, "Ask an auctioneer," at firstname.lastname@example.org.