How to Build a Trading Station and set prices for profit.
Where / What Should I Trade?
I recommend building your trading station in a central location, convenient to AI wharfs/shipyards and your own production stations.
I like to trade the important wares- hull parts, claytronics and their precursors.
Once you have more storage space and a few Ls you can expand to high-volume wares like food and medicine.
Building a Trading Station
A Trading Station is the simplest type of station you can build in X4. In fact, you start the game with all the blueprints you need.
I would recommend having at least a few million credits before building a trading station. You will need seed money to buy wares.
All a Trading Station needs is a dock and a container storage module. That's it. 1 or 2 of the small container modules is fine to start with. You actually don't want a ton of storage at the start because you won't have enough money to fill them up with wares.
Once your trading station is established you can add more docks, piers for L freighters and more storage as required.
Warning: Do NOT build any production modules on your trading station. It will confuse your manager.
Managing a Trading Station - Basic
Once you have a station with a dock, container storage and an assigned manager, you can start setting up the wares you want to trade.
Look to the bottom left of the Logical Overview window and click "Add Wares". Select the wares you want to trade and click confirm at the bottom of the window.
Now you have to set up buy and sell orders for the wares. Click on each ware and click on Buy Order or Sell Order, respectively. Configure as follows...
Storage Amount: AUTO or set manually. The manager will divide the storage equally among wares if left on auto. Limiting this amount can be useful if you don't have a lot of cash.
Buy/Sell Amount: AUTO
Buy/Sell Price: Set according to the tables at the end of this guide. You can leave it on auto but you won't make money reliably.
That's it. Once your prices are set and the station has some seed cash in its account AI traders will start buying and selling items from your station. You can also assign your own traders to speed things along. Keep in mind that a satellite network is necessary when using player traders - they need to have knowledge of trade offers in their operational range (Up to 5 jumps, determined by manager skill).
Managing a Trading Station - Advanced
You can further target your trading station's activities with trade restrictions.
Trade restrictions are set up in the Global Orders menu. Each ware's buy and sell orders can have an individual Trade Restriction set, which allows you to control the flow of goods.
I usually set up 3 sets of trading rules.
- Internal: All factions restricted, wares on this setting will only be traded with player owned stations.
- Ally: Hostile and neutral factions restricted.
- Unrestricted: This is the default setting.
Let me illustrate a few use cases for you.
Case 1: I want to funnel wares produced by my station through the Trading Station.
All I have to do is set the wares at my production stations to the Internal trade rule and set their price to minimum. If the ware has buy and sell orders set up at the trading station my freighters assigned to the trading station will automatically pick up the wares and deliver them to the trading station, where they can be offered for sale.
If you want your trading station to supply your production stations, the inverse is true. Set the buy order at the production station to Internal and maximize the buying price.
Case 2: I have a station on the Argon/HOP border and want to funnel wares to one faction or the other.
Again, the solution is simple. Leave the buy orders unrestricted and set the sell order to your Ally trade rule. The station will buy cheap wares from both factions but only sell them to your friends.
Price List - Commmonwealth Economy
The following is a list of prices for use with trading stations. There is a column for a 20% spread (Buying at 90% of average and Selling at 110%) and a column for 30% spread (Buying at 85% and Selling at 115%). Round to the nearest whole #, since you can't use decimal prices ingame.