RuneScape 3/OSRS: Flipping Guide for All Players 2018

Updated on August 30, 2018

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In Runescape, flipping is by far the most widely used way of making money, it can be done by any player at any level with any amount of money; but while it requires no skill levels, it does take skill to merch, and this guide will show you how.

The beauty of the Grand Exchange is that the player doesn't need to be present for it to do its thing - this opens up a lot of possibilities in terms of multitasking. A player could place several trades in the GE and leave them to sit and complete while they leave and PvM, skill, or do anything else to make money. The result is that flipping should be thought of as a subsidising of your regular income - whatever you were planning to do on RuneScape today, do it while flipping for extra cash.

This guide will focus on 3 main areas to trading on the Grand Exchange:

  • Investing
  • High Volume Flipping
  • Low Volume Flipping

For anyone at all experienced with any sort of trade, these terms should be fairly straightforward, if not, do not worry, this guide will start from scratch so that anyone reading can make money no matter your ability. Let's begin!

An example GE screen with 4 low volume flips (God Wars Dungeon Armour) and 2 high volume flips (potato cactus and coconuts)
An example GE screen with 4 low volume flips (God Wars Dungeon Armour) and 2 high volume flips (potato cactus and coconuts)

Investing

Investing is for people with patience. You buy an item(s), wait a period of time - usually a few days to a few weeks (or longer) - and then sell your item(s) for profit (hopefully). A lot of people seem to think that investing is pot luck, how can you possibly know if an item is going to rise or not? However, it is quite simple:

  • In game updates often cause certain items to increase in price; for example, when the Memorial to Guthix update was released, the price of all divine energies tier 1-8 at least tripled. Those of us quick to spot the nature of the update were able to capitalise and turn a quick profit.
  • The Grand Exchange Market Watch is a free tool released by Jagex which allows users to view the market activity of any tradeable item in the game, it provides graphs of items' prices so we can predict how they are going to move.
  • There are dedicated friends chats which buy huge quantities of items and then sell them after its price has risen as a result. Note these are (usually) set up to make massive profits for the higher ranked members who get information about items first, and use lower ranked members as "drones" to buy items to manipulate prices.

The first point is quite simple, just staying up to date with the game's planned updates is sufficient for you to know whats going on. For example, imagine RuneScape are planning an update where classic Runecrafting (at an altar) now gives triple experience. Because of this you can imagine that a lot more players will start runecrafting, and thus the demand of rune essence and pure essence would sky rocket, meaning its price would too. So here, as soon as the announcement came out, you would go straight to the GE and buy as much rune and pure essence as possible.

Note that in this case the supply of runes would thus increase as more are being crafted, while the demand stays the same, so the price of runes would fall.

Image showing the price of Bright Energy directly after the release of Memorial to Guthix
Image showing the price of Bright Energy directly after the release of Memorial to Guthix

Grand Exchange Market Watch

The image above to the right shows how the Grand Exchange app can be useful in tracking an item's price. That example however was an example of how it looks after a price change, we want to be able to view an items graph and predict how it is going to react. Here are a few examples showing how we can predict a graph:

The GE Market Watch app lets us view the risers, fallers and most traded items each day
The GE Market Watch app lets us view the risers, fallers and most traded items each day
The 1 month graph shows the potato cactus is about to begin increasing in price. The 3 month graph reinforces this idea since it is the lowest price it has been in 3 months
The 1 month graph shows the potato cactus is about to begin increasing in price. The 3 month graph reinforces this idea since it is the lowest price it has been in 3 months

Going onto the Market Watch app, we will try to find graphs in which the item is falling in price, but the rate is slowing, for example, the graph to the side shows the graph of potato cactus, it has just finished falling in price and has risen over the last day. I spotted this graph the day before and realised it was slowing up and beginning to turn. Then I bought 8,000 of them (shown in image above) for its instant buy price - since I knew it was going to rise anyway.

When you spot a good looking graph, check the 3 month and 6 month graphs aswell; if the item is falling and slowing, but is still above its 6 month average, it may continue falling. However, if an item is about to begin increasing in price and is at its lowest price in 6 months, chances are it is going to rise - a lot.

It is important to keep monitoring the graph of your item while you are holding onto it. For example, in the 3 month graph to the right, the area circled in red is dangerous - it looks as if the potato cactus is about to start increasing in price a lot, however after 4 days it begins falling again. If we stay mindful of the graphs we can still sell at the top of the arc for a profit - albeit a smaller than expected one - but a profit nonetheless.

The next question is naturally : "How do I find an item like that?" Well there are a couple of ways:

One way, which is my preferred method, is to look at specific items. There are a lot of items which make good choices, but first we note a few things:

  • Items with very high volume and demand are a lot less likely to change their price often so should be avoided, for example, consider the graph of spirit shard to the right
  • Items with very low volume and demand are a lot less likely to sell, so should be avoided


Another valuable tool is GrandExchangeCentral. This is a website (google it) which provides lists of items and gives a list of items which are undergoing "trend reversal to up" i.e. their price has been falling and is about to start rising. The example below shows the website as well as an example of one of its recommended "trend reversal to up" items.

The graph of spirit shards show its price never deviates for 23-24 gp
The graph of spirit shards show its price never deviates for 23-24 gp

Items which make good choices for investing are:

  • Secondary summoning ingredients (potato cactus, tortoise shell, water talisman)
  • In demand summoning pouches (bunyip, unicorn, packyak) these often align with the graph of the respective secondary ingredient
  • Secondary herblore ingredients (grenwall spike, mud rune, limpwurt root)
  • In demand potions (prayer, super restore, super magic) these often align with the graph of the respective secondary ingredient
  • Farming seeds (yew, magic, willow)
  • Farmed fruits (papaya, coconut, cactus spine)
  • Bones
  • Ores, logs, bars (usually match ores)

So a player can check these items every now and then and see if any patterns are emerging.

This is the GrandExchangeCentral website and the graph of one of its recommended items to invest in
This is the GrandExchangeCentral website and the graph of one of its recommended items to invest in
Circled in green shows where we should buy an item, and in red where we should sell it
Circled in green shows where we should buy an item, and in red where we should sell it

Finally, we should consider when to sell. If we watch the graph of our item, we will be able to see when it is beginning to slow down and even fall slightly. We sell our item when it begins to slow slightly and even out at the top of its arc. The example to the right shows an example of times where we could buy and sell an item.

High Volume Flipping

Now we consider our second method of trading - high volume flipping. This is probably the most common method of flipping and can be thought of as a very short term investment. First we consider what items we should be flipping. As the name suggests, they should have a high volume, i.e. a trade limit of around 1000 or more. Next we need to consider the "margin".

The margin of an item is the difference between its min price and max price. How do we determine these prices? It is quite simple:

  • To determine the max price, we put in an offer to buy an item and put the price way above what we expect to pay. If it instant buys, then the price we paid is its max price
  • To determine the min price, we put in an offer to sell the item and put the price way below what we expect to be paid. If it instant sells, then the price we were paid is its min price

What the max price shows us is that, for that item, it is possible to sell it for its max price, but no higher, or we would have paid that for our item when determining its max price.

The min price shows us that we can buy that item for its min price, but no lower, or else our item would have sold for less when determining our min price.

This shows our min price for a prayer renewal potion is 7601 and its max price is 7805, this gives us a margin of 7805-7601=204 coins
This shows our min price for a prayer renewal potion is 7601 and its max price is 7805, this gives us a margin of 7805-7601=204 coins
A simple flip
A simple flip

We should narrow our margin slightly to increase the speed of the trade, without reducing the profit too much. This is an intuitive step, in our example for prayer renewals, I would change the margins from 7601 - 7805 into 7625 - 7775, giving a profit of 150 per potion while increasing the speed significantly.

The example above with margin 204 shows us that, for a prayer renewal, we can potentially make a profit of 204 coins on every potion we buy for the min and sell for the max. With a trade limit of 5000, this means we could make over a million coins in this trade.

There are a few things to consider however:

  • When we offer to buy at the min price for an item, it will likely take a longer time to buy, as there will be people offering more than us.
  • When we offer to sell at the max price for an item, it will likely take a long time to sell, as there will be people offering lower prices than us.

Now that we have a margin we put in a trade offer to buy 5000 prayer renewals for 7625 gp each. This could take several hours to a day to complete - if your item has high enough volume. Then once we have bought all our items we sell them all for 7775gp, again this could take a while.

The items we choose to high volume flip with are the same items we choose to invest with. Since we expect the price to rise or fall (as per the investing section), we consider this a short term investment, using its current margin and not the margin of its 7-day market activity.

Low Volume Flipping

Low volume flipping is similar to high volume flipping but for items whose trade limit is 1 or 2. Items like this include:

  • GWD1 armour
  • GWD2 armour
  • Nex armour
  • Spirit shields

An obvious problem arises when we try to find our margin for our item, we can only trade it once in four hours, and its margin is sure to change in four hours when you are able to trade again. These items are very low volume on the GE and have high prices ranging from 200K to several million. As a result they have very large margins which change constantly.

So how can we find the margin for an item without trading it. The answer is Friends Chats.

There are 2 main FCs which provide the margins for low volume items:

  • "flipchat1" - for GWD1 and GWD2 armour and weapons
  • "nex and ss" - for Nex armour, spirit shields, and Glacor boots as well as other misc items

These friends chats are very well run, strictly on topic chats and must be used in the correct way or you can be kicked. Each chat has rules on how to use them, and i would suggest Googling each of them and reading their list of rules before you join.

If we take flipchat1 as an example, I would join the friends chat and imagine I wanted to flip a Bandos Chestplate, I would call "Bcp?" and the price checker would reply the margin, something along the lines of "Bcp 2600 - 2950."

This means the margin for a Bandos Chestplate is 2600K - 2950K, a 350K profit for 1 trade. Just like in the high volume flipping method, we want to narrow the margin a little bit so it trades quickly, I would add 10K onto the min and take 10K off the max to give 2610K - 2940K - a 330K profit.

A few flips making 3125K
A few flips making 3125K

That concludes all three of the main trading methods, remember flipping works best when used in conjunction with other methods, namely PvM, as this is the next most profitable activity. Hopefully all three of the methods above will help you out, just find what works for you and what you're best at. Why not check out my other guide on making money through other methods! Please ask below if you have any questions and any feedback in the poll is greatly appreciated! Thanks and good luck!

Here's a cool Runescape Timelapse video - the series is called SpeedScape and new episodes are released regularly. Check it out!

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