Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Finance 101 for free traders

These notes gather and consolidate procedures for this campaign for everything related to money making.

Tramp Freight Market

Relates to the market where brokers attempt to find freight for contract that cannot be honored by large freight lines. 

Finding a contract
Tramp freight market are usually public and accessible online. Brokers are usually willing to pay good money for last minute jobs, often at cost.  

There is no need to roll against skills to locate contracts, but a Merchant check is required to determined whether your bid is successful. Avoid high traffic routes, unchartered routes are particularly lucrative when there is freight to be carried. Special handling often pays more.

A freight package is defined by a mass in dT, a nature, any special handling instructions and terms of delivery. 

Important notes
Bulk content may require containers. Freight handling equipment/personnel may be rented/hired on site. 

Collecting money
Depends on terms. Payment usually made on delivery via an official bank transfer. The agreed freight fee is specified on a contract. A bank branch will confirm that a contract was fulfilled before issuing a money transfer to the shipping party. If shipping was subcontracted, the money is immediately disbursed to the actual shipping party. Leftover money is transferred to the original shipper.

Passenger Market

Free traders are usually less expensive than legit liners. However, high- and medium-passengers are leery of free traders.  

Finding a contract
This will usually require some form of search for customers and possibly a negotiation. Advertising ahead of arrival is most beneficial but difficult to coordinate. Advertising on site is reasonably effective, as well as direct recruitment. Keep in mind that people travelling with free traders usually have a good reason not to use passenger liners. Brokers sometimes dabble in passenger business.

Important notes
A steward can handle easily 1 high- and 4 medium-passages.  Medics should tend to low-passage to improve the survival rate of cryogenic travel. 

Collecting money
Transactions are usually completed before departure. 

Future Freight Market

Brokers tend to try to secure freight contract as early as possible. They will buy contracts for particular jobs up to 16 week ahead of shipment. Certainty is trader for lower markup. Shippers may sell a freight contract by winning a bid at current freight base rate. At any time, the shipper may put their contract on the future market. The process is the same as bidding to get a contract, but success and loss on Merchant are inverted.  The base freight price is set to the current rate at the time of resale. Astute speculators will use consensus prediction or Market Analysis to determine whether the base freight cost may fall and thus allow them to subcontract with less money. Once a contract is put up on the market, it may not be withdrawn and may incur a loss.

Consensus prediction: Takes a few hours, require contacts and superficial research.
Market Analysis: Takes a day. Can be done for adjacent worlds. Penalized by time in the future and supported by good Area Knowledge.
Buying sub-contract: Merchant and presence on the Tramp freighter market.

Speculative trading

Instead of shipping someone else's cargo, buy cheap wares yourself and sell it where it is needed. You'll need to go off the beaten path to meet market needs that are otherwise neglected: you can't compete with the big players. 
  1. Use searching skills to find a seller using the lowest of Merchant, Area Knowledge. -2 X WTN, +1 if weaker skill is above 12.
  2. The GM will specify 0+ cargo(s) by type, tonnage, and volatility. 
  3. Predicting sales price:
    1. Judgement call: Need AK-12 or more. Use lowest of AK and Merchant to reveal one of the 3 good reaction dice.
    2. Market Analysis: Need data and 1 day. Additional +1/day up to +4. Roll vs Market Analysis to reveal a second reaction dice.
  4. Find a buyer at the other end using a:
    1. Search as in step 1: 1 per day -3 moderate volatility, -6 high volatility.
    2. Broker with high inherent AK, but for a fee of 5% to 30%.
    3. Sell at 50% value to a local speculator for desperate situations. 

Information Speculation

Please refer to the post on Computer and Software to determine the value of data packages. Data value degrades very quickly. It can only be sold once as the first purchaser will be in an excellent position to undercut you. 

Other ways to make money

The sky is the limit! Different types of contracts on the side, dividends from shares on the stock markets. Short term loans to generate investment funds. Month-scale outlooks using Economics instead of Market Analysis. 

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