This is going to be a very basic tutorial in how to use the market and reprocessing. This can be used by the beginning trader or by anyone who wants some extra ISK for the cost of a little bit of time.
Every pilot in EVE can use the market; you used it almost immediately. You took some of that mission loot that dropped, put it in your hanger and right-clicked sell. Easy. That "Monopropellant I Hydrazine Boosters" got you 777 Isk. That "Ship Scanner I" got you 200.
Every pilot in EVE can also Reprocess. This is another option on the right-click menu for an item. When you reprocess an item, you reduce it to minerals. These minerals, such as Tritanium and Pyerite, are the building blocks for almost every item in the game. Remember that "Monopropellant I Hydrazine Boosters" that you sold for 700? Let's see what would happen if you reprocessed it instead:
You would get 91 Pyerite, 7 Isogen and 1 Zydrine. Now we get to do some math. Pyerite commonly sells for around 3.75 each, Isogen for about 50 and Zydrine for at least 1900.
Did you catch that?
The thing you sold for 777 can be reprocessed for over 2500 in minerals. These are minerals you can use to have someone make you something or that you can sell.
Of course, if you need the ISK now, by all means sell the item directly. But it is important to be educated about the true value of an item. With reprocessing, like everything else, skills and standings can impact how many minerals you can get from an item. The above example is for someone with no skills or standings, so that is the minimum that can be obtained. The "WE TAKE" column is based on standing, the unrecoverable is based on skills.
Now we know two things about this item - Someone will pay us 777 for it and that we could "melt it" for around 2500 worth of materials. But, of course, there is a third thing that we can do with it - put it up on the market ourselves and hope someone else buys it.
It looks like this item sells for around 4000. This means you could put up a sell order of your own (you have 5 "buy/sell" slots.) and try to get full market value for the item.
You are now armed with enough information to make a decision - 777 now, 2500 via reprocessing and selling the materials or possibly make 4000 by putting up your own sell order.
In this case, the difference between the mineral value and the market value isn't enough to make me want to try for 4000. I would reprocess and sell the minerals. Even if the mineral market is a little soft, 3.50 for pyerite instead of 3.75, it is still a much better deal. For the PvP inclined, it also deprives that trader of easy cash. The good ones do have the skills and standing and never waste anything reprocessing.
To look at this another way - if you can sell your mission loot, that means some trader is buying it. They are buying it for only two reasons, to resell at a profit or reprocess at a profit. Sometimes their offers are good - maybe so close to that mineral value that it doesn't matter what you do. But there are items that you can reprocess to make more ISK. To that end, I have prepared a spreadsheet you can use to keep track of some of these items and what you get for reprocessing them. The other thing that it does is allow you to see if it is worth placing a buy order of your own. Remember, even without training Trade skills, you have 5 orders to play with. Maybe it is worth it to you to bid 900 for those Boosters. You will at least double your money for every one that someone sells to you.
Eve Online Materials - Google Docs Spreadsheet
You don't need to be logged into Google. You can select "file" and Download it as an Excel or Open Doc Spreadsheet and work with it. If you are logged into Google, you will have the option to make a copy. Then just work from the copy.
There are two sheets within the spreadsheet - "Items" and "Values"
Items holds the names of the items and allows you to enter the amount of each mineral you get from reprocessing. Since this is different for each pilot, you should fill in the values yourself whenever you reprocess a new item. The last two columns are formula fields - do not type anything there - the sheet will figure it out for you.
Market Estimate is based on the number of each mineral multiplied by the market value for each mineral. The Market Values are kept on the Values Sheet in the Market column.
Max Bid is also based on the number and value of each mineral, but based on the Willing to Pay column.
The Values sheet holds the market values (you have to enter these) and what you are willing to pay for each mineral. This Willing to Pay value is helpful in determining whether you might want to put up a buy order of your own. Everyone needs minerals. Buying them at a huge discount is never a bad thing.
I believe all the formulas used are correct and the prices are based on Verge Vendor. Your mileage may vary. If you see any errors or something I should fix/add, please let me know. I know this is very rudimentary and there are likely dozens of trading spreadsheets already out there that use the API and practically do all the work for you. If trading is your full time business, you should probably be using one of those. I think, though, that this could help a beginner make some good decisions.