Introduction You're probably here because you're wondering how traders manage to go "from nothing to a knife", maybe you've seen the videos of people trading up from cheap skins to a knife.
Doing so is still possible, but can be difficult and time consuming.
The purpose of this guide is to provide those new to trading with basic knowledge of how trading works, as well as applying the correct social mindset of trading; something which seems to be overlooked by many members of the trading community.
Note that this guide was written based on personal experience and may not entirely reflect 100% of how trading works.
Getting Started/What You Need There's no way you can get started without any initial investment.
The more you spend on items for trading, the easier trading will become.
If you're planning on starting with a couple cents, you may find yourself frequently stuck with items nobody wants, or even sometimes trading at a loss.
This is because low-tier item trading is filled with people just like you.
Everyone is looking for profit, don't forget that.
On the other hand, traders starting off with a couple dollars may still fare better, as the items become more visually appealing, leading to a higher demand.
This is important if your item is worth less than a key.
Remember to put your trade link on your profile, this lets members of the community to send you trade offers without having to add you.
It is the much better alternative to the live chatbox trading window, where some people fall victim to bait switches, a common scamming technique where the other party will switch out the item in the trade window for an item of much lower value.
You can find your trade link by going to [Inventory->Trade Offers->Who can send me trade offers?(in the sidebar, scroll down)] and copying the link displayed in the box.
Useful Plugins/Must-have's To make your trading experience much easier, you can choose to install plugins for your browser which will help you with trading.
Steam Inventory Helper (SIH) helps make large key trades as well as compares the prices of the items in the trade box.
It will also display a shortened version of a skin's float value.
LoungeDestroyer has parameters which can be filled in in order to filter out spam trade posts on CSGOLounge, as well as provide notifications for when someone leaves a comment on your trade post and will Auto-bump your trades within the time interval so you don't have to.
(more to come later)
Choosing Your Platform
Choosing where you advertise your item is your first step into trading, traders can choose from Steam groups to dedicated websites to advertise their items.
Lounge | http://csgolounge.
Currently, the most popular trading site for CS:GO items is CSGOLounge, which is where many traders tend to start.
The site is pretty easy to navigate and it's really straightforward.
You should remember to add your steam tradelink to your profile as it makes things easier for both yourself and the person you are trading with.
I would not recommend new traders to venture away from lounge, not until they've reached a couple of keys in inventory value.
Reddit | https://www.
An alternative to CSGOLounge is Reddit, which is much more complicated and may overwhelm a first-time Reddit user.
The subreddit: /r/GlobalOffensiveTrade , is dedicated to trading CS:GO items, with very noticeable differences to CSGOLounge.
This site will only be of use to those who own CS:GO Keys, which act as the currency for CS:GO items.
Keep in mind that Reddit also has strict policies which traders must follow, so read the rules properly and make sure you understand them, or bear the risk of being banned from using the site.
CSGOTraders | http://csgotraders.
Another platform similar to lounge, but with a more user-friendly interface and without a betting service.
Traders starting out could also post on their site in order to advertise their items.
The site is fitted with quick-search functions and offers the users the ability to set parameters to filter trades.
This site is relatively new, only being up for its 2nd year.
CSGOTraders' userbase is rather small compared to the other older sites but it offers more way more functions than the other sites.
The moderating team is extremely dedicated as well so it's definitely worth checking out.
Examples of said features include an AutoBlock function for Premium users, which some may find extremely useful.
OPSkins | https://opskins.
Unlike the other sites which focus on peer-to-peer trading, OPSkins allows users to purchase skins directly with real-world currency, similar to what the Steam Community Market does, except sometimes with better prices! Keep in mind that OPSkins takes a 10-5% rake from each sale, depending on whether or not you are subscribed to their premium program.
Keys Once you have accumulated a good amount of keys, it is a good idea to move on to include Reddit.
Each key is worth USD2.
The price of your item in USD divided by USD2.
5 is the price of your item in keys.
It is important to remember that traders will not pay full price for your item in keys, unless your item is special.
Note that this only applies to items priced in USD, and that you will have to do the same equation with your item, except using the price of your items and the price of keys in your currency.
However, note that if the user you're buying from is selling his item in keys, you shouldn't expect him to lower his price just because it's more expensive in your currency.
Useful sites for determining the price of an item include SteamAnalyst, the Steam Community Market and other trading sites in general.
Observe a trend in prices for an item and you will quickly familiarise yourself with general prices for items.
Many traders will liquidate their items into as many keys as possible before starting to trade, thereby increasing their purchasing power, allowing them to afford more expensive and more highly demanded items.
It's simple, really.
See trading with keys as buying something from a flea market with money, whereas 1:1 trading is literally barter, where you compete with another trader with the same goal (making profit) as you.
Factors such as market price fluctuation also affect the value of skins, whereas the price of keys will remain at 2.
5, making it a much better storage of value and medium of exchange.
Posts advertising Paypal or Bitcoin transactions are common, while the integrity of the buyer may be questionable.
Many people have been scammed/tricked out of their items, losing a fortune.
This can scare anyone new to trading.
CS:GOREP is an extremely important group to check if you plan on making a cash trade, each user can register his/her own "cashrep" thread in order to build up reputation for each transaction they make.
It is recommended that you deal with people with a lot of reputation within their thread.
The "+rep" comments on the profile do not count as cashrep and mustn't be confused with cashrep.
While these transactions have their risks, buying keys through Paypal tend to be cheaper than buying from the in-game menu screen.
It is recommended that you always find a middle-man before continuing with a cash transaction for your own safety.
These middle-men are listed in the /r/GlobalOffensiveTrade reddit sidebar, or you can contact a verified SteamRep middle-man.
I'd also advise setting up a CashREP thread so the process becomes easier over time.
Simply join the CashREP Steam group linked above, and follow the instructions.
SafetyIn this example, we have a recognised member of the SteamRep community, GentlemaN
Keep in mind, ALL recognised middle-men have impostors, these are people who try to make their profile look like the middle-man's, and will subsequently sever all contacts with you in the middle of a transaction.
Yes, the impostor will run away with your precious skins, but only if you aren't careful.
Check his steam level: most middle-men have a high Steam level, the number you see in the top right.
Anyone with a similar account claiming to be a middle-man, but with much lower Steam level is an obvious impostor.
Check his Steam64_id: those offering middle-manning services display this number.
This is the number that you will see at the end of your Steam profile link if you do not change it yourself through the options.
If the number matches, then it's the right person.
Read carefully: check his CASHREP thread and familiarise yourself with the profiles of the REAL middle-man, show that scammer you know what you're doing.
Finally, do your research, Paypal disputes aren't as uncommon as you may think, read the ToS (Terms of Service) and make sure you aren't falling into any loopholes.
You can find the official group of SteamRep admins HERE.
Influence of Float Values
The float value (fv) of a skin is a numerical representation of the condition of the skin.
The lower the number, the better condition of the skin.
Float values which are above average tend to fetch a higher price than average ones, you can find the float of your skin through CSGOexchange or CSGO Zone, where you can search its database to see the best float values from highest float to lowest float or vice versa.
As seen in the image below, some traders collect items with extremely high float values, this could also be a selling point for your item.
A majority of collectors choose to go for items with the lowest float over items with the highest float.
While this doesn't reflect the collectible value of skins with the highest floats, the fact that their float values are the highest means that they tend to be less aesthetically pleasing, so not everyone is going to pay anything extra for a beat-up skin, even if it does have a ranking on the database.
"Divisions" of Trading/Skins
Trading is really all about finding a niche, looking for something you are good at and repeating it.
Bulk TradersSome traders find a catch with regular skins with no special patterns which add to its value.
These people purchase a skin at a price cheaper than the regular selling price, then resell the entire stock for profit.
Case Hardened Traders
Seen by many as a pain in the♥♥♥♥♥ one method of trading for profit is through Case Hardened skins.
The price of these skins vary depending on the pattern.
The price for the skin will rise according to the amount of blue visible on the body.
Skins with a good amount of solid, unbroken blue on the body (a blue gem) can be worth a lot of keys more than a regular Case Hardened.
Here's a guide which explains Case Hardened patterns in greater detail: http://steamcommunity.
Katowice 2014 Skins
These stickers are the most popular of all, due to their age as well as their design, these stickers were made available during the Katowice 2014 ESL tournament and have since been discontinued.
The price depends on the position of the sticker, the type of skin the sticker has been applied to, as well as the quality of the sticker itself (Holo/Foil).
Keep in mind that there is no set percentage of sticker price, while 10% of the sticker price is used if the sticker has been applied in the best position and 5% in the second best, prices can always vary according to the condition, float and demand of the skin in question.
Remember that not all guns have the same "best" sticker position, while the picture I have shown you is of the sticker in the best position on the M4A4; on the AK-47, the best position is on the wooden grip.
Learning these positions can prevent you from being sharked out of trades with badly positioned stickers.
A friend of mine has written a more in-depth guide on how to price these skins and I have linked it with his permission: http://steamcommunity.
Other/High TierPatterns such as Fade/Doppler/Marble Fade/Slaughter are all used for trading.
Dopplers have different Phases ranging from 1-4, these standard phases all have the same rarity, but are drawn from four different paints.
It is recommended that you completely familiarise yourself with the phases before trading doppler skins.
Doppler patterns also come in extremely rare gem patterns: Sapphire (Full Blue), Ruby (Full Red), and Black Pearl (Black/Dark Purple).
Slaughter skins have various symbols on the blade, which some find extremely confusing and hard to deal with, especially because there are combinations of patterns.
There are several comprehensive guides which show these patterns according to their rarity.
WARNING: This item is difficult, fade percentages must be extremely precise.
Fade skins (not to be confused with marble fade) have their prices determined on the fade percentage.
Not all Fade skins have the pattern covering the entire weapon, this leaves a portion of the weapon discoloured, usually near the handle of some knives such as the bayonet.
Sites such as ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ or CSGOexchange offer users the ability to check float value and fade percentages.
However, these sites can screw up sometimes so it's best to use your own judgement, or get it pricechecked.
WARNING: This item is difficult, refer to a guide before determining Marble Fade pattern.
Marble Fade skins revolve around 3 colours: Red, Blue and Yellow.
The rarest pattern, dubbed "(True) Fire and Ice", describes the pattern with the least amount of yellow possible.
As seen on Karambits or Flip Knives, the "Fire and Ice" pattern leaves little to no yellow at all on the blade of the knife.
Some traders sell "Fake Fire and Ice" knives, these are distinguishable by the small, but noticeable amount of yellow present on the blade, they are quite easily mistaken for true Fire and Ice knives, which cost significantly more than a regular Tricolour (blade with 3 colours, like a flag).
An illustrated guide to top tier knives is available here: http://steamcommunity.
Identifying Your Buyer When purchasing a skin, who are you planning on selling it to? What kind of person is he/she? Think about your item from their perspective, look for a selling point.
Collectors often buy unique items for a much higher price, which could mean profit for you.
While Souvenir skins are generally avoided, there are some collectors out there who will purchase unique or special souvenir items, so collectors like this may also influence the decisions you make.
Applying The Correct Mindset Remember that you aren't trading with a robot, you're trading with actual people with emotions, intelligence and limited time.
Over the course of trading, I've encountered multiple traders who seem to forget who they're speaking with, this has ruined the trading experience of those trying to get into trading.
Always be polite and clear when discussing a trade, this is part of the fun as you get to form new connections and meet some amazing people along the way.
Don't just look at the money, new traders will occasionally pounce on an item simply because it displayed a higher market price.
However, the item will might never sell.
If it looks bad to you, then consider the fact that it probably looks bad to everyone else as well.
Talk smart, going up to a trader and literally asking him to trade with you so you can profit will get you nowhere, nor will flaming everyone you meet.
Speak like you would to someone you are meeting in real life.
You must impress your buyer, not the other way round.
Good Luck! Remember: Nobody makes a living out of trading, enjoy yourself, have a good time and meet new people, eventually, you'll get better at it.
If you've reached this far, thank you for reading this guide and I hope it's been helpful!
Always maintain a positive attitude towards yourself and to others.
Feel free to provide any suggestions and rate it if you found it helpful.
Special thanks to:
Dutch for putting up with my petty questions
Dysk1ddy for showing me the world of Kato 2014
and shanks for being a great mentor :)
Books, something about knowledge.