In the past I've always eschewed grinding standings to lower broker fees. It's not really necessary unless you're a big player playing the low margin, high volume game on the main hubs.
The thing is in certain markets I am a big player working the high volume, low margin segment of the market.
It's always nice to log in to something like this
That's 44 Sisters Core Probe Launchers purchased at a decent price in about a day and a half. I'll probably wind up selling them for an average of around 40 million each. Or I could do a quick flip and resell them all very quickly right where they are for around 37 mil each (give or take a mil or so either way depending on how the competition reacts).
The nice part about the quick flip is while I'd be cutting the profit per item by at least half, I'd get the ISK back quickly to reinvest and I'd probably buy a whole lot more sooner. If I can buy more than twice as many in the same timeframe then that's more profitable.
The catch is the longer I do that, the tighter the margins become. Eventually it gets to the point it's not really worth the time it takes anymore. That's were faction and corps standings come into play.
With maxed skills in Accounting and Broker Relations but 0 faction/corp standings I pay 0.75% (3/4ths of 1 percent) tax on every sale and I pay 0.75% broker fees on both buy and sell orders (IOW, I pay the broker fee twice, once to buy and once to sell). That's a total cost of 0.75 + 0.75 + 0.75 = 2.25% or actually a bit less assuming I buy for less than I sell for. To keep the math simple I work with 2%, anything much over 2% is profitable, anything around 2% is break even (or close enough it doesn't matter) and anything under 2% is unprofitable.
Faction standings and standings with the corporation that owns the station can lower broker fees a further half a percent from 0.75% to 0.25% making the total cost 0.25 +0.25 + 0.75 = 1.25% or a full 1% lower total cost.
Now if I'm paying 35 mil (as above) and reselling for 40 mil, that's 5 mil profit before taxes and fees or about 14% profit. With roughly 750k (simple math not an exact number) in taxes and fees that leaves about 4.25 mil in profit or about 12.14% profit. Not too shabby.
Grinding standings for 1.25% costs would change that to around 500k cost or 250k more profit. for a total profit per item of about 4.5 mil or 12.8%. A total increase of about 0.64%, not a whole lot. I make 40+ billion a month and though I can't say for certain what my average profit margins are, 12% is probably pretty close. Increasing those profits by 0.64% per item across the board would result in a 0.64 / 12.8 = 5% increase in profits for about 2+ billion in additional profits. Hardly worth the effort required to grind standings considering I'd have to grind standings on 25 traders to realize the full 2 billion.
However that's with good profit margins.
If my average markup is only 5%, after taxes and fees profits work out to 5 - 2.25 = 2.75% with 0 standings and 5 - 1.25 = 3.75% with high standings. In that case profits would increase by 3.75 / 2.75 = 1.366... or roughly 36.6% higher. Now that's looking a lot better, more than 1/3 increased profits. If my average profit now was only 2.75% for 40 bil in total profits then grinding the standing for 1.25% taxes and fees would increase my profits to 40 x 1.36 = 56 bil.
That's an increase of 16 bil per month, I'd still have to grind standings on 25 characters to realize all of it. 16 bil / 25 = 640 mil per character. Still not a whole lot but some characters do more business than others. It'd probably be good for more than a billion a month on several which might make it worth grinding standings on them. Plus I could do more volume at lower markup and still make some profit, particularly on Jita.
The lower the markup the larger increase that extra 1% is going to generate. With a profit margin of 3.25% before taxes and fees that only leaves 1% profit after taxes, chopping another 1% off cost would increase profit from 1% to 2% for a 100% increase in profit. Of course volumes would have to have to be much higher than they need to be at 12% to make up for the lower profit per item.
I'm going to try it on my main Jita trader. I probably won't grind enough to reduce costs from 2.25% all the way down to 1.25% but I can probably get total costs down around 1.5% without too much grinding. If it works out well I might start grinding standings on as many as 5 or 6 other traders too.
I'll follow up soon with another post laying out just exactly how I plan to grind those faction and corporation standings.