|This page contains opinion, speculation, and/or theories about RuneScape, rather than being based on pure fact. This does not mean that the content is wrong or invalid, just that it should be evaluated as such.
For purely fact based content about RuneScape please go to the Game Guide.
Merchanting is the general term that covers all forms of trade in RuneScape. Most merchanting happens at the Grand Exchange but many clans have formed their own trading system which can mean lower prices and better chance of getting a specific item.
Flipping is the act of purchasing a product while it dips and selling it for a higher price later. There are many items you can choose from to flip. Here is a list of regularly flipped items, and which ones are recommended to use at certain cash piles (your total investable cash)
You can use any of the items from the above list or use your own items. Items can take seconds to buy, or even hours. Generally if an item buys instantly, then your buy price is too high. However, higher priced items such as an Elysian spirit shield, can take a long time to buy and sell but have greater profit per flip. It's all down to what you can afford and what type of flipping you want to do. Whether it is logging in for a few minutes, to update prices then coming back later or constantly doing fast flips.
When buying an item under 1m, you can use a fast method to find rough flip prices of that item. Simply buy 1 of the item at 5% over mid and then sell it at 5% under mid. The lowest price will be your rough buy price and the highest will be your rough sell price.
Let's say we were using this method and we bought a item at 4847gp and then sold it at 5003gp. We would use this information to create our buy and sell prices:
Buy price: 4851gp (remember to round up) Sell price: 4999gp (remember to round down)
If you want to really start rolling in the profits you can take advantage of the grand exchange "mass flipping" technique, To do this you need to stock your item, for example, whips. You can leave an offer in overnight (approx 12 hours) and get 30 whips (as the limit is 10 / 4 hours). Now sell all the whips at once on the ge. You will then be able to re-buy 30 whips instantly without being limited to the general 10 per 4 hour limit. Please note that this only lasts for a limited time (under 4 hours) after you have sold all your items. So if you take too long to buy or sell the item, you will lose your limit and have to stock from the start again.
Good items to do this with include whips, dragon boots, herbs, bones, runes, planks, ores, bars and pure essence. Having such a high limit on pure essence can make you nice hourly profits with fast flipping.
It isn't recommend going over 400k pure essence as you regularly lose your limit.