Saturday, June 8, 2013

Building capital ships with low startup capital

This post will be cross-linked with my capital building guide.

I am contacted regularly by people who want to start building capital ships and have some questions. Often they're interested in starting building with less than the 24ish billion recommended by my guide.

One of them, a longtime reader who has asked not to be named, actually got to production - a rare occurrence for would-be capital builders - and was kind enough to offer insight into his and/or her experience.

The tl;dr is that the recommendation I usually make - buying as many blueprints as you can toward a carrier set, so that you minimize overhead from BPC while still having enough left over to buy minerals - is wrong. Instead, what a new builder should do is build entirely from BPC, reducing startup costs to practically nothing but at the expense of increased overhead.

Here's a new, super minimal startup plan:

1. Find a building station. It, or a station in the same system, must have 50% (maybe as low as 40%, I don't really remember) refine rate. Get 6.67 standings with the corporation that owns your refining station. This step is free.
2. Buy and research compression item blueprint/s. 15m.
3. Buy a capital ship hull BPC. ~30m for a carrier.
4. Buy capital ship component BPC. ~115m for a carrier.
5. Buy minerals. ~1100m for a carrier.
6. Compress minerals. If you can't both acquire and compress your minerals in a highsec system adjacent to your building system, you'll probably want a freighter (1430m) to move things around.
7. Use a covert ops transport (~110m) to move the compressed minerals and the blueprints to the building station. Alternatively, contract black frog.
8. Decompress and build.

Reference my guide for the long versions of these steps.

This method gives a startup cost, for an incredibly minimal, somewhat inefficient, and somewhat pain in the ass process, of about 2.8 billion. I rather suspect it will have scalibility problems, but if you aren't trying to build 14 ships at the same time it should work just fine. Just be careful that you're making a meaningful profit after BPC; once margins on hulls return to normal, those could really eat into profits.


  1. A good idea. A warning upfront though. A capital component BPC with 5 runs takes 14 hours to build.
    And you cannot queue several manufacturing jobs at once. Making all components can be time consuming, depending on how often you can login.

    If your going this route it might be even an idea to invest in Component BPO's first, as carrier bpc's are quite cheap.
    Somebody should make a ROI sheet for this ;-)

    1. I would actually recommend the opposite strategy for BPOs. Carrier BPOS cost just over 1B a piece, but some of the component BPOs cost around 1.5B. You need many more component BPs. Therefore the carrier BPO will pay itself off in less runs. About 6-9 times faster if my back-of-an-envelope calculation is accurate.

      Your point about how often you have to login is well taken, however the flipside is that if you have the manpower you can get your components built really fast using 5-run BPCs. If you have low starting resources your initial number of hulls is primarily limited by your capital. Being able to blaze through the component building phase quickly will mean more runs over time. Which means a quicker growth on your capital.

      Besides, I'm pretty sure the point of this article was that is was a bad idea to buy component BPOs if you have a small amount of capital to start. You basically recommended the opposite.

  2. Thanks for this guide-it's quite timely as I was just thinking about bpc's as an option. I'm excited to get back home and add to my spreadsheet :)

    Quick question, for buyers does it seem to matter whether your build system is 1 jump from high sec verses 3 or 4 jumps from high sec?

    1. Sorry, I just read back through your original guide and noticed that you indicated that the building system should be adjacent to low sec. Looks like I need to go back and pick a different building spot. :(

      At least I hadn't started grinding standing yet :)

    2. I doubt buyers care overly much.

      As for your station location, it's all about what you can make work. Being more than one jump out makes things a little bit more difficult, and I hate more difficult.

  3. I got started in production much the same way but with battleship BPCs. Worked great becasue I was not heavily invested and the marketed movement across hulls didn't phase me much not having an investment in BPOs. Then there comes the time where you are directy reponsible for taking all the BPCs and next thing you know the copiers all of a sudden put a much greater value on their copies and force you out. Non the less, still a good way to get your feet wet.

  4. "Just be careful that you're making a meaningful profit after BPC; once margins on hulls return to normal, those could really eat into profits. "

    It is a serious opportunity cost problem. If you don't make profits after BPC, you are not making profit on production, period. If you don't use BPCs because you have BPOs, but would not make profit using BPCs, you STILL don't make profit on production, period. You make profit on having BPOs. This case you should bring down your whole production and start copying and selling BPCs.

  5. You need to factor in the opportunity cost of those research slots, so it is possible to find yourself in the middle, with bpo production profitable and bpc production unprofitable.

  6. I would additionally like to point out, in response to some of the comments. Yes, it is very much an opportunity cost thing. What Parasoja sort of glossed over is WHY the more inefficient, but lower overhead cost thing works, at least under the current market conditions. You can build many more carriers (and make a smaller profit on each) by forgoing a full set of component BPOs.

    For example. Starting capital 13B. You spend 11B on BPOs, because thats pretty much what you can do. The BPOs need to be researched, so you are paying for two months of POS lab time whether you do it or not. You still need to buy a few BPCs but, hey your are a BPO owner you can still save on not buying the BPCs for the components you have a BPO for. You have 2B left to build two carriers. You make 800M isk (2x400M isk) profit.
    Alternately, you spend all of you money and minerals on BPCs and build 11 carriers. You just made 3.3B isk profits (11x300M). Even if you limited by the number of build slots (9 per character is achievable in a few weeks), your higher turnover at a lower profit margin will mean a higher monetary velocity for reinvestment. Over time you can buy more BPOs and streamline your operation to maximize profit and minimize gray hairs.

    This is just my opinion, but your money would be better spend on a Jump Freighter than component BPOs.

    It is critical to evaluate how much of your capital is working for you and how much is waiting around for you to put other pieces of the puzzle together when you are starting up.

    If you tie up your money into blueprints that you cant use for 2 or 3 months, you could have just built from BPCs that whole time and made way more money.


    Get profits rolling in, then optimize.

  7. Just a heads up, after being one of those asking how could I do without the 24b I ended up in capital production following the slow method of acquiring BPOs one by one and researching them. Completing along the way with the missing BPCs