Before embarking on the journey of credit making in SWTOR there are two concepts you need to know and use: Opportunity Cost and Credits per Hour or simply Profit per Hour. These two concepts should be your two most important factors when deciding how best to accumulate credits.
Credits per Hour
This concept is faily simple. Scaled up or down, how much would any activity make you in credits per hour performed. For instance if farming mats for two hours and selling them for a total of 100.000 will give that activity a profit of 50.000 per hour. If crafting an item and selling that item for at profit of 5.000 credits on the face it will look to be less profitable than gathering mats, but taking into account that crafting the item on takes up to one minute (and that is a very high estimation) then the credits made per hour would be 300.000. It is clear that the first activity made you 100.000 credits and the second only 5.000, but imagine doing the second activity for 2 hours.
There are two things to note here: The first one is there is a throttle on how many items and therefore how much time you can spend on crafting. Crafting for two hours straight is simply not possible without wasting time on idling and therefore bringing down the hourly profit. Also the profit will scale with supply and demand so flooding the market with an item can decrease profits rapidly. Secondly time spent on crafting should be calculated from the time you spend on ordering the crafting of the items, not includning the actual craft time. That is because you can do other (creditmaking) activities while your crew is crafting the items.
This concept is probably the one that most people don’t know or at least don’t realise is the reason for the decisions they make. Basically Opportunity Costmeans the choices you make have a value but also a profit or loss, because every choice you don’t make has a value too. Given the choice to farm mats and sell the mats or buy the mats off the GTN and craft and sell those items each choice has a value. If we break down the example above every minute you farm mats you make 833 credits. Every minute you start a craft you make 5.000 credits. So every minute you are choosing to farm rather than crafting you lose 4167 in potential profit, so farming in this example is an overall economic loss.
To sum this up it is very important to know the profit per hour of every credit making activity you do in order to know how to make the most profit. Remember your time in-game is a resource and that resource needs to be as effective as possible if your goal is to make the most credits you possibly can. People often think their time is an infinite reource and therefore don’t value their time, but time is a finite resource and should be valued just like you value your time in real life by earning an hourly wage. In SWTOR as in life you should set a price on your time and if an activity is not valued above your “hourly minimum” then it is not worth your time.