SimCity BuildIt: How To Maximize Your Money Trading

SimCity BuildIt: How To Maximize Your Money Trading

How To Maximize Your Money Trading

Hello fellow Mayors!

This is our second post on our Advanced Tactics series. Today we have the SimCity BuildIt: How To Maximize Your Money Trading.

Thank you to bmaske for putting together a comprehensive trading list as well as running an cost analysis on the resources and products.
Thanks to timc995 for creating the theoretical trade maximums and the optimal crafting and production schedule.

Resource & Material Values

This section showcases the various prices, production times, and values per consumable. See below.

I was able to do some analysis and develop a “theoretically optimal” crafting solution. This was done for fun and to see what the theoretic limits are.

This analysis essentially required developing a “footprint” for everything that can be produced, in terms of how much time it requires in the factories and stores. From that data, I was able to run through a linear programming solver and determine what mix of goods generated the most revenue each day (if sold at maximum prices in the trade depot)

Note: For more on the linear program – its an Excel plugin called Solver – a highly credible and detailed solution generator.


These are the maximum threshold values that prevent any further gains in production and value.

The optimal mix depends on the level of the player, since not all items would be available. I assumed everything is unlocked for the initial illustration.

I assumed that 9 factories with 5 slots each are available (for a total available factory time per day of 9*5*1,440 minutes). Again, this will vary depending on where you are in the game and what kind of factories you have.

Factory Constraint Equation
9 Factories * 5 slots each * 1,440 Minutes =  64,800 Minutes Per Day

For the stores, each has a maximum capacity of 1440 minutes per day.

For items produced (and sold), there is a maximum of 10 sales every 5 minutes (since the trade depot only allows free advertising of a single slot each 5 minutes), or a maximum daily # of items sold of 2880.

Daily Trade Constraint
1440 Minutes / 5 minutes * 10 Sales = 2880 max # of items sold per day


The hardware store is used to generate measuring tapes, shovels, and cooking utensils. The numbers needed in a 24 hour period would be 28.3 measuring tapes, 16 shovels, and 8.7 cooking utensils. That works out to 53% measuring tapes, 30% shovels, and 16% cooking utensils. Scheduling as follows gets pretty close to that:
– 4 measuring tapes
– 2 shovels
– 1 cooking utensil
(this ends up being 57%/28%/14%, which is close enough). You can intersperse the items… M/S/M/C/M/S/M and then repeat, for exapmple.

For factories, the daily raw material needs work out to:
664 metal
33 wood
82 plastic
128 seeds
10 chemicals
153 textiles
32 sugar and spices
10 glass

Multiplying by the minutes required for each item gives the queue minutes that must be dedicated at the factories for each…
664 metal; 664 minutes
33 wood; 100 minutes
82 plastic; 734 minutes
128 seeds; 2560 minutes
10 chemicals; 1187 minutes
153 textiles; 27491 minutes;
32 sugar and spices; 7680 minutes
10 glass; 2967 minutes

and dividing those by the time required for a factory to produce one item indicates the minimum number of queue slots that is required for each:

664 metal; 664 minutes; 0.46
33 wood; 100 minutes; 0.07
82 plastic; 734 minutes; 0.51
128 seeds; 2560 minutes; 1.78
10 chemicals; 1187 minutes; 0.82
153 textiles; 27491 minutes; 19.1
32 sugar and spices; 7680 minutes; 5.33
10 glass; 2967 minutes; 2.06

It is much easier to keep a factory queue more fully used when it doesn’t require checking in frequently. For that reason, it makes sense to over-allocate to the ‘fast’ items. The 45 slots can be split up as such:

10 queues – used for metal+wood+plastic
6 queues seeds
2 queue chemicals
20 queues textiles
5 queues sugar and spices
2 queues glass

Solution 1 (Theoretical Max)

Probability of completion: Near – Impossible to attain – This is the ABSOLUTE THEORETICAL MAX you can earn

Item Quantity Revenue
Donus 32 30,400
Flour Bag 16 9,120
Nails 216 17,280
Chairs 72 21,600
Watch 16 9,280
Tree Sapling 14.39999989 6,048
Lighting System 13.71428618 12,206
Wood 861.0286681 17,221
Plastic 1638.856989 40,971
Total: 2,880 164,126

This lists all of the items that you’d be selling…that means that there are lot of intermediate items produced along the way that are inputs to these items.

This keeps all of the stores 100% busy, except the Fast Food store (which is 100% idle).

The theoretic maximum revenue per day from selling produced goods is 164,126 Simoleons.

Solution 2 (Highly Optimistic) 

Probability of completion: Highly Optimistic – Additional constraints limit this solution but it is more closer to reality than solution 1.

From here, it’s possible to tweak a bit. I can’t see actually following the above, since the item management and sales process would be impossible to manage. I added some more constraints. For example, I avoided selling any ‘raw’ factory goods that could be produced in under 2 hours. I was hoping to reduce the number of items that would be sold. This results in:

Item Quantity Revenue
Donut 32 30,400
Flour Bag 16 9,120
Nails 221.5384625 17,723
Chairs 66.46153758 19,938
Home Textiles 1.476923348 901
Watch 16 9,280
Tree Sapling 16 6,720
Lighting System 13.71428618 12,206
Glass 55.85640865 6,703
Total: 439 112,991

Revenue drops considerably, but remains at a respectable 113k per day. This would require all of the factories and stores (except fast food) run at 100%.

I did a check and was able to show that if I only allowed producing the same number of items in a day (439), but allowed some of those to be raw materials, then the maximum revenue only rose to 114k. This shows me that excluding sales of raw materials doesn’t affect results materially.

Solution 3 (Realistic)

Probability of completion: Realistic – Additional real-world constraints applied for the most realistic solution we could create

I’m at level 33 in the game right now. That means that a few items are not available to me (TV, lighting system, refrigerator, and garden gnomes). Excluding those, it looks like the best I can achieve at level
33 is:

Item Quantity Revenue
Donut 32 30,400
Flour Bag 16 9,120
Nails 288 23,040
Cap 9.163636364 5,498
Home Textiles 19.2 11,712
Watch 9.890909091 5,737
Tree Sapling 16 6,720
BBQ Grill 8.727272727 4,625
Total: 398.9818182 96,852

Now this is starting to look familiar!… This indicates that I should run the donut+nail strategy simultaneously, and also produce and sell a few other items. Factories end up operating at 67%, and 8 of the 9 stores at 100%.

Conclusion (the TLDR)

So, putting the above into words, the strategy becomes:

1) Run the donut+nail strategy. This keeps the supply and donut stores busy.
a) Produce and sell donuts as fast as the donut store allows
b) Produce and sell nails as fast as the supply store allows
2) Produce and sell Home Textiles in the furniture store to it’s capacity
3) Produce and sell tree Saplings in the garden store to it’s capacity
4) Produce and sell BBQs in the home appliance store to it’s capacity
5) Produce flour bags as fast as possible (constrained by the farmer’s market). Sell any that aren’t needed by the donut strategy.
6) Produce and sell approximately equal amounts of CAPs and Watches in the fashion store (to capacity)
7) Use the hardware store to generate measuring tapes (needed for caps and home textiles), shovels (needed for tree saplings), and cooking utensils (for BBQs)
8) Use the factories to keep everything else from becoming resource starved.

Factory Resources
How To Read The Charts
Consumables Base Value Max Value Production Time Max Value/Min Factory Prod. Material Prod. Material # Final Product Total Prod. Time Total Max
Represents the products and materials you can create Starter sellable value Max sellable Time to produce Max sellable value produced per minute Minutes to create product Minutes to create material # Minutes to create final product Total Minutes to produce Max sellable value/minute
Heat Indicator
Green More value/Low Production Time
Red Less Value/Higher Production Time



Building Supply Store



Hardware Store

Building Supply

Farmer’s Market

Farmers Market

Furniture Store


Gardening Supplies


Donut Shop


Fashion Store


Fast Food Restaurant

Fast Food

Home Appliances

Home Appliance




Thanks for reading! Hope this helps you plan your production and trading!


This guide can potentially have major revisions. Drop a comment on suggestions and improvements to the guide.


  • FLK


    When I look at the charts I see a major issue, it doesn’t handle the fact that most of the production can be done simultaneously. Take the couch for exemple, it take 150 minutes to build, and for every couch my store produce i can, at the same time, build every components needed to start the production of another one. so i’m making 1810 credits every 150 minutes. and it’s compatible with the donut strategy since all ressources needed aren’t from the same stores.

    Another issue is that some items (like the donuts) are impossible to sell at the global market. So if you make 30 donuts per day, it will take 3 slots at the global market till the NPC auto-buy everything (every 3 days ?).

    I’m not saying that your plan (solution 3) is not working, i’ve not tested it, but it seems very unlikely to me that you’ll sell 400 items a day at the global market… have you tried it for one day to see if it really work ?

    Maybe I’m wrong… 😀

    and btw thanks for all your work on that site and the /r/SCBuildIt !

    • vortexrap

      The charts are actually a separate data collection independent of the solver formula. So it only lists the prices to compare products individually. (I’ll make a note of that in the guide)

      I agree with you on the donut thing. timc995 created the initial solver run so I’ll see if there are any revised solutions he could propose.

      As for solution 3 and selling 400 items per day – maybe not the most realistic scenario (I believe the solution calls for selling throughout the 24 hours – which is not realistic as most people are either asleep 6-8 hours a day or away from their phones). Once again, timc995 could take a look at this guide and see whether they could improve the analysis further.

      Glad you like the site 😀

    • bmaske

      Definitely agree with you FLK. When we were working on the production charts we calculated the simultaneous production time/revenue. However showing that data can be construed as misleading to individuals not reading between the lines and could result in people calling the data a bunch of bologna.

      I’ve recently been toying around with the data to see how much money can be made via buying production materials but it is so circumstantial that it becomes an impractical data analysis. But say you were able to get your hands on the materials for ice cream sandwiches (bread roll and cream?), the value/minute may prove to be higher than it would from producing all the materials necessary.

      Just my two cents. I’m a bit turned off by the game at the moment due to the inability to purchase expansion pieces… it never was a problem until a million donuts – now lightbulbs were flooding the market.

  • timc995

    Thanks for the feedback.

    I find that in actual practice, I’m not restocking my queues often enough to actually produce 32 donuts per day. Even when I’m on top of things, I end up upgrading buildings or doing Vu challenges and so detracting from the maximums above.

    On the question of what can be sold in the trading centre…The nails always sell at $800 for 10 units without a few minutes, so actually selling those all day long wouldn’t be a problem. In fact, I think this is true for all raw goods (you rarely see them linger in the trading centre). You’re right that if you were to try to keep this up long enough, donuts are a bootleneck — you’d need a lot of trading slots for donuts while waiting for Daniel to buy them.

    So, I ran another solution that didn’t allow producing any donuts. Maximizing revenue with this constraint ends up being similar to the above solution. The sugar and spices at the factories are no longer needed. The flour bags still get produced though, and they are then sold directly to the market. This generates revenue of $85k per day.

    I then tried modifying my constraint that prevented selling raw goods. This shows that using excess factory time does add value. The interesting part here is that by allowing the sale of some factory goods, it shifts what the stores should do. For example, if I allow sale of only electrical chips, the optimal solution requires chairs now. I like electrical chips as an output since it wouldn’t require a ton of queue administration hassle. Here’s that solution (generating $96k/day):
    Flour Bag 48 27,360
    Nails 266.8531469 21,348
    Chairs 21.14685315 6,344
    Home Textiles 13.56083916 8,272
    Watch 16 9,280
    Tree Sapling 16 6,720
    BBQ Grill 8.727272727 4,625
    Electrical 75.44269064 12,071
    465.7308025 96,021

    And, if nails aren’t sold (but electrical chips are), then the number of items to be sold at the trade centre drops to a manageable level:
    Flour Bag 48 27,360
    Chairs 72 21,600
    Bricks 24.61818182 4,677
    Watch 16 9,280
    Garden Furniture 9.793939394 8,031
    Tree Sapling 1.309090909 550
    BBQ Grill 8.727272727 4,625
    Electrical 76.44952381 12,232
    256.8980087 88,356

    I should probably clean up this tool and make it available!

  • czeuch

    Very nice analysis.

    However I have recently found out that you don’t need any other income source in this game aside from upgrades and taxes. Assuming that you will go for a city with 225 to 275 residences. That is, on a rough average, 2 to 2.5 million Simoleons. In addition to that, you will get around 1.5 to 2 million Simeleon in taxes.
    So that’s around 3.5 to 4.5 million.

    You need 835k to 955k for capacity services (power, water, etc), 800k for deluxes sets (police, fire, etc), 240k for parks and around 500k to 1M for streets.

    That’s less than 3 million total.

    If you focus on upgrades and Vu and use Lean method Just In Time, producing only what you need, you’ll have your stores always ready for your upgrades and disasters, speeding up the population growth.

    I only keep a small stock of building and hardware materials since they are used in other high end products.
    This has been working pretty fine for me, but I started this strategy only recently. I’m at lvl 43 with 750k population.

    I’ll update you on the results of this trade/offer (NPC requests) free strategy.

  • czeuch

    I forget about factories. Those will add around 300 to 600k. This is still under the amount you’ll make with upgrades and taxes. I’ve been playing for 3 months and got 1M taxes. I’m making 500k every 4 weeks, and this will be reduced as the city growths. So you could easily count 2M to 3M.

  • timc995

    I don’t disagree with you. I found myself starved for expansion materials, so upgrading was no longer really working for me. I know that there is a workaround for expansion materials but I don’t have a second device to set up a ‘junior’ player with. It has been days since I have acquired a dozer blade now.

  • mark

    Ahh, I see. this article is why EVERY SINGLE ITEM in the global trade market is a donut.

  • timc995

    The “donut strategy” predates this article by weeks. The analysis proves that it’s an economically sound component of a money making strategy (the above also explains what else can be done to grow revenue above just a donut strategy). It’s been pointed out in other places that selling donuts in the marketplace is best done without advertising — Nobody except Daniel will buy them so there’s no need to advertise donuts.

    In any event, as of Feb 12, it looks like EA has “fixed” the donut issue in the marketplace and they show up far less often now.

    • czeuch

      This didn’t solve much as variety continues an issue. All I saw this morning were lamps, pizzas, icecream sandwiches and basic stuff like glass, metal, spices, etc.
      They could create the filter instead of doing workarounds -_-

  • Chris

    Thanks for the approach. Recognizing this may be sacrilege for many here, but if you don’t actually play 24/7 (and you get distracted by those pesky things such as sleep / work / school), the optimization changes materially. Below is an approach assuming the following additional constraints:

    1) Only check-in 3x per day, in approximately 8-hour intervals (note: this is a nice timeframe as all raw Factory materials will complete in <= 7-hours). This can also be re-run for more frequent game checking for those interested.
    2) Each check-in is limited to ~10-minutes, sufficient time to (a) produce plastic / wood / metal as needed and (b) post goods to the global market
    3) Do not sell any Factory produced raw materials.

    Note also that this approach will require sufficient production slots at commercial buildings, as outlined below. Assuming these additional constraints, you can still generate ~$43k / day. Net products for sale look as follows (Item: Quantity | Net Proceeds):
    Couch: 9 | $16.29k
    Cap: 3 | $1.8k
    Shoes: 4 | $3.92k
    Pizza: 5 | $12.8k
    Lightbulb: 9 | $8.01k
    Glue: [0-1] | Limited (may produce some residual glue every day which can additionally be sold)

    To generate this result run Factories with the "long" time items between each check-in session, and produce Metal and Plastic during each 10-minute check-in, then go back to running the long lead times. Commercial Buildings will be utilized as follows: (Name (Required Slots): Queue Description)

    Building Supplies(5): All Glue, All the Time!
    Hardware Store(4): 3 Drill, 1 Measuring Tape
    Farmer's Market(5): Rotating Flour, Cheese and Beef
    Furniture Store(3-4): All Couches, All the Time! (Note: theoretically possible with 3 slots and absolutely perfect timing, though with 4-slots this can adjust for slight timing mis-matches from 8-hour intervals)
    Gardening Supplies (N/A): N/A
    Donut Shop (N/A): N/A
    Fashion Store(3): Alternate Cap / Shoes, with one extra shoe per day
    Fast Food Restaurant (2): Pizza
    Home Appliances(4): Lightbulb

    Note also that the 3x / day is quite an efficient frequency to run production. Increasing to 4x / day only increases revenue to ~$55k, though will materially re-optimize the solution as follows:

    Cement: 1 | $0.44k
    Measuring Tape: 2 | $0.22k
    Cream: 6 | $2.64k
    Couch: 9 | $16.29k
    Gnome: 3 | $4.8k
    Cap: 6 | $3.6k
    Shoes: 6 | $5.88k
    Ice Cream Sandwich: 2 | $5.12k
    Pizza: 2 | $5.12k
    Lightbulb: 10 | $8.9k
    TV: 2 | $2.56k

    Note also that this solution requires a broader number and types of items for sale, which could impact actual ability to clear the Trade Depot sufficiently quickly every day.

    Hope this proves helpful!

    • timc995

      Hi. I was just reviewing your post. I agree with the idea of managing the check-in times and had in fact done something similar.
      In your solution, you have 9 couches… that would take 27 hours to produce — obviously not quite possible to do each day. Another solution with similar constraints would be:

      6 Drills
      8.7 Cream
      7.2 Home Textiles
      4.8 Couches
      6.6 Garden Furniture
      9.0 Watch
      2.8 Pizza
      9 TV
      Total sale revenue…$49,679

      [I ended up limiting the sale of utensils and ice cream to simplify the solution a bit as the solver was recommending selling small quantities of these]

      There is another lever that can be used to increase profits. That would be to actually _BUY_ some materials (at maximum allowed price). For example, assuming purchases of 10 glue and 10 cement, the revenue (net of costs of purchased goods) would increase from 49679 to 51473. That’s a whole other can of worms though, given the assumptions to be made about availability of items for purchase in the 3 check-in windows.

      • timc995

        Whoops my couch time was wrong 9 is doable in a day!