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CS:GOPedia/Blog/Guides/CS:GO Trading Guide: How to Trade Skins for Profit (2021)

CS:GO Trading Guide: How to Trade Skins for Profit (2021)

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Did you know that your CS:GO inventory is full of treasures? And that's not only virtual stuff, like AWP Dragon Lore (which you obviously can’t miss). It’s a real-world treasure that you can easily convert into real-world cash and… well, do with this money whatever you want. Most players have lots of CS:GO skins in the inventory and never even use them. Selling these items is almost a perfect way to earn a dollar or two (or hundred, or thousand). This CS:GO trading guide is full of all sorts of information about how to earn more from selling skins. Your wallet will thank you.

Understanding floats

The first thing to figure out is what skins are worth more. At first sight, all skins in CS:GO are the same - an image over your basic weapon. Maybe you like this pattern or prefer these colors. So, why do some skins sell for a couple of cents and others cost you thousands of dollars?

Pay attention to these two aspects: rarity and floats.

Rarity of CS:GO skins

This section might be a little obvious. To support the value of skins, Valve releases a limited number of specific items. The fewer skins of one type that are present on the market, the more money you can make from selling them.

There are 6 levels of rarity / quality:

  • Consumer grade - the most common and super cheap, indicated by white;
  • Industrial grade - indicated by light blue;
  • Mil-spec - dark blue;
  • Restricted - these skins are rare enough to bring profit from opening CS:GO cases, indicated by purple;
  • Classified - pinkish purple;
  • Covert - red;
  • Exceedingly Rare - the most expensive CS:GO skins among those you can still get in the game, yellow;
  • Contraband - discontinued.

It’s easy to have lots of Consumer or Industrial skins in the inventory - so perhaps don’t expect to get rich when selling them. Mil-spec skins are generally a good thing to obtain but they are usually cheaper than a case key. Classified and more rare skins are the most expensive.

Float value of skins in CS:GO

Skins come with pre-determined float values:

  • Factory New (0.00 - 0.07)
  • Minimal Wear (0.07 - 0.15)
  • Field-Tested (0.15-0.37)
  • Well-Worn (0.37-0.44)
  • Battle-Scarred (0.44-1.00)

You can definitely see the visual difference between a Factory New and a Battle-Scarred skin. And your wallet will feel the revenue difference from selling them. Obviously, new ones cost more.

How to check the floats? 

  1. Find the skins in your inventory
  2. Right click the item and choose “Inspect”
  3. Hover over the icon with “i” in the lower right corner of the video. The bottom line in the menu will include the Wear Rating number.

What’s the deal with stickers?

CS:GO skins are quite beautiful as they are - and it’s easy to create a huge collection over time. In just a few years of play your inventory can feel like visiting a museum. But many players prefer adding something else to those images - stickers. They do so for these two primary reasons:

  • to personalize their weapons, make them unique and different from the same skins of other guys;
  • to add value to the skins.

The collection of stickers in CS:GO is pretty awesome. You can find cute animals, logos of popular teams, or even blank tags to add a name for your guns. Stickers give excellent customization options - but you need to add some creative thought into the process. Whether you want to personalize the guns or make them more expensive, think about color combinations and the individual value of both skins and stickers.

Placing a rare sticker onto a common skin is not a good idea - the same as adding a cheap sticker to an expensive skin. You need two valuable components to get something even better. Of course, you can’t always predict the ultimate recipe for success here. Why not experiment with adding stickers to the skins and check out the reaction of the market? There is a good chance that something you like will be interesting for other people as well.

Don’t use many common stickers. Like with skins, you should hunt for something rare. The best option is to purchase stickers released for special events - like CS:GO Major tournaments. For example, you purchase stickers of the winning team and their MVP when no one knows that they will be the winners. Then you get a skin, used by that MVP, add stickers to it, and get a super unique and expensive item to sell for real money. It’s a bit of a risk, but a good knowledge of CS:GO eSports will help you to create some interesting combinations.

Stickers can be worn out! Keep this in mind when you buy them. Create expensive stuff with new stickers. If you buy a skin with stickers:

  • right click the “Inspect” button on the market page and copy the link;
  • open csgo.exchange, choose Calculator -> Item Float in the upper menu;
  • paste the link and press the “Check” button;
  • check out the condition of each sticker on the skin.

Some traders purchase skins with stickers to sell for profit. Don’t fall into the trap of a nice price because of a faulty sticker - you won’t get any revenue from such a deal.

Some rare stickers (for example, from early Majors) don’t lose their value even if they are scratched.

How to trade CS:GO skins for profit?

It seems like the easiest way to earn cash is to play a lot, get a load of skins, and sell whatever you don’t want to keep for personal use. The downside here is that it’s a significant investment of your time to end up with a small amount of really valuable skins. Most players get only cheap skins from the game and will need some financial investments for opening cases. It’s hard to make any real profit in this way - just some small funds, which you can use for expanding your skin business.

Successful traders buy skins and then sell them. To do so, you need to feel the market - know the general prices and preferences of CS:GO players. 

Often, people sell something unusually cheap only because they do not understand the real value of this particular item. Be quick to buy it! Spend some time regularly on the marketplace to catch such deals. Use the strategy of buying items with high demand among CS:GO players for under the market price and then sell them at full cost - you can even make your price a bit lower to earn more on a bigger number of transactions.

It is also a good idea to use the Upgrading/Downgrading technique to get profit. If you have a very expensive skin, you can exchange it for several cheaper items (downgrade), but their total cost must be slightly higher. Then, you trade these skins for one big item (upgrade) without overpaying and get a much more valuable skin than you initially had. This way, you can repeat the upgrading/downgrading cycle over and over until you have enough profit.

Make your profile on a trading site and build your reputation there. Create an impression of a reliable trader with a good variety of skins on sale. Be honest with your customers - one wrong step can ruin years of hard work.

Where to get your first CS:GO skins for trading?

The start of trading CS:GO skins is obvious - you need to enjoy the game to really understand it. While playing, you get your first skins automatically.

Then, you need to expand your business by purchasing cheap CS:GO skins. For instance, you can use DMarket, a CS:GO skin buying website with rather low prices in comparison to the Steam market and other marketplaces. This platform has low fees, and this creates a very good opportunity to find interesting offers. The secret is to stay active regularly. Visit the website or use the application to not miss new trades and be the first to get the best ones.

Best CS:GO trading platforms

Here we mention just a few other good platforms where you can trade CS:GO skins. Please, pay attention to their features - there are lots of different types.


These are 3rd-party sites that allow users to buy and sell CS:GO skins. The best thing about such sites is that some have a significant advantage over Steam Community Market - they allow you to withdraw money to your bank account and use it in any way you please.

DMarket - is a typical marketplace with lots of possibilities for users. This platform is one of the most popular in the community, so you can find many good offers here and sell your skins quite quickly. The site has various options - from selling or exchanging skins to an advanced technology of direct transactions between users, F2F trades, that allow avoiding long trade holds. You can withdraw money from DMarket to various payment systems.


To make direct deals with other players/traders, people offer their skins in online communities. This method might be a bit more profitable (no fees at all) but it’s much riskier - no one guarantees safety of the transactions.

You can find trade offers on the CS:GO subreddit. The positive side here is that it is more direct communication with other people. The negative side is the low level of security. We mention Reddit only as an example and recommend it mostly as a place to find friends - and make deals only after getting to know them well enough.

Steam Market

This market is integrated into Steam and many people use it because of its convenience. But the prices here are too high - only inexperienced players who don’t know about 3rd-party marketplaces or are afraid to use them prefer Steam Market. And although you can sell skins for a little more profit here, you won't be able to get real money for them as there’s no way to withdraw the cash. On the other hand, if you buy games on Steam frequently, this is a good option. 

CS:GO trading tips that will make you an even a better trader

We have summarized some helpful tips for beginners in skins trading - and even experienced traders may find interesting ideas here.

  • Play CS:GO lots and enjoy the game

First, you need to get skins into your inventory. The more you play, the better your skills will become. Once you have made a lot of kills and improved your rank - the random drop system will provide you with cases and skins. So, don’t ask yourself “How do I start trading in CS:GO?” Ask “How can I play CS:GO better?” As a result, you’ll get answers to both questions.

Enjoying the game is crucial for earn a CS:GO trade profit. Consider it as an addition to the primary playing joy. Even if you plan to buy and sell skins, you need to feel the mood inside the community.  

  • Don’t hurry to open the cases

The game doesn’t give players too many skins. It prefers pushing cases into your hands. To open them, you have to purchase costly keys. The chance of getting something valuable from these is super low. Unless you are ready to invest lots of money into filling your inventory with something cool, refrain from opening the cases if you can.

You can always decide to try your luck a bit later, perhaps after earning some trading profit. But if you can’t wait, be prepared to experience disappointment after spending your earnings on keys and getting nothing valuable in return.

  • Always surf the market

Stay tuned to skin news. New collections have high prices, so you can earn more here. Some esports events may even boost the demand for specific skins. It’s hard to predict where the profit will be hiding in just a couple of days, but you can try and seize your chance.

Regularly check out the market offers and prices. It is a sort of ever-changing chaos, and to be a successful trader, you should always stay in the whirl of events.

  • Hunt for rare skins

You can always earn some money by trading more common skins. But real profit can come only if you trade unique skins. Traders become rich after getting a skin drop during a CS:GO Major. Many of them purchase stickers of tournament participants. Such items are available only for a limited time, and then they may become rare and expensive, especially if they are connected to the winners.

Don’t sell such items immediately after the tournament. Keep them for later - the price will become higher with the growth of rareness.

  • Be patient

If you want to get a good, regular income, then the trick is to find a good job. It can still be even connected to CS:GO - such as pro players, vloggers, or various staff in eSports organizations. Profiting from CS:GO trades is a bonus. It can be huge, but success may only come to you a couple of years later. It can be a regular and decent way of earning an income, but no one can guarantee this. With a healthy approach to the whole trading process, you can save yourself from unnecessary stress. Probably, you will start to experience it as another game around CS:GO - a business game.

  • Work on your reputation and treasure it

Your profile on the marketplace should convince people to make a deal with you. Avoid anything that can make a bad impression - including disrespect to other people and scamming attempts. Your honesty is not just a virtue but also the basis for good profits in the long-term. 

  • Always be careful

Where there is money there are scammers. They try to steal skins and accounts in so many different ways. To not lose your skin business, always keep it inside a trustworthy platform. Offers to make deals directly on Steam or through some suspicious sites are very dangerous. Consider unusually low prices for rare and unique skins as bait and always avoid them. Be reasonable in your business - and beyond it!

There is nothing difficult in CS:GO trading, but the real trick is to stay patient, gain experience and understand the various processes inside this market. Start by selling something small without making too big money investments. Then expand your assortment of skins and sell more expensive items. Be brave and you will succeed! Still, don’t place all your hopes into the skins trading area - it’s always a good idea to stay in your secure zone of real life (education, job, etc) and trade with no risk, just fun.


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  • Last Update 05 February 2023
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