When starting out in Uncharted Waters Online, you want to grasp a hold of the concepts provided during the tutorial.
'Perf Runs' is a fancy way of saying Perfect trade run. These trade runs take no longer than 5 Days [minutes] depending on your boat speed and your trade route. Everybody has their own route and trading methods, so it's common to have competition. But what makes it so perfect? The answer is simple, the more you do it - the more your skill ranks up and finally becomes perfected for your character - meaning more stability in terms of transporting more cargo to your destined route.
Perf runs also means that you want to get the most of your trades since it takes no longer than 5 days. Always ALWAYS check market rates to see how your products are doing and remember... HAGGLING IS A MERCHANTS BEST FRIEND! I personally prefer to sell my items only when it's successful even if it means only a few ducats increase.
Skills that are necessary for your basic perf runs
1 - Accounts - this is your best friend when it comes to ANY trades
2 - "???" Trading - meaning the item category you will trade under - let's say your base items are chickens - you will get Livestock trading, which means whenever you buy chickens, you will gain some experience for the skill to rank up.
3 - Production Skill - production skills reflect upon the recipes you are going to use. If you specialise in Flour making, of course you will need the cooking skill and recipe books which are sold at shopkeepers.
So here's a few perf runs that most people do and a few I prefer
1. Plucking - the most common for beginning merchants - there is also a guide for those that want more detail on it. Remember, the more you use sewing, the higher your rank goes up meaning... your possibilites will grow in time from the rank 1 livestock to a higher and more quality ingredient. - Profit estimates - 20,000 to a rough 178,000 depending on your rank and trade route.
2. Refining and Alchemy - refining falls into 2 categories - Metals/Minerals and Jewelry/Handicrafts - similar to all perf runs, the skills you need reflects on which you desire. But the fun about this type of trade is the process itself. And selling your items for a high price will be your reward. - Profit estimates - 76,000 to ??? [my rank is still in progress] Alchemy itself will require a bit more patience... but the profits are indeed HIGH - so make sure you do not ignore it if you desire this type of perf run.
3. Cooking - not as popular as the others but still rakes in some profit for those that have a decent route. The profits for cooking will require a bit longer than other Perf runs, meaning you might have to stretch your legs out a bit. But some people have claimed that within 13 days [minutes] - they were able to rake in around 120,000 in profit.
4. Market Watching - market watching is for those that have reached an average rank among all the skills. This means... you will be able to do any types of runs within 5 Days sailing altogether. But here's the catch - you will only buy the items that are at the lowest to decent in rates. If it's any higher than the expected amount, give up on it. The fun about this run is - you will be sailing alot to expand your horizons in trading.