Hi Elitetraders, I am the owner of a small family business that buys and sells surplus commodities, specifically copper and aluminum. Until recently, we never had the need to use hedging to protect ourselves from market fluctuations. We weren't large enough and we would be able to move our material fast enough to limit our exposure. Boy have things changed. I was fortunate enough to get a queasy feeling about a month and half before this economic tsunami hit us all and unloaded most of our material. If I hadn't we'd be out of business and sunk right now. I can't move forward with so much on the line and rely on hunches and feelings any more. I need a way to lock in our gains and reduce our risk to the markets. My problem is I don't have the first idea about how to do this. I've been reading EliteTrader for a year now and it's clear this is THE place for professional traders and investors. I hope you won't mind giving a novice a helping hand. We buy physical metal everyday; Usually in quantities of 1000-5000 lbs. at a time. We were moving our stock every few months but with market conditions the way they are now, we don't want to hold anything longer than a month. Over the month as we buy, we'll accumulate several hundred thousand dollars worth of inventory that is at risk until we make a sale and have a contract. We only sell to big players. We make a verbal agreement over the phone and then they hedge their purchase of our material while we're on the phone so they're covered. We have 30 days to fulfill our contract with them and deliver our product. The prices in our industry are based upon 3-5 month futures prices depending on the volatility of the market. Our business is cut-throat and I go up against some very big players. I need to be able to utilize the same tools and techniques as the big boys to protect our investment and to be able to offer better prices to my suppliers to compete. To offer better prices means my margins thin out even more and I'm even more at risk to market calamities like we just witnessed. Will you please offer some advice and techniques to help me reduce my risk to these dangerous markets and help a little guy compete with the mega-corporations? Thanks for your time and your help.