Having been through trading evaluations with several different companies (TopStep Trader, Apex Trader Funding, Earn2Trade, UProfit Trader and Apex Trader Funding), I’ve gotten very familiar with scaling plans and how they work.
The concept is fairly straight forward, but let me clarify for those who don’t understand.
What Is A Scaling Plan
Let’s use a $100K evaluation as an example to explain since all the programs offer this level. Usually the $100K evaluation level comes with “up to 12 contracts”. This depends on the specific company, TopStep for example is only 10 contracts at this level.
Below is TopStep account levels. As you can see the Max Position/Contracts is 10 for the $100K evaluation. (note this is old information and Topstep has since updated their account sizes and rules).
TopStep is a bit unique in that they have a 2 Step process. In Step 1 there’s no scaling plan, so you could trade the full 12 contracts from Day 1. In Step 2 though there IS a scaling plan. Below is what it is for the $100K account:
How The Scaling Plan Works
Basically you unlock the ability to trade more contracts the more profit you accumulate. That’s a scaling plan at its basic level. The most you will ever get is 10 lots for example, but to start the most you are allowed is 3.
- This example is using TopStep Traders levels and End Of Day Rule – Each Program Is Unique
- Day 1 of your evaluation and/or funded account you start with a $100K balance. You are allowed to trade up to 3 contracts (or lots).
- You can only trade up to 3 lots until you cross the threshold of $101,500 (or $1,500 in profit).
- Day 2 you start at $101,700 – you now can trade 4 lots
- Day 2 you fall down to $100,00 – now you are back to 3 lots starting Day 3
- Day 3 you trade great and are at $104,500 end of day – you can now trade 10 lots (you skipped a few steps, which you can do) starting Day 4
- Basically whatever your balance is at the end of day will determine how many lots you can trade the following day – this is with TopStep Trader – other programs treat the timing differently, be aware!
A few more points about this:
- When you can scale up or down depends on the program – TopStep looks at your End Of Day Balance, where as Earn2Trade looks at your balance intra-day.
- Give yourself some space. If you are right at $101,502 and barely in the next level remember you don’t have to scale up. You can, but you might want to wait
- Some programs will not let you trade more than you are allowed – the system won’t let you place the trade. Other programs though will let you trade too many, and then you fail because of it. It is ultimately your responsibility to stay within the rules
Other Names For Scaling Plans
In the end it’s all exactly the same concept. As you reach certain goals you can trade more contracts.
Not All Trader Evaluations Have Scaling Plans
Some companies allow you to trade the full amount of contracts from Day 1 in the Evaluation Phase. As of May 2021, OneUp Trader, LeeLoo Trading and UProfit Trader all allow you to do this. TopStep Trader and Earn2Trade have scaling plans during the evaluation phase.
Note this information may well change in the futures, so before running with it, be sure to know the rules of your specific program inside and out.
As well, just because a program doesn’t have a scaling plan doesn’t mean you should run in full clip from Day 1. You are welcome to, you won’t break a rule, but you also may learn really quickly why scaling up is a good thing.
But ALL Funded Traders Will Have A Scaling Plan
Talking now about the Funded side of the fence. After you pass the evaluation and you get your funded account. As far as I know every program has a scaling plan now (one exception is LeeLoo Trading Investor account, but it’s an anomaly).
Also worth mentioning, when you get funded you aren’t free to do anything you want. If you break a rule aka trade too many contracts you will lose your funded account. Don’t lose your funded account, you worked far too hard to get there.
Scaling or No Scaling in the evaluation phase, it is something you will encounter eventually. Sure it’s nice to have the full clip available from Day 1, but don’t consider it a negative for programs that have a scaling plan in the evaluation phase. It prepares you for the funded phase a little better.
It can be a difficult transition from evaluation phase where you traded with wild abandon in programs with no scaling plan, throwing around 12 lots like no ones business, to now having to only trade a 3 lot until you reach a goal (as an example). This is part of why a scaling plan in the evaluation phase isn’t so bad, it sets the tone for exactly what the funded stage will be like.
My advice – just take it slow. There’s no race. Focus on making good trades, when you can scale up, scale up. As someone who has blown many an evaluation account and a few funded accounts, rushing and trading “too big” is definitely something that will blow up an account quickly.
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