I'm trying to get an understanding of how trade worked in the 18th century. I'm trying to learn how trade was conducted so I can make a realistic game. I'm struggling to find a good source for the questions that I have. Specifically, I'm trying to understand how trade agreements were reached. For instance, could goods be contracted for transport? If so, how did such agreements work? Was there fixed cost transportation? Percentage of cost of goods sold? Delivery on success only? Any other interesting details relating to transporting others goods, or your own goods on another person's ship?
To start with, I'm most interested in European trade, especially the British Empire, with its territories and other countries.
I'm most interested in smaller traders, not large companies.