Managing Price, Gaining Profit

Exhibit 2 shows the price components for a typical sale by a manufacturer of linoleum flooring to a retailer. The starting point is the dealer list price from which an order-size discount and a “competitive discount” are subtracted to get to invoice price. For companies that monitor price performance, invoice price is the measure most commonly used. Companies use cost-volume-profit analysis (also called break-even analysis) to determine what affects changes in their selling prices, costs, and/or volume will have on profits in the short run. A careful and accurate cost-volume-profit analysis requires knowledge of costs and their fixed or variable behavior as volume changes. Marketing and sales should target customers with transactions at the high end of the price band for increased volume.

profit volume

Figure 6.5 “Income Statement for Amy’s Accounting Service” shows the company’s income statement for the year. Amy, the owner, would like to know what sales are required to break even. Note that fixed costs are known in total, but Amy does not allocate fixed costs to each department. The transaction pricing opportunity is real and achievable for most companies today. The investment and risk of capturing this opportunity are low; the keys to success are mostly executional—doing a number of small things right. What is more, advances in information technology tend to make many of these small things easier than ever to do. And, as the Castle and Tech-Craft cases show, the payoff is extremely high, both in near-term and sustainable profit improvement and in valuable strategic insights.

The contribution margin is the amount by which revenue exceeds the variable costs of producing that revenue. On a per unit basis, the contribution margin for Video Productions is $8 (the selling price of $20 minus the variable cost per unit of $ 12).

The Limitations Of Cvp Analysis

Changes in supply , demand , and costs have very real effects on industry price levels. A high CM ratio and a low variable expense ratio indicate low levels of variable costs incurred. Subtracting variable costs from both costs and sales yields the simplified diagram and equation for profit and loss. A summarized contribution margin income statement can be used to prove these calculations. Breakeven information is critical for adjusting the expenditure and margin levels of a business to improve the probability that it will earn a profit. A profit-volume chart can also be used to estimate the profit that will likely be earned based on a certain sales level. Break-even analysis calculates a margin of safety where an asset price, or a firm’s revenues, can fall and still stay above the break-even point.

An understanding of pocket price and its variability across customers and transactions provides the bedrock of successful transaction price management. The entire pricing process should be managed toward pocket price realization rather than invoice price or list price. Pocket price should be the sole yardstick for determining the pricing attractiveness of products, customers, and individual deals. All price measurement and performance gauges should be recast with pocket price used as the base for calculating revenues. As the Castle Battery Company case demonstrates, considering business from this pocket price viewpoint can drastically change a company’s perspective on the relative attractiveness of segments, customers, and transactions.

The break‐even point in units may also be calculated using the mathematical equation where “X” equals break‐even units. Second, over time they decreased the amount of discounting in the waterfall elements that just didn’t matter to retailers, shifting part of that discounting to those elements that really influenced retailer buying decisions. By doing so, Tech-Craft made sure it was getting the most retailer buying preference for its discount dollars. What little transaction price monitoring that Castle did focused exclusively on invoice. Price management issues, opportunities, and threats fall into three distinct but closely related levels. The advantages of profit-volume ratio are that it can be used to measure profitability of each product, or group of them, separately so that the necessity for continuance of such production can be examined. It may also be used to measure the profitability of each production centre, process or operation.

Impractical to assume sales mix remain constant since this depends on the changing demand levels. The assumption of linear property of total cost and total revenue relies on the assumption that unit variable cost and selling price are always constant. In real life it is valid within relevant range or period and likely to change.

The contribution margin is the difference between total sales and total variable costs. For a business to be profitable, the contribution margin must exceed total fixed costs. The unit contribution margin is simply the remainder after the unit variable cost is subtracted from the unit sales price. The contribution margin ratio is determined by dividing the contribution margin by total sales.

What Assumptions Does Cost

Castle managers were quite surprised at the width of the price band for their Power-Lite model, but on reflection, concluded that it was due to differences in account sizes. The company had a clear strategy of rewarding account volume with lower price, rationalizing that cost to serve would decrease with account volume. The central issue here is how customers perceive the benefits of products and related services across available suppliers. If a product delivers more benefit to customers, then the company can usually charge a higher price versus its competition.

Therefore, sales can drop by $240,000, or 20%, and the company is still not losing any money. Consider the following example in order to calculate the five important components listed above.

profit volume

The point at which these intersect is your break-even point, which should be labelled on your graph. This provides a clear and easy visual representation of the amount you need to be selling to reach your target numbers. CVP stands for cost-volume-profit – three of the essential cornerstones of business. A CVP analysis is how you make sure your business is making money and work out the impact of production expenses and sales numbers on your earnings. Research into competitors’ pricing practices revealed that most competitors’ price structures were just as complex as Tech-Craft’s but varied in form—particularly off the invoice. For example, they varied by cash discount terms, co-op advertising rates, volume bonus discounts, volume break points, and freight payment policies.

But top management neglect, high transaction volume and complexity, and management reporting shortfalls all contribute to missed transaction pricing opportunities. The total revenue line shows how revenue increases as volume increases. Total revenue is $ 120,000 for sales of 6,000 tapes ($ 20 per unit X 6,000 units sold). In the chart, we demonstrate the effect of volume on revenue, costs, and net income, for a particular price, variable cost per unit, and fixed cost per period. Again it should be noted that the last portion of the calculation using the mathematical equation is the same as the first calculation of break‐even units that used the contribution margin per unit. Once the break‐even point in units has been calculated, the break‐even point in sales dollars may be calculated by multiplying the number of break‐even units by the selling price per unit. If the break‐even point in sales dollars is known, it can be divided by the selling price per unit to determine the break‐even point in units.

What Is Cvp Analysis?

A profit-volume chart is a graphical representation of the relationship between the sales and profits of a business. The concept is especially useful for determining an organization’s breakeven point, where the sales level generates a profit of exactly zero. For example, a firm has $5,000 in fixed costs and earns $20 per unit in profit; it would need to sell 250 units to reach breakeven (calculated as $5,000 fixed costs divided by $20 profit per unit). Individuals incur an unavoidable risk when they strive for higher prices from customers—the risk of alienating the customer or losing the business altogether. To offset the risk of pushing for higher price, tie incentives like compensation to pocket price realization. Creating information systems that correctly measure and report pocket price is problematic for many companies.

  • At this highest level of price management, the basic laws of economics come into play.
  • According to our research, a wide variety of businesses, including those in consumer packaged goods, energy, and banking and financial services, have achieved comparable results.
  • These components involve various calculations and ratios, which will be broken down in more detail in this guide.
  • Following a matching principle of matching a portion of sales against variable costs, one can decompose sales as contribution plus variable costs, where contribution is “what’s left after deducting variable costs”.
  • For example, if Video Productions produced and sold more than 10,000 units per month, it might be necessary to increase plant capacity or to work extra shifts .
  • This provides a clear and easy visual representation of the amount you need to be selling to reach your target numbers.

CVP analysis is also used when a company is trying to determine what level of sales is necessary to reach a specific level of income, also called targeted income. If The Three M’s, Inc., has sales of $750,000 and total variable costs of $450,000, its contribution margin is $300,000. Assuming the company sold 250,000 units during the year, the per unit sales price is $3 and the total variable cost per unit is $1.80. It can be calculated using either the contribution margin in dollars or the contribution margin per unit. To calculate the contribution margin ratio, the contribution margin is divided by the sales or revenues amount. Net income$ 8,000We have introduced a new term in this income statement—the contribution margin.

This break-even point can be an initial examination that precedes more detailed CVP analysis. This calculation of targeted income assumes it is being calculated for a division as it ignores income taxes. If a targeted net income is being calculated, then income taxes would also be added to fixed costs along with targeted net income. A variable cost is an expense that changes in proportion to production or sales volume.

The hardest part in these situations involves determining how these changes will affect sales patterns – will sales remain relatively similar, will they go up, or will they go down? Once sales estimates become somewhat reasonable, it then becomes just a matter of number crunching and optimizing the company’s profitability. Therefore, to earn at least $100,000 in net income, the company must sell at least 22,666 units. Cost–volume–profit , in managerial economics, is a form of cost accounting. It is a simplified model, useful for elementary instruction and for short-run decisions.

Targeted Income

Management also set up new information systems to guide and monitor transaction pricing decisions. And Castle established pocket price as the universal measure of price performance in all of these systems. It began to track and assign, transaction-by-transaction, all of the significant off-invoice waterfall elements that were previously collected and reported only on a companywide basis.


Castle also received some unexpected strategic benefits from its newfound transaction pricing capability. Account-specific pocket price reporting revealed a small but growing distribution channel where Castle pocket prices were consistently higher than average. Increasing volume and penetration in this emerging channel became one of Castle’s key strategic initiatives this past year. The fresh and more detailed business perspective that Castle senior managers gained from their transaction pricing involvement became the catalyst for an ongoing stream of similar strategic insights. Additionally, the company granted extended terms as part of promotional programs or on an exception basis.

Target Profit In Sales Dollars

In the case of Kayaks-For-Fun, the River model accounts for 60 percent of total unit sales and the Sea model accounts for 40 percent of total unit sales. The River model represents 60 percent of total sales volume and the Sea model accounts for 40 percent of total sales volume. But when management examined the Power-Lite pocket prices against total account sizes for a sample of 50 accounts, it found no correlation—it was a virtual shotgun blast. A number of relatively small accounts were buying at very low pocket prices while some very large accounts were buying at very high pocket price levels. Market research tools, like conjoint analysis and focus groups, can help managers understand customer perception of benefits. And understanding at this second level of price management helps guide both the product’s price positioning and the fine tuning of product and service offerings.

A restaurant like Applebee’s, which serves chicken, steak, seafood, appetizers, and beverages, would find it difficult to measure a “unit” of product. Such companies need a different approach to finding the break-even point. One manager at Kayaks-For-Fun believes the break-even point should be 60 units in total, and another manager believes the break-even point should be 160 units in total. If only the River kayak is produced and sold, 60 units is the break-even point. If only the Sea kayak is produced and sold, 160 units is the break-even point. There actually are many different break-even points, because the profit equation has two unknown variables, Qr and Qs.

Using the data from the previous example, what level of sales would be required if the company wanted $60,000 of income? The required sales level is $900,000 and the required number of units is 300,000.