Margin vs markup: Profit Margin vs Markup: What’s the Difference?

Margin vs markup

In general, the higher the markup, the more revenue a company makes. Markup is the retail price for a product minus its cost, but the margin percentage is calculated differently. In our earlier example, the markup is the same as gross profit (or $30), because the revenue was $100 and costs were $70.

Xero does not provide accounting, tax, business or legal advice. In fact, the easiest way to start pricing your goods is to research what similar companies are charging customers. You want your business to turn a profit, but you also want to retain customers and offer value.

The first is to increase the price, which usually lowers sales. The second is to reduce the COGS by either using volume discounts or making internal inventory processes more efficient. Whatever your company’s inventory needs and profit goals are, Sortly can help you get there by keeping you organized and making inventory management less expensive, less time-consuming, and less stressful. Sortly is a top-rated inventory management solution that allows businesses to organize their inventory using a phone, tablet, or computer. While both are accounting ratios, margin looks at cost while markup looks at pricing.

For example, imagine that a product costs $50 to produce, and sells for $80. Another option is to express this as a percentage calculating margin divided by sales. These concepts can be confusing while deriving pricing and, if not investigated properly, affect your profitability. Since the reference for calculating markup is cost price, it will always be greater than the margin, the basis of which is always a higher value – selling price.

However, margin shows it as a percentage of income while markup shows it as a percentage of costs. Your business should use margin to judge performance and profitability and paint a clearer picture of how your company operates. It’s also great for looking back, either quarterly or annually. That’s because gross margin can be compared to net margin, shining light on other operating costs.

Like margin, the higher the result, the more profit your business is earning. Check your margins and markups often to be sure you’re getting the most out of your strategic pricing. So if you mark up products by 25%, you’re going to get a 20% margin (i.e., you keep 20% of your total revenue). First, find your gross profit by subtracting your COGS ($150) from your revenue ($200). Then, divide that total ($50) by your COGS ($150) to get 0.33. Then, divide that total ($50) by your revenue ($200) to get 0.25.

It should also be noted that it is necessary for a successful business that the markup is always greater than the margin. By tracking everything about your inventory, from the quantities you have in stock to your sales and purchasing history, we let you quickly understand your business with quick and easy custom financial reports. With these tools, you can maintain a healthy, profitable business for years to come. You purchase this spray from your supplier at $5 a bottle and sell them to your customers online for $10 a piece. Marking up products isn’t as simple as choosing how profitable you’d like your business to be. Instead, you’ll have to consider things like perceived value, shipping costs, transaction costs, and how much your competitors are charging.

When referring to a dollar amount, these two refer to the same number. However, when they are expressed as a percentage (as they usually are for pricing and accounting purposes), they are quite different. Margin is equal to sales minus the cost of goods sold (COGS). For example, the clothing industry can enjoy markups as high as 100%, while the automotive sector usually assigns markups of 5%-10%. If you’re using the wrong credit or debit card, it could be costing you serious money. Our experts love this top pick, which features a 0% intro APR until 2024, an insane cash back rate of up to 5%, and all somehow for no annual fee.

An appropriate understanding of these two terms can help ensure that price setting is done appropriately. If price setting is too low or too high, it can result in lost sales or lost profits. Over time, a company’s price setting can also have an inadvertent impact on market share, since the price may fall far outside of the prices charged by competitors. In many ways, margin and markup are two sides of the same coin.

Margin vs. Markup: Chart, Infographic, & More

Usually calculated as a percentage, gross margin is the most common type of margin calculated, though businesses can also calculate net profit margin and operating profit margin. You should also ask your internal auditing or bookkeeping department to periodically inspect a sample of your business’s recent sales transactions specifically looking at markups, margins, and how they are being used. Although margins and markups are fairly simple concepts to understand, they can be tricky to master due to their many similarities.

  • Profit margin and markup show two aspects of the same transaction.
  • But, there’s a key difference between margin vs. markup—and knowing this difference is how you can set prices that lead to profits.
  • Automating your back office procedures whenever possible will ensure you collect timely and accurate data on every single transaction that runs through your company.
  • However, a 25% markup rate produces a gross margin percentage of only 20%.

For example, let’s say you sell jackets for $100 each, and it costs you $60 per unit to purchase them wholesale. To calculate the margins, you would subtract $60 from $100 to get $40 and then divide that figure by $100 to get 0.4. To make things even easier, Finale Inventory will calculate your margins automatically with our built-in gross margin report. They both focus on the same amount of money – the difference between your buying and selling prices.

The Profit Margin Formula

It’s all in the inverse…of the gross margin formula, that is. By simply dividing the cost of the product or service by the inverse of the gross margin equation, you will arrive at the selling price needed to achieve the desired gross margin percentage. So, who rules when seeking effective ways to optimize profitability?

Margin vs markup

Markup is the amount by which your business has increased the cost price of a sellable item. In other words, it’s the extra amount you charge your customers on top of what you’re already paying your supplier for a product. Margin (or gross profit margin) is how much revenue a business brings after deducting the cost of goods sold.


You’d calculate your retail price by multiplying $60 by 0.6 and adding another $60 to get $96. At 60% margins, a company profits $0.60 on every sales dollar. Often, different types of businesses have standard markup rates or ranges of markup rates. For example, a supplier who sells huge amounts of products may mark up their items 7% to 10%, but a gift shop in a touristy area might mark up their products by 50%. Know the difference between a markup and a margin to set goals.

Margin vs markup

For example, if a company sells a product for $100 and it costs $70 to manufacture the product, its margin is $30. The profit margin, stated as a percentage, is 30% (calculated as the margin divided by sales). So, how do we determine the selling price given a desired gross margin?

In the jewelry segment, profit margins average 62.53%, while the margins are around 41.46% for sporting goods. Some businesses thrive on tight margins with high sales volumes, undercutting their competition by selling goods barely above their cost. Other companies enjoy healthy margins where they can sell products well above the wholesale price. Profit margin is a critical figure in understanding a company’s financial health because it tells us whether the business is profiting from its sales.

What Is Margin?

Then, find the percentage of the COGS that is gross profit by dividing your gross profit by COGS—not revenue. As illustrated in the example above, both are different accounting terms that provide two different perspectives of looking at business profit. When expressed as a percentage of sales, it is called profit-margin but is expressed as a percentage of a cost and called Markup. These are like two sides of a coin – different & yet closely related. Using the same numbers as above, the markup percentage would be 42.9%, or ($100 in revenue – $70 in costs) / $70 costs. Say your company creates neon signs that cost $120 to manufacture.

Difference Between Margin and Markup

However, the two terms are wildly different and refer to different numbers. As a result, it’s essential that your sales team understands the difference between margin and markup, how to calculate them both, and your business’s markup policies and margin goals. If the difference between the two concepts continues to cause trouble for the sales staff, consider printing cards that show the markup percentages to use at various price points, and distributing the cards to the staff. The cards should also define the difference between the margin and markup terms, and show examples of how margin and markup calculations are derived.

If one is not aware of the margins and markup formula, they can’t estimate the prices and cost of goods sold correctly, which will lead to losing out in profits. The difference is that markup looks at the profit as a percentage of the COGS rather than the revenue. It’s the portion of your acquisition costs that you add to the selling price to achieve a profit. If you place a 50% markup on a $10 item, you’ll sell it for $15.