Product Pricing and Profit Margin Calculation for Sales Success: The Definitive Guide

For any business to be successful, it is important to price your products and services properly and also calculate profit margins correctly. It’s also equally important to get your inventory control right. At Uphance, we deal with apparel manufacturers and retailers and hence we have the expertise to help you get your pricing right.

For fashion brands, product pricing is even more critical due to the number of products or styles that these brands bring out each season.

Let’s dive right in.

Know your costs

You need to know exactly what your product costs before you can even think of pricing it and figuring out your net profit margin. Knowing this can help improve sales management, further positioning your business for more profits. 

There are essentially two types of costs in running a business – fixed costs and variable costs.

Fixed costs or operating costs

There are many fixed costs, which often includes operating expenses, that are associated with running a business. These costs such as employee salaries and payroll expenses, rent for the office space, utilities, insurance, legal, accounting, etc. are incurred irrespective of how many units you manufacture and sell.

We will set the fixed costs aside when looking at product costs. Under most accounting practices, operating costs have no effect on gross profit. They only affect your net profit. Once you understand your gross margins, you will be able to estimate the net sales needed to cover your operating costs.

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Cost of goods sold (COGS)

If you outsource your manufacturing or just acquire finished goods, you would just have to look at the cost of product and any associated freight/shipping costs and tariffs/duties to arrive at your total landed cost.

If you supply raw materials to your external manufacturer, you would have to estimate the quantities of each of those materials needed in the making of each unit of your finished product. If you use a clothing store inventory software such as Uphance, the software can do these calculations for you.

If you do all of your manufacturing in-house, you would also need to track the cost of each step in your manufacturing process. Patterns, markers, cutting, sewing are some examples of these steps.

Costs you have to consider when calculating profit margin include

Keep in mind that some of your costs may be in a currency other than your home currency. In that case, you want to convert all of your costs into your home currency or the primary currency in which you would be selling your products.

If you track any raw material costs, it would be best to use a bill of materials that considers the quantity of each material used in the making of each unit of your finished goods along with any wastage. Be aware that these are still estimates of raw materials needed and, in practice, the actuals could differ from the estimates.

Once you have a clear idea of the costs, you need to understand how much to markup your products to arrive at wholesale and retail prices. A simple suggested rule of thumb is to markup your wholesale at 100% and retail at 250%. If a product that costs you $10 to make, you would wholesale at $20 and retail at $35.

However, there are no hard and fast rules. If you can sell a much higher volume at a slightly lower price, you should consider the lower price. Your goal is to maximize your total profit and for that, you should be flexible in your pricing.

Your pricing will also depend on where you are in your business lifecycle. A startup business looking to establish a brand name and reputation may choose to sell products at a lower margin when compared to a business that is already established.

Pricing is also based on your product positioning. A product positioned as a high quality, premium product needs to be priced as such.

A lot of gut feel and instinct come into play at this stage. Pricing becomes less of a science and more of an art.

Margin vs. Markup

Margin vs Mark up: How do they differ? 

While we may at times use the terms margin and markup interchangeably, they are two different terms and are calculated differently.

Profit Margin Analysis: Equation for Margin Calculation

Gross margin is the profit or difference between the selling price and the total cost.

Gross margin = Selling price – total cost. 

The selling price is the wholesale pricing or retail price depending on whether you are selling wholesale or retail.

Gross margin can also be expressed as a percentage of the sales amount. The gross profit margin formula is as follows:

Gross margin percentage = (selling price – total cost) * 100/ selling price

Gross profit on a product that costs $8 and wholesales at $20 is $12. The gross profit margin, in this case, will be $12/$20 = 60%.

A good profit margin falls between 30% and 60%. This doesn’t mean it can’t get as high as 80%.

For instance, if the gross profit on the same product when sold direct-to-consumer at $40 is $32. The gross profit margin will be $32*100/$40 = 80%.

In fact, a 100 percent profit margin is even possible. 

While there are several other profit margin formulas you can try, the one above works pretty well. 


While margin is expressed as a percentage of the profit out of the sales amount, markup expressed as a percentage of profit over the costs.

Markup % = (Selling price – costs) * 100 / costs

The product that costs $8 and sold wholesale at $20 is sold at a markup of $12 over the cost of $8. That would be a markup percentage of

(20 – 8) * 100 / 8 = 150%.

That product when sold direct-to-consumer at $40 results in a markup of

(40 – 8) * 100 / 8 = 400%.

From these examples above, you see that a markup of 150% results in a margin of 60% and a markup of 400% results in a margin of 80%.

A few other observations:

When you add margin to cost, you will get a better idea of your selling price. 

How to determine profit margin with the free profit margin calculator

Using a product pricing tool can make your life very easy. It allows you to have a better idea of your net profit margins as well as your operating profit margin. With these tools, you can easily calculate profit margin for your business with a few clicks of the button. 

If you are not using Uphance, you can access this free calculator to help you with pricing your products. Enter in your costs and desired markup, the calculator will show you the retail or wholesale price you for that product and the gross profit margin. Access the profit margin calculator here.

Uphance calculator

Uphance maintains all the costs and allows you to set your desired wholesale and retail markups. On the Product’s Variations tab where you set your prices for each channel, the built-in calculator shows your total costs, suggested prices based on the desired markup. Once you set your actuals, it also shows your gross profit margins.

Managing your business with an Apparel ERP software

Managing your cost and production processing system manually using a spreadsheet, for example, can be grossly inefficient and lead to costly errors. 

This is why you need the right apparel ERP solution. Using the right solution not only helps to minimize errors but can greatly improve your bottom line. 

Reasons why you need a clothing inventory management app for your apparel business

Business management software for apparel can cost some serious money. So why invest money in them in the first place? 

Here are the reasons why: 

  • The right garment inventory management system enables you to track costs with pinpoint accuracy and in real time. 
  •  These solutions make it easy to create high-quality products at a lesser cost.
  • Managing communication with customers, suppliers, and sales reps gets easier and cheaper. 
  • Frees you time to focus on what matters most: growing your business.
  • Enables you to create elegant line sheet to attract potential customers

Did I miss anything?

Now I’d like to hear from you:

What pricing strategy do you use?

Or, did I leave out your favorite pricing strategy?

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

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