Gross margin

Gross margin

Gross margin, Gross profit margin or Gross Profit Rate can be defined as the amount of contribution to the business enterprise, after paying for direct-fixed and direct-variable unit costs, required to cover overheads (fixed commitments) and provide a buffer for unknown items. It expresses the relationship between gross profit and sales revenue.

It can be expressed in absolute terms::

text{Gross Profit} = text{Revenue} - text{Cost of Goods Sold}

or as the ratio of gross profit to sales revenue, usually in the form of a percentage:

text{Gross Margin Percentage} = left (frac{text{Revenue} - text{Cost of Goods Sold}}{text{Revenue}} right ) cdot 100

Cost of goods sold includes variable and fixed costs directly linked to the product, such as material and labor. It does not include indirect fixed costs like office expenses, rent, administrative costs, etc.

Higher gross margins for a manufacturer reflect greater efficiency in turning raw materials into income. For a retailer it will be their markup over wholesale.

Larger gross margins are generally good for companies, with the exception of discount retailers. They need to show that operations efficiency and financing allows them to operate with tiny margins.

How gross margin is used in sales

Sales people can determine how much to charge a customer by marking up the cost of a product to arrive at the final price. There are two basic methods but both give the same result - an indication of the gross profit of the sale. The two methods express the result differently.


Markup can be expressed either as a decimal or as a percentage, but is used as a multiplier. Here is an example:

If a product costs the company $100 to make and they wish to make a 50% profit on the sale of the product they would have to use a markup of 0.5 or 50%. To calculate the price to the customer, you simply take the product cost of $100 and multiply it by (1 + the markup) arriving at the selling price of $150.

Gross margin

Most people find it easier to work with Gross Margin because it directly tells you how many of your sale dollars are profit. In reference to the two examples above:

The $150 price that includes a 50% markup represents a 33% gross margin. As you can see, gross margin is just the percentage of the selling price that is profit. In this case 33% of our price is profit, or $50.

(($150 - $100) / $150 ) * 100 = 33%

In the more complex example of selling price $339, a markup of 66% represents approximately a 40% gross margin. This means that 40% of the $339 is profit. Again, gross margin is just the direct percentage of profit in your sale price.

In accounting, the gross margin refers to sales minus cost of goods sold. It is not necessarily profit as other expenses such as sales, administrative, and financial must be deducted.

Converting between gross margin (GM) and markup

The formula to convert a Markup to Gross Margin is:

Gross Margin (GM) = [Markup/(100+Markup)]*100


  • Markup = 100%
  • GM = [100/(100+100)]*100 = 50%
  • Markup = 66%
  • GM = [66/(100+66)]*100 = 39.76%

Using gross margin to calculate your selling price

Sometimes a salesperson will be asked to use gross margin in their sales. For example, your sales manager may ask that all sales include the cost of the product and the required GM.

Formula to calculate Selling price using gross margin

'''Selling Price = Cost / (1-GM%)

For example, if your product costs $100 and the required gross margin is 40%, then your Selling Price = $100/(1-0.4) = $100/0.6 = $166.6

($100 / (100% - 40%)) = $166.6

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