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Margin, markup and breakeven

Price your goods with enough margin to cover costs and earn profits

On this page

  • Calculate your gross margin and net margin
  • Set your sales price using the markup calculation to cover costs and earn a profit
  • Calculate your breakeven point and start making profit


Review your financial statements regularly to check your margin, markup and breakeven calculations are still correct. Doing this check provides a good way to spot any increase in expenses so you avoid losing money.

Enter your sales and expenses information into our Financial statements template below to calculate your margin, markup and breakeven figures within the profit and loss, balance sheet or cash flow statements.

Financial statements template (XLSX 301.88 KB)XLSX icon 

Calculating your price of goods to earn a profit

There are two margins that need to be considered when monitoring your profitability – gross margin and net margin. 

Knowing these figures helps set prices for goods and calculates your sales targets. Figures used in the examples below are included in the example profit and loss statement that you'll find in the Financial Statements template above.

Gross margin 


  • Gross margin is money left after subtracting the cost of the goods sold from the net sales and can be a dollar value (gross profit) or a percentage value – gross margin is not commonly used for service businesses as they usually don't have cost of goods
  • Net sales are the total value of sales for a given period less any discounts given to customers and commissions paid to sales representatives. 


Gross profit and margin can be calculated as follows:

  • Gross Profit (dollar value) = Net Sales less Cost of Goods Sold
  • Gross Margin (percentage value) = (Gross Profit dollars / Net Sales dollars) x 100

Once you have your gross margin, you can calculate your net margin.

Example: Joe's Tyres  

  • Gross Profit: $52,000 - $31,200 = $20,800
  • Gross margin: $20,800/$52,000 x 100 = 40%

Joe's Tyres has a gross profit of $20,800. The business's overhead expenses must be less than this to earn a profit.

Net margin


Net margin is your profit before you pay any tax (tax is not included because tax rates and tax liabilities vary from business to business). 


Net margin is your gross margin less your business overhead expenses, and can be calculated as follows:

  • Net Profit (dollar value) = Net Sales less total of both Cost of Goods Sold and Overhead Expenses


  • Net Profit (dollar value) = Gross Profit less Overhead Expenses
  • Net Margin (percentage Value) = (Net Profit dollars / Net Sales dollars) x 100

If the net margin is 10 percent, then for every dollar of goods sold you will make 10 cents in profit before tax – after all the cost of goods and overhead expenses have been paid.

Example: Joe's Tyres

  • Net profit: $20,800 - $15,600 = $5,200
  • Net margin: $5,200/$52,000 x 100 = 10%

Joe's Tyres will earn 10 percent of $52, or $5.20 from every tyre sold. 



Markup is the amount of money above the cost of purchase or manufacture you sell your goods for. The price of goods sold needs to cover the cost of goods plus overhead expenses, and allow for profit to be earned.

Markup is generally used when referring to the sale of products rather than services.


  • Markup percentage value = (Sales less Cost of Goods Sold / Cost of Goods Sold) x 100


  • Markup percentage value = (Gross Profit/Cost of Goods Sold) x 100

Example: Joe's Tyres 

66.67% = ($52,000 - $31,200/$31,200) x 100  

Joe's Tyres markup percentage is 66.67%.

To reach the gross profit of $20,800 by selling tyres bought for $31.20, Joe will multiply his unit cost price by the markup percentage ($31.20 x 1.6667 = $52 ).

Each tyre will have a minimum price of $52 each to earn enough money to cover business expenses.

Calculating your breakeven point


The break even calculation identifies the number of sales to be made, (in dollars or units), before all the business expenses are covered and profit begins (before tax).

If you know the unit's sale price and cost price  and the business operating expenses you can calculate the number of units you need to sell before you start making a profit. 

Breakeven analysis is helpful information when preparing and updating your business plan and can be used to set sales targets.


Use the following simple calculation to find where profit really starts:

  • Breakeven dollar value needed before net profit = Overhead expenses/ (1 – (Cost of Goods Sold / Total Sales))
  • Breakeven number of units to be sold before net profit = Overhead expenses / (Unit selling price – unit cost to produce)

Example: Joe's Tyres 

  • Breakeven dollar value: $15,600/(1-($31,200/$52,000)) = $39,000
  • Breakeven number of units to sell: $15,600/($52-$31.20) = 750

Joe's Tyres will need to sell $39,000 worth of stock – or 750 units – before the business earns any profit (before tax).