What is margin: Margin definition

Margin is the collateral that an investor must deposit with their broker or exchange to cover the credit risk that the holder poses to the broker or exchange. An investor can incur credit risk if they borrow money from a broker to buy financial instruments, borrow money to sell them short, or enter into a derivative contract. Profit margin is one of the most widely used profitability measures to determine how much money a firm or business activity produces. It denotes the percentage of sales that have resulted in profits. Simply expressed, the percentage number shows how many cents of profit the company made for every sales dollar.


How to calculate margin and markup?

The margin is the profit percentage of your sales price. The portion of the profit that is your expense is referred to as the markup. Subtract your product cost from your selling price to determine markup. The net profit is then divided by the cost. Divide the cost of your goods by the sale price to calculate margin. However, there is a lot more to learn about markups and margins. You’ll need a quick technique to compute both on the go, and you’ll need to grasp not only the difference but also how they connect.

The markup indicates how much more your selling price is over the cost of purchasing or creating the goods or service.

Markup = Gross Profit / Cost of Goods Sold.

The gross margin is the amount of income a firm has left over after deducting all direct costs of making a product or delivering a service. These direct costs are also known as the cost of goods sold (COGS).

The margin of Gross Profit = Gross Profit / Revenue

Terms to help understand margin and markup


Revenue is the amount of money earned by typical business operations and is determined by multiplying the average sales price by the number of units sold. Net income is calculated by subtracting expenditures from the top line (or gross income). On the income statement, revenue is also known as sales.

Cost of goods sold (COGS)

The direct expenses of manufacturing the items sold by a firm are the cost of goods sold (COGS). This figure comprises the cost of the materials and labor directly utilized to make the product. It does not include secondary expenses like distribution and sales force costs. The cost of products sold is also known as the “cost of sales.”

Gross profit

The profit a firm makes after subtracting the expenses of producing and selling its products, or the costs of delivering its services, is referred to as gross profit. Gross profit is computed on a company’s income statement by subtracting the cost of goods sold (COGS) from revenue (sales). These statistics can be seen on the income statement of a firm. Gross profit is also known as sales profit or gross income.

How to calculate margin?

Profit margins are one of the most basic and commonly utilized financial measurements in business. A company’s profit is measured at three levels on an income statement, beginning with the most basic gross profit and progressing to the most thorough net profit. Operating profit is the difference between these two.

Profit margin formula

1. Determine the net sales. To begin, use the following formula to calculate the company’s net sales:

Net sales = revenue – returns, refunds and discounts

2. Calculate the net income. The net income is then calculated using the following formula:

Net income = revenue – total expenses

3. Calculate the profit margin ratio. Finally, after computing net income and net sales, use the following formula to get the profit margin ratio:

Profit margin = (net income / net sales) x 100

Contribution margin formula

The contribution margin of your company is the amount by which its sales income exceeds its variable costs. It’s simply a different way of looking at profit. Simply said, when you supply a service or product and remove the variable costs connected with that delivery, the revenue that remains is the contribution margin. In other words, it is an examination of how much your sales contribute to fixed expenses and earnings.

The contribution margin formula is a straightforward calculation:

Contribution margin = Revenue – Variable Costs

The contribution margin, on the other hand, can be calculated as a percentage of sales. Here is the contribution margin ratio formula for doing so:

Contribution Margin Ratio = Revenue – Variable Costs / Revenue

Gross profit margin formula

The gross profit margin is a profitability metric that displays the proportion of revenue that exceeds the cost of goods sold (COGS). The gross profit margin indicates a company’s senior management team’s effectiveness in generating revenue while accounting for the costs of providing their products and services. In other words, the higher the figure, the more efficient management is in generating profit for every dollar spent.

Gross Profit Margin = Revenue (Revenue−COGS) ​ × 100

Margin of error formula

A margin of error indicates how many percentages points your results will deviate from the true population figure. A 95 percent confidence interval with a 4 percent margin of error, for example, indicates that your statistic will be within 4 percentage points of the true population figure 95% of the time.

Depending on whether you have parameters from a population or data from a sample, we may determine the margin of error in two ways:

The margin of error = Critical value x Standard deviation for the population.

The margin of error = Critical value x Standard error of the sample.

How to calculate markup?

The markup price is the difference between the selling price and the complete cost of a product or service. To earn a profit on each item or service sold, charge a percentage higher price than the cost (manufacturing, packaging, etc.).

Markup = Selling price – Cost

What is the markup formula?

Determine your gross profit. To calculate this, subtract your cost from your pricing. Subtract your gross profit from your cost. Then you’ll have your markup. To convert that to a percentage, multiply it by 100, and you’ll have your markup percentage.

Markup vs. Margin

It’s a fundamental sales principle: to generate a profit, firms must price their items at a level high enough to pay their costs. The terms “margin” and “markup” are connected to this idea, although they are not interchangeable since their meanings differ somewhat.

The major distinction between markup and margin is as follows:

  • Sales minus cost of goods sold equals margin (COGS).
  • The markup is the difference between a product’s selling price and its cost price.

Confusion between profit margin and markup can lead to accounting and sales mistakes. For example, you might wind up under- or overpricing your items, reducing your earnings.

Maintain profit margins

Maintaining a high gross profit margin requires creating a healthy sales volume while keeping material and labor expenses to a minimum.

  • Cost of materials. Choosing supplies wisely helps to preserve a gross profit margin since, for the most part, the less you spend on materials, the more you have leftover to put in your pocket.
  • Cost of labor. Maintaining low labor expenses is critical to achieving a healthy bottom line.
  • Inventory. Inventory levels impact gross profit margins because accounting systems perceive unsold and unused merchandise as an asset, or something you own, rather than an expense, or something that costs you money and may be used to offset income.
  • Other factors. A variety of additional factors might also have an impact on your gross profit margin. If you can develop significant demand for your product, you will acquire and use materials in bulk, decreasing your material cost per unit.

Avoid demand loss

A demand loss is a societal cost caused by market inefficiency when supply and demand are out of balance. Price ceilings, such as price restrictions and rent controls; price floors, such as minimum wage and living wage legislation; and taxation can result in demand losses.


Here are five short-term measures you can take to strengthen your demand variability management strategy in this uncertain time:

  1. Maintain open and proactive relationships with your vendors.
  2. Turn on other sources of supplies.
  3. Shorten lead times.
  4. It should update the policy and strategy for inventory 
  5. Coordinate supply and demand management.

How to convert markup to margin and margin to markup?

Margin to markup conversion

Use the following formula to convert margin to markup:

Markup = [Margin / (1 – Margin)] X 100

Assume you want a 30 % margin and are wondering how much your markup should be. You would perform the following:

Markup = [0.30 / (1 – .30)] X 100 = 43%

Markup to margin conversion

Use the following formula to convert markup to margin:

Margin = [Markup / (1+ Markup)] X 100

Assume you want a 50% markup and want to determine how much your margin is. You would perform the following:

Margin = [0.50 / (1 + 0.50) X 100 = 33%

Margin vs. markup chart

Margins and markups have a predictable interaction. Each markup corresponds to a certain margin and vice versa. Margin markups are always larger than margin margins.

Use this margin vs. markup chart to quickly identify markups that correlate to margins:


Why margin vs. markup matters?

Knowing the difference between a markup and a margin aids in goal setting. If you know how much profit you want to make, you may use the margin vs. markup formulae to determine your rates properly.

If you don’t understand your margins and markups, you may be unable to price a product or service appropriately. You may lose revenue as a result of this. Alternatively, you may be charging too much, and many potential consumers are unwilling to pay your pricing.

Margin and markup best practices

Consider having the internal audit team evaluate pricing for a random sample of sale transactions to determine if the margin and markup principles were misunderstood. If this is the case, calculate the amount of profit lost (if any) due to the problem and report it to management if it is substantial.

If the distinction between the two concepts continues to generate confusion for the sales team, try producing and distributing cards that illustrate the markup percentages to use at various pricing points. The cards should also explain the distinction between margin and markup terminology and explain how margin and markup calculations are calculated.

Calculating margin example

XYZ Company is an internet retailer that sells custom printed t-shirts. In 2018, income from shirt sales was $ 700,000, the cost of goods sold (the direct cost of making the shirts) was $ 200,000, and all other operational expenditures (such as selling, general and administrative (SG&A), interest, and taxes) are $ 400,000. Determine XYZ Company’s gross and net profit margins in 2018.

We calculate the gross margin by dividing $ 500,000 in gross profit by $ 700,000 in sales, 71.4 percent.

Also, we calculate net margin by dividing $ 100,000 in net income by $ 700,000 in revenue, which equals 14.3 percent.

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