Gross Margin vs. Profit Margin: What’s the Difference?

Gross Margin vs. Profit Margin: What’s the Difference?

It is not necessarily profit as other expenses such as sales, administrative, and financial costs must be deducted. And it means companies are reducing their cost of production or passing their cost to customers.[clarification needed] The higher the ratio, all other things being equal, the better for the retailer. Gross margin is a simple financial ratio that shows how much of your periodic revenue is left after you subtract costs of goods sold, or COGS. On a monthly revenue of $40,000 and COGS of $25,000, your gross margin is the $15,000 gross profit divided by the $40,000 revenue. In essence, 37.5 percent of your revenue remains after COGS are removed, and before you remove operating costs and recognize irregular revenue and expenses.


High profit margins mean there’s a lot of room for errors and bad luck. Keep reading to find out how to find your profit margin and what is the gross margin formula.

Gross profit margin represents dollars, while gross profit margin percentage expresses those dollars in percent terms. It’s simply the amount of sales revenue a business has left after subtracting the cost of goods sold (COGS). COGS includes all of the costs directly attributable to producing a certain product, such as the cost of inventory for resale, raw materials in the case of a manufacturing firm, parts and labor. Gross margin is the difference between revenue and cost of goods sold (COGS) divided by revenue.

It is defined as the proportion of sales revenue a business earns after deducting the costs of production or sales, such as raw materials, parts and labor. Businesses can use these figures to help determine the optimal sales price for a product, keeping in mind that higher prices tend to make any product less competitive.

For instance, if you choose a gross profit margin of 60 percent (0.60), your calculation result is 40 percent, or 0.40. A fashion designer, for instance, may sell a dress for $5,000, and it has direct costs – materials and sewing labor, for example – of only $400. The gross profit of $4,600 on a sale of $5,000 seems outlandishly high, as does the markup percentage of 920 percent. In reality, however, the net profit margin is relatively modest because the indirect costs of marketing in the world of high fashion are extremely high.

This margin calculator will be your best friend if you want to find out an item’s revenue, assuming you know its cost and your desired profit margin percentage. In general, your profit margin determines how healthy your company is – with low margins you’re dancing on thin ice and any change for the worse may result in big trouble.

Both ratios are expressed in percentage terms but have distinct differences between them. Gross profit margin is a common measure of how well a business is doing.

Margin (also known as gross margin) is sales minus the cost of goods sold. For example, if a product sells for $100 and costs $70 to manufacture, its margin is $30.

Examples of operating costs include office salaries, advertising and office rent. For instance, the Acme Widget Company has operating expenses of $500,000. Subtract this amount from gross profit of $900,000 to find the operating profit of $400,000.


In other words, Gross Margin is a percentage value, while Gross Profit is a monetary value. Gross profit is the first profitability figure that appears on an income statement. It equals sales less the direct costs required to acquire products for sale. In retail, direct costs are usually referred to as the cost of goods sold.

How do you calculate sales margin?

Sales margin is the amount of profit generated from the sale of a product or service. It is used to analyze profits at the level of an individual sale transaction, rather than for an entire business. By analyzing sales margins, one can identify which products being sold are the most (and least) profitable.

  • Gross profit margin represents dollars, while gross profit margin percentage expresses those dollars in percent terms.

Suppose the Acme Widget Company has $2 million in sales for an accounting period. If the cost of goods sold equals $1,100,000, subtracting this amount leaves a gross profit of $900,000.

In layman’s terms, profit is also known as either markup or margin when we’re dealing with raw numbers, not percentages. It’s interesting how some people prefer to calculate the markup, while others think in terms of gross margin.

The income statement line for gross profit margin will help you determine and set the specific profit margins for your products and categories of products. If, during a month, you sell $25,000 worth of products and your wholesale cost for those products was $15,000, your gross profit margin was $10,000 or 40 percent.

Each of these profit margins weigh the cost of doing business with or without certain costs factors. For a detailed explanation of each profit margin, and how to calculate them, check out “How Do You Calculate Profit Margin for Your Startup”. In accounting, the gross margin refers to sales minus cost of goods sold.

The basic rule of a successful business model is to sell a product or service for more than it costs to produce or provide it. The difference between the cost of a product or service and its sale price is called the markup (or markon). As a general guideline, markup must be set in such a way as to be able to produce a reasonable profit. The markup price can be calculated in your local currency or as a percentage of either cost or selling price. Operating profit equals the gross profit minus selling, administrative and general costs.


Divide $400,000 by $2 million in sales to calculate the operating profit margin of 20%. A mistake in the use of these terms can lead to price setting that is substantially too high or low, resulting in lost sales or lost profits, respectively. There can also be an inadvertent impact on market share, since excessively high or low prices may be well outside of the prices charged by competitors. Subtract the cost of goods sold from the total revenue to find the profit. For example, if you sell a tube of toothpaste at retail for $3 and it costs you $1.20 to buy it, subtract $1.20 from $3 to find the company makes a gross profit of $1.80 per tube.

The sales margin is a vital metric used to reveal how profitable each item sold is to your business. You can calculate the sales margin for an individual sale, a group of sales or all transactions over a specified period. The sales margin measures how much of every dollar in sales stays with the company as gross profit after accounting for the cost of the items sold.

Or, stated as a percentage, the margin percentage is 30% (calculated as the margin divided by sales). The gross profit margin is calculated by subtracting the cost of goods soldfrom revenue. The COGS is the amount it costs a company to produce the goods or services that it sells. Subtract your desired gross profit margin percent from 100 percent, since you don’t yet know your actual sales number.

It seems to us that markup is more intuitive, but judging by the number of people who search for markup calculator and margin calculator, the latter is a few times more popular. Typically, the profit margin refers to the gross profit margin for a specific sale, which is revenue minus the cost of goods sold, but the difference is shown as a percentage of revenue. This guide will cover formulas and examples, and even provide an Excel template you can use to calculate the numbers on your own. Gross margin and profit margin are profitability ratios used to assess the financial health of a company. Both gross profit margin and profit margin – more commonly known as net profit margin– measure the profitability of a company as compared to the revenue generated for a period.

The gross profit margin is calculated as $900,000 divided by $2 million, with the result multiplied by 100 to express it as a percentage. The gross profit margin in dollars is calculated by subtracting the cost of goods sold from total sales revenue. To estimate your product’s sales price necessary to support a certain targeted gross profit margin, you must first figure out the total amount revenue necessary to support that margin. Then, divide revenue by the number of units you plan to sell to find the price that will support your desired gross profit margin.

Gross Margin is often used interchangeably with Gross Profit, but the terms are different. When speaking about a monetary amount, it is technically correct to use the term Gross Profit; when referring to a percentage or ratio, it is correct to use Gross Margin.

By analyzing sales margins, you can determine which items you sell are the most profitable. However, a shortcoming of sales margin is it does not account for other costs of doing business, such as sales costs and overhead. To find out how much of each dollar the company is keeping after all expenses are accounted for, you must determine the net profit margin. The difference between gross margin and markup is small but important. The former is the ratio of profit to the sale price and the latter is the ratio of profit to the purchase price (Cost of Goods Sold).