How do you know if your business is profitable? One indicator is your profit margin. This measure of profitability considers your gross, operating or net profit as a percentage of revenues. But how do you calculate these ratios?

To demonstrate, we explain how to calculate profit margin.

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What is a margin of profit?

A profit margin expresses how much of every dollar of sales a company keeps in its earnings. At the same time, it takes into account the costs of serving customers to find the actual profit.

A formula for calculating profit margin

There are three types of profit margins: gross, operating and net. You can calculate all three by dividing the profit (revenue minus costs) by the revenue. Multiplying this figure by 100 gives you your profit margin percentage. In each case, you calculate each profit margin using a different measure of profit.

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Gross profit margin

Gross profit margin is an indicator of profits relative to production costs. Thereupon, calculate your profit margin based on gross profit. Gross profit represents your total revenue minus the cost of goods sold. As a result, this figure covers the cost of producing merchandise and can range from materials to labor.

For instance, say you pay $8,000 for goods and sell them for $10,000. Your gross profit is $2,000. Divide this figure by the total revenue to get your gross profit margin: 0.2. Multiply this figure by 100 to get your gross profit margin percentage: 20 percent.

Revenue from selling goods – Cost of Goods = Gross Profit Margin.

Operating profit margin

Overly high operating costs can impact your operating profit margin. Therefore, your operating profit is your total revenue minus your business expenses.

Your business expenses include:

Let’s factor operating costs into the previous scenario to calculate the operating profit margin.  Further, let’s say you paid an extra $500 in operating expenses on top of the costs of goods.

Deduct $8,500 from your total revenue, and you get an operating profit of $1,500. Next, divide this by your total revenue to get your operating profit margin: 0.15. Then multiply this figure by 100 to find the operating profit margin percentage of 15 percent.

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Net profit margin

How well does your business turn revenues into profit? Look at your net profit margin. This is an indicator of overall profitability calculated based on net profit.

Net profit factors in more deductions from revenue than either gross or operating profit. To sum up, it equals total revenue minus the cost of goods sold, operating expenses, interest, taxes, preferred stock, and debt repayments.

Say your total revenue is $10,000, but you paid $8,000 for goods, $500 in operating expenses and another $500 in interest payments. Now your net profit in this scenario amounts to $1,000. Divide this figure by the total revenue and you get your net profit margin: 0.10. Next, multiply this figure by 100 to get your net profit margin percentage: ten percent.

As you can see, the ratio of profit to revenue can vary depending on the type of profit chosen for the profit margin calculation. No profit margin alone can provide a complete picture of the financial health of your business. But learning how to calculate profit margin can show you where to adjust your business strategy.

Manasa Reddigari

Manasa Reddigari

Manasa Reddigari is a freelance technical writer and small business owner whose insights have appeared in diverse digital publications. She has a passion for leveraging technology to reveal simple solutions for everyday business finance complexities. Visit to learn more about her work.
Manasa Reddigari

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