Your Price Tag

Calculating Prices and Service Rates

Is your Price Tag or Hourly Rate considering the hidden cost of doing business.

For many business owners wanting to know the real cost of a sale can be a daunting task. The real dilemma is not knowing what to write on the price tag to be profitable. The same goes for businesses that provide an hourly rate service.

I have seen too many business owners realise too late that they have been under pricing their goods and services. The typical approach when pricing goods and services is to add up all the direct cost and then add a Markup or Margin. 

"However this approach does not consider your Hidden Cost."

Before I put you off, if mathematics is not your thing, there is a costing spreadsheet in the Business Toolkit that you can use.

For example, Biscuit2Crumbs (B2C), produce their own biscuits (Cookies) and their Direct Cost items for a 500g Pack of Anzac biscuits.  See Figure 1.

Figure 1.

B2C then apply a 30% markup for a level of profit and covering other cost such as Overheads.  See Figure 2.

We'll revisit B2C shortly, but for now, lets look at the cost in your business and why your financial reports have two cost categories. (eg. 1. Cost of Goods Sold & 2. Expenses)

Figure 2.

The Two Cost

Direct Cost, aka Cost of Goods Sold, COGS, or Variable Cost are costs that change in proportion with goods or service that your business produces. So if you sell twice as much, you can expect your Direct Cost to double. These Direct Cost are only associated with the production or provision of a service. (Raw material or products, Labor, Subcontractors, Freight and other direct cost) In effect, no production or supply means no Direct Cost.

Overheads, aka Expenses, Direct Cost or Operating Expenses is the other cost in your business. These costs are ongoing expenses to keep your business doors open. (Rent, Electricity, Insurance, Phone, Marketing, Accounting Fees, Interest, Repairs, Travel, Admin and Management Personnel and other indirect labor and cost) 

With these two cost categories separated you are now able to determine the hidden cost of Overheads in your business as a ratio to sales. Knowing this enables you to determine the true cost of your products or services and what your price tag should read.

Back to B2C

Last financial year they turned over $500,000 in Sales. It's Overheads $150,000 for the same period.

The first calculation is the Overheads (O) to Sales (S) Ratio (R).   See Figure 3.

This indicates that for every dollar of income, B2C have $0.30 cost attributed to Overheads and $0.70 to cover Direct Cost and Profit.

Based on a Price of $3.25/Pack of biscuits, B2C has a $0.98 overhead cost. When we add the Direct Cost of $2.50 onto Overheads, the total cost to $3.48 to break-even. So in effect B2C is making a lost of $0.23/Pack of biscuits. However, the real story is even worse when we used the correctly calculated Price below.

Figure 3.

Pricing with Overheads.

The Calculation method below can be easily added to a spreadsheet or you can use the costing sheet in the Business Toolkit if the maths is not your thing.

Labor Rates 

You can also use the same method to calculate your hourly rates. Just remember your on-cost with staff include superannuation, payroll tax for larger businesses, leave, leave loading etc and an efficiency factor. 

Say $60,000 pa income before PAYG, * 1.095 for super (9.5%) * 1 / 0.85 for ~efficiency (85%) / 1650 *billable hours per year = $46.85 / hour cost. 

Basically your Lowest Cost Price Tag should be the sum of all Direct Cost plus Overheads. So we can express this as:- 

However, X is the Overhead's ratio of the Price or X = P.R (Same as P x R  - A dot "." means to multiply)

Therefore, the X in "P = C + X" is replaced with P.R so we can now express this as in figure 4.

Now let's put it to work.

Figure 4.

Break-Even Price

See Figure 5.

The Direct Cost "C" to produce the pack of biscuits from above with $2.50

Therefore, the Break-even Price equals = $3.57 

See figure 6.

Figure 5.

Figure 6.

Profit Margin Price

Add your profit margin to your price.

Assuming a 10% profit margin is required (M = 10%/100% = 0.1)

Revised Price (P) to include profit margin

Figure 7.

Getting The Price Right

What do you think B2C should do.... Keep the sales price at $3.25 or revise to $3.96.

"Hmmm, but what about competition and being priced out of the market?" ...... A very valid question and here is my take on it.

Overheads could be reduced, however B2C are most likely running lean already. 

The secret is to ramp up sales. In doing so, Overheads to Sales ratio will reduce and create a more competitive price.

Calculating Billable Hours

Given that there are

So that's 44 billable weeks a year.

Assuming your team works a 37 hour week that means your billable hours are 1591 per year assuming your team work at 100% efficiency.

Many businesses use 1600 hours per year.