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Business Math Series: Markup

by Peggy Emch

Markup is the percent of increase in selling price from the original cost. Companies mark up products they sell in order to make money for their business. How much they mark up the products depends on many factors, including demand, whether the product is a luxury item, and so forth. Some items are marked up considerably. It’s hard to believe we pay what we do for common items.

For example, water, movie theater popcorn, and prescription drugs are marked up around 1000 – 3000%! Coffee at a coffee shop is marked up 300%. And produce at the grocery store is marked up, sometimes up to 75%.

Finding the Markup Percent

To find the markup percent of a product you will need to know the selling price and the cost. Or, if you want to know the cost, you will need to know the markup percent and the selling price.

The formula for markup is as follows: markup% = ([sales price – cost] / cost)*100

We can also find how much the selling price is or the cost if we know the other variables.


: A pet grooming shop sells grooming supplies as well as provides grooming services. Their markup on goods is 40%. What is the selling price of an item that cost the company $13?

First, we need to know 40% of 13. That’s simple. We just multiply .40 times 13.

(.40) x (13) = 5.20

The selling price is the cost plus markup, so that’s $13 + $5.2 = $18.2


: An airline pays its wholesaler 45 cents per bag of potato chips. The airline sells the potato chips for $1.75 to its customers. What is the markup on the bag of potato chips?

The markup amount is: Selling price – cost, or $1.75 – $.45 = $1.30. To find the percentage we’ll ask: 1.3 is what percent of .45? This translates to:

1.3 = ?% x .45.

Solve: 1.3 ÷ .45 = x to get 2.88. Move over the decimal point to find the percentage.

The markup then is 288%.

Or we can use the markup formula: markup% = ([sales price – cost] / cost)*100 and just plug in the numbers:

(1.75 – .45) / .45) = 288%

Do you have any markup questions you’d like me to answer? Post them in the comments!

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Steven November 24, 2015 - 10:59 am

What is the formula to find out cost if you know 1) markup is 175 or 1.75 and the selling price is $ 375.54
I am looking for the formula to calculate the cost if i know the markup and selling price

Peggy November 30, 2015 - 5:23 pm

If you know the markup amount and not the percentage, you can just plug in your numbers here: markup amount = selling price – cost.

Hope this helps!

Chrisal Villadar August 11, 2016 - 1:25 am

how about markon?

Calvin Jones December 6, 2019 - 1:36 pm

If a Retailer buys an article that cost 550.00 when delivered to his Shop or store,he or she may sell the article for more Than an 500.00 to cover other expenses.Therefore,He May sell the article for 675.00 as selling Price
Calculate the Markup
calculate the markup cost
Calculate the Markup on selling price

Lindsay Sommers December 11, 2019 - 11:36 am

Great question! Go ahead and post on the KingMaker Society forums https://www.timesheets.com/forums/ to get help from the small business community.

David August 18, 2021 - 2:19 pm

Does anyone use the proof method = markup 15% on a 100.00 item 100/.85 = 117.65


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