Business Math: How to calculate your profit margin

image depicting a profit chart

Ever wonder how to gauge the financial health of your business or how much moolah you’re bringing in? Learning how to calculate profit margin can answer these questions. 

So, what’s a profit margin? 

It’s like your financial GPS, showing how efficiently you turn sales into profit. It’s a percentage, calculated as profit/revenue x 100.

Here’s a breakdown of the components

  • Profit is the money left after you subtract all your expenses from your revenue. 
  • Revenue is your total earnings. 

Example calculation

Over a month you have a net income of $5,000. Your revenue is $15,000.

Profit Margin = ($5,000 / $15,000) X 100

In this case, your profit margin is 33.3%. This is the percentage of your business’s revenue that you get to keep.

Photo depicting profit margin with two people's hands over a table. One is holding cash, the other is holding a calculator.

But wait, there’s different types of profit margins.

Gross Profit Margin: This measures how much money you have left after you’ve covered the cost of goods sold (COGS). A higher margin means you’re making more money for every dollar you spend on production.

Formula: (Revenue – COGS) / Revenue) x 100

Operating Profit Margin: This calculation considers not only the cost of goods sold but also your operating expenses, like rent, utilities, and salaries. It tells you how much profit you’re making after covering all other essential business costs.

Formula: (Revenue – COGS – Operating Expenses) / Revenue) x 100

Net Profit Margin: This takes into account all the costs, including taxes and interest. In other words, it’s the purest measure of your overall profitability.

Formula: (Revenue – COGS – Operating Expenses – Taxes – Interest) / Revenue) x 100

Image of two scales depicting the importance of profit margin. One scale has the word "loss" and the other has the word "profit."

Why is it important? 

Calculating profit margins is like checking your business’s vital signs. It helps you understand how efficiently you’re operating. A higher margin means you’re keeping more money from each sale. On the flip side, a lower margin can be a sign that you need to make some changes.

Tips for boosting profit margins:

  • Cut Costs: Look for areas where you can reduce expenses without sacrificing quality. Shop around for suppliers, negotiate better deals, and keep an eye on overheads.
  • Raise Prices: If your costs are under control, consider increasing your prices. Customers are often willing to pay a bit more for quality products or services.
  • Boost Sales: More sales, more profit! Explore marketing strategies, expand your customer base, or introduce new products to increase your revenue.
  • Diversify Income Streams: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Offering complementary products or services can help stabilize your income.
  • Keep an Eye on Trends: Stay updated with industry trends and technology. Adapting to new market conditions can give your profit margin a significant boost.

Remember, calculating profit margins is an ongoing process. Check in on them regularly and make adjustments to ensure your business stays in the green and continues to prosper.


Need to increase your profit margin? can help you measure efficiency and optimize your business operations with comprehensive time tracking, time off and accrual tracking, scheduling, HR, and expense tracking.

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