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Weathering the Storm of Rising Inflation
One of a business owner’s biggest challenges is deciding how to price products and services. Should price simply be a multiple of the actual cost of making the product? Is undercutting competitors and trying to profit from higher sales volumes the best strategy?
Yes and no. While you can’t afford to ignore production costs or your competition, product pricing is a complex process that requires an understanding of psychology, as well as accounting. Doeren Mayhew’s accounting business advisors recommend taking the following areas into consideration.
The most common pricing method, cost-plus pricing, considers the cost of materials, labor and overhead (which includes such items as rent, utilities, insurance, depreciation and advertising) and takes that number to determine a net profit margin. Your target margin should provide you with a fair rate of return and good value for your customer. Depending on the industry, this could be anything from 2 percent to 20 percent (though single-digit margins are more typical).
Your competitors’ prices provide another benchmark. But don’t automatically assume that, if you charge less than competitors, customers will choose your products. When it comes to pricing, perception of value is critical.
Indeed, actual production costs and target profit margins mean nothing if customers perceive your company’s machine parts as cheaply made or your clothing as unstylish. Effective branding and marketing can help customers understand why your product or service is worth the price you’re asking.
But you also need to listen to what your customers tell you, because the definition of “value” varies according to industry, product niche, even ZIP code. Those who shop at a discount furniture store, for example, may value low prices over cutting-edge design. Meanwhile, customers of a wholesale organic produce supplier may be willing to pay a higher-than-market rate if they’re guaranteed the freshest vegetables.
Finally, consider location and convenience. Customers may be willing to pay $5 for a soft drink at a movie theater or ballpark, but would balk at that price in the supermarket.
Product pricing may take some tinkering, but eventually you should arrive at prices that meet your target profit margin and reflect the market’s perceived value. Don’t get too comfortable. What works on paper may flop with actual customers.
If you’re constantly offering sales and promotions to move units, your prices are probably too high. If your primary competitor recently increased prices by 10 percent, it may be safe to do the same and still retain customers. Product pricing is a constant work in progress. To win the game, you need to keep your eye on the ball at all times.
Doeren Mayhew’s experienced accounting business advisors in Michigan, Houston or Ft. Lauderdale are available to help you find the perfect pricing on your products and services. Rely on us and you’re sure to win the pricing game.
This publication is distributed for informational purposes only, with the understanding that Doeren Mayhew is not rendering legal, accounting, or other professional opinions on specific facts for matters, and, accordingly, assumes no liability whatsoever in connection with its use. Should the reader have any questions regarding any of the news articles, it is recommended that a Doeren Mayhew representative be contacted.
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