How to Effectively Cost Your Product

As I am speaking to more and more mom entrepreneurs, I realize that understanding the true cost of your product is a real problem for everyone – you just don’t know exactly what to include and therefore, are underselling your products and losing money and profits. I want to turn that around for you right now!


Some of you are probably asking yourself the following:

  • I’d like to develop this product but have no idea of the costs involved
  • I have a product but have no idea what to count as the costs
  • I have a product but it’s too expensive and I’m selling it for less than I should


Ok, I want to get everyone on the same MONEY making page and make sure you are doing this correctly. So here are some ways you can investigate, add up the costs and properly price your products to make money and be PROFITABLE.


1. If you don’t have the actual proto-type yet but know what you want to make, then I want you to go to the stores where you see this being sold and look at similar products and what they retail for. If you feel like your idea is still a great one, and that there is room in the market for it, then write down the names of the companies and the prices they are charging for the similar items. Do this at several stores as well as other on-line shops that sell it too. Most items at retail are 8x the actual cost price. For Example: A $32 retail item probably cost around $4 to make. It might have cost LESS, but did not cost more. This step will give you a good idea what your BIG IDEA might cost you.


2. If you have a product in hand already – let’s be 100% SURE you have it priced correctly. Get a piece of paper and write down every single cost that went into making this item.

  • Labor to make the item
  • Raw materials – leather, buttons, snaps, fabric, etc.
  • Shipping of raw materials – For example: You order 300 snaps from NY and ship it to LA. The snaps cost .10 each but the shipping is $9 – you have to divide $9 by 300 pc to see how much MORE each snap actually cost you =.03 cents. So in reality your snaps cost .13 cents each not .10.
  • If you import from overseas then add in duty and freight charges to each item. I just average the costs. When I import 3000 units and it cost $3,000 to ship then each item gets $1 added on to the cost.
  • Labels and hangtags
  • Any packaging you use


Now, you are going to add ALL these numbers up to get your ACTUAL cost of goods.


Let’s say the item costs $25. Now multiply that number by 2.5 to get the wholesale cost – this is the price that you will sell it to other STORES. They will then mark it up again and sell it to the end user. 25 x 2.5 = $62.50 = Your wholesale price.


If you are selling this item yourself on your website you have two options.

1. If you are NEVER going to sell it in a store then you can basically pick your own retail price. For example: If you are a serviced based professional and are selling custom journals to your clients.

2. If you do plan to sell to stores, then you need to price your website retail prices along the same lines as the stores so you don’t offend anyone and become their competition – big no no.

If you choose #2, then take your wholesale price of $62.50 and multiply that by 2.2 which is an average store mark up. So $62.50 x 2.2 = $137.50 and your retail price will be $137.50.


The reason the cost is marked up 2.5 is to cover your overhead! This includes your sales reps commission, marketing, reordering product and your salary! If your product is coming out REALLY well priced and you feel you can sell it for more than 2.5 x cost then GO FOR IT!


So now you’ve used this formula and may have found that your products are not priced correctly. So what can you do? Well there is one quick fix – and some longer terms ones.

  • Quick fix: Change price to reflect the correct one.
  • Go back to the drawing board and see where you can cut costs. Maybe your materials are too expensive or you need to cut down on labor. You may need to research different materials, better sources, or perhaps move your production overseas to meet the price you want. Perhaps if you make sterling silver jewelry you can move to silver plate if it’s going to help you meet your desired price point. All is NOT lost here. There is always a solution.
  • Ask your manufacturer for some advice too. They may be able to suggest ways to cut down on the labor costs. Sometimes simple things like changing the size can have a big impact on price if it does not affect the end result that you like so much. Try to be OPEN to change. Sometimes the change turns our to be better. It has happened to me countless times!


I hope this costing information helps keep you on track and PROFITABLE – we all want to make money doing what we love.


Sarah Shaw

Sarah Shaw is a fashion entrepreneur, product designer and business coach.With her 20 years of experience - and 6 companies under her belt - Sarah has built a treasure trove of secrets for launching your line, getting your products into stores and boutiques, getting your products to A-List celebrities, and getting massive publicity in order to grow her companies quickly. Grab her free guide to getting your product in front of celebrities, right here.

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  1. Trish Harmon

    Hi, fantastic information! I do, however, have a question on figuring out the cost of each product. I’m going to be creating pet products such as bandannas, ties, leashes, and collars, and toys. Because I’ll be using varying embellishments, such as rhinestones and buttons, each one will be unique and some may have rhinestones, some may not, or a different amount. I also will be hand-painting and bleaching many of my products. I’m not sure how to price things out because I don’t know how far my embellishments will go. Is there a relatively simple way to figure all this out? I buy my stuff from various sources and do figure in shipping cost, if there is any. But if I have, for instance, several packages of 200 rhinestones, how do I decide how far they will go when I design as I go? Some of my products may have many more embellishments and therefore will be priced a little higher. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed because it’s so much to figure out. I make the items myself and will never use an outside source to create them. In a nutshell, everything will be handmade and have features not usually seen in the market today, so I want to price my products to reflect the work I put into them without pricing too high. Any suggestions will be welcomed!

  2. venket

    Hi really helpful for enterprener, this articel will give fair idea about the pricing for a product.

  3. Desiree

    This has been extremely helpful! I was googling excel templates to find the magic formula and this is much easier to understand! Thank you for breaking it down.

    • Heather Allard

      Glad it helped, Desiree! I appreciate your comment, and wish you much success! 🙂

  4. TonyaL. Gaiters

    Very good info. I’ve been looking for this for a long time!

  5. Raymond James

    Very informative. Thank you

  6. ana


    Thanks for your insights!

    My questions is..where did you come up with 2.5 mark up , that if multiplied by cost give you wholesale price?
    In your story, 2.5 would be only 10% of product cost pf $25.

  7. Veronica

    Thanks Heather,For posted a very informative article like this

  8. Cathy Dean

    Thank you so much for this info! We are on a mission to sell wholesale this year! 🙂

  9. Ros

    Thank you for an informative post. This will be a good reference as I re-evaluate to examine if I’ve adequately priced my product to cover cost/expenses. It’s always healthy to re-examine cost/expenses in order to keep the business operating efficiently.

  10. Beth Andrus

    This is well presented, Sarah. So many people under price their goods because they don’t include all of the costs they have to cover, or they forget to pay themselves.
    .-= Beth Andrus´s last blog ..Hello world! =-.

  11. Tracy Young

    This is great information and the way that you walked through an example was helpful. My only question is that the example doesn’t come close to the 8x cost rule of thumb. Is there a different multiplier for the apparel industry?
    .-= Tracy Young´s last blog ..Use the Holidays to Teach Children Table Etiquette =-.


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