# Estimating Income and Costs: Calculating a Price

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3 Variable costs Bees (replacement bees) Package (3 lb) hive Queens (replacement) queen Parasite and disease control Terramycin 6.4 oz pkg Varroa chemical control pkg of Fumidil-B 2 gm bottle Menthol oz packs Sugar pounds Jars cases of Labels (supplier & quality id) Chemical for fume boards quart Paint gallon Buckets 5 gallons Vehicle d miles Marketing e one year Registration fee (\$20) for two years one year Total variable costs Fixed costs Brood boxes with frames and foundation Top, bottoms and inner covers Honey supers with frames and foundation Protective clothing 4.00 Hive tool/smoker 3.50 Feeder 2.30 Queen excluder 5.70 Fume boards 2.50 Extracting equipment for 50 hives Extractor 945 f Bottling tank (300 lb with covered strainer) 715 f Uncapping tank 195 f Uncapping knife 67 f 6.70 Upgrading existing facilities 1,500 g,h Total fixed costs Total costs 1, Returns Returns over variable costs Net returns Source: Penn State University. Online: a Retail price. b Rental fee may vary depending on the crop. c Estimated 20% loss each year. d Fuel, maintenance, depreciation (10 years) e Including advertising, production information and bee management f Depreciate over 10 years. g Depreciate over 20 years. h Building may not be necessary. Sideline beekeepers often convert a garage, basement or outbuilding into honey house. 9

4 To calculate a break-even price, a beekeeper must know how many units they need to sell based on production of 60 pounds per hive and 10 hives. The producer uses 8-ounce jars, and the honey in them weighs about 11 ounces each. Based on these estimates, this client would estimate production of about ounce jars from the 600 pounds. Assuming the variable honey cost is \$1.05 per 8-ounce jar, this formula would calculate a breakeven price: Break-even price = Per unit variable cost + (annual fixed costs projected units sold). Break-even price = \$ (\$ ) Break-even price = \$ \$0.51 Break-even price = \$1.56 Using these figures, your client concludes that at least \$1.56 per jar must be charged for the honey. This breakeven price does not include any marketing costs. Marketing costs (such as rent at a farmers market and labor to man the market) are not included in this example. Your clients must consider these costs as well when they prepare their budgets. To determine what the price needs to be if more or less honey is sold, simply change the projected number of units and recalculate the price. The more the client thinks he or she can sell, the lower the price can be after variable costs are covered because the fixed costs are spread over more units. Show your clients two other methods to calculate the price of their products: Mark-up and margin. Both of these methods require a client to choose a percent of increase in the total costs. These methods do not take into account the quantity available to sell. Markup is the amount the cost is raised to achieve a desired selling price. Your client decides to consider using a markup. If a 30 percent markup is added, the calculation would be: Markup amount = Total cost/unit percent of markup Markup = (\$1,278/820) 0.3 Markup = \$ Markup = \$0.47 Selling price = \$ \$0.47 Selling price = \$2.03 per 8-ounce jar Margin is the percentage of the selling price above the cost of producing the product. Suppose your client decides she wants a margin of 30 percent. The calculation would be: Selling price = Total cost /unit ( Margin percentage) Selling price = (\$1,278/820) ( ) Selling price = \$ Selling price = \$2.23 per 8-ounce jar Even though the client starts with the same costs, using a markup gives a lower price than using the margin method. Break-even pricing will result in the lowest price of all. This client needs to determine what specialty honeys are selling for elsewhere. It might be that an average of the two methods provides a better alternative to just selecting the higher price. A study from the University of Chicago School of Business and the Sloan Institute found that prices ending in 9 sold more product than prices ending in any other number for the same product. Consumers think they are getting a bargain, even if they are not. If you want to sell something for \$8.00 a pound, price it at \$7.99 a pound. However, if everything you sell ends in a 9, it loses its effectiveness. 10

6 How much are your fixed costs? List the items, the number of units, the cost/unit and calculate the total cost. What will be your price at that percent markup? Fixed costs Item Units Cost/unit (\$) Total cost What percent margin will you use? Depreciation for equipment Depreciation for machinery Depreciation for buildings What will be your price at the percent margin? Selling price = Total Cost ( margin percentage) Land Charge Management Total Cost How much do you think you will be able to sell in the first year of production? What will be your breakeven price? Break-even price = Per unit variable cost + (annual fixed costs projected units sold) What percent markup will you use? Calculate your selling markup price Markup selling price = Total Cost percent markup 12

7 References Ag Econ Extension. Enterprise Budgets. Stillwater: Oklahoma State University. Online: okstate.edu/budgets/ Arsham, Hossein. Break-Even Analysis and Forecasting. Baltimore, Md.: University of Baltimore, Merrick School of Business. Online: ntsbarsh/business-stat/otherapplets/breakeven.htm Bullen, Gary Direct Answers for Direct Marketers. Marketing Resource CD developed as part of Southern Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) grant. Raleigh: N.C. State University, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. ehow Business Editor. How to Calculate a Price Markup. Bellevue, Wash.: ehow. Online: how_ _calculate-price-markup.html. Frazier, M., G. Greaser, T. Kelsey, J. Harper Beekeeping. Alternative Algriculture (publication series). Pennsylvania Cooperative Extension, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences. University Park: The Pennsylvania State University. Online: agalternatives.aers.psu.edu Hofstrand, D. 2007, March. Breakeven Selling Price. Ames, Iowa: Ag Marketing Resource Center, Iowa State University. Online: business/gettingstarted/brkvnsellingprice.htm Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. Marketing and Food Systems Initiative. Ames: Iowa State University. Online: marketing.htm 13

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