We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Gross Profit?

By Jen Whitten
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Business owners and managers involved in the financial management of a company use a variety of numbers and ratios to assess that company's financial position. Gross profit is a term to describe the money left over from the sale of products after subtracting the cost of goods sold without taking out the money needed to pay operating expenses. Knowing how much is left from each sale to pay salaries and other fixed expenses helps leaders determine the financial health and viability of the operation.

To calculate gross profit, one should first understand what comprises the cost of goods sold. Not every expense a company incurs qualifies for this figure. Only those costs directly related to the production of the product is used. As a rule of thumb, if the cost in question varies in relation to the number of products produced, it is a variable cost, and thus appropriate for inclusion in cost of goods sold.

Production efficiency is determined using this measurement as a base. Gross profit margin, ratio, and percentage all represent the same calculation. These calculations are reached by dividing gross profit by the total revenue. For example, if the gross profit is $1,000 US Dollars (USD) and the total revenue is $2,000 USD, the gross profit margin is 50 or 50%.

Business executives use this margin to evaluate the efficiency of the company as a whole and, in some cases, particular business units or products. As only two variables play a role in this figure, there are only two ways to influence it. An increase in price or a decrease in costs increases gross profit, while a decrease in price or an increase in costs will decrease it.

When tracked over time, increases in gross profit indicate the company is more efficient at making money based upon the products sold. This does not necessarily equate to larger profits for the company, however, because factors like employee salaries, taxes, and rent can increase to eat away at the net profits. On the other hand, if the trend is a steady decrease in gross profit, company officials may deem it necessary to discontinue a product or revamp the way in which they run the company. Gross profit is a required element of the income statement in the United States, and should have a separate line to comply with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) rules and standards.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By pbate — On Jan 07, 2014

Great post that helps explain how important it is to know what gross profit actually means. I also had problems understanding gross profit and looked into making it easier to work out. So I created an iPhone app to help do just that.

By panda2006 — On Oct 13, 2010

@watson42, that is very true. As a freelance writer, I see the importance of timing as perhaps the most significant part of determining my gross operating profit. While I may not pay anyone else for labor or materials, I often have to put significant hours into work every day finishing projects. If that time could also have been spent grocery shopping, cooking, working out, or any of the other things I also have to do in my life, it does affect my gross profit formula.

By watson42 — On Oct 13, 2010

It's important to know that when calculating gross profit, the definition means the profit after all operating expenses. One thing in particular that many new business owners forget about is the importance of calculating the value of the time you spend. In many jobs, such as teaching for example, your pay might seem good until looking at how much time is spent both inside and outside the classroom. Many teachers find they're working for less than minimum wage once they factor in outside time. The same holds true for business owners.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.