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PRICING POLICY

Two teams competed to sell the most M-Azing candy bars. The winners packaged the chocolate with the "Amazing Sisters," two attractive blondes in short skirts. The augmented offering sold for a whopping $5, yielding higher profits than the other team's candy. The losing team undermined the value of its product with a combination of generic pricing, an established $3 price for a basic candy bar; anxiety pricing, whatever customers were willing to pay (under the $3 price point). The policy by which a company determines the wholesale and retail prices for its products or services

Pricing Methods
As we said earlier, there is no "one right way" to calculate your pricing. Once you've considered the various factors involved and determined your objectives for your pricing strategy, now you need some way to crunch the actual numbers. Here are four ways to calculate prices: Cost-plus pricing - Set the price at your production cost, including both cost of goods and fixed costs at your current volume, plus a certain profit margin. For example, your widgets cost $20 in raw materials and production costs, and at current sales volume (or anticipated initial sales volume), your fixed costs come to $30 per unit. Your total cost is $50 per unit. You decide that you want to operate at a 20% markup, so you add $10 (20% x $50) to the cost and come up with a price of $60 per unit. So long as you have your costs calculated correctly and have accurately predicted your sales volume, you will always be operating at a profit.

Target return pricing - Set your price to achieve a target return-on-investment (ROI). For example, let's use the same situation as above, and assume that you have $10,000 invested in the company. Your expected sales volume is 1,000 units in the first year. You want to recoup all your investment in the first year, so you need to make $10,000 profit on 1,000 units, or $10 profit per unit, giving you again a price of $60 per unit. Value-based pricing - Price your product based on the value it creates for the customer. This is usually the most profitable form of pricing, if you can achieve it. The most extreme variation on this is "pay for performance" pricing for services, in which you charge on a variable scale according to the results you achieve. Let's say that your widget above saves the typical customer $1,000 a year in, say, energy costs. In that case, $60 seems like a bargain - maybe even too cheap. If your product reliably produced that kind of cost savings, you could easily charge $200, $300 or more for it, and customers would gladly pay it, since they would get their money back in a matter of months. However, there is one more major factor that must be considered. Psychological pricing - Ultimately, you must take into consideration the consumer's perception of your price, figuring things like:

Positioning - If you want to be the "low-cost leader", you must be priced lower than your competition. If you want to signal high quality, you should probably be priced higher than most of your competition.

Popular price points - There are certain "price points" (specific prices) at which people become much more willing to buy a certain type of product. For example, "under $100" is a popular price point. "Enough under $20 to be under $20 with sales tax" is another popular price point, because it's "one bill" that people commonly carry. Meals under $5 are still a popular price point, as are entree or snack items under $1 (notice how many fast-food places have a $0.99 "value menu"). Dropping your price to a popular price point might mean a lower margin, but more than enough increase in sales to offset it.

Fair pricing - Sometimes it simply doesn't matter what the value of the product is, even if you don't have any direct competition. There is simply a limit to what consumers perceive as "fair". If it's obvious that your product only cost $20 to manufacture, even if it delivered $10,000 in value, you'd have a hard time charging two or three thousand dollars for it -- people would just feel like they were being gouged. A little market testing will help you determine the maximum price consumers will perceive as fair. Now, how do you combine all of these calculations to come up with a price? Here are some basic guidelines: Your price must be enough higher than costs to cover reasonable variations in sales volume. If your sales forecast is inaccurate, how far off can you be and still be profitable? Ideally, you want to be able to be off by a factor of two or more (your sales are half of your forecast) and still be profitable.

You have to make a living. Have you figured salary for yourself in your costs? If not, your profit has to be enough for you to live on and still have money to reinvest in the company.

Your price should almost never be lower than your costs or higher than what most consumers consider "fair". This may seem obvious, but many entrepreneurs seem to miss this simple concept, either by miscalculating costs or by inadequate market research to determine fair pricing. Simply put, if people won't readily pay enough more than your cost to make you a fair profit, you need to reconsider your business model entirely. How can you cut your costs substantially? Or change your product positioning to justify higher pricing? Pricing is a tricky business. You're certainly entitled to make a fair profit on your product, and even a substantial one if you create value for your customers. But remember, something is ultimately worth only what someone is willing to pay for it.

PRICE FIXING
Price fixing is an agreement between participants on the same side in a market to buy or sell a product, service, or commodity only at a fixed price, or maintain the market conditions such that the price is maintained at a given level by controlling supply and demand. The group of market makers involved in price fixing is sometimes referred to as a cartel. The intent of price fixing may be to push the price of a product as high as possible, leading to profits for all sellers but may also have the goal to fix, peg, discount, or stabilize prices. The defining characteristic of price fixing is any agreement regarding price, whether expressed or implied. Price fixing requires a conspiracy between sellers or buyers. The purpose is to coordinate pricing for mutual benefit of the traders.

Sellers might agree to sell at a common target price; set a common minimum price; buy the product from a supplier at a specified maximum price; adhere to a price book or list price; engage in cooperative price advertising; standardize financial credit terms offered to purchasers; use uniform trade-in allowances; limit discounts; discontinue a free service or fix the price of one component of an overall service; adhere uniformly to previously-announced prices and terms of sale; establish uniform costs and markups; impose mandatory surcharges; purposefully reduce output or sales in order to charge higher prices; or purposefully share or pool markets, territories, or customers.

BREAK-EVEN ANALYSIS
A breakeven analysis is used to determine how much sales volume your business needs, to start making a profit. The breakeven analysis is especially useful when you're developing a pricing strategy, either as part of a marketing plan or a business plan. To conduct a breakeven analysis, use this formula: Fixed Costs divided by (Revenue per unit - Variable costs per unit) Fixed costs are costs that must be paid whether or not any units are produced. These costs are "fixed" over a specified period of time or range of production. Variable costs are costs that vary directly with the number of products produced. For instance, the cost of the materials needed and the labour used to produce units isn't always the same. For example, suppose that your fixed costs for producing 100,000 widgets were $30,000 a year. Your variable costs are $2.20 materials, $4.00 labour, and $0.80 overhead, for a total of $7.00. If you choose a selling price of $12.00 for each widget, then: $30,000 divided by ($12.00 - 7.00) equals 6000 units. This is the number of widgets that have to be sold at a selling price of $12.00 before your business will start to make a profit.

BREAK-EVEN POINT
In economics & business, specifically cost accounting, the break-even point (BEP) is the point at which cost or expenses and revenue are equal: there is no net loss or gain, and one has "broken even". A profit or a loss has not been made, although opportunity costs have been paid, and capital has received the risk-adjusted, expected return.[1] For example, if a business sells fewer than 200 tables each month, it will make a loss, if it sells more, it will be a profit. With this information, the business managers will then need to see if they expect to be able to make and sell 200 tables per month. If they think they cannot sell that many, to ensure viability they could: Try to reduce the fixed costs (by renegotiating rent for example, or keeping better control of telephone bills or other costs) 2. Try to reduce variable costs (the price it pays for the tables by finding a new supplier) 3. Increase the selling price of their tables.
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Any of these would reduce the break even point. In other words, the business would not need to sell so many tables to make sure it could pay its fixed costs.

Limitations

Break-even analysis is only a supply side (i.e. costs only) analysis, as it tells you nothing about what sales are actually likely to be for the product at these various prices. It assumes that fixed costs (FC) are constant. Although, this is true in the short run, an increase in the scale of production is likely to cause fixed costs to rise. It assumes average variable costs are constant per unit of output, at least in the range of likely quantities of sales. (i.e. linearity) It assumes that the quantity of goods produced is equal to the quantity of goods sold (i.e., there is no change in the quantity of goods held in inventory at the beginning of the period and the quantity of goods held in inventory at the end of the period). In multi-product companies, it assumes that the relative proportions of each product sold and produced are constant (i.e., the sales mix is constant).