Cost Plus Pricing Strategy: Definition, Advantages, and Disadvantages

Pricing strategy plays a crucial role in the growth and development of a business. Setting a price for your product is an important business decision that determines your ability to attract customers and how much profit you can achieve. A strong pricing strategy helps enhance your business growth. Various pricing strategies are followed by businesses, each with its pros and cons. In this article, we will discuss in detail the “cost-plus” pricing strategy, when to use it, and its merits and demerits.

coworking spaces

Pricing Strategy and Its Types

A pricing strategy is a plan for determining the price at which a product or service will be offered to customers. There are many different pricing strategies that businesses can use, depending on the industry, target market, and other factors. Other factors that can influence pricing strategies include supply and demand, market trends, and the overall goals and objectives of the business.

Some common pricing strategies include:

  • Cost-based pricing is where the price is determined by the cost of producing the product or service.
  • Value-based pricing is where the price is determined by the perceived value to the customer.
  • Competition-based pricing is where the price is determined based on what similar products or services are being offered by competitors.

What Is “Cost-Plus” Pricing?

Cost-plus pricing is the simplest method of determining the price of a product. It is primarily based on the basic idea of doing business: earning a profit above its cost. It is a type of pricing method where the price of a product is determined by adding the cost of the item to the desired profit margin. This method involves very little research and does not consider the consumer’s purchasing power or the competitor’s strategies.

For example, a company that manufactures toys might use a cost-plus pricing model to set the price of their toys. First, they would calculate the total cost of producing a toy, including the cost of materials, labor, and overhead expenses. Then, they would add a markup percentage, such as 20%, on top of that cost in order to generate a profit. So, if the total cost of producing a toy was 10, the company would charge a price of 12 for that toy, making a profit of 2 per unit sold.

Advantages of the Cost-Plus Pricing Model

Here are some significant advantages of the cost-plus pricing model:


The cost-plus pricing model is relatively simple to understand and implement, making it a popular choice for businesses of all sizes. It does not require any additional market research. Every business tracks its production costs regularly, so price determination is just a matter of adding a profit margin to the cost.


By basing the price on the actual cost of production, the cost-plus pricing model can be seen as transparent and fair by both customers and stakeholders. It is non-discriminatory. In this model, a price increase happens as a result of a direct increase in its cost and is hence acceptable by the customers.


Because the price is based on known costs, the cost-plus pricing model can provide businesses with a predictable and stable source of revenue. Thus, revenue and profit can be estimated more accurately.


The cost-plus pricing model allows businesses to adjust prices easily based on changes in the cost of materials or other expenses. For example, if the price of raw materials increases, a business using the cost-plus pricing method can simply increase its markup to maintain its desired profit margin. Similarly, if the cost of production decreases, the business can reduce its markup to remain competitive in the market. Thus, it allows businesses to respond quickly to changes in their operating environment.

coworking spaces

Ensures Profit

By adding a markup to the cost of production, the cost-plus pricing model ensures that a business will make a profit on each sale. This can be especially useful for businesses operating in industries with highly variable costs, as it allows them to maintain a consistent profit margin despite fluctuations in the cost of production.

Encourages Cost-cutting

By making the cost of production a factor in the final price, the cost-plus pricing model can encourage businesses to look for ways to reduce costs and increase efficiency. This pricing method can help businesses identify areas where they can reduce costs, as they can see exactly how much each production component contributes to the overall cost. By understanding their costs in detail, businesses may be able to identify opportunities to negotiate better prices for raw materials or streamline their production processes to reduce waste.

Disadvantages of the Cost-Plus Pricing Model

Every model, although successful, does not come without a few drawbacks. This list shows the disadvantages of the cost-plus-pricing model.

Lack of Focus on Customer Value

Because the cost-plus pricing method is based on the cost of production rather than the value perceived by the customer, it may not take into account the full value that the product or service provides to the customer. This can result in prices that are too high or too low.

Ignores Market Demand

The cost-plus pricing method does not consider market demand or the prices that competitors are charging for similar products or services. This can lead to prices that are out of line with the market.


Since cost-plus pricing is known to cover at least the costs incurred for making a product and guarantees a profit, it often leads to inefficient ways of conducting a business. Product managers become inefficient in product development and marketing because this pricing model ensures profit regardless of their efforts.

Which Businesses Use the Cost-Plus Pricing Model?

The cost-plus pricing model is mostly used by industries with different types of products. Grocery stores and the textile industry traditionally rely on the cost-plus pricing model to determine their selling price because they sell a wide range of products and each product can have a different profit margin.

coworking spaces

FAQs on Cost Plus Pricing Strategy

Frequently Asked Questions on Cost Plus Pricing Strategy

What is the formula for the cost-plus pricing model?

The cost plus pricing formula is as follows: Final Price = Cost of goods or services Markup

The “cost of goods or services” is the total cost of producing the product or delivering the service, including materials, labor, and any other expenses. The “markup” is the amount added to the cost of the goods or services in order to determine the final price. This markup is typically expressed as a percentage of the cost.

When should you use the cost-plus pricing model?

Cost-plus pricing is suitable for products that have low elastic demand. Elastic demand refers to the change in demand for a product based on its price. For example, if the price of a product increases, its demand falls, and vice versa. Low elastic demand means the demand for a product is less affected by a change in its price. In such situations, the cost-plus pricing approach is more suitable.

Differentiate cost-plus pricing from value-based pricing.

The main difference between cost-plus pricing and value-based pricing is how prices are determined. Cost-plus pricing is based on the costs of production, while value-based pricing is based on the value that the customer perceives in the product or service.

Is cost-plus pricing a good strategy for the service industry?

The cost-plus pricing model is more suitable for products than services. This is because the costs incurred in providing a service are relatively lower as compared to the value it provides to its customers. Thus, service industries often use a value-based pricing model.

Is cost-plus pricing a good idea?

Although profitable in the short run, the cost-plus pricing strategy has significant drawbacks and is not encouraged for long-term strategies.

The cost-plus pricing model is a simple and straightforward approach to fixing prices for goods or services. This method can be useful for businesses that want to ensure they are covering their costs and making a profit, but it also has its own drawbacks. It may not always result in the most competitive prices. Thus, it is important for businesses using the cost-plus pricing model to regularly review their costs and adjust their markups accordingly in order to stay competitive in the market.

Read More:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Startup Handbook: Build A Business From Scratch
Get instant access to this ebook on building a business from scratch worth $19 absolutely FREE!
Scroll to Top