Differences between list price vs. selling price in small business

Differences Between List Price vs. Selling Price in Small Business

Running a small business can be challenging, especially in the current economy. It’s essential to take advantage of every opportunity you have to make a profit. Sometimes, the difference between a loss and a profit comes from the list price vs. sales price scenario. It is a word that every small business owner needs to understand if they will be successful in retail. An aged phrase goes: “You get what you pay for.”


It means that if you pay more for something, it will be better—and vice versa. You can apply this concept to almost anything in life. A small business proprietor knows that one of the essential parts of running a business is setting the list price vs. selling price for your products and services. As an owner, money should be handled properly, in order not to fail the business. Proper handling of the expenses could be stressful if you don’t have an accountant to handle them. Thus, you should know how to manage mental health and stress as a small business owner.


If you don’t know how to handle the list price vs. selling price, you could lose money on every item you sell—which isn’t suitable for anyone involved. Understanding the difference between the list price and vs. selling price is essential to set the correct prices for your products and services. Accurately and effectively setting these prices can distinguish between success and failure for your business. 

List Price vs. Selling Price

These two words are not often used interchangeably in everyday conversations, but retailers use them in daily discussions. Here’s the breakdown of the differences between the list price vs. the selling price. The factors and costs were affecting your small business’s margins.

Difference between list price and selling price in small business

List Price

List prices are what owners of products charge for them, but sellers aren’t obligated to sell at that price. The list price is just a baseline; it’s whatever people have come to expect over time—not necessarily the item’s actual value.


For example, if your product costs $100 to make and you need to sell at least 200 units to be profitable, the price of each unit will be $200. But if your product only sells for $150 when manufactured at that cost—you can’t afford a profit margin as small as 10%, so you’ll have lower prices on each copy sold. When someone says “list price,” they’re referring to something’s original selling or retail price—often different from the current one. List prices are an essential part of the selling process. They’re great for helping you gauge how much you should charge for your product; that’s why this is one of the factors in determining the list price vs. the selling price. However, the list price is not necessarily the most accurate representation of what you’ll get for your product.

Selling Price

Knowing your competitors’ prices allows you to determine if yours are too high or too low and adjust accordingly. There is a massive difference between the list price and the selling price; the selling price is what you tell customers when they ask you how much your product costs. 


The selling price is the price you sell your products and services. It’s a good idea to determine the list price vs. the selling price, but the selling price of your products should be determined by what people are willing to spend for them. For example, if a small business has a list price of $100 for its product but sells it at just $20, your selling price is lower than its listed one. However, to be competitive with other businesses that sell the same item, you must lower the cost to around $75 in this instance.

Factors that affect the list price

When you’re a small business owner, you must consider the list price vs. the selling price of your products and services. The list price is the most visible and vital factor in setting a product’s or service’s selling point, but you must consider many other factors before deciding what your offering should cost. List prices can fluctuate due to the following:


  • Competition – Factors that affect a product’s marketability, such as competition and perceived value, are considered in determining the product’s price. If a company has no match, it has more leeway with its prices. However, if there is stiff competition in the marketplace, the list price must be lower to stay competitive.


  • Cost of production – The cost of production is the cost of producing a good or service, which includes all the expenses that go into manufacturing or providing it. Includes labor costs, raw materials, equipment and machinery, and other expenses such as rent and utilities. If a company has to pay more wages than it makes from selling its product, its costs outweigh its revenues. Therefore no profit for anyone involved in producing the product.


  • Demand for the product or service – Demand is one of the most significant aspects affecting your list price. You can charge more for your product or service if there’s a lot of demand. But if there’s little demand, you’ll have to reduce your prices to attract customers.


  • Location of the business – Businesses can charge more for their wares if they are located in a high-traffic, upscale area than they would be able to if they were less busy or affluent. A company situated on the corner of a busy street with several other businesses may also be able to charge a higher price. Then for its goods one situated in a place with few nearby businesses.

Factors that affect the selling price

Setting the correct list price vs. selling price for your product or service is vital in successful marketing. It can affect your bottom line and help establish brand value among consumers. The selling price is what you sell it for. Many factors affect the selling price. These are:


  • Cost of Goods Sold –  This is the cost of manufacturing or acquiring a product and includes labor, material costs, and overhead costs such as rent, utilities, and insurance. The price you charge for your product is determined by what other companies in the same line of business are assessing. If they’re all raising prices, you’ll have to submit yours as well—or risk losing sales. 


  • Marketing Costs – The most significant factor that affects the selling price is marketing costs. These include any costs associated with advertising, marketing materials, sales staff salaries, travel expenses related to sales calls, and other efforts to generate leads for potential customers. Moreover, these costs are a significant factor in determining a product’s or service’s actual selling price. It’s also essential to remember that all of these costs add up. It might be more expensive than you think!


  • Distribution Costs – Distribution costs are the costs associated with transporting the product from its location of manufacture or acquisition to your warehouse or store where you will sell it. A wholesaler buys products and sells to retailers, and the distribution costs will be lower than if you sell directly to customers.


  • Administrative Costs –  It is essential to consider these factors when determining your selling price, and it will be valuable for you to know how to do bookkeeping. The business costs include payroll taxes, benefits, accounting, and legal fees. Related to keeping track of inventory or contracts signed between customers/suppliers.

The cost of not having a pricing strategy

List price vs. selling price is a significant concern for many companies. One of the essential aspects of small business mistakes you should avoid is failing to develop and implement a pricing strategy. Most people need to learn how to set prices to make enough money to pay their bills. This can lead to stressful situations where business owners scramble at the end of every month. Losing too much money on unprofitable sales or worried about losing potential clients because they’re too expensive.


Pricing strategy is important because it can significantly impact your profits. You need to understand the difference between the list and selling prices. How it works for your product to ensure you earn money and keep going even. Fortunately, to prevent these problems, keep your eye on the prize. In order to have profitability for yourself and your customers.



Accurately pricing your products and services is essential in determining a small business’s success. Mastering the difference between list price vs. selling price is necessary to ensure your business remains profitable and thriving. It will help you determine the best price and set goals for your small business, allowing you to make money while still offering customers good value. It’s not just the amount of money that matters but also the perceived value that comes with it.




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