Margins and Pricing
One of the challenges of shopkeeping is deciding how to price your offerings. Pricing is doubtless more of an art than a science, and wily shopkeepers will take into account their competitive position when pricing.
For example, a distiller on Alpha Island may have a good business primarily selling small orders of fine rum at a high markup to already high commodity and labor costs. In contrast his fellow distiller on Guava might have cheap supplies of raw materials but little in the way of passing trade, relying more on bulk orders from local Pirate crews.
The Price of an Ordered Item
The price of an item when Ordered by a customer is the sum of all of the component costs, including labor.
For example, Blue Dye from an apothecary. Blue Dye requires 20 units of elderberries, and 5 hours of skilled alchemical labor. Suppose, for blue herb, my Buy Price is 20, and my Cost is 25. Also suppose that, according to my Labor Force menu, my skilled labor offer (what I pay for labor) is 10, but my charged rate (the Cost of the labor) is 15. Then, the quote for one unit of blue dye will show a cost of, 575, since:
20 blue herb x 25 'Cost' per blue herb = 500 5 skilled labor x 15 'charged rate' for skilled labor= 75 ---- 575
Assuming you 'bought' the herb and labor at your asking price, this herb cost you, 450, since
20 blue herb x 20 'Buy Price' per blue herb = 400 5 skilled labor x 10 'Offer' for skilled labor = 50 ---- 450
Therefore, you stand to make a net profit of (575-450=125) on one order of Blue Dye.
A shopkeepers in certain trades will always keep a quantity of popular finished goods on hand to fulfil the whims of the 'impulse purchaser'. Rum is an excellent example of a product that is often purchased via the trading interface from a vessel by Pirates in a hurry to go out pillaging.
A shopkeeper can make a nice additional margin on such goods by ordering a number of units and keeping them in stock, for sale for a higher price than if ordered by customers for later collection.
This section with thanks to Duncan.