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Job Hunting

emoticon:restart I'm now officially looking for work as a programmer. Smile

I'd prefer to work with Python, doing web development (not web-design, which is another kettle of fish). But I'm willing to learn (more-or-less) any language/development environment [1].

Money isn't particularly an issue, but I'm looking for work in the Northampton (UK) area. I'm also looking for work four days a week, so I can stick with my job at the Jesus Centre.

These factors could limit my choices. I'm definitely worth it though. Laughing

I need to polish up my CV before I start submitting it to local companies. There are a lot more computer firms in the area than I expected.

[1]I would rather not have to learn Java or Perl if I can avoid it - but ASP or PHP would be fine. They seem fairly ubiquitous in the world of commercial web development.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2005-12-22 08:50:08 | |
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Markup or Margin ?

emoticon:dollars One of my jobs at the moment is writing up the TBS Sales Office Policies and Procedures. Most of it is boring, commercially sensitive and irrelevant to anyone who doesn't work at TBS.

I thought the following passage on percentages might possibly be useful to anyone who has to calculate prices, or understand the difference between markup and margins.


Prices at TBS are calculated on the basis of margin. This is not the same thing as a markup. This is often a source of confusion - but only because percentages are difficult until you understand them.

The percentage margin is the percentage of the final selling price that is profit.
A markup is what percentage of the cost price do you add on to get the selling price.

These are different, a selling price with a margin of 25% results in more profit than a selling price with a markup of 25%.

We prefer to work with margins because we want to know what percentage of our total income is profit.

With margins, a 50% margin means that half the selling price is profit. In markups, that is a 100% markup (you have added 100% of the cost price to make the selling price). With margins, a 100% margin is only possible if the cost price is zero.

To understand why margins are higher, imagine an item that costs fifty pounds. If you sell it with a margin of 50% - that means fifty percent of the selling price should be profit. If you sell it at 100 pounds, half the selling price is profit - margin 50%.

If you sell the same item (cost fifty pounds) with a markup of fifty percent, you add fifty percent of the cost price. Fifty percent of the cost price is twenty-five pounds. This makes the total selling price seventy-five pounds.

A fifty percent margin is higher than a fifty percent markup.

How to Calculate Margins

You will often have to calculate margins. Either to work out a selling price from a cost price, or to work out what margin a certain selling price would result in.

Selling Price from Cost Price

The full formula for working out a selling price from a cost price and a certain margin is :

selling = cost/((100-margin)/100)

Thankfully there is a quicker way to work it out.

For a five percent margin, divide the cost price by 0.95.
For a ten percent margin, divide the cost price by 0.9.
For a fifteen percent margin, divide the cost price by 0.85.
For a twenty percent margin, divide the cost price by 0.8.
For a twenty-five percent margin, divide the cost price by 0.75.
For a thirty percent margin, divide the cost price by 0.7.

Hopefully you can see the pattern.

Margin from Cost and Selling Prices

Sometimes you will have a cost and selling price, and need to know what margin that results in. The formula is :

margin = (1 - (cost/selling))x100

You can work it back from the examples given in Selling Price from Cost Price.

If cost/selling is 0.95, the margin is five percent.
If cost/selling is 0.9, the margin is ten percent.
If cost/selling is 0.85, the margin is fifteen percent.
If cost/selling is 0.8, the margin is twenty percent.


Discounts from List Price

Many suppliers prefer to quote list prices less a discount. In these circumstances it is useful to be able to quote customers a discount off list. They love the idea that they are getting a discount.

To work out the nett. cost price (what we pay) from a list less discount, use the following formula :

cost = list * ((100 - discount)/100)

Working out what discount to quote customers, whilst still maintaining an acceptable margin, can be fiddly.

You can work it out as follows. final discount is the discount to offer the customer, supplier discount is the percentage off list price you have been offered, list is the list price and margin is the margin you want to make as a percentage.

cost = list * ((100 - supplier discount)/100)
selling = cost/((100-margin)/100)
final discount = (1 - cost/selling) * 100


It can actually be easier to guess a few times though. Work out the cost price. Then work out the selling price if you offer (for example) forty percent off list - and see what margin that leaves you with. If it is too little, try reducing the discount you offer - or vice versa.


It is normal for trade establishments to quote prices exclusive of VAT.

To add VAT to a price, multiply by 1.175.

If you have a price including VAT and need to work out the ex-VAT price, divide by 1.175.

There are one or two items which should be sold without VAT (like safety boots). These ought to be saleable with a zero VAT rate - possibly they aren't setup properly on the computer system to permit this. If a customer picks up on this, they are in the right and you need to be able to sell without charging the customer VAT.


We have had the situation where customers are buying the goods for export, and we are shipping the goods to the docks (or even arranging delivery abroad).

In these circumstances it is possible that VAT is not chargeable. This is also complicated - and you need to check with customs for the correct procedure.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2005-12-22 08:37:45 | |


Driving Again

emoticon:drive I passed my driving test about six years ago. Unfortunately my early [1] driving experience wasn't very good. Over the first couple of years I had a few minor scrapes and bumps - and a couple of not so minor ones.

The premature end of my motorised career came on a journey to Hull. I was fetching a friend coming in from Holland. I was driving far too fast in the rain - and not paying enough attention. About half way there I looked up and saw that the car in front had come to a halt at a roundabout. I had a horrible few seconds when the brakes were on, but the car wasn't stopping; I knew I was about to crash. With a stomach churning wrench of metal I hit the car in front. The woman I'd crashed into jumped out and was very concerned that I was ok.

I was fine, but the car wasn't. It looked like someone had taken a bite out of the front side. I was about half way there - my friend was nearly in the country - so I finished the journey to hull. I got some strange looks on the parts of the voyage that weren't on the motorway. Very surreal. That was the last time I drove.

The church fleet banned me for three years (not a police ban, I had - and still have a clean license). Crying or Very sad

Unfortunately my accident came in the middle of a big push by the church to reduce our insurance bill. I can't help but feel I was made something of an example of - but then I can hardly argue I didn't deserve it. Exclamation

The three years (long years) came to an end last month. I've just had an assessment with our defensive driving instructor. He has assessed me as low risk [2]. Very Happy

I'm now allowed to drive locally accompanied [3]. Assuming I don't kill (or seriously maim) anyone in the next three months, the restrictions will be completely removed. This gives me an opportunity to develop the right habits to be a safe driver. The feeling of freedom and relief is immense.

The thing that amazed me was how completely the basic skills came back to me. After three years without driving I was able to drive - and practise the defensive driving techniques I'd started to learn - immediately. I guess that in order to pass the driving test, you have to get to the point where the mechanical processes are all subconscious (and hence the potential danger of just driving on autopilot). Like riding a bike, those processes don't go away very easily.

The nice thing is that using the defensive driving techniques (to an extent) automatically make you a safer driver. There are a few neat tricks (like looking under the body of parked cars to see the feet of pedestrians), but a lot of it relies on continually being aware of potential risks. In order to properly be aware of risks - particularly when approaching junctions or near parked cars - you are forced to drive at a speed appropriate to the situation. Just because you are looking for the car that might pull out at any moment, you are already driving at the right speed to respond when it does pull out.

I think it is this continual awareness that I wasn't doing before. Too many years as a passenger drifting off into my own world. I'm confident that if I remain disciplined in practising these techniques, I can be a safe driver.

Anyway, it's a big deal for me. Cool

[1]Not that early - I was twenty-five.
[2]That surprised a few people.
[3]So long as someone else is in the vehicle - they don't have to be a driver.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2005-12-20 23:25:10 | |


Which Super Hero are You?

Neo the Super Hero You scored as Neo, the "One". Neo is the computer hacker-turned-Messiah of the Matrix. He leads a small group of human rebels against the technology that controls them. Neo doubts his ability to lead but doesn't want to disappoint his friends. His goal is for a world where all men know the Truth and are free from the bonds of the Matrix.

Neo, the "One"


James Bond, Agent 007


Captain Jack Sparrow




Batman, the Dark Knight


Lara Croft


The Amazing Spider-Man


El Zorro


The Terminator


Indiana Jones


William Wallace


Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2005-12-20 14:52:01 | |
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Quote of the Moment

emoticon:bugsGenerally speaking, wishing for things isn't an effect way of thinking. Smile

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2005-12-19 11:03:25 | |


The Old Blog Archives

There was so much ancient wisdom distilled into my old blog, that I couldn't let it just creep ignominiously into the pages of cyber-history. More to the point I'm still getting some hits from google with the old entries. Here are the archives of my previous Blogger based blog.

The Old Voidspace BlogThe Old Techie Blog

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