How to Budget for Your Subscription Box and Make Money

Update: We now have a pricing guide calculator on the website to help you figure out box pricing.

Creating a budget for your new business is a necessary evil. If you’re anything like me, budgeting and playing around with numbers is actually a lot of fun. I love using online financial tools and seeing things change as I put numbers in and move them around.

You might be rolling your eyes and wondering if you should call that CPA you know down the road to do it for you – but just hear me out.

Make it easy on yourself: Click to download our exclusive budgeting tool, then check out our Startup Costs Calculator.

Something that I’ve noticed established subscription box companies talk about all the time is how they wish they would have charged more for their box. Low-priced box companies like Birchbox can make you think that charging more than $15 a month for a box is just out of the question – but it doesn’t have to be. For example, Sundae Box costs $54.99/month for its luxury home decor (and looks gorgeous)!

That’s where this budgeting tool comes in. It’s supposed to help you figure out exactly what your box will cost you, how much to charge and what you can expect to make in years 1, 2 and 3.

So play around with it. Figure out how much you should charge for your box and what your revenue could look like.

Try it out: Download our budgeting tool, then check out our updated Subscription Box Pricing Guide and Startup Costs Calculator to cover your bases.

Here’s a quick guide to what everything means – and how to use it if you find yourself not knowing where to start.

Shipping Carrier

Start with the Shipping Carrier category in the spreadsheet, then pick your estimated box weight and pick which cost you’d like to compare. Shipping carriers price shipments based on weight and how far away you’re shipping it. So you can pick if most of your shipments will be close to home (aka min), if it will be a mix (avg), or if (max) you just know everything you ship will be far away (or want to plan for the worst).

Shameless plug: Did you know that Cratejoy will be able to offer you better rates on shipping?! We’ve made deals, shaken hands and the end results are discounts for you.

Ship faster for less: Check out Cratejoy’s partnerships with ShipStation and Pirate Ship to get the job done.

Your Box

While you may choose to buy your physical boxes from anywhere, we recommend our packaging partner BoxUp. They offer a customizable range of orders – you can order as few as 12 boxes or as high as 2000 – and allow you to upload custom packaging designs. (You can order more than that, but they may need additional lead time to ship the boxes out.) There’s no charge for dies or plates, either, which saves you money on the packaging end.

If you’re not ready to design your own box, BoxUp offers standard Cratejoy-branded boxes in teal and grey. When you’re ready to order, Cratejoy merchants get 15% off their first order and 5% off for life.

Cratejoy is an all in one subscription commerce platform that includes everything you need to start your own subscription commerce business online. Try it free for 14 days.

Credit Card Processing Fee

Expect to pay 2.9% for your processing fee from credit card processing companies. Just in case you’ve found a great deal somewhere else, however, we’ve listed other options on the spreadsheet as well. (And if you found a deal better than what I’ve included, stop whatever you’re doing and tell everyone so we can all get in on that deal!)

Audience Size

Here’s where you can get an idea of how many customers you’ll get based on your current audience size. All the growth rates are based on market averages, but you can change them if you have insane fans that you know will buy your stuff or you have a record of higher growth.

Yearly Expenses

Any other random expenses that come up throughout the year go here. You’ll also notice a chargeback percentage based on the market average for ecommerce transactions.


The best for last. We’ve included year 1, 2, and 3 because your business will grow if you keep at it. You might look at the first year and think, “That’s not enough!” But wait: look at year 3! Does it start to look better now? (That’s what we thought.)

Have any questions or suggestions on the spreadsheet? Let us know and we can make adjustments. This is designed for you, after all.

4 thoughts on “How to Budget for Your Subscription Box and Make Money

  1. Quick Question: The budgeting tools shipping is based off weight do you have a calculator based of cubic feet? Great Article

  2. Great article, the best pricing tool I have encountered. As an inexperience entrepreneur this tool has been very valuable. Great article, great tool, thanks.

  3. Hi Cratejoy! Did you realize the packaging materials are not accounted for in the calculation of the total cost of box? Thought you’d like to know 🙂

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