How to Calculate Variable Cost: Examples & Best Practices

total variable cost formula

For example, renting an office space would be considered a fixed cost, as it will not be affected by how many units of your product you make. The cost of the raw materials needed to make your product, on the other hand, will definitely depend on how many units you make. These changing costs are known as variable costs, and they’re an important part of running a business. Understanding how to use the variable cost formula can help you estimate production and marketing costs, that way the growth of your business isn’t a hindrance to its success. In fact, you can design your business, your products, and your marketing in a way that everything grows together to minimize costs. This will help you determine how much your business must pay for every unit before you factor in your variable costs for each unit produced.

So in our knife example above,if you’ve made and sold 100 knife sets your total number of units produced is 100, each of which carries a $200 variable cost and a $100 potential profit. For example, if a pencil factory produced 10,000 boxes of pencils in the most recent accounting period, at a per-unit cost of £1.50, the total variable Whats the Difference Between Bookkeeping and Accounting? cost would be £15,000. In accounting, variable costs are looked at through a short-term lens because you can adjust them quickly by shifting production levels. To accurately forecast corporate expenses, you need to learn how to calculate variable costs. But what are variable costs and how do they compare to fixed expenses?

How do we calculate each of the following:marginal cost, average total cost, and average variable cost?

So, if the company produces more or less, the cost will increase or decrease proportionally. For example, Uber pays its drivers for every single ride they complete. Cost is one of the most significant factors to determine success when running a business. If you want your business to be profitable, understanding variable costs is a key component to ensuring that happens. Companies with a higher proportion of fixed cost to variable cost will have a higher degree of operating leverage. This means that if the sales drop, the EBIT will drop at a higher rate for a company having a higher proportion of fixed cost compared to a company with a low level of fixed cost.

  • All you have to do is put some basic information into a calculator, including your total costs and fixed costs.
  • Variable costs may need to be allocated across goods if they are incurred in batches (i.e. 100 pounds of raw materials are purchased to manufacture 10,000 finished goods).
  • For example, if the spark plug business spends $100,000 per year in rent, rent costs are allocated to each unit at $0.20 per unit.
  • The following exercise is designed to help students apply their knowledge of variable cost and its formula in a real-life scenario.
  • The marginal cost of production is calculated by dividing the change in the total cost (TC) of production by the change in the level of output (Q).
  • The more products your company sells, the more you might pay in commission to your salespeople as they win customers.
  • Fixed costs will stay relatively the same, whether your company is doing extremely well or enduring hard times.

You need to price your products so that your company is turning a profit, and you can’t do that just by looking at your variable costs. Additionally, you will have your average variable cost, which is (30 x $20 + 15 x $50) ÷ 45 , or $30 per unit. Think about if you run an auto shop that primarily does oil changes.

Why Does Variable Cost Matter?

Profit-maximizing manufacturing companies use the AVC to help them decide at which time they should end the production for a specific good. If the price they receive for the product is higher than the AVC, it is one indicator of a profitable product. Variable costs are defined as the expenses incurred to create or deliver each unit of output. This means the variable costs change depending on various things, including, but not limited to, goods, services, or other products.

total variable cost formula

When the manufacturing line turns on equipment and ramps up product, it begins to consume energy. When its time to wrap up product and shut everything down, utilities are often no longer consumed. As a company strives to produce more output, it is likely this additional effort will require additional power or energy, resulting in increased variable utility costs. The athletic company also won’t incur some types labor if it doesn’t produce more output.

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