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Total Cost Formula

Originally published on June 30, 2021 by Logiwa Marketing, Updated on May 24, 2023

Total Cost Formula: What It Is, How to Calculate It & How It Works

When pricing your products and services, determining the average total cost is an essential part of your accounting process. This step ensures you are pricing your products high enough to recover both your variable and fixed costs. The total cost formula helps businesses determine the total amount of expenses it takes to run the business, and looks like this:

Total Cost = (Fixed Cost + Variable Cost) / Number of Units Produced

The total cost formula is an accounting equation that shows the cost per unit of the quantity that has been produced. It is calculated using two figures: the first figure represents the total production cost, whereas the second figure represents the quantity produced. The total cost of production is divided by the total amount paid in numbers, forming the average total cost formula. A straightforward and easy-to-use procedure, the total-cost formula is calculated by dividing the total production cost by the number of products manufactured. Here is everything you need to know about the total-cost formula, how it works, the advantages of using it for your business, and the setbacks that may come with it.

In this guide, we’ll help you understand:

  1. What is the Total Cost Formula?
  2. How Does the Total Cost Formula Work?
  3. Example of a Total Cost Formula Explained: A Step-by-Step Calculation
  4. Advantages of the Total Cost Formula
  5. Disadvantages of the Total Cost Formula
  6. Things to Consider When Using the Total Cost Formula

What is the Total Cost Formula?

For the ultimate production planning and budgeting purposes, understanding the total cost structure of your business is quite important. Coming up with the total-cost formula is quite simple, as long as you can identify your variable and fixed costs accurately and can thoroughly name the number of goods you have produced.

So What is the formula for total cost? The total-cost formula helps derive the combined fixed and variable costs a batch of products creates. This formula can be summarized as follows: Average fixed price per unit plus the average variable price per unit, multiplied by the number of units. In other words, the total-cost formula looks like this:

Total Cost = (Fixed Cost + Variable Cost) / Number of Units Produced

How Does the Total Cost Formula Work?

The total-cost formula allocates all the costs your business has endured throughout a specific period for the goods or services you have put on sale. The formula allows you to determine your profitability rate by calculating your business’s entire expenses and dividing them by the organization’s unit output. The formula also lets you know whether you need an adjustment in your pricing policy, reduced costs, or diversification to increase your profits.

Once you are familiar with the total cost to produce an item within your inventory, it becomes easier to plan your pricing strategies in light of this information. The unit price may sometimes recover for the variable costs of manufacturing the items. However, suppose the profit margins do not compensate for the fixed cost of marketing and other administrative expenses. In that case, it is safe to say that the business will not be viable for long. The total cost rises as fixed and variable costs increase, leading the company to decide whether to pass this extra cost to the customer or start trimming the sails.

Most businesses benefit from the total-cost formula to calculate their overall efficiency and detect areas that could potentially bring savings on both fixed and variable costs. After measuring the company’s efficiency and profitability with the help of the total-cost formula, businesses lean towards lowering variable costs by either moving into a factory with cheaper rent or buying materials from a cheaper vendor.

Getting a full grasp of how the total cost is calculated is an essential part of the profitability process. It can also use the total cost formula to set prices and fulfill various marketing strategies. Businesses can develop their sales and marketing targets by comprehending how many items need to be sold to profit. This formula is a useful tool in identifying performing aspects of the business, as well.

Total Cost Formula Examples: A Step-by-Step Calculation

You can follow these five easy steps to answer the question of “What is the total cost formula?” and calculate your initial average total cost.

      1. Identify your fixed costs.

Use your profit and loss account for this and identify your total fixed costs. Rent expenses, salaries, insurance bills, equipment costs, and other business-related utilities are considered fixed costs.

      2. Determine your variable costs.

Like you did with the fixed costs, use your profit and loss account, to sum up, your variable expenses. These costs could include direct labor, delivery and shipping cost, raw material costs, and sales commissions.

     3.Calculate your total cost of production.

It calculates the total cost of production by adding up the total fixed and variable costs. This part is represented in the total cost formula as follows: (Total fixed cost + Total variable cost)

     4.Identify the number of units produced.

It is the number representing the units manufactured throughout the specific period.

     5.Calculate your average total cost.

By dividing the total cost of production (step 3) by the number of units you have manufactured (step 4), you will be able to achieve the average total cost.

Advantages of the Total Cost Formula

    • Provides a simple and clear understanding of a business’s profitability.
    • Enables quick measurement and tracking of profitability margins.
    • Facilitates comparison of profitability over time, helping identify the need for pricing or sales strategy adjustments.
    • Serves as a benchmarking tool to evaluate business performance and position in the market.
    • Useful for competitor analysis, determining market position, and adjusting prices accordingly.
    • Acts as a profitability tracking method for specific product lines.
    • Enhances transparency when dealing with external vendors and third parties.

Disadvantages of the Total Cost Formula

    • Becomes more complex for companies with multiple product lines and diverse suppliers.
    • Allocating costs accurately to calculate the total cost becomes cumbersome as the number of costs increases.
    • Businesses with changing supplies face challenges in developing fixed prices based on variable fees.
    • Variable cost elements of the formula need frequent adjustments to account for seasonal and unexpected price changes.
    • Accuracy of predictions using the total cost formula as a forecasting tool may be limited due to unforeseeable variations in utilities and material costs.
    • Total cost-based pricing planning relies on constant adaptation to price changes, which may not always be feasible.

Things to Consider When Using the Total Cost Formula

It is important to be aware of the numerous issues that may arise with the use of the formula, such as:

    • Variable purchasing costs are volume-based. When purchasing raw material for the manufacturing process, the price per unit will change following the volume discounts. Therefore, the more units you order, the lower your variable per-unit cost will be.
    • The total-cost formula offers a limited range for average fixed costs. Fixed costs entail expenses that only apply within a narrow volume range. Since the same fixed charges apply across a wide range of unit volumes, the average static cost figure will not be as “fixed” as you would presume.
    • Direct labor is considered a fixed cost. Since usually a fixed number of people are needed to work on a production line, the direct labor costs are considered a fixed cost. It should integrate them into the formula accordingly. There are only a few cases in which direct labor varies directly by the production volume.

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What is total cost formula?

Total Cost = (Fixed Cost + Variable Cost) / Number of Units Produced

What’s the difference between total fixed costs, variable costs, and total cost?

Total Fixed Costs (TFC) are costs that occur independent from your production. Fixed costs have no direct impact on production as you have to bear these costs even if your production continues at zero. For example, the rental cost of your facility building. Total Variable Costs (TVC) are costs that vary depending on production results. For example, raw material costs are directly affected by production. Total cost, on the other hand, is the cost resulting from the sum of the total fixed and variable costs. It is shown as TC (total cost). Total Cost (TC) is calculated by adding the two together.

What is cost per unit?

Cost per unit, also called cost of goods sold or cost of sales, is how much money a company must expend to produce one unit of product to sell. It is often included in financial statements.

What is the benefit of using the total cost formula?

it gives a clear and easily understood metric that can be measured and tracked to assess the profitability of a business.

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