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How to Do a Break-Even Analysis

Determine Profitability with a Break-Even Analysis


How to Do a Break-Even Analysis

This break-even chart shows that the break-even point comes in month 5, when the net sales line crosses the total expense line.

Jean Murray

Doing a Break-even Analysis

If you are producing and selling products, you need to know if these products are profitable. Creating a break-even analysis will give you the information you need on profitability. You should construct a break-even table to show break-even points for various sales volumes and unit prices for each product; a lender or investor will probably want to see this information in the financial report section of your business plan. But you should have this information to help you determine the optimum sales price for each product, to reach maximum revenue by setting the price at the point where revenue is at its highest.

Here are the steps to take to determine break-even:

  1. Determine Variable Unit Costs.
    Determine the variable costs of producing one unit of this product. Variable costs are those costs associated with making the product or buying it wholesale. If you are making a product, you will need to know the cost of all the components that go into that product. For example, if you are printing books, your variable unit costs are paper, binding, and glue for one book, and the cost to put one book together. Let's say you calculate your unit variable cost at $11.50.

  2. Determine Fixed Costs
    Fixed costs are costs to keep your business operating, even if you didn't produce any products. To determine fixed costs, add up the cost of running your factory for one month. These costs would include rent or mortgage, utilities, insurance, salaries of non-production employees, and all other costs. In other words, fixed costs are all costs of your business except those directly related to producing your products. Let's say you determine your monthly total fixed cost at $25,000.

  3. Determine Unit Price
    Determine the unit price for your product. This price may change as you see where your break-even point is, but for now let's say your unit price is $25.00 per book.

  4. Determine Sales Volume and Unit Price
    The break-even point will change as the sales volume for this product and the unit price changes.

  5. Create a Spreadsheet
    To do a break-even calculation, you will to construct or use a spreadsheet then turn the spreadsheet into a graph. The spreadsheet will plot break-even for each level of sales and product price, and it will create a graph showing you break-even for each of these prices and sales volumes.

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