Total Cost Formula
Originally published on June 30, 2021 by Logiwa Marketing, Updated on March 22, 2024
In this article, you’ll delve into the fundamental aspects of the Total Cost Formula, an essential tool for any business to evaluate its profitability. You’ll learn what this formula is, how to calculate it, and its application in business, along with its advantages and potential limitations. Additionally, realworld examples will illustrate how this formula works, giving you a practical understanding of how to apply it in your own business setting.
Key Takeaways:
 The Total Cost Formula, represented as (Fixed Cost + Variable Cost) / Number of Units Produced, provides insights into the cost structure of a business, helping determine profitability.
 This formula can aid in devising pricing strategies, assessing business efficiency, and identifying areas for potential cost savings.
 Understanding and applying the Total Cost Formula is not without challenges. These can include complexities in businesses with multiple product lines and frequent adjustments needed for variable cost elements.
 Despite these potential setbacks, the formula is a powerful tool for competitor analysis, determining market position, and tracking profitability for specific product lines.
 While using the Total Cost Formula, businesses need to be mindful of issues like volumebased variable purchasing costs, limited range for average fixed costs, and the treatment of direct labor as a fixed cost.
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 easytouse procedure, the totalcost formula is calculated by dividing the total production cost by the number of products manufactured. Here is everything you need to know about the totalcost 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:
 What is the Total Cost Formula?
 How Does the Total Cost Formula Work?
 Example of a Total Cost Formula Explained: A StepbyStep Calculation
 Advantages of the Total Cost Formula
 Disadvantages of the Total Cost Formula
 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 totalcost 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 totalcost 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 totalcost formula looks like this:
Total Cost = (Fixed Cost + Variable Cost) / Number of Units Produced
How Does the Total Cost Formula Work?
The totalcost 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 totalcost 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 totalcost 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 StepbyStep 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 businessrelated 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 costbased 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 volumebased. 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 perunit cost will be.
 The totalcost 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.
The Total Cost Formula: An Essential Business Profitability Tool
The Total Cost Formula provides businesses with a clear and simple understanding of their profitability, offering a comprehensive overview of both fixed and variable costs. Despite potential complexities, especially in businesses with diverse product lines, this formula is a powerful tool for strategic decisionmaking, enabling accurate pricing, improved efficiency, and cost savings.
Leveraging the Total Cost Formula effectively could be the differentiator your business needs to stay competitive and profitable. Ready to take your business’s efficiency to the next level?
Explore Logiwa WMS, a dynamic platform designed to streamline warehouse management and operations. Invest in Logiwa WMS today and propel your business towards greater costefficiency and profitability.
FAQs
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.
Can the total cost formula be applied to service industries?
Yes, the total cost formula can be applied to service industries. Fixed costs might include rent and salaries, while variable costs could include supplies or hourly wages for labor. It’s important to note, though, that the formula might need to be adjusted depending on the specific characteristics of the service.
What if I have difficulty identifying my variable costs?
It’s not uncommon to have difficulty identifying variable costs, particularly in complex businesses. If you’re unsure, it may be helpful to consult with a financial advisor or use an accounting system that can help you categorize and track these costs.
How often should I calculate my total cost using the total cost formula?
The frequency with which you should calculate your total cost depends on the nature of your business and how quickly your costs change. However, it’s generally a good idea to perform this calculation at least quarterly so you can make timely adjustments to your pricing strategy.
How can I reduce my total cost as calculated by the total cost formula?
Reducing your total cost can be achieved by either decreasing your fixed costs, reducing your variable costs, or increasing your units produced without increasing costs. This might involve negotiating better terms with suppliers, improving operational efficiency, or scaling production.
How does the total cost formula impact my pricing strategy?
The total cost formula directly impacts your pricing strategy because it helps determine the minimum price at which you need to sell your product or service to cover all costs and start making a profit. If your total cost per unit is higher than your selling price, you may need to adjust your pricing strategy or find ways to reduce costs.
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