Mastering the break-even analysis: how to calculate your business’ break-even point

Mastering the Break-Even Analysis: How to Calculate Your Business's Breakeven Point

Break-even analysis is an essential tool for any business to determine the point at which revenue covers all costs. In this Legal Kitz blog post, we will explore the importance of break-even analysis and how to perform it effectively.

What is a break-even analysis?

A break-even analysis is a financial tool used to determine the minimum level of sales or revenue required to cover all the costs associated with a particular product, service, or project. The analysis calculates the break-even point (BEP), which is the point at which the total revenue equals the total cost, and the business is neither making a profit nor incurring a loss. This analysis is particularly useful for businesses that are planning to launch a new product or service or for those considering changes in their existing business models. By calculating the BEP, businesses can determine the level of sales they need to generate to cover their expenses and make a profit.

Example:

A small business owner could conduct a break-even analysis to determine the minimum amount of revenue needed to cover costs. For example, if the fixed costs are $10,000 and the variable costs per unit are $5, the business needs to sell at least 2,000 units to break even. Alternatively, if the average revenue per unit is $15, the business would need to sell at least 667 units to break even.

How does break-even analysis work?

Break-even analysis is a crucial aspect of business planning as it helps businesses determine their profitability, and thus, make informed decisions about production levels and pricing strategies. In essence, the break-even analysis evaluates the relationship between fixed costs, variable costs, revenue, and profits.

Fixed costs are those expenses that remain constant, regardless of the level of production or sales. Examples of fixed costs include rent, salaries, and insurance premiums. Variable costs, on the other hand, change based on the level of production or sales. Examples of variable costs include raw materials, labor costs, and packaging materials. The break-even point is the level of production or sales at which a business neither makes a profit nor incurs a loss. By calculating the break-even point, businesses can determine the minimum number of units they need to sell to cover their costs. This information can help businesses set realistic sales targets and develop pricing strategies that ensure profitability.

By calculating the fixed costs and variable costs, the break-even point can be determined. If a company’s total revenue is less than the break-even point, they will be operating at a loss. If the total revenue is greater than the break-even point, the company is operating at a profit.

For example, a company has fixed costs of $100,000 and variable costs of $10 per unit. They sell their product for $20 per unit.

The break-even point would be at 10,000 units ([$100,000 ÷ ($20 – $10)] = 10,000)

By evaluating fixed costs, variable costs, revenue, and profits, businesses can determine the minimum level of production or sales necessary to cover their expenses. A break-even analysis provides valuable insights into a company’s financial health, and can help businesses make informed decisions about production levels, pricing strategies, and growth opportunities. Ultimately, a break-even analysis helps businesses ensure they are operating profitably and provides them with the financial information they need to make sound decisions.

Advantages of calculating break-even point

A break-even analysis is essential for a company to understand the minimum level of sales required to cover all costs and avoid losses. It provides insights into pricing, production volume, and profitability. Advantages of doing a break-even analysis include:

an employee is calculating the break-even analysis
  • Identifying the company’s breakeven point
  • Determining the minimum sales volume required to achieve profitability
  • Understanding the impact of changing prices on profitability
  • Evaluating the impact of changes in fixed and variable costs
  • Facilitating budgeting and forecasting
  • Determining the most profitable product or service
  • Analysing the company’s financial performance

Limitations of a break-even analysis

Break-even analysis is a useful tool for determining the minimum amount of sales necessary for a company to cover its costs. However, it has its limitations. For example, it assumes that the selling price, variable costs, and fixed costs will remain constant, which is not always the case. It also does not take into account factors such as changes in market demand, competition, or external economic factors that can impact sales and costs.

  • Assumes constant selling price, variable costs, and fixed costs.
  • Does not consider changes in market demand.
  • Does not consider changes in competition.
  • Does not consider external economic factors that can impact sales and costs.
  • May not be accurate for companies with multiple product lines or services.

Calculating your break-even point

The break-even point (BEP) represents the level of sales at which a company generates neither profit nor loss. It is calculated by dividing the fixed costs by the contribution margin per unit (price minus variable costs). The formula is BEP = fixed costs / (price – variable costs per unit).

To calculate the break-even point, use the formula:

Break-even point (units) = Fixed costs / (Price per unit – Variable cost per unit)

For example, if a company has fixed costs of $10,000, a price per unit of $50, and a variable cost per unit of $30, the break-even point is:

Break-even point (units) = $10,000 / ($50 – $30) = 500 units

What is the contribution margin?

The contribution margin is the difference between the selling price of a product and its variable costs. It plays a crucial role in break-even analysis, as it helps to determine the level of sales required to cover fixed costs. For example, a company has a fixed cost of $10,000 per month and a contribution margin of $20 per unit. To break even, the company needs to sell 500 units ($10,000 ÷ $20 per unit). Any units sold above 500 will generate a profit. Therefore, contribution margin helps to identify the point where a company becomes profitable.

When to use a break-even analysis

Break-even analysis is a tool used to determine the minimum level of sales required to cover all the costs of a business. This analysis is useful when:

  • Launching a new product or service: Break-even analysis can help determine the sales volume required to make the product profitable.
  • Setting prices: Understanding the break-even point helps businesses to set prices that are profitable and competitive.
  • Making investment decisions: Break-even analysis can help to determine the viability of investing in new projects or expanding the business.
  • Evaluating performance: Regular break-even analysis can help to measure the performance of the business and identify areas for improvement.
  • Forecasting: Break-even analysis can also be used for future planning and to predict the potential impact of changes to the business.

Legal advice

If you are facing any challenges or have any doubts regarding break-even analysis, you can always contact Legal Kitz to assist you. To arrange a FREE 30 minute consultation with one of our highly experienced solicitors contact us at info@legalkitz.com.au or 1300 988 954. Additionally, you can also check out our sister company – Business Kitz’s Subscriptions to access our full range of legal, commercial and employment document templates to begin your business with a solid foundation that ensures compliance.