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Photography services # Variable cost

## What is a variable cost?

A variable cost is a cost that varies directly with changes in the level of production or sales volume. In other words, it’s a cost that changes in proportion to the level of activity in a business.

Some examples of variable costs include direct labor costs, raw materials, credit card fees, shipping costs, and other variable expenses associated with producing and selling goods or services.

The total variable cost is the sum of all variable costs incurred in a given period. The total variable cost is calculated by multiplying the variable cost per unit by the total number of units produced or sold.

Fixed cost, on the other hand, is the cost that remains constant regardless of changes in production or sales volume. Examples of fixed costs include employee salaries, property taxes, and other expenses that don’t change with the level of activity in a business.

The average variable cost is calculated by dividing the total variable cost by the number of units produced or sold. This metric can be used to determine the efficiency of production processes, as lower average variable costs typically indicate that a business is using its resources more effectively.

To calculate the variable cost per unit, you need to determine the total variable costs associated with producing a specific quantity of goods or services and then divide that amount by the total quantity produced.

## How do I find the variable cost per unit?

Here are the steps to find the variable cost per unit:

1. Identify the variable components of your cost structure: Variable costs are those costs that vary based on production volumes, such as direct labor costs, raw materials, distribution costs, and utility costs.

2. Calculate total variable costs: Add all the variable costs associated with producing a specific quantity of goods or services.

3. Determine production volume: Determine the total quantity of goods or services produced during your analyzing period.

4. Calculate marginal cost: Divide the total variable costs by the production volume to calculate the marginal cost.

5. Find the variable cost per unit: To find the variable cost per unit, divide the marginal cost by the total quantity of goods or services produced.

Suppose your business produces 1,000 units of a product in a given period. Your total variable costs for that period are \$10,000, including \$4,000 for direct labor, \$3,000 for raw materials, \$2,000 for distribution, and \$1,000 for utility.

To calculate the variable cost per unit, you’d follow these steps:

1. Identify the variable components: Direct labor costs, raw materials, distribution costs, and utility costs are all variable components.

2. Calculate total variable costs: \$4,000 + \$3,000 + \$2,000 + \$1,000 = \$10,000

3. Determine production volume: 1,000 units

4. Calculate marginal cost: \$10,000 ÷ 1,000 = \$10 per unit

5. Find the variable cost per unit: \$10 ÷ 1,000 = \$0.01 per unit

Therefore, the variable cost per unit is \$0.01.

## What is an example of a variable cost?

An example of a variable cost is the cost of raw materials used to produce a product. The cost of raw materials will vary depending on the number of units produced or sold. As the production volume increases, the cost of raw materials will also increase, and vice versa.

In contrast, fixed costs, such as rent, salaries, and insurance, do not vary with the number of units produced or sold. These costs remain constant regardless of changes in production volume.

The break-even point is when a business has recovered all of its fixed and variable costs and begins to generate a profit. To determine the break-even point, a business needs to calculate its fixed costs and the variable cost per unit and then divide the fixed costs by the difference between the selling price per unit and the variable cost per unit.

Higher variable costs can impact the break-even point and profit margin. If variable costs are high, a business may need to sell more units to reach the break-even point and achieve profitability.

The most common variable costs include raw materials, direct labor, and shipping costs. These costs are directly tied to the production volume and can change depending on the number of units produced or sold.

For example, let’s say a company produces and sells t-shirts. The company purchases raw materials such as fabric, thread, and buttons to make t-shirts. The cost of raw materials per unit will vary depending on the number of t-shirts produced. If the company has only one t-shirt, the cost of raw materials will be relatively high compared to making 1,000 t-shirts, where the cost of raw materials per unit will be lower.

As the number of units sold increases, the total variable costs will also increase. However, the cost per unit will decrease as the fixed costs are spread out over several units. Businesses need to monitor their variable costs closely, as changes in production volume can significantly impact profitability.  