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break even point definition

Identifying a break-even point helps provide a dynamic view of the relationships between sales, costs, and profits. When there is an increase in customer sales, it means that there is higher demand. A company then needs to produce more of its products to meet this new demand which, in turn, raises the break-even point in order to cover the extra expenses.

break even point definition

This can inform not only your sales strategies but also your long-term business plan. Remember the break-even point is used as an estimate for lender viability and your business plan. It is not intended to 100% accurately determine your accounting or financing since those calculations can only be done after all costs and production have occurred. It’s also a good idea to throw a little extra, say 10%, into your break-even analysis to cover miscellaneous expenses that you can’t predict.

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In addition to using BEP to determine what is necessary for a business to pay for its costs, it can be used to help determine whether certain investments are wise. Establishing a BEP can help business leaders set a price for a product or service that is both competitive and necessary to remain in operation. Break-even points can be useful to all avenues of a business, as it allows employees to identify required outputs and work towards meeting these.

Companies have many fixed overhead expenses such as rent, salaries, taxes, and insurance. Add in the variable expenses of supplies, materials, research and development, labor costs, and marketing (among others), and you get total expenses. Total revenue, on the other hand, refers to the money a company earns by selling its goods or services.


In effect, the analysis enables setting more concrete sales goals as you have a specific number to target in mind. By performing a break even analysis, the company knows the number of sales where they would break even in advance. This means that Steve’s team needs to sell $2727 worth of Steve’s Root Beer in that month to break even.

break even point definition

If it is higher than the fixed costs, then the company makes a profit. If the variable costs increase at the same rate as the production or sales volume, they are referred to as proportional variable costs. Should the variable costs increase at a faster rate, then they are referred to as progressive variable costs.

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If customer demand and sales are higher for the company in a certain period, its variable costs will also move in the same direction and increase (and vice versa). Break-even Analysis tells you how many units of a product must be sold to cover the fixed and variable costs of production. The Break-even Point is a margin of safety for a business, as it shows how many sales it takes to pay for the expenses of doing business. The break-even point refers to the point where the total costs (fixed costs + variable costs) related to production or a product are just as high as the total turnover.

For example, the total revenue curve is simply the product of selling price times quantity for each output quantity. The data used in these formula come either from accounting records or from various estimation techniques such as break even point definition regression analysis. Since the price per unit minus the variable costs of product is the definition of the contribution margin per unit, you can simply rephrase the equation by dividing the fixed costs by the contribution margin.

The break-even point formula

Break-even is a situation where you are neither making money nor losing money, but all your costs have been covered. In accounting, the break-even point refers to the revenues necessary to cover a company’s total amount of fixed and variable expenses during a specified period of time. The revenues could be stated in dollars (or other currencies), in units, hours of services provided, etc. The formula for calculating the break-even point (BEP) involves taking the total fixed costs and dividing the amount by the contribution margin per unit.

break even point definition

This is because some companies may take years before turning a profit, often losing money in the first few months or years before breaking even. For this reason, break-even point is an important part of any business plan presented to a potential investor. In this case, the investor will break even when the stock price of XYZ is $50 + $1.50, or $51.50. In options trading, the break-even point for a call option where the investor neither makes nor loses money is equal to the sum of the strike price and the premium they paid for the call. Once BEP has been determined, an entrepreneur should have a better idea whether a business plan will work.

This makes the calculation a bit more complicated as the BeP cannot be represented in individual unit amounts. Ultimately, the products’ prices and variable costs reach various levels, and the BeP for each product has a different unit volume. In cases like these, the BeP is therefore specified as the minimum turnover that the company must achieve with all its products.

  • A break-even analysis can express a BEP on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis.
  • When Franco produces 1500 benches, the total cost is $120,000, and the total revenue is $150,000.
  • This means that the investor has the right to buy 100 shares of Apple at $170 per share at any time before the options expire.
  • The information required to calculate a business’s Break-even Point can be found in its financial statements.
  • By understanding your company’s break-even point (BEP), you’ll provide your sales team with crucial insights into quotas, pricing, and growth opportunities.

The break-even point is a valuable number to know, but hitting it is never the goal. Without pushing past the BEP and into the profit zone, it’s nearly impossible to achieve any long-term growth. You might not be losing any money at your break-even point, but you’re also barely scraping in enough to pay salaries, stock inventory, and sell your products. If an emergency or economic crisis arises, you may find yourself in serious financial trouble.

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