Manage Costs: Fixed, Variable, and Semi-Variable

Easily manage and calculate different types of costs to run your business: fixed, variable, and semi-variable.

Managing Different Types of Costs

Costs are a fundamental aspect of running any business. To manage your finances effectively, it's essential to distinguish between the various types of costs: fixed, variable, and semi-variable. In this template, we break down these cost categories and explore how to calculate them. Duplicate this template to keep track of your costs and expenses in a flexible and accurate way.

Calculate fixed, variable, and semi-variable costs

1. Fixed Costs

Fixed costs are expenses that remain constant regardless of your business's production or sales volume. They don't change in the short term, even if you produce more or less. Common examples of fixed costs include:

  • Rent or lease payments
  • Insurance premiums
  • Salaries of full time staff
  • Depreciation on equipment

How to Calculate Fixed Costs:

To calculate your total fixed costs, simply add up all these expenses. For example, if your rent is $1,000 per month, insurance is $1500 per year, and salaries amount to $4,000 per month, your total fixed costs are $61.5k per year:

2. Variable Costs

Variable costs are directly tied to your business's production or sales volume. They fluctuate as your production increases or decreases. Examples of variable costs include:

  • Cost of raw materials
  • Direct labor costs (hourly wages for workers)
  • Shipping and delivery charges
  • Sales commissions

How to Calculate Variable Costs:

To calculate your total variable costs, multiply the variable cost per unit by the number of units produced or sold. For instance, if each unit costs $10 in raw materials and you produce 100 units, your total variable costs are $1,000.

3. Semi-Variable Costs

Semi-variable costs, sometimes referred to as mixed costs, have elements of both fixed and variable costs. They consist of a fixed component that remains constant and a variable component that changes with production or sales. Examples include:

  • Utilities (a fixed base fee plus usage charges)
  • Vehicle expenses (a fixed lease payment plus variable fuel costs)
  • Phone bills (a fixed monthly fee plus usage charges)

How to Calculate Semi-Variable Costs:

Separate the fixed and variable components of semi-variable costs. Calculate the fixed portion, and then calculate the variable portion based on the activity level (e.g., usage, miles driven). Then, add both components to get the total semi-variable cost. For instance, let's say you pay a fixed base cost of $100 and $0.1 per kWh for electricity consumed. And, in a given month you consume 800 kWh :

Understanding these cost categories allows you to make informed financial decisions. By analyzing your fixed, variable, and semi-variable costs, you can better control expenses, plan for growth, and set pricing strategies that ensure your business remains profitable. Remember that cost management is an ongoing process, so regularly review your cost structure to adapt to changing circumstances and optimize your business's financial health.

3. Using the Costs Template

  • Adaptable: Easily adapt this template as your costs change across fixed, variable and semi-variable
  • Unit Conversions: Decipad understands units and automatically calculates your costs wether they are monthly or annual
  • Customizable: Duplicate this template to customize it for your needs either to track and manage your expenses, model your profitable, or analyze your pricing.